Not getting enough sleep is no fun. Besides the frustration you feel from trying to fall asleep, you drag the next day, you can be moody, and you may even forget things more easily. Accidents are more likely to happen when you’re sleep deprived, too.
One night is bad enough, but chronic insomnia brings down your quality of life even more, and can lead to other diseases such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
Having good sleep hygiene, a regular routine that promotes sleep, is recommended to help you fall asleep and sleep well. Going to bed at the same time every night and incorporating relaxation techniques into your nightly habits count among the suggestions for a healthy routine.
The relaxing effects of Belly Button Healing, a cross between a meditation and an abdominal massage, have been noted among its thousands of practitioners. One, nephrologist Dr. Alan Friedman, often uses it when he wakes up at night to help him fall asleep again. Others do it right before bed to unwind their body, quiet their thoughts, and deepen their breathing.
How It Works
Pressing your belly button, the main Belly Button Healing technique, can do this? Yes, the belly button sits at the center of the body, at a crossroads of major lines of connective tissue called fascia, and over fascia that holds together your organs. When you rhythmically press your navel, you create a vibration through this network that loosens its tension and stress and the tension in your organs and muscles as a result. Free of abdominal tension, your diaphragm can move deeper into your belly so you can breathe better, increasing the relaxing effect. “This movement also exercises the abdominal muscles and makes the intestines flexible, allowing the diaphragm to sink deeply into the abdomen,” writes Belly Button Healing creator Ilchi Lee in his book Belly Button Healing: Unlocking Your Second Brain for a Healthy Life. This makes you breathe more deeply, increasing the relaxing effect of the technique.
Relaxation means the parasympathetic nervous system is turned on. This is the part of the nervous system that controls the “rest and digest” functions of the body, and sleeping is also one of the times it’s active. One major nerve in this system, the vagus nerve, connects the gut and the brain. Dr. James Westphal, Chief of Psychiatry of the Adult Mental Health Division of the Hawaii Department of Health, hypothesizes that Belly Button Healing activates the parasympathetic nervous system through the vagus nerve, helping you get closer to sleep.
The belly button also acts as a gateway to one of the body’s major energy centers in traditional Asian medicine. Belly Button Healing pulls energy that tends to get stuck in your head from stress and not moving into this energy center. When you have less energy in your head, you have less thoughts and worries keeping you awake.
How to Do It
After you get in bed, use your fingers or the Healing Life wand, a special tool designed for Belly Button Healing, to press in and out of your belly button rhythmically for about ten minutes, or about as long as it takes for your mind chatter to slow down, your back, neck and shoulders to relax, and more saliva to build up in your mouth (an indication that the parasympathetic nervous system is activated). Focus on the feeling in your abdomen as you do it, and exhale through your mouth to maximize the effects of the movement. Concentrating your mind adds the benefits of meditation to the technique, and exhaling activates the parasympathetic nervous system even more.
Concentrating your mind adds the benefits of meditation to the technique, and exhaling activates the parasympathetic nervous system even more. Focus and breathing go hand in hand, as Ilchi Lee writes: “If you breathe for a while, concentrating your mind in your [lower energy center] and belly button, vital energy will build up in your core, your breathing will automatically stabilize and grow deeper, and your mind will become stable and centered.”
That’s why, once you feel relaxed, stop pressing your navel, but keep your awareness in your abdomen while you lay and breathe. Let yourself breathe naturally without trying to control it. After a few minutes, you might just finding yourself drifting off to sleep.