Guided relaxations help us to relax deeply, enhancing our well-being on many levels.
Simply by taking time to relax regularly, we have the ability to encourage our bodies to experience the “Relaxation Response” – that is physiological and biochemical reactions within the body designed to improve our physical and emotional well-being that are trigged by deep relaxation.
Stress activates our fight or flight response in the sympathetic nervous system, creating a number of physiological changes including increased blood pressure and secretion of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Chronic or frequent elicitation of this stress response can be harmful and is considered a major contributing factor to many medical conditions.
The Relaxation Response is essentially the opposite of this stress response. It activates the other part of our central nervous system – the parasympathetic nervous system, which reactions include reducing heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and lowers levels of adrenaline and cortisol.
The Relaxation Response was discovered in the 1970s by Dr Herbert Benson, MD at Harvard Medical School, as the perfect antidote to the stress and anxiety we experience in our busy lives.
The benefits of activating the relaxation response on a regular basis through deep relaxation include:
- Strengthens Immune System functioning
- Counteracts the effects of aging
- Boosts creativity
- Improves concentration
- Enhances sense of wellbeing and inner peace
- Improves energy levels
- Produces more insightful and clearer thinking
- Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
- Boosts feel good hormones (e.g. serotonin)
- Improves quality of sleep
- Counteracts the effects of stress
- Equips you to cope with stress and anxiety better
- Promotes greater harmony between mind and body
- Reduces risk for a variety of serious illnesses
- Helps support a positive attitude
- Reduces blood glucose levels
Guided relaxations are designed to help you achieve a level of relaxation that boosts both physical and emotional well-being. In our normal waking state our brains experience a ‘beta’ brain wave, that is a frequency of 12-30 cycles per second. During deep relaxation our brainwaves shift into an ‘alpha’ state – slowing to a frequency of between 8-12 cycles per second. Inducing this ‘alpha’ state is the first step in hypnosis, biofeedback and yogic meditation, as well as being the state in which the Relaxation Response is engaged.
Essentially through deep relaxation nature has given us the ability to activate our own mind-body medicine for preventative self care, self-healing, and boosting our general well-being.
Hypnotherapy takes guided relaxation to the next level, in addition to enjoying all these benefits of deep relaxation, specific hypnotic techniques are used by the hypnotherapist to help clients achieve their objective and make changes at the subconscious level. This can include overcoming limiting beliefs, conquering phobias, boosting confidence, preparing for a relaxed childbirth, enhancing the body’s ability to heal quickly after an operation, and much more. If you’d like to know more about how hypnotherapy can benefit you, please contact me.Image courtesy of Naypong