By Courtney Kafka
As a Bowen therapist I hear this a lot: Why do I feel like crap? Why am I in such pain? Why do I hurt so much?
I can’t give you a definitive answer, but I can point you in the right direction.
There are several reasons for you feeling like crap:
1. Your nervous system is overwhelmed with stress. We are tied to our phones, computers, the radio, the news, work and life. If you aren’t turning these stimulus off and finding a calming, grounding activity to do, the stress will just cause the same issues.
2. You don’t really sleep, and when you do it’s not very restful.
3. Your gut health isn’t very good, which means you crave sugar and carbs, which in turn makes you feel worse.
4. You are inflamed, which means puffiness, bloat and feeling like your clothes are too tight.
5. You have headaches every day, feel like yuck, and you just can’t seem to really breathe. When you do try to breathe deeply, things feel sticky. And why can’t you get rid of that darn cough?
Let’s start by exploring the headaches, the yuck and the having a hard time breathing and why you can’t seem to get rid of the darn cough. Your lungs work as a pump. You breathe in, and your lungs expand, drawing air into your body, into your blood stream and oxygenating your body. When you breathe out, your lungs contract to push the old air out of your lungs, along with any irritants, infection and mucus. Coughing expels irritants.
If you have asthma, that pump doesn’t work quite so well. If you are stressed constantly, then you aren’t breathing optimally anyway. If you aren’t breathing optimally, then you are not getting nearly enough oxygen into your lungs and body.
Now, your pump may not be working its best for a few reasons. Due to our stress we breathe more shallow, so our ribs don’t expand nearly as much as they should. But there could also be a physiological reason as to why you are not able to breathe as deeply.
The rib cage is the protection for your lungs, but that also means your lungs can only expand as much as your rib cage will allow. Your rib cage is made up of the bones of your ribs and then the intercostal spaces between those, which allow the ribs to move. Imagine if those spaces spasmed or got stuck. Your ribs will not be able to move nearly as well and you may or may not feel this change.
Now, your lymphatic system is tied in with your lungs and ribs as well as the rest of your body, so if your ribs can’t move as well it’s safe to say your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system, is also not functioning properly.
Your lymphatic system is, of course, tied into your digestive system as well and so is your stress response, but that’s another subject for another day.
As you can see, there are so many factors tied into why you feel like crap. Is there one answer to fix everything? No. But there are a few things you can do to support your body and start feeling better.
First, find a Bowen therapist. Bowen therapy helps the body naturally shift from fight or flight to rest and digest, which will also calm the inflammation in your body. Also, Bowen therapy helps open up the ribs, calms down spasm and calms down any pain you may be feeling.
Once your lungs are back to working optimally, some calming stress reducing exercises are good to add into your life.
Box breathing is one, going for a walk, walking barefoot or reading a good book … basically a break from constant stimulus can help your poor nervous system a lot. Imagine how much better your sleep will be if you are feeling calmer.
Getting on a good gut health system, so the bloat and puffiness go down and your body’s inflammatory response can ease, will help immensely too. Let’s face it, 80% of your serotonin production—mood balance and happiness—is produced in your digestive system. Supporting gut health is very important.
This column was submitted as part of BWB Wednesdays
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