The following is a synopsis of the Relax Go to Sleep program I’ve crafted for “the dude,” a successful artist and Type A personality with some habits I think we can all identify with. After assessing his needs, and teaching him some valuable lessons, we started a routine together to down-regulate and relax.
First, I suggested he take into account things that induce relaxation, not only for our session together but especially during his home program. I advised him to get comfortable, stay warm, find stillness, recline, surround himself with quiet, darkness, and swaddle as much of his body as possible.
We started the “exercise” program standing at a wall, using the original Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball, we proceeded with “Erector Eraser,” manipulating the ball in a zig-zag motion up and down one side of the spine at a time. This mildly active movement proved to be a great warm up for his body and psychology and we added gentle humming as a way to further excite the vagus nerve.
The next lesson was to massage areas of his body which are innervated by the vagus nerve and in turn provide a relaxation response. I use the Coregeous® ball for this sequence to create roominess, freedom, and a pliable belly. I learned during evaluation that his abdominal muscles are quite strong like steel, but not functional as they never seem to change their tone. I have him lie prone, ball at navel center, and instruct tubular core with subsequent exhale to allow the ball to penetrate into the layers of abdominal fasciae.
Then, using the same ball, trace the colon by the ball rolling up the ascending colon (on right side of tummy), across the transverse colon going toward the left, and down the left side of belly (descending colon). I encouraged him to roll smoothly and slowly creating compression on the viscera. Next is to place the ball at sternum and roll it side to side across his chest and upper ribcage, even out to his armpit area. This creates a slight rocking which also induces a relaxation response.
I taught him the neck release from The Roll Model® including neck release on block which gently oscillates the head, masseter release, and the temple tamer.
At the end of our sessions, I could see that I had lost him into a gently snoring slumber. It was heartening and reassuring for me to see that my assessment and program had helped him relax and go to sleep!