Supporting your nervous system to drop 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 regularly to support your kidneys, adrenals can train your system to drop into this state more efficiently. Like any other “muscle memory”, doing this activity regularly (3-4x/week; as often as every day) can help the body remember how to recover from stress more quickly and potentially speed your treatment time.
There are 2 methods – with either one bottle or two:
- Purchase 2 rubber hot water bottles. Amazon can send them, sometimes pharmacies stock them: The old fashioned kind with stoppers, about $10.
- When ready to try: Run your tap water as hot as possible or microwave water to hot. This takes 4-5 minutes. Fill both bottles to about 2/3 full, press out the rest of the air and firmly replace the stopper.
- Find a comfortable place in which you can lay flat (in bed, couch?). A bolster under the knees may be comfortable; a pillow under your head is optional. Just make sure you’re comfortable and well supported.
- Place the water bottles in an angled position under the small of your lower back where your kidneys are approx. located in a “V”: 45 degree angled as if the ends are pointing at your tailbone. The stoppers need to be placed to the outside of the body (don’t lie on them!). Alternate method: Use only 1 bottle. Start on your right side.
- Choose something to do: Meditating with awareness of your body is helpful. Reading is wonderful, as your eyes will be moving back and forth on the page, resting them as you feel called to. If you’d like to simply lie on your back, playing on your phone – that is ok too, with the goal eventually of moving to reading then meditating awareness. Perhaps avoid emotionally charged material in your thinking and reading. The object is to chill right now. Allow about 20 minutes/side.
- 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 as this is a state of healing, repair for your body. Alternate method: With one bottle, do 15-20 min on right side (set a phone alarm); move bottle to the left side for another 15-20 min. Repeat a number of times weekly, perhaps daily.
Adopting this habit in conjunction with your Somatic Experiencing or Touch therapy treatment will speed healing and increase its efficacy. Enjoy!
* Credit to Steve Terrell, PsyD of AustinAttach (in TX) for this idea.
Copyright, 2016. Written by Kristen Marzolf LCSW, SEP
Director, The Family Resilience Grp. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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