In my latest Immunity Boosting blog posts, I’ve written about raising your body temperature within the normal range in order to increase your immune system activity for better immunity. Many exercises do this, such as the Plate Balancing Exercise I introduced in a recent post. In this article, I’d like to tell you about an exercise I developed that has the added benefit of improving gut health: Belly Button Healing.
It’s said that about 70 percent of immunity takes place in the gut, which is filled and lined with immune cells and both healthy and harmful microbes that affect immune activity. Belly Button Healing helps to foster a gut environment that’s friendly to healthy microbes and promotes immune activity. It does this by helping food and waste move more efficiently through the gut.
So how does Belly Button Healing work? Simply put, you just press your navel. Your belly button lies right over the gut, as well as over important blood vessels and lymph nodes, two parts of the body that are key in immunity. Rhythmically massaging your navel with your fingers or a tool increases circulation of blood and lymph and helps push food through your digestive tract and waste out of your body. Doing this is especially important if you sit for a long time; our veins and lymph vessels depend on body movement to move fluid through them.
Those are not the only elements Belly Button Healing circulates. Stimulating your navel also increases energy flow through the energy channels of the body. In fact, the navel is an important acupressure point in traditional Asian medicine, which says that free and balanced energy flow is a key to good health.
The belly button also links to internal organs through connective tissue, which connects it to other parts of your body such as your shoulders, neck, back, hips, and knees. Pressing the belly button gradually unwinds tense fascia, freeing up your organs and letting your diaphragm come further into your abdomen so that you can breathe more deeply and give your body more oxygen. This also relaxes the body overall and puts it into a “rest and digest” mode, slowing down the brain waves and letting the body repair itself and fight infection.
The most important point in doing such a simple exercise lies in your mind. Think of Belly Button Healing as a way of loving and caring for yourself. If you press and massage your body with devotion and with gratitude for how precious it is, your body responds to that energy of love.
Have the intention of increasing your immunity before you begin, and keep your mind on your body throughout the exercise. Notice all of your physical sensations, as well as the thoughts and emotions that come up. Doing Belly Button Healing mindfully helps bring all of your brain’s forces to bear on making your body healthy.
Here are more specific Belly Button Healing instructions:
- Sit in a chair or lie on the floor. When sitting in a chair, lean your upper body comfortably against the back of it.
- Press your navel with the fingertips of both hands or a tool such as the Belly Button Healing Wand I designed for this exercise.
- Relax your shoulders and press your navel rhythmically and repeatedly while exhaling in sharp, short breaths through your mouth or nose. The relaxing effect is greater if you emphasize your outgoing breath.
- Do about 100 to 300 repetitions. This should take one to three minutes.
- When you’ve finished Belly Button Healing, spend at least a couple of minutes focusing on your body while you breathe comfortably as you imagine life energy entering your abdomen through your belly button.
- Try to feel what changes are happening in your body, from your belly and fingertips to the tips of your toes. Then, feel your breathing deepening automatically as you become more aware and relaxed.
You can also follow along with this 11-minute Belly Button Healing class taught by a Body & Brain Yoga instructor. If you don’t have a Belly Button Healing wand, you can use your fingers as explained above:
The body is natural, not mechanical. It has a natural restorative power that is not completely quantifiable, but it is real. Belly Button Healing helps create an environment that strengthens and supports the body’s self-healing power.
You can learn more about Belly Button Healing from my book of the same name.
Next in my Immunity Boosting Toolkit: Get Bright Breathing