To begin with we must understand what pain is and what the purpose of pain is. Pain is a defense mechanism used by the body to warn it that an injury is occurring, or has occurred, and to keep it alert to the injured to the injured area to avoid re-injuring it. Pain is not caused by the injury but is caused by the nerves reacting to the injury. The science of acupuncture and acupressure has developed techniques to stop the nerves from transmitting pain to the brain and thereby stop the brain from feeling the sensation of pain. Pain must therefore be interpreted by and felt in the brain. Even though it seems as though the injury is being felt in the area of the damage, what is in fact happening is the pain is being sent to the brain via the nerves, translated and interpreted in the brain and sent back to the affected area. A cycle is thus formed with the nerves and the brain. Not with the injury and the brain. It is not necessary to experience pain unless the pain is being experienced by the actual injury occurring. So we have developed drugs in America to stop the pain from being interpreted in the brain. The aspirin is the most popular, and all the way up to Heroin which is so strong that you can have surgery without any pain being experienced during the operation.
So you can also learn techniques for avoiding the sensation of pain or preventing and removing the pain syndrome. These techniques are not new and have been used by the Orientals for thousands of years and by many American athletes and individuals who perhaps may not have been aware exactly what they were doing.
When you were young you used a similar technique for the removal of pain. Remember when you would fall down and hurt your knee. You would grab your knee and take a deep breath, squeeze your muscles, then limp home and your mother would kiss it and make it well. Usually you really did feel better and most of the pain was gone. What was happening was the use of three techniques for the removal or avoidance of pain that we will use. You were using breath control, muscle control and mind control. You used your breath to draw your body's healing powers to the area and to stop the nerve movement. You used your muscle to tighten the area and draw extra blood into it and relieve some of the pain. You used your mother's kiss as a mental affirmation that you no longer hurt.
Let us see some techniques that can be applied to slight injuries that often occur in sports. Note: you can use these techniques for major injuries such as a broken bone or wounds, but we are concerned with injuries that you have that are minor and that if you were not affected by the pain you could continue to play and perform at top level.
Joint Injuries: Slight sprains and jams.
1. Take a deep breath and tighten the muscles that have been hurt. Now hold your breath while directing your mind to send your breath to the area that is hurt. (Of course you can't send air to the area, only suggest to your mind that you are sending your breath with its healing properties to the injured area.)
2. Make circles, pointing away from the heart, around the affected area, not on the affected area. Rub around it about 5-10 times then mentally take the pain into your finger tips and throw it away with a flick of your fingers - away from the body. (You can't actually throw away the pain, but you can give your mind and your body the autosuggestion that you are throwing away the pain.)
3. Forget that you are injured and pay no more attention to any pain that may still be coming to the brain. Begin to concentrate very hard on the task or game at hand. Do not let the mind wander to the sensation of pain. Forget it, do not notice it. (Just like a man that works in a noisy factory learns not to notice the noise after he has been there a while.) Don't worry that you may re-injure the area or that if you do your mind control may not let you notice the pain, just like the man in the factory who does not notice the noise, he immediately notices something going wrong, or a strange sound, so you will too notice any further injury.
Jammed thumb or sprained finger:
a. rub around the area b. take a deep breath c. tighten the muscles for a few seconds d. throw away the pain e. forget the pain Slightly sprained ankle a. rub around the ankle b. take a deep breath c. tighten the muscles for a few seconds d. throw away the pain e. forget the pain
Throwing away the pain and forgetting the pain or
Throwing away the pain and forgetting the pain or
techniques that take practice and that take concentration and belief in ones mind control. But more importantly it takes the desire of the athlete not to let an injury affect his performance or stop his performance. A great athlete is usually playing with some kind of pain and to get to be the best
Throwing away the pain in the ribs you have to undergo much pain and trial with pain to perfect your game and technique. Believe you can stop the pain, desire to stop the pain and to go on playing and you will certainly develop this technique.
Throwing away and stopping pain in the ribs or stomach area.
The ability to relax cannot be overemphasized and can be defined for our use to mean the ability to leave the game out of your body, but keep it in your mind. Too many coaches and players lose points, games and get ulcers because they cannot control their tempers or attitudes during the game situation. They have let their reactions be determined by the actions of other people, referees, or players. Therefore, they find themselves like puppets on a string, ranting and raving, or awkward and clumsy because they have destroyed the delicate relationship between the body and the mind. They have let their emotions take a disproportionate part in their actions and because of that they have lost their style, poise and grace. We have all seen far too many cases of this and know it's true. (For example: the coach in the ball game who runs up and down the side lines, kicking the ground and the players and screaming and shouting at the referee, the player who can't make a shot because he is so nervous and anxiety ridden, the player who jumps off sides several times or who starts fights for the slightest provocation.) The problem with these people is that they have lost control of their body by letting their mind become confused and disoriented. Your mind cannot think of two things at once and do a good job on either one. You must have a calm mind if you want to make the shot, or to think the play out. Your mind tells and directs your muscles to perform as they have been conditioned but if your mind is racing between being upset and making the shot, being angry and being relaxed then the muscles get contradictory information to them and subsequently do not perform as programmed but become dis-coordinated. The brain becomes confused by the huge influx of emotional stimulus and can't reason intelligently, perform adequately and begins to send out all kinds of emergency signals to the body. You see, your mind cannot distinguish between a vividly imagined event and an actual occurrence. So when you begin to think angry, your brain interprets danger and sends out the appropriate body responses. Your