Stress is bad, right?
Studies show that 80-90% of doctors visits are related to stress. They also show that most common diseases, including cancer, depression, anxiety, and PTSD are related to stress.
But what if the way we looked at stress was the real problem.
What if our resistance to stress was actually compounding the negative effects of stress?
What if we could use stress to condition our selves and our nervous system to handle stress, and even lead us to optimal well-being?
Well, you can because we do it all the time... and the term that applies to this is called "Hormesis."
Hormesis is a way of using stress for healthy purposes. It is the magic behind the Wim Hof Method, and it is the reason why people are turning to Cold Therapy and Breathwork (both hormetic stress inducing practices) to boost their immune system, reduce inflammation, and to address PTSD.
Breathwork is so effective in addressing PTSD it is supported by the Department of Defense and Veterans affairs. And there are plenty of emerging studies showing the same for cold therapy.
So what is going on with Hormetic Stress?
When we intentionally get in the cold, or breathe heavily to induce an "altered state," what is occurring in the body is a dynamic mental-physiological shift that can result in a plethora of positive results.
To cover a few:
🧬 Norepinephrine is released through the onset of intentional stress and this jacks up our immune system, reducing bad inflammation while increasing the good! This in itself defies conventional science which says it is impossible to influence our own nervous system in this way.
🧬 Norepinephrine also reduces inflammation, and the stress hormone cortisol.
🧬 Heavy rhythmic breathing flushes CO2 (hypocapnea) which increases Alkalinity/PH levels and lowers acidity in our body, thereby reducing physical conditions for disease.
🧬 The flushing of CO2 through breathwork also allows for long breath retention, which brings us into brainwave states associated with the deepest levels of meditation, activation of the pineal/pituitary glands and the release of a number of feel good neuro-chemicals associated with bliss, happiness and well-being.
🧬 By practicing breathwork and developing a stronger relationship with our "meditative mind" we are developing new neuro-pathways, along with brain chemistry, that allows us to get into meditation more easily. We then use this evolutionary mindset training in ice cold water to surrender to the cold... or in life to surrender to any form of discomfort or stressful experience.
One of the greatest benefits of hormesis is what is occurring in our nervous system. Through hormesis we are strengthening our Vagus Nerve through raising Vagal Tone.
What the heck does this mean?
It means we become more adapt to handle stressful and even traumatic situations. It means we are building physiological and mental resilience to handle the chaos life throws at us.
Through hormesis you are training your body, mind and soul to use stress in a healthy way. Without some form of hormesis, we become weak and fragile to life and life's challenges. We become more susceptible to trauma and "dis-ease."
Occasionally we will have students tell us that years of trauma where released through our breathwork or cold therapy experiences. We attribute this to hormesis along with a deep psychological experience of opening the 3rd Eye (the pineal and pituitary glands) along with a condition called "Transient Hypofrontality."
During transient hypofrontality the pre-frontal cortex temporarily goes offline. This is the part of our brain that associates with time, space, self, and other.... or in other words, the self-limiting beliefs associated with our ego, our story and the illusion of self-separation.
It is in our concept of self and our ego that our story exists, and with this story comes the trauma and dis-ease of our past experiences. When we enter deep brainwaves this story subsides to the realization of connection, wholeness, oneness and our true purpose. This is how trauma is released, and it is the same healing phenomenon that we see in the use of plant medicine and psilocybin.
We find this work to be absolutely fascinating for these reasons. We believe it is the next step in our human evolution, and it is why we devote ourselves completely to sharing this and training others.
Bliss is a Breath Away,
Brian and Alecia,
Breathe and Believe.
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