Energy Medicine: Dissolving Your Stress Away
Your energy system instantly dissolves stress when you apply these simple 1-minute energy medicine techniques.
Stress has an immediate impact on every system in your body. Its effects are cumulative, and learning to better manage your body’s responses to stress is one of the most important steps you can take for maintaining vibrant health. A simple but invaluable energy technique for interrupting the stress response while it is happening can also be used to reprogram the way your body responds to stress.
Many of us get caught in the following loop: the daily stresses of life trigger the primitive brain centers into an emergency response condition, up to 80 percent of the blood leaves our forebrain to support the fight-or-flight response, stress chemicals pour into our bloodstream, primitive stress-response emotions sweep over us, and we proceed through another day in the modern civilized world with the biochemistry of a cave dweller in mortal danger. We wind up trying to adapt to the complex surroundings that caused the stress with the most primitive parts of our brain. Our more recently developed cognitive abilities are annihilated. Our perceptions become distorted. Our capacity to respond creatively is in meltdown.
Post-traumatic stress disorder exemplifies this loop in extreme. A harmless sight, sound, smell, or impression activates a concentrated stress response, and your body relives a situation of overwhelming threat. But in a milder form, we are all dealing with stresses and pressures that unnaturally trip our fight-or-flight response, cage us in the limited reality of our primitive brain centers, pulse stress-response hormones through our bodies, and leave us feeling more fearful, anxious, angry, or aggressive than the situation warrants.
When we are experiencing intense stress, we are not biologically programmed to sit around thinking about our problems. Your forebrain is not even well designed for saving you from immediate danger. Your reptilian brain structure is far better organized for producing quick and effective defensive responses. But your more primitive brain structures don’t distinguish whether the alarm was set off by a physical threat, a relationship spat, pressure on the job, or a myriad of daily irritations. When the crisis response is needlessly engaged, not only is it useless in helping you cope, it also plays havoc with your health and tranquility.
You can reprogram your automatic nervous system to no longer set off a crisis response in the face of daily stresses. By training your nervous system to keep the blood in your forebrain, you will be more able to think clearly and cope more effectively, even amid life’s ongoing pressures.
Holding a stressful memory in your mind while touching specific spots on your head, called neurovascular holding points, conditions primitive brain centers to have a composed rather than emergency response to the memory. By resetting your nervous system in this way, the stress-response is not activated when the memory occurs. If you carry this out with a number of memories, the effect begins to generalize, both to other memories and to current stressors. This simple technique can bring not only greater peace of mind by keeping you from unnecessarily triggering the stress-response cycle, it will also help maintain and even improve your health.
Your stress reactions are physical responses. When you fall apart or emotionally “lose it,” it has more to do with physiology than psychology. This fact alone can afford you some compassion for yourself or for another. And a wonderful thing about the neurovasculars is that you don’t need to try to be positive. It’s better, in fact, to sink into the full unpleasantness of the negative feeling while holding the points. As the blood returns to your forebrain, you will feel yourself lifting out of the stress. You are at the same time reconditioning your responses. Holding your neurovascular points also provides a cranial adjustment, so symptoms such as chronic headaches, neck pain, or jaw tension may spontaneously diminish.
The neurovascular holding points are situated at various spots on your head as well as three other places on your body. They affect blood circulation. By softly holding specific neurovascular points for one to five minutes, you can increase the blood circulation to the part of the body the points affect. Two neurovascular holding points, called the frontal eminences — the bumps on your forehead directly above your eyes — affect blood circulation throughout the entire body. They are particularly valuable: if you hold these points when you are under stress, the energy from your fingertips keeps the blood from leaving your forebrain. More important, this can draw blood back into your forebrain even after you’ve begun to “lose it.” If you cannot locate the bumps on the forehead, just find the points about an inch above your eyebrows.
We actually know these points instinctively. When we are shocked, a hand may naturally find its way to the forehead, often with the exclamation “Oh my God.” That is why I call these the “Oh my God” points. Because they are slightly raised in most people, they are also called the frontal eminences. The next time you are hit by stress and feel overwhelmed or highly emotional: (Time — 1 to 5 minutes)
- Lightly place your fingertips on your forehead, covering the frontal eminences, the “Oh my God” points.
- Put your thumbs on your temples next to your eyes, breathing deeply.
