Mr. Miyagi, one of the world’s most famous martial artists, shared a mystical Reiki-like healing technique with his student Daniel Laruso in the 1984 cult classic, The Karate Kid. Miyagi was not the first hands on healer and he definitely won’t be the last. People have been practicing hands on healing techniques for thousands of years by placing their hands over specific body parts to increase the flow of energy, life force and Qi. It’s so simple, so calming, so profoundly soothing…and a great way to deal with stress!
Dating back to the Egyptian hieroglyphics, Indian Vedic holy books and the writings of many respected Judeo-Christian mystics, using the hands as a tool for healing is still common today in health professions like Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Cranio Sacral and Massage Therapy. Self-practice hands on healing techniques also pop up from time to time in Yoga classes.
Here’s how a common one goes down in the Yoga room…
After polishing off a stimulating practice, the class mellows a bit and the instructor has the Yoga students prepare for relaxation. The class is led to vigorously rub their hands together and place them firmly over the eyes. (Try it for yourself right now – but make sure to remove your hands after and keep reading.)
Chances are you feel a little more relaxed after you did that, right? Well, here’s why.
There is a natural phenomena in our bodies called the oculocardiac reflex (OCR). This organic reflex decreases the stress placed on our hearts. Like the poems say, our eyes are the windows to our hearts…and this is quite literally the case with the OCR as the eyes and heart work together to bring the body into better balance. Physically, you stimulate the OCR by placing light pressure with your hands over your eyeballs and on the muscles around the eyes. This affects the cranial nerves and creates chemical changes in the body that naturally lower a person’s heart rate on average by 8 – 12 beats per minute. Talk about instant relaxation! Beat that Phizer!!!
Additionally, according to the Journal of the American Association of Integrative Medicine, “repeated use [of the oculocardiac reflex] is conducive to longevity.” Longevity, otherwise known as the cumulative result of repeated healthy actions substituted for unhealthy ones, is the key ingredient in decreasing our overall stress levels and increasing our happiness levels.
Live longer and feel better? Sign me up. O:-) And talk about bang for your buck!
Perform the hands-on OCR a few times mixed in with some deep breaths “in through your nose and out through your mouth” and you’re likely to feel a whole lot less stressed out in just under a minute. Who needs coffee breaks anymore when you’ve got Yoga breaks instead?!?