This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Meditation, Mindfulness, and Breath Work

There has been more and more awareness of the damage that chronic stress can do to our bodies, even having epigenetic effects.  Chronic stress in childhood is especially toxic but the chronic stress that the parents of many special needs kids, especially children with autism and/or serious health conditions experience, is also very harmful.  Then on top of all of that there is the added stress of dealing with medical insurance companies, doctor's offices, the intense financial demands that chronic health issues place on a family, and the school system if you choose to send your child to school.  Having as many tools as possible to help us calm our anxiety, sleep better, stay more focused and present, and to minimize the effects of an intrinsically stressful life, becomes a necessity.  Since I am homebound, what works for me the best are guided visualizations and meditations.  There are so many different approaches and styles, so I am including a few of the shorter ones here as a sort-of sample pack so that you can try some different approaches.  I have also found that some of these guided meditations are truly wonderful in helping me fall asleep.

Adorable Animated Mice Explain Meditation in 2 Minutes

Why Mindfulness Is a Superpower: An Animation

Why Meditate? | Change your Brain's Default ModeThis video is an excellent introduction to meditation- what it is, why it helps, and how it changes our minds (both our physical brains as well as our functioning minds).

A Buddhist monk shares his perspective on meditation to keep it simple and effective

Mindfulness Guided Meditation - 5 Minutes

How to Meditate - 5 Minute Meditation Escape (this video demonstrates a particular method)

Buddhist Monk shares his Secrets of Meditation


Before Sleep | Beginners Spoken Guided Meditation | Chakra Alignment |How to Chakra Balance

Activating the hand chakras

The Science Of Yogic Breathing | Sundar Balasubramanian

The speaker found that after practicing yogic breathing regularly, he began to produce more saliva.  Not only would this be helpful for people with chronic dry mouth, but also saliva has many different contents in addition to being a digestive fluid.  It also has hormones, proteins, growth factors, including nerve growth factor.  Nerve Growth Factor not only helps nerve cells to grow but it is protective of nerve cells and helps them live longer.  Levels of nerve growth factor are significantly reduced in people with Alzheimer's.  Nerve Growth Factor is given therapeutically to patients with Alzheimer's so he did a clinical trial which showed that yogic breathing does raise levels of nerve growth factor.  They also found other proteins and hormones that are involved in coping with stress and pain, cancer, immune function, and other things.  There is a saying when talking about meditation that the mind is a monkey- but not just a normal, a drunken monkey who has been stung by a scorpion.  Because of this trying to control the mind is very hard.  Instead, we can focus on controlling our breath, which then helps to tame the money.

Breath -- five minutes can change your life | Stacey Schuerman

If you only have a few minutes there are some simple (and not "woo-y") exercises you can do to address stress, shown here.