- As the blood returns to your forebrain over the next few minutes, you will find yourself beginning to think more clearly. It is that simple!
Years ago I was doing volunteer work at an elementary school, assigned to help a teacher who had the seemingly impossible job of handling about thirty hyperactive kids, mostly boys. It was a wild scene to walk in on. Erasers were flying, kids were climbing on the cabinets, the sounds were deafening. It felt hopeless. I was trying to give the teacher some tools and techniques that might help, but to say the least, it was a challenging mission. Sometimes by mustering the full force of my personality I could engage the class in exercises, but chaos tended to rule.
One day I was coming to the class, the teacher noticed me through the window and alerted the kids: “Class, she’s coming.” When I walked around the corner and into the classroom, what I saw was amazing. Each student was holding another student’s neurovascular points. They made a long chain around the room, and they were silent! You could have heard a pin drop. The teacher was able to get them to do it because they liked affecting one another this way, and they also liked how the calm felt.
Reprogramming the Emergency Response Loop
Bring to mind a situation where you had a hard time coping. Perhaps you were terrified, panicked, or furious. Perhaps you were overwhelmed with jealousy or grief. Perhaps you “lost it.”
Place your fingertips over the “Oh my God” points, thumbs on your temples next to your eyes, breathing deeply. Keep the scene in your mind over the next few minutes. As you relax, you will be freeing yourself from the memory’s emotional grip.
Experiment with a single memory, using the technique daily until you can hold the memory in your mind without feeling a stress response in your body. Then go on to another memory. Not only can you use this technique systematically for working with the accumulated stresses of your past, you can hold the points whenever you are feeling stressed or overly emotional.
The Wayne Cook Posture
When you are stressed or exhausted, your meridians begin to run backward so you will be compelled to rest. In more extreme cases, not only do the meridians run backward, but their energies may become quite chaotic. The Wayne Cook Posture reorders these chaotic, scrambled energies.
I use the Wayne Cook Posture when I am overwhelmed or hysterical, cannot get clarity on a situation, cannot concentrate, must confront someone, or am upset after someone has confronted me. This procedure is named to honor Wayne Cook, a pioneering researcher of bio-energetic force fields, who invented the approach that I have modified into the form presented here. Perhaps more than any other single approach that I teach, the Wayne Cook Posture can calm you, bring order to your thinking, and help you better understand and confront the problems that you face.
This technique is effective even when the upset is so intense that you are unable to quit crying, are finding yourself snapping or yelling at others, are sinking into despair, or are feeling that you are beyond exhaustion. It helps process stress hormones.
To do the Wayne Cook Posture, sit in a chair with your spine straight. (Time — about 90 seconds)
- Place your left foot over your right knee. Wrap your right hand around the front of your left ankle and your left hand over the ball of your left foot, with your fingers curled around the sides of your foot.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting the breath lift your body as you breathe in. At the same time, pull your leg toward you, creating a stretch. As you exhale, breathe out of your mouth slowly, letting your body relax. Repeat this slow breathing and stretching four or five times.
- Switch to the other foot. Place your right foot over your left knee. Wrap your left hand around the front of your right ankle and your right hand over the ball of your right foot, with your fingers curled around the sides of your foot. Use the same breathing.
- Uncross your legs and “steeple” your fingertips together so they form a pyramid. Bring your thumbs to rest on your “third eye,” just above the bridge of your nose. Breathe slowly and deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth, about three or four full breaths.
- On the last exhalation, curl your fingers into the middle of your forehead and separate them, firmly and pleasantly, pulling across your forehead to your temples.
- Slowly bring your hands down in front of you. Surrender into your own breathing.
If you are in a board meeting or some other setting where you would not be comfortable holding the Wayne Cook Posture but definitely need to get clear, you can cross your arms, knees, ankles, and/or wrists. Breathe slowly. This will give you at least some of the benefits of the Wayne Cook Posture.
Excerpted and adapted from Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine (Revised Edition). New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 2008.
Donna Eden is among the world’s most sought after spokespersons for energy medicine and her abilities as a healer are legendary. Her bestselling book, Energy Medicine, is the authoritative text in its field and recently won U.S. Book News “Book of the Year” award in the self-help category. Learn more about her books and classes at www.LearnEnergyMedicine.com.