At Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto, we help you move into deeper states of relaxation that are optimal for healing both body and mind. We offer two powerful tools you can also use to help you calm your stress response—to support better sleep, immunity, and resilience as we move into Winter.
SLEEP BETTER USING 4-7-8 BREATHWORK
Breathwork has long been considered one of the greatest tools for relaxation. Deep breathing can down-regulate frenetic nervous activity triggered by the fight-or-flight mechanism when we perceive danger. You can reap deep physiological benefits by learning how to breathe in specific ways.
Deep restorative sleep is especially important to keep you healthy now. To prepare for a restful night, Dr. Andrew Weil, the founder of Integrative Medicine, recommends a yoga breathing technique that acts like a natural tranquilizer by activating the calming parasympathetic nervous system. ‘Unlike sleep medications, which often lose effectiveness over time, 4-7-8 breathing is subtle at first but gains power with practice,’ Weil says. It takes about 30 days of consistent practice to really experience its benefits. Try establishing regular times to do 4-7-8 breathing, such as when you get into bed at night and before you get out of bed in the morning. This makes it easier to establish a habit. You can also add breathing breaks during the day to calm anxiety and ground yourself in the present.
GUIDED IMAGERY FOR STAYING STRONG AND RESILIENT
Using guided imagery can be very effective for releasing tension and moving into a deep relaxed physiological state that supports health and healing. Emmett Miller, M.D. is a pioneer in creating and using guided imagery for deep relaxation, a fundamental practice he prescribes for his patients. He offers free tools and resources to help you stay healthy. Psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstak, intrigued by the mind-body connection and the power of altered states to catalyze deeper healing, is another pioneer in creating and using guided imagery. She has an extensive library on her website.
We hope using these resources, in addition to receiving regular therapeutic massage, will bring you greater calm, vitality, and health!