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Sept. 23rd, 2013

And We're Off!

Here begins my regular newsletter with practical, hands-on information about resolving abdominal adhesions.  I'm so excited to have you all on board!  Please forward this information to anyone who you think can benefit.  And, of course, if you ever wish to unsubscribe, no problem, just click the link at the bottom of the email.

There are a lot of exciting things coming up this fall and winter including videos on cooking and diet for abdominal adhesions, more movement videos, and a fabulous ebook manual on caring for abdominal adhesions.  Stay tuned!

It's Hands-On Time!

I've recently been starting to study up on the vagus nerve.  It's a long nerve that starts in the brain stem and branches into almost EVERY ABDOMINAL ORGAN (including lungs and heart)! 

vagus nerve visual
Obviously this is not meant to be a perfectly accurate visual of the vagus nerve. It is simply meant to give you an idea of the scope of the nerve and its branches in our bodies.

When not functioning properly, the nerve can wreak havoc, causing all kinds of disturbances in the throat, vocal chords, esophagus, stomach, intestines, spleen, pancreas, liver, etc..  It is a powerful factor in the overall health and well-being of the abdomen and our whole body.  

What does this mean for us? 

Depending on symptomology, a couple of the western-medicine treatments for vagus nerve problems are to inject substances to the area of the nerve in order to stimulate or calm it, or sometimes to cut the nerve itself.  Whether or not you are facing such drastic measures, it can be useful to know the following:

1.  We can access the vagus nerve at most of its branches in the belly.  Simply by practicing our regular self-care, we access the organs it interacts with, thereby accessing the nerve itself.

Of course, the complexity of nervous function in the body means that I am really oversimplifying the explanation of the vagus nerve here.  However, in practical terms, I am not oversimplifying a whole lot.  In practical terms, it is amazing what happens when we access the areas that the nerve innervates.  That is why those of us who practice pelvic floor massage (internal or external) know that releasing pelvic floor fascia and trigger points can resolve issues like TMJ, loss of voice, and chronic headaches (just to name a few).  Of course, this all has huge implications for the digestive system as well. 

2.  For our tutorial today, let's focus on the stomach organ.  I give more in-depth techniques in the self-care videos, but here is a tidbit to get you started.
*As you know, ALWAYS consult your physician before beginning any new treatment or program of care.  It is possible to flare some conditions with this kind of treatment.  Along those lines, always go slow, take it easy on yourself, and stop if it causes you pain.*

midline stomach
Here, we begin accessing the stomach organ from the midline of the body.  Keeping tension in the fingers (but keeping the belly completely relaxed) and gradually allowing our hand to sink in to the belly will allow us to safely access the deeper parts of our belly.  In this exercise we are sinking through the superficial tissue and intestines to reach toward the stomach under the left ribs.  Note the position of the working elbow.  You can use a pillow to bolster your elbow and keep your arm more comfortable and your belly relaxed as you work.  Full instruction on this technique is in the first video (free) of the self-care videos.

Because we sink through the intestines on our way to the stomach, we are accomplishing a lot with one maneuver.  Next, we can start to work into the area of the stomach more specifically.  As before we are also working with the intestines, fascia and muscle, which means we are getting a lot of bang for our buck!

stomach access
Here we begin to access the stomach more specifically.  Use a cupping motion with the tips of your fingers as you sink down into the deeper layers.  Once you have sunk into the belly, gently draw the cup of your fingers up toward your ribs.  We are always allowing the tissue time and space to move out of the way for us. We are never forcing the issue or pushing in to get access.  This sometimes requires a lot of patience and waiting.  Don't get discouraged if you can't get very far into your belly the first time.  Just take a rest and try again the next day.

Repeat this exercise as many times as it feels good to you.  If there are sensitive spots where you are working or it just feels really useful to hang out in the area for a while, feel free to hold static pressure in the area for as long as 90 seconds at a time.  Rest in between "sets" and breathe into your belly.

Remember that there are a lot of ups and downs when we are working with injury or long-standing conditions.  Even this simple exercise can cause a lot of change - and as we all know, in addition to being wonderful change can sometimes be uncomfortable.  Stay hydrated, keep positive physical movement in your life, and listen to your body as best you can.  

Until next time . . .

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