Stress is probably the number one killer today. Despite the billions spent on Prozac, St Johns Wort, and hundreds of others, anxiety continues to kill.
Once upon a time we thought that Freudian therapy was the answer, talk it out. After years of therapy, the person was "better". Then someone did a study and found that many persons got better over time anyway. Worse, this was only available to a very small segment of the population.
What is anxiety? The phone rings, "Hello!. Hi Bill! What's new?" This is the normal discourse and daily life. But what if every time the phone rings, the stomach is in knots, the pulse increases, you sweat, the blood vessels constrict, and the MUSCLES contact severely enough to cut off circulation and restrict blood flow. In your mind the phone may be identified as a threat - the mother in law, the landlord for his overdue rent, the hated boss, the threatening boy friend. It is one thing if it really is the threatening landlord, but suppose you get this reaction every time the phone rings or worse still all day long at any sound or call? Often, the body misidentifies the phone or the situation as a threat based on some past experience, real or imaginary. This is a state of anxiety and is bad for your health.
But all you have to do is be relaxed! How many times have you heard this? Before a performance on stage, or an interview, or an exam. We have all known a really smart student who knew all the answers but flunked the test because of anxiety. Maybe you could hardly answer at the job interview. You came out perspired and heart pounding.
Some patients build up an anxiety circle. The more they worry the more nervous they get The more nervous, the more they tense and affect the circulation. The more the tension, the worse the anxiety , the more nervous. Certain undesirable chemicals get built up. One way to stop this is to give huge doses of nerve pills. There are many objections to this of course.
Biofeedback works for these patients. In the 70's I published the response of anxiety to biofeedback. (references) It worked in anxiety reinforcement patients - once that cycle was broken they lessened their symptoms significantly. This was successful in Tinnitus, Blood Pressure Elevation, Temperomandibular Joint, Headaches, Allergy, Asthma and many others.
Biofeedback simply means that you are given information about your body so you can change it. Usually we hook up very sensitive sensors that record the electricity your muscles put out. The forehead is where the muscles show worry and anxiety. So we hook up there. There is a large dial that shows how much electricity your muscles are putting out. You use this information to lower the electricity - relax the muscle. You cannot have anxiety if the muscles are relaxed.
My patients have done well following these 10 steps. But they are human, they forget, start skipping a day or so, and may return to the bad ways. By daily repetition the habit becomes a desirable one.
10 minutes a day is all it takes. Once you have learned the relaxation, you can do it without thinking.
Why is this different? If you surf the net you will find dozens of relaxation methods using breathing techniques. Some of them I can't pronounce and some I can't spell. You will find many "masters" and if you study with them for a length of time, you will be improved. These are OK, but in my practice I find that unless you are given the information as to when you are doing it RIGHT, it may not work. So, here we use the mirror as a biofeedback device to show you when you do it right.
This method is based on:
using the breathing technique to direct the relaxation
using the mirror to tell you when to do it right
repetition that you can do daily at home.
the advantage of you being in charge yourself.
In this place of healing it all comes together - the anxiety is better! Here when the phone rings or there is a disturbing sound, you aren't bothered, your muscles remain relaxed. Here your receptors are wide open. You can suggest, imagine, feel yourself getting better. At the same time, because the receptors are open you can suggest whatever you wish to "improve" - I will skip the doughnut with my coffee - or I will only eat one slice of bread for lunch. These must be "minor" suggestions. You can also picture that here you will remember to relax whenever the signal of tinnitus comes on.
Later when you have done this awhile, let unwanted tight muscles act as a signal to relax to the healing place.
Important: now, whenever anxiety gets bothersome, simply image yourself in the healing place
Science has shown that when this imaging is done you can actually measure a difference in the person's blood elements.
It is important to remember that when we speak of relaxation we mean muscle relaxation as when you look in the mirror and see the face relax.
Typically you would spend one minute doing the 10 steps and be done in 10 minutes. Or, you can do them separately during the day. Or you may find a routine that you do 10 times, the important thing is the constancy and repetition.
What will happen as you repeat this daily or every hour on the hour do a step, is that any reinforcement that makes the anxiety worse will reduce. The relaxation will "displace" the anxiety. You will be happy that you have learned a method to do yourself, you have taken control of the condition.
This works especially well in Temperomandibular Joint Problems. for further directions click here
This is a program to use after a medical evaluation has shown that there isn't a medical condition that needs to be treated.
There are variations to this method you can use:
Picture a light that infuses you when you inhale
Picture the tightness flowing out as you exhale
Why this program works. Science has shown that you cannot have anxiety if the muscles are relaxed. For 30 years I have demonstrated this with my patients. You do have to do this daily. I prefer every hour on the hour. Soon it is so automatic, you are in a different "state" most of the time. If you do this for 3 months I assure you your symptoms will improve because
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