« Unwrapping shit... | Main | Dancing to life's rhythm... »

Tug. Pull. Stretch. Let Go...


My husband and I were enjoying lunch with our daughter recently when she started contorting her facial muscles in various movements that were quite entertaining to witness. We laughed a bit as she described her co workers witnessing the same thing in between customers at the busy coffee shop she works at in Boeing. She said that she was working on relaxing her facial muscles that were tight and she felt strongly were contributing to her recent headaches. She followed that up by saying she couldn't wait to get home and pull on her hair. And even though we once again all laughed at the visual image of her "hair pulling" the concept is actually sound.

These methods of gentle pulling and tugging at the head and facial muscles as a means of relaxation, tension release and stress relief can be highly effective. It also includes gently tugging on your ear lobes, raising your eyebrows and/or stretching them gently and opening your mouth as wide as you can, holding it there and then closing it. Each of these helps release the fascia and muscles beneath it. Fascia forms directly under the skin and serves as a strong layer of connective tissue between the skin and muscles underneath it. As I studied the effects of Fascia release and later Ayurveda in massage school I came to understand the importance of this simple and gentle pulling in relaxation of both the mind and the muscle.

The fascial system covers the entire body and is interconnected in a manner similar to a web. When one area of the web is loosened it affects the entire web. As gentle traction is applied to the restricted fascia it will result in heat and increased blood flow in the area. This allows the body's inherent ability for self correction to return, thus eliminating pain and restoring the optimum performance of the body. There is an "unwinding" that occurs as the facia is gently stretched and then released. So picture if you will a rope tightly twisted up on itself. As you examine the rope trying to decide how best to loosen and straighten it back out so that it is useful once again you can see that gently pulling and stretching, slowly unraveling the kinks will give you best results.

I was teaching a class a couple of years ago on this subject when a woman in the group who was from the Philippines spoke up. She told us that as a child if they were naughty her mother would take them aside and rather than give them a spanking she would massage their heads. This would release the negative energy they were carrying and relieve the tension that had built up. Once again a bit of laughter came from those of us in the room imagining a gentle head massage rather than a gentle spanking or the oh-so-effective "time out" for our own naughty children.

I began massage school when my youngest had just turned four and my oldest was just entering high school. That could be a whole "pursuing peace" story in itself... But for the sake of this post try to imagine my household lineup for massage practice. There was no way that I could give each of them (six as you may recall) full body massages even on a weekly basis. Thus began the practice of head, shoulder and foot massage before bed. I could easily address the needs of one or two of them each day both physically and emotionally by spending ten or fifteen minutes with these simple and highly effective massage techniques. Quiet in the beginning and often a bit uncomfortable as the fascia and muscles let go - it didn't take long for relaxation to set in and conversation about whatever their day held for them to give us quality bonding time in a simple setting. With that personal experience in my memory I could relate to my Philippine friend and her mother's head massages. It actually made perfect sense to me.

We are all going to experience stress. There are times in our life when it is going to seem like all we are capable of is treading water as the weight of our life circumstances threatens to pull us under. This is unavoidable. I have the greatest admiration for the daughter we shared a moment with this week. Barely 20 years old she is a single mother with a soon to be three year old. She works the 4:00 a.m. shift at a coffee shop in order to get off and still have time to spend with her beautiful daughter. She is in bed early foregoing many of the social activities of someone her age. She carries her responsibilities and worries with such grace. I know there are days when Peace seems out of her reach, when sleep is only a concept she vaguely remembers, and when the daily grind of life has left her spirit bruised. It is then that she always amazes me...just when the worried mom that I am is sure she can't possibly keep her head above water any longer - she starts swimming. Moving forward and finding Peace through simple means. Like laughing with her parents over lunch while doing a great work towards a peaceful evening - hair pulling.

The ideas you will find here are simple. They may not always be easy to implement but it isn't because they are difficult to do. It is a fact that people are often more willing to attempt something that requires much more effort and expense to solve a problem than something that is easily within their reach, ability, and budget. Give this one a try. I will outline some of the steps below. You can do them for yourself or have someone else try it while you close you eyes and relax.

Hair Pulling

Separate your fingers. Run them through your hair from the forehead back, when you have a handful of hair close your fingers and squeeze. Repeat starting in an inch or two back from where you began each time.

Take a hold of a fairly good sized chuck of hair at the base of the hair. Gently pull outward. Repeat all over the scalp. Twisting can be very beneficial as well but usually requires that the scalp already be somewhat loose.

Massage your head as you would if you were washing your hair.

Ear Tug

Gently pinch the ear lobe between your thumb and index finger. Pull the ear lobe in a down and out direction towards the same side shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and release. Repeat.

Two other very simple places to hold the ear and pull are the index finger just inside the ear and the thumb behind the ear, and the index finger and thumb holding the top of the ear. Pull up and out. Hold for 30 seconds and release. Repeat.




PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>