Stress and HK self help stress relief techniques

The Fight- Flight/Freeze Response

Acute stress can affect us physically and mentally almost instantly because when we get stressed the nervous system sets off a chain reaction in the body known as the fight flight response. This is an ancient protective mechanism that redirects blood flow so that tissues not necessary for physical survival such as the creative and logical thinking areas of the brain (the frontal cortex), skin and the digestive organs are deprived of full blood supply in favour of the tissues necessary for immediate survival (the muscles and the more primitive areas of the brain).

Any stress can set off this response as our reptilian brain can sense any stress as mortal danger and set of a chain reaction affecting blood flow, nerve conduction and stimulating release of adrenalin and cortisol.

This is fine if we are really in a situation where we need to run or fight but this is rarely the case. Our body can stay in this heightened state creating chronic stress and anxiety for the body and the mind. Our reptilian brain is also known as the ‘terror centre’ of the brain as it is in charge of setting off this fear based response, if we are chronically stressed we will be operating from this fear based mindset as our creative thinking processes are subdued due to lack of blood supply and nervous stimulation.

By using stress relief techniques such as Thymus Tapping and Emotional Stress Release we can help to change his outdated response to our everyday stresses.


thymus_croppedTapping the area over your thymus gland is a simple technique that can;

Stimulate and harmonise your body’s energy systems
Increase your sense of wellbeing and vitality

Your thymus gland Lies immediately beneath the breastbone at the level of the heart. It is the link between the body and the mind and is the first organ to be affected by any emotional, physical or mental stress. It can shrink to half it’s size within 24 hours of a major trauma, and will gradually contract from any ongoing stress causing it to work inefficiently.

Having a healthy thymus gland is essential for health. It has been thought for thousands of years to be the seat of our life energy, and acts as the controller or energy flowing through our meridian system, monitoring and regulating energy flow. If our thymus is weak energy flowing through the meridians will also be weak and energy imbalances and blockages are likely to occur, causing further physical and emotional imbalances.

use all eight fingers and tap your sternum for around 30 seconds, breath deeply as you do so.

It is beneficial to do this before you go into any challenging situation.


Helps to reduce feelings of stress

Releases tension from the bodymind

Interrupts the ‘fight-flight/freeze’ response

Brings blood to the forebrain so you can think more clearly

ESR involves holding five reflex points two at the temples, two at the frontal eminences – these are two points on the forehead halfway between the eyes and the hairline, and the anterior fontanelle, or baby soft spot – this is on the top of the head in the centre and level with the ears.

Holding these Neuro Vascular reflexes helps to normalise blood flow and nervous stimulation to the whole brain particularly the frontal cortex concerned with rational and creative thinking. Using this technique regularly over time helps to retrain our stress response so the fight flight response is only stimulated in extreme circumstances.

The easiest way to hold these points on yourself is to have your thumbs on your temples, little fingers on your frontal eminences (forehead) and your index or middle finger on the anterior fontanelle (top of head)

Hold these points whilst you think about what is stressing you, ( bringing in all your senses what do you see, hear, smell, think, feel.) or before you go into any stressful situation.

Rate your level of stress from 0-10. (0 being no stress and 10 being unbearable) before and after using ESR.

Press the following link to see a video on youtube showing fellow Health Kinesiologist Amanda Brooks demonstrating Thymus Tapping and Emotional Stress Release