We have all experienced how emotions affect our breathing. We get excited and naturally take in a deep breath before saying something like "oh my!" Or if we are scared we hold our breath in.
Our emotions affect our breath. And we can use our breath to change our emotions. Our breath has a direct relationship with our nervous system and stress response.
To calm ourselves with breath the easiest practice to do is to create a longer exhale breath than inhale. Simply breathe out a few seconds longer than your inhale.
This works because the out breath engages the parasympathetic nervous system. It has a biological effect to calm us down and take our bodies out of a high alert, stress state of being.
Stress. We all go through it. Maybe you can't remember when you weren't stressed out. Ever feel like your body can't relax?
CranioSacral Therapy can help you get out of the stress loop and feel like yourself again. CranioSacral Therapy can help you relax and recover from stress.
There is a very interesting study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association which proves the stress reduction and nervous system balancing effects of CranioSacral Therapy (CST). This study provides some good physiological proof of the positive influence of CST on the vagus nerve, the nervous system, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis.
The HPA axis is our body’s stress response system. The HPA axis is also how the nervous system and endocrine system work together to help the body respond to stress. When the nervous system detects stress, this axis is activated, releasing cortisol and other stress hormones. When we have chronic stress, the regular release of hormones into our bodies can have negative effects on our body and mental health. This study proves CST lowers heart rate and cortisol levels.
In the study there were two groups, a control group and a group which received 20 minutes of craniosacral therapy from an osteopath. Both groups went through a stressful event, they performed math skills in front of a 3 person audience. Performing math in front of people is sure to create stress!
After the math “test” one group received 20 minutes of craniosacral therapy. They tested heart rate and took saliva samples to measure cortisol levels. The group that had the craniosacral therapy, had lower cortisol and lower heart rates after the therapy. They also tested cortisol the following morning and the group that received CST still showed biomarkers for lower stress response. The participants who had CST recovered from the math stress much quicker than the group who received no treatment.
CranioSacral is a gentle, nourishing therapy that can have profound influence on overall wellbeing, sleep, recovery, and a variety of medical conditions. Best of all, it is gentle and noninvasive, with little contraindications, so it can help many different people.
Check out the article, Single Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy Session Dampens Acute Autonomic and Neuroendocrine Responses to Mental Stress in Healthy Male Participants
Janet Crow, CST
CranioSacral Therapist and owner of Twin Cities CranioSacral.
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