Tension is not your enemy

15832931 - woman having headache isolated on blackTension is not your enemy… 

Its your protector

Have you ever been aware of tension in your body?  The type of tension I’m talking about here is an  underlying tension that is consistently present.  You might feel it predominantly in your legs, neck, back, head, belly, jaw, or maybe even your entire being.   Perhaps you became more aware of this tension after an injury, or a life change or challenge, or whenever you feel “stressed”.

Have you ever wondered why this tension is present and what purpose it serves you?  Typically we are so busy trying to “unwind” and “destress” our tension away that we never stop to wonder why its really there at all.

Tension is energy that is bound or held “in place” in the body.  It serves the purpose to hold reality “in place” for you so that you can function in your day to day life without feeling too much.  Essentially so that you can keep going despite what is happening inside or outside or you.  It’s your shield, your protection from things that might potentially hurt you.  Oddly enough holding tension makes you feel safe and secure and like you are in control of your life.

39405932 - outer space. meditation. woman silhouette. vector illustrationTension

The barrier between you & YOU

The intention of tension is to serve you by helping you feel less discomfort, but there are also drawbacks to its presence.  Tension puts your body in “on guard” mode and triggers something called your sympathetic nervous system.  This is also known as the fight or flight response. In this state your body can’t physically heal, its hard to think clearly and emotionally you feel either overwhelmed or completely numb.  Connection to yourself or others, which is one of our most basic human needs, is impossible when you feel tense.

Tension is also the biggest barrier between your little personality “you” and your bigger all knowing “YOU”.  You can think of this as your higher self, soul, spirit, purpose or passion.  This is experienced as dullness, flatness, mundane routines, and fatigue.

Pulling up tension gives the “illusionary” feeling of control and blocks you from feeling some discomfort, but it also disconnects you from the things that make your heart light up and make your life worth living.  Again tension is not the enemy, so trying to get rid of it by rubbing or stretching it out is only a temporary bandaid.  What is required is an ability to remain open (not tense) and drop into uncomfortable feelings and sensations when they arise.  Instead of guarding/protecting yourself, you move forward through whatever is happening without getting stuck inside of it.

One of the things that I help people achieve is an open nervous system so that the body can stay open  and feel life as it occurs.  Through having an open nervous system your body can heal quicker, function better and experience higher states of well-being.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC

Survival Strategies on how they affect Your Health and Well-being

Have you ever found yourself overwhelmed where you could not think yourself out it or change how you were feeling?  You really wanted to change but the feelings of stress and overwhelm persisted.  This is a hallmark sign that your body is in a survival pattern.

Survival patterns get created, often early in life, to keep you from feeling too much overwhelm.  They are also called protection mechanisms because they protect you from feeling unsafe, hurt or in pain.  You develop protection mechanisms if you don’t have the inner resourcefulness to regulate or process the scary or painful experiences.  Instead of processing them you create a protection mechanism (or survival strategy) to soften, numb, or dull the pain of your experience.  You can think of survival strategies as the modern day pain killers, anti-depressants and other such drugs that numb or dull the experience but do little to process the painful energies associated with them.

At some point as we become adults these protection mechanisms are no longer “necessary” however they have been engrained as a dominant pathway in our nervous system and have even determined the structure of our body.  When a person in their adult life has an experience that produces feelings of stress/overwhelm they continue to use these early life survival strategies to try and regulate their experience because they have not learned how to be with their experience.  The part of the experience that is unprocessed gets stored in your body and is experienced as tension, pain and illness.

In order to heal and create change in your life you need to feel and experience what you are experiencing, unfiltered, unprotected.  When you are able to do this healing and change happen instantaneously.  At first it may not feel good and you may not feel better, but the energy that has been repressed and held in place by muscle tensions and spinal distortions is released because it is experienced.

People are often trying to “fix” the effects of their survival strategies by rubbing out muscle tensions, taking drugs to numb pain or symptoms, and avidly trying to prevent something bad from happening with mental or situational control.  What occurs is that the tension, pain and the feeling of lack of control come back as soon as you are put in situation where you feel overwhelm again.

The reason why people can’t think themselves into change or healing is because these survival patterns get created in the nervous system.  People one, need to be able to feel their experience, and two, need to create a new pathway in their nervous system that allows for them to be present instead of in protection.  In Network Spinal Analysis (a transformational type of chiropractic care) there are 5 primary ways that the spinal cord distorts in response to survival strategies.  When the spinal cord is in one of these distortion patterns then the body (and you) respond with the same old pattern.   These are pre-rational patterns meaning they can’t be overpowered with thoughts, at least in a sustainable way, because they are below the mind and in the body.

Network Spinal Analysis together with Somato-Respiratory Integration help your brain (and you) be present with the energy underneath these protection strategies as they have come to form and inform your body.  Through being present with the underlying energy, it is released and can be harnessed and redirected to create a new pattern in your nervous system.  This new pattern is created at a higher level of organization which shifts your perspective and creates meaning that is associated with progress and expansion, instead of pain and contraction.  This is how you reorganize yourself using old pain to create something new and better. This process is called reorganizational healing, and through it you create sustainable change and experience high level well-being.

If you would like to learn more please attend our free educational talk on High Level Well-Being on Wednesday Sept. 7th, 2016 at 7p.  See details under Events Calendar – In office talks & events.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC, Network Spinal Analysis Chiropractor