Dropping your nervous system into a state of “regulation” (technically neurological regulation) is being shown by research to be crucial for our health. (See links below.) The state of neurological regulation promotes flexibility in our 10th cranial nerve (the vagus nerve) and has been shown to lower blood pressure, calm anxiety among other health benefits.
Using waterbottles to support your kidneys, adrenals and lower back can train your system better to drop into this state. Like any other “muscle memory” doing this activity regularly (3-4x/week; as often as every day) can teach the body to use this skill to recover from stress more quickly and completely.
1. Purchase 2 rubber hot water bottles. Amazon can send them, sometimes pharmacies stock them: The old fashioned kind with stoppers.
2. When ready to try: Run your tap water as hot as possible. This takes 4-5 minutes. Fill both bottles to about 2/3 full, firmly replace the stopper.
3. Find a comfortable place in which you can lay mostly flat (in bed? Couch?). A bolster under the knees is recommended; a pillow under your head is optional. Just make sure you’re comfortable and well supported.
4. Place both water bottles in a “V” position under the small of your back. The stoppers need to be placed to the outside of the body (don’t lie on them!). The ends that make the point of the V would lie just underneath your tailbone; thebottles both positioned underneath the ribcage
5. Choose something to do! Reading is wonderful, as your eyes will be moving back and forth on the page: Another added bonus for your nervous system. Meditating with awareness of your body/finding a floating feeling is also helpful. If you’d like to simply lie on your back, playing on your phone – that is ok too. Perhaps avoid emotionally charged material in your thinking and reading. The object is to chill!
6. Check in internally with your body periodically until you notice a shift in consciousness or a drop in relaxation internally. You’re welcome to fall asleep on them! Once you feel that shift, stay as long or as short as you care to, knowing that staying in that state is a state of healing, repair for your body.
That’s it! Adopting this habit in conjunction with your Somatic Experiencing treatment will speed healing and increase its efficacy. Enjoy!
* Credit to Steve Terrell, PsyD of Austin Attach (in TX) for this idea.
Copyright, 2016. Written by Kristen Marzolf LCSW, SEP
Director of The Family Resilience Grp. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org