Any type of soft tissue work can be greatly beneficial to aiding sleep, largely due to the fact that it relaxes your body and kick starts the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)
But our brains ability to let go and relax is harmed by being overloaded during our day to day lives as we’re constantly living in that unregulated hyperactive sympathetic state. Consequently it imbalances our hormones and we consequently struggle to sleep.
Using a ball to massage your gut and abdominal region stops sympathetic work flow and helps to turn on your PNS.
By massaging this area what you are doing is stimulating the vagus nerve which is easiest to reach through your gut. Stimulating the vagus nerve stimulates the PNS.
Any type of round hard small ball will do. E.G.
How Do You Do It?
Lay on your stomach, preferably bare skin and place the ball between your stomach and the floor. Remember the way you breath through it is the most important part.
As your laying on the ball take an abdominal breath IN, your making your diaphragm go as far down as it can go as your pushing your stomaching out. Hold that breath creating tension.
When you exhale that process will have irradiated a lot of the inappropriate muscle bracing that is frequent in the first moments working in deep tissue.
Anywhere from 3-10 min, or even 10 breaths depending on your level of tension. Then roll around on the ball finding other spots to alleviate tension.
After you find the tension has dissipated after a couple of minutes move onto the other side / another spot.
It will be very uncomfortable at first but breath through it and prop yourself up with your hands if its too much weight and work up to it.
Science On Lymph Nodes
Lisa Hodge had been doing studies on lymph, lymph is a fluid connective tissue which your immune system realises on to function and deliver white blood cells to the rest of your body to fight diseases. She created a study where they infected mice with lung cancers and pneumonia’s. They conducted a rhythmical abdominal massage, which was like little pump on the rats abdomen for 4 min.
“Hodge and her collaborators has shown that four minutes of abdominal lymphatic pump treatment may increase the flow of immune cells from both the innate and adaptive immune systems. That research showed LPT can mobilize white blood cells and other immune cells from GI tissue into lymph.”
They found that the rats who received the abdominal massage didn’t develop the lung tumors or succumbed to pneumonia’s, whereas the rats in the other groups who weren’t given the lymphatic abdominal massage all got sick.
“Eight days after infection, the researchers found that the amount of S. pneumonia bacteria in the lungs was significantly reduced in both treatment groups compared to control. Compared to the sham treatment, LPT led to an even higher amount of bacteria clearance.”
They found that the abdominal lymph is so powerful that the microfacies in your abdominal lymph in particular are sensitised to the bacterial environment so they become one of the most powerful disease fighting cells in our body. This abdominal massage forced the abdominal lymph to go into the thoracic duct, so it forced the lymph north into the vasculature of the upper body.
Another Spot You Can Attack
There is a triangle of soft tissue between your scapula, collar bone and lateral neck. Where your scalenes are. Some of the branches of the Vegas nerve are accessible here.
Here’s a video with Kelly Starrett and Jill Miller demonstrating it.
Those two spots can be the best reset switches.
As Jill Miller sais,
‘I am a student of my body’
Written By Alex Sandalis
(Inspired by Jill Miller)