The Science Behind How People Heal: Using Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga in the Therapeutic Process
When you meditate, practice mindfulness, and use yoga postures the body releases different neurotransmitters which helps restore a natural balance.
Our bodies know how to heal itself. We have come into this world with certain chemicals in the brain and body to help with this process.
Different kinds of neurotransmitters that help with the healing process are:
Glutamate: excitatory and GABA
Acetylcholine: lowers heart rate through vagus nerve and activates the somatic nervous system
Dopamine: pleasure and reward
Serotonin: emotionality and sleep
Endorphins: alleviate pain
Oxytocin: hormone which can function like a neurotransmitter. It changes the cell activity in many biological functions such as social connection, optimism which is activated by touch through the vagus nerve.
Your thoughts do effect your body. The mind body link. Think about sinking your teeth into a lemon. What happens to your body? Your mouth begins to salivate.
Ideomotor means that your thoughts have an effect on your body.
Meditation teaches us that we are a unity of mind and body. Yoga means (yoke) the union of the mind and body.
When you think HEALING while you meditate your body will start to elicit the healing chemicals in your body so healing starts happening. Meditation and yoga elicit a feeling of well being.
Trauma sanctuary meditations for people who suffer from PTSD which is ANY past trauma.
Visualizing a sanctuary a place to elicit ideomotor change. Which means again that your thoughts have an effect on the body. Putting your mind at ease, relaxing, and thinking about that sanctuary in your mind produces the feel good chemicals that starts the healing process.
Child's pose is an excellent pose to help with people who suffer from trauma. It helps gain a sense of safety, security, and healing.
This is why when people practice mindfulness, meditation, and yoga practices they do experience MIRACLES. People can heal their bodies and minds from dis ease in the body.
Neuroscience has proven that people can change the neuropathways the brain structure in their brains by meditation, power of positive thinking, yoga, mindfulness, and visualizations.
Yoga and mindfulness interventions:
Focus Meditation on Sound
Focus on a mantra: OM
(All of the particles vibrating in the universe)
Focus Meditation with Breathing
Vagus Nerve Effect of Breathing Meditations
This is a wandering nerve interconnecting the heart, lungs, stomach, and brain.Breathing meditations activate the Vagus nerve to calm the nervous system through all these systems. Also, it calms down the brain stem too.
Counting the Breaths
Moving with the Breath
The Complete Breath
Experiencing the Breath
Develop a non judgmental attitude:
Notice sensations: don't decide if good or bad
Notice thoughts: notice and accept them just as they are
Notice feelings without judging them pleasure or pain
Advanced Application: Notice a discomfort and don't judge it good or bad
Practice Classic Mindfulness
Dates back to original Buddhist Sutra, The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Awareness, where Buddha first described this way of attending to experience.
Mindful of the body
Mindful of emotions
Mindful of thoughts
Bring it all together
Focusing Attention through Yoga Postures and Movement:
Modified Chair Sitting Arm Reach
Chair sitting arm swing
Chair sitting Triangle
Chair sitting Sun Salutation
I have indicated only SOME of the practices that are used to help facilitate the healing process. Most importantly these practices teach us that we have the power to change our lives through mindfulness, body movement using yoga postures, and meditation.
Dr. Melissa Samartano, PhD.,LMHC
Holistic Counseling Center
Raynham, MA 02767