Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2022

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 83 THE BASIC EXERCISE Start by lying down comfortably face- up. Interlace your hands behind your head. Resting your head on your hands, let your head gently rotate all the way to one side, back to center, then rotate to the other side. This allows you to notice how you feel before the exercise. Now, take a minute to really let your head settle in the middle, just resting on your hands, eyes open. With your head staying in the center, let your eyes stretch all the way over, looking to one side, and hang out there for 30–60 seconds or until you feel yourself sigh, yawn, or swallow. Let your eyes return to the center, close them, and rest for a couple breaths. Now, open your eyes and repeat on the other side. That's it. Because this is such an unfamiliar practice, it is recommended to repeat this several times throughout the day to cultivate bio- psychological integration and restoration. COMMITMENT TO SELF-CARE Whether taking a fl oat, creating a sensory refuge, or resetting your vagal tone, sensory breaks generate a cascade of benefi ts for our well-being. Overall well-being is much more than good health. It is the direct result of lifestyle choices and behaviors around sleep, diet, physical activity, hygiene, work, play, relaxation, and technology use. A felt sense of well-being allows us to function optimally and reaps professional and personal rewards. And here's the good news: Enhancing your vagal tone not only allows you to show up in your highest potential—you also become a living, breathing embodiment of self-care that inspires others to do the same! Your presence, your willingness to be in service of others' well-being, and your commitment to self-care are essential ingredients in the continued evolution of humanity and technology. We thank you for being a compassionate, caring human on our planet. Who you are and what you're up to is needed more now than ever. And you discovering, experimenting, and modeling ways that favor your well-being benefi ts all of us. Note 1. Erin Eatough,, "What is Sensory Overload? Know How to Deal with Overstimulation," December 28, 2021, www. Heath and Nicole Reed are co-founders of Living Metta (living "loving kindness"), a continuing education company now offering touch therapy tools and self-care practices in their online community. They also lead workshops and retreats across the country and overseas and have been team-teaching touch and movement therapy for over 20 years. In addition to offering live classes, Heath and Nicole are life coaches offering home study, bodywork, self-care videos, and online courses that nourish you. Try their community free for 30 days at VIDEO: "RESETTING YOUR OR YOUR CLIENT'S VAGAL TONE" 1. Open your camera 2. Scan the code 3. Tap on notification 4. Watch! POLYVAGAL THERAPY AND SELF-REGULATION The pioneering research conducted by Dr. Stephen Porges on polyvagal therapy has revolutionized the way scientists and healers understand and interact with the human nervous system. Simply stated, greater levels of relaxation, healing, and connection are associated with high "vagal tone." However, when the brain becomes overloaded with excessive sensory stimuli, our fi ght-or-fl ight response may become triggered. Or worse, we might sink into dorsal vagal collapse, where we feel hopeless or helpless. The good news is that we can use our body to benevolently hijack our nervous system to increase our vagal tone. Scientists describe this and other processes of "self-regulation" as behaviors where we use our body to calm our brain, soothe our heart, and reset our autonomic system. RESET YOUR VAGAL TONE Practice resetting your system during or after a full day of sensory input by toning your vagus nerve. High vagal tone provides a positive physiological state that allows us to respond to our environment rather than react to things with resistance or avoidance. This deceptively simple exercise uses eye movement to engage the suboccipital muscles—a group of four muscles located at the base of the skull—by drawing the top two cervical vertebrae into alignment. This easy exercise does not shift us permanently to a positive state but provides a way to improve, or "tone," our vagus nerve function. SAV V Y SELF-CARE

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