Dr. Taryn Deane, ND
Anyone who watches or plays sports knows what a gift time-outs are in a close game. No one in their right mind would give up a chance to bring the team together with the coach(es) and develop a plan to get ahead of their opponent.
Similarly, the human body sighs with relief when we give it a break. Be it through meditation, yoga, deep sleep, floating, or prayer – the result is the same. We come out the other side feeling calmer and more prepared to take on life’s challenges.
The most effective therapy I’ve ever used with patients is grounded in this same principle. The Bowen Technique involves a series of specific moves (plays) that the practitioner (coach) initiates with their hands, followed by two minute pauses for the cells and tissues (players) of the whole system (team) to embody the tweaks made and respond accordingly.
It’s important to remember that the coach is not playing the game, he/she just usually has more experience and a bigger perspective of the entire game as it is being played. A great coach knows the individual strengths of each team member (endocrine, digestive, hormonal, cardiovascular..etc.) on the pitch/ice/field (life) and when to call on whoever would be best suited for a certain situation.
Offense vs. Defense
Whether it’s the offense (sympathetic) or the defense (parasympathetic) who called it, both sides treasure this time to reset, have a drink of water and come up with a clear strategy going forward. In continuing with the metaphor, let’s say the goalie/keeper (immune system) benefits the most out of everyone on the team, as this prepares him/her for future attacks (from external: pathogens or injury; or internal factors: emotions or trauma).
If you’re still following along, we can differentiate between those two parts of the autonomic nervous system – sympathetic and parasympathetic – by deciding who’s playing defense and who’s playing offense. You see, the human system is brilliantly designed for maximum efficiency and minimal wastage.
Having mostly played defensive positions in my lifelong athletic ‘career’ (I was never actually paid), I’m thrilled to note that the greatest result of using The Bowen Technique has been in getting patients to switch out of fight-or-flight and into rest-and-digest. You see, when the body gets a threat, it responds by sending all of it’s resources to the heart, lungs and muscles so that we can defeat what’s trying to harm us as quickly as possible.
The problem is, this stress response has been conditioned to turn on, not only when faced with a bear in the forest; but, more likely these days, when we face a mound of important unread emails in our inbox. So instead of getting up and going for a run or punching a punching bag (like we should), we stew. As tension builds, our ability to move fluidly gets jammed and pain or discomfort shows up to send us a sign of dissatisfaction.
To add to the issue, when the body is in that stressed state, it shunts blood (carrying oxygen & nutrients to the tissue and shooing waste & dead cells out) away from the brain, gut, reproductive and immune systems. When this happens over prolonged periods (not the short stints we were designed to handle), it wreaks havoc and everything goes to hell ie. we develop chronic disease.
Now if I haven’t lost you yet, let me throw one more wrench at ya. All sports teams have a defense and an offense. Yes, some may be stronger in one over the other, but a team ceases to play if they are only composed of one side. The two opposing forces only exist in relation to each other. This same concept applies to the human body (and everything else in the universe), the Chinese call it yin (the defensive feminine energy) and yang (the offensive masculine energy).
Do you give your body time-outs? Have you felt the power of the pause?
If not, get to it! I mean really though, who doesn’t wanna be a winner?
Dr. Taryn Deane ND provides honest healthcare by blending ancient principles with modern biomedicine to treat problems with skin, sex and self-esteem. She believes the key to a happy, healthy life is building resilience through balance, altruism, radiance and eco-consciousness.