Dr. Todd’s Top 8 Ways to Relax

Dr. Todd’s Top 8 Ways to Relax

Doctor Todd’s Top 8 Relaxation Methods

This list is a recipe of science, personal preference, and common sense. Make the time to take care of your health, or you will spend the time trying to regain it. There is no doubt there is a mind body connection. Sometimes you can relax the mind to relax the body. Other times you can relax the body to relax the mind. Below are methods for both; Activate the Body to Relax the Mind, or Activate the Mind to Relax the Body.

1) Massage
Activate the Body to Relax the Mind

One of everyone’s favorite ways to relax is getting a massage. A study showed getting a thirty minute massage daily helps with sleep. Massage is good for sore muscles and overused muscles. Tactile touch, deep touch, compression, stretching, movement, and heat are all sensations that are important to fine our body throughout and when activated those sensations override the pain. (pain gait theory).

Action Steps:

-Get a Professional Massage or Manual Therapy: If it’s painful muscles and joints, then give yours truly, Doctor Todd a call! (858) 452-3735 or book online. If you need some relaxation or just recovering from every day stress then a massage or manual therapist will help you through it.

– Now for a shameless plug for Jenna, our awesome office Massage Therapist. She is the best and is now bringing her talented hands and skills to The League Rehab. Take action and Book an appointment now. You deserve it!

-Foam Rollers, tennis balls, and trigger point kits are all great self massage tools if you want to work on your aches and pains at home

2) Reset your Sensation – Quiet your nerves: Float Spa
Activate the Body to Relax the Mind

80% of our nervous system is sensory information. Float Spa San Diego (check your local market) is a saltwater tank that you float in to relax. Some call it a sensory deprivation unit. I call it a neurological reset button. You spend an hour floating in a tank with water set at your body temp and literally feel like you‘re floating on clouds. There is no sense of hot or cold, weight, noise (ear plugs) or light (you dictate if hatch is open or closed). The body is just suspended in water so that you can quiet it and let your brain think and process. Very relaxing once you are used to it. The positive effects of salt on the skin is a secondary benefit. We are lucky to have access to these tanks in San Diego.

Action Steps
-I use Float Spa in San Diego. To book an appointment or call them at 858.279.3301
-Get in the Ocean, relax in the jacuzzi, float in a pool, take some pressure off of the joints and reset the body if you can’t get to the floatspa

3) Use your head! Guided Muscle Relaxation & Guided Relaxation
Activate the Mind to Relax the Body

This is a great way to relax after work, during work or post workout! It takes about 5-7 minutes, and can be done most places. Do it in your office, in the car, on the floor, in your bed. I wrote an entire step by step article on it on how to do the guided muscle relaxation. Dealing with work stress, problem sleeping, athletic event has you nervous…then try guided relaxation (I use podcasts, you can put them on cd’s if you want too)

Action Steps:
Click Here for a step by step process on how to do Guided Muscle Relaxation
Click here for free podcasts on guided relaxation mp3’s. Zin is Awesome!

4) Gratitude Walk-Move the body, relax the mind
Activate the Mind to Relax the Body

I have brought this one up in past newsletters, but I get the most feedback from my clients that utilize this and love it. It’s easy, it’s practical, and it works. Jon Gordon of the Positive Energy Addict developed one of my favorite tools. Take a 5-10 minute walk daily and focus on the things for which you are grateful. Don’t use this walk as a gripe session or a walking rant. Quite the opposite, use it as a means to focus on the simple things you have: for the the ability to walk, the gift of sight, and ability to hear and appreciate music etc. I promise you that you will feel more relaxed, energetic, and positive in just 5-10 minutes. Make it a daily routine for your attitude and stress level like brushing your teeth.

Action Steps
-Write down in your calendar or make it a pre-post meal habit of taking a gratitude walk.
-HINT: I find best times to do it is Monday mornings, lunch time (recharge & reset your mind-frame for the day), after doing bills, or after work before coming home

5) Reset your Pineal Gland/Clock – Sun Up and Sun Down Challenge
Activate the Mind to Relax the Body

LCD and plasma TV’s, laptops and PCs, Smartphones & Ipads Oh my! Most of us are exposed to these electronics that submit and expose us to bright light throughout the day. Our pineal gland is one of the more ancient structures in our nervous system which helps regulate sleep using hormones such as melatonin to cycle our sleeping patterns. “Light” stimulates and inhibits this gland, which then sets the motion in pattern of when we sleep. Lack of sleep is a huge stressor that effects many Americans.

Action Steps
-So…limit your usage of the items listed above 2-3 hours before bedtime. Read an actual book, listen to music or audiobook, take a walk.
-Reset challenge you to try this. I feel it’s the best way to reset you pineal gland. Try waking up and watching the sun come up, then take time out of your day to watch the sun go down. Do that 3 days in a row and limit your artificial light stimuli during those days to see if that helps.

6) Vagus Baby! Vagus! Exercising the Vagus Nerve
Activate the Mind to Relax the Body

No, this does not mean go put $50 on the Chargers game or play 4 hours of online poker. The Vagus Nerve is a cranial nerve. It’s responsible for 3 major things; swallowing and activation of your deep voice vocal chords, taste..mostly bitter, and activating or inhibiting your flight-or-fight (sympathetic) nervous system or rest-and-digest (parasympathetic). So when we are “amped” up in that flight or fight state from work deadlines, road rage, screaming kids, alarming news and internet headlines, or energy vampires (people that exhaust you) our body is in a fight or flight state, which increases our blood pressure, decreases our digestion, suppresses our immune system, and decreases our memory. When the Vagus nerve is inhibited, we are not in as state of healing, repair, digestion, or growth (all regulated by the Vagus Nerve). So, how do you activate it and swing your body from the stressful state to the restful state.

Action Steps:
-Drinking through a straw-the more you have to gulp, the better (smoothies, soups, yogurts)
-Chanting – Why do you think monks do it, religions do it, indigenous tribes do it. Tap into the inner peace and focus (ultimate rest & digest)
-Singing – Try it in your car or in the shower, both socially acceptable places. Karaoke..not so much a relaxation method.
-Deep Breathing – as in Yoga, with a vocal exhale (we’ve all sighed out loud)

7) Get Goofy!!-See the world as a Simpson or Pixar Movie
Activate the Mind to Relax the Body
Stuck in Traffic, waiting in a long line, surviving a long staff meeting? All these scenarios can be repetitive and stressful, and monotonous. My best friend Micah called me laughing on the phone. I asked him what was so funny and he said he had been stuck in traffic. He said instead of banging on his steering wheel and cursing, he simply started looking around and pretending he was in a Pixar/Simpson episode and watching all the people around him. Exaggerating their expressions, mannerisms, and appearance as if they were cartoons made the mood instantly entertaining and fun. We cannot always change our situations but we can always choose how to view them. Micah creatively viewed his situation through a specific lens, goofy as it sounds, that turned a tense or unpleasant scenario into an entertaining and humorous experience. He shared it with me, and after utilizing it several times I am paying it forward.

Action Steps
– Quit taking life so serious. Try it! Try it next time you are in traffic, in lines at the movie, waiting for breakfast

Having problems, use this website for your pictures.
try these websites
southpark character

8) Good Old Exercise- Hiking and Walking
Activate the Body to Relax the Mind

Movement drives the nervous system. Relaxation isn’t always in the form of lounging in a spa like setting. I prefer slow long bouts of exercise (55-75% of heart rate) in the form of walking or hiking in nature. Burn away the stress and muscle tension by movement. Many times you can quiet the to-do list and details or even problem solve by exercising. BDNF (neuro-transmitter) is like a neuron fertilizer and your brain is flooded with it when you do cardiovascular exercises. Why do babies need to be rocked, kids need a recess at school, and YOU need to exercise? Because movement puts the brain and body into homeostasis (well being). Click below on forms of exercise I like.

Action Steps
Week of gym at The Sporting Club
Martial Arts Class at Krav Maga San Diego
Spin Class at The Training Club
Bootcamp with Constant Motion Fitness
Stand Up Paddleboarding at OEX Mission Bay
Running Clinic with Ben Boyd & Ozzie at San Diego Marathon Clinic
2nd Thursday Adventure Run at Road Runner Sports
Free Yoga Classes at Lululemon
Hike Torrey Pines, Balboa Park, and Penasquitos canyon

I hope you enjoyed my lists. Always be smart and don’t do anything that can jeopardize your health. Relax, enjoy life!

In health

Dr. Todd

About the Author

Dr. Todd Plutchok

Dr. Todd Plutchok of The League Sports Rehab & Chiropractic Clinic provides a cutting edge blend of therapies and innovative analysis to achieve unprecedented results. By blending Chiropractic Care, Active Release Technique, and Neurological Rehab with Light Therapy, your body achieves maximum healing and performance potential.

  1. Karla says

    That is true not all the same tips. I might try the 3 day watching the sun come down, don’t know if I can do the sunrise. What a cool idea for reducing stress about traffic or something that always causes us frustration.

Oops, our twitter feed is unavailable right now. Follow us on Twitter