“Can You Help My Sleep and Anxiety?”
I worked with a client recently who described anxiety and that she hasn’t slept well in years. Currently, we are specifically focusing on reducing some of the excess strain and pressure on the dural system of her body. And she is feeling a difference. A big difference.
Early on, she wondered if the work we are doing can help with her sleep.
The short answer was, absolutely.
She is now beginning to wonder if it can also help with the anxiety she has been dealing with for the last decade.
Again, the short answer is, absolutely. How could it not?
The Myofascial System Reaches Into The Deepest Parts of the Central Nervous System
Consider, the craniosacral system and dural system are the deepest parts of the whole body fascial system. The dural system is essentially a tough, connective tissue sac around your brain and spinal cord. It is the outermost layer of the protective connective tissue which holds the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and separates the CNS (central nervous system) from the rest of the body.
The dural tube is the part that encases the spinal cord. It is designed to glide in each direction. Excess pressure, twists, and torsions can occur anywhere in these systems, including the cranium, the spine, and the sacrum. Myofascial restrictions around any of these structures, especially the cranial structures, can feel like baling wire around the CNS, including the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system), and ANS (autonomic nervous system).
How could this not affect sleep or contribute to anxiety?
When the CNS is unrestricted, with the dural tube able to glide, and no excess pressure or strain on the craniosacral system, spine, cranium, sacrum, and CSF – a body can rest.
In contrast, when the CNS and dural system have excess pressure, strain, twisting, or torsion affecting it, there is the perception of that strain as a threat, a danger, which triggers a hyper awareness and constant fight or flight response in the body. There is no way the body can really rest under those circumstances.
How Does This Contribute To Anxiety?
An analogy we like to use for this is that of a caveman or cavewoman. Imagine they are in a cave, warm and snug, a fire going, getting ready to sleep.
If there is no danger, if they feel safe and secure, there is a good chance of restful sleep. This is the equivalent of a myofascial system unrestricted and free to glide in the dural system of the body.
However, let’s now imagine that caveman or cavewoman knows there is a saber tooth tiger outside. Or maybe even just believes or thinks there is a saber tooth tiger outside. It is hungry. It is dangerous. And it is aware of the caveman. No matter how warm and snug the cave, or how big the fire, is it likely that cavewoman or caveman is going to rest? Is it very likely that caveman or cavewoman is going to settle into sleep? Let down his or her guard?
That’s what happens with myofascial restrictions that pull and twist into the CNS and dural system of the body.
That is anxiety and sleeplessness in a nutshell.
A system always on high alert, can’t relax, can’t drop its guard – to do so would be to die.
Taking the “baling wire” off the dural system of the body makes all the difference. This only happens with skilled therapists trained in John Barnes Myofascial Release.
If you feel like you are living with a saber-tooth tiger outside your doorway, we need to talk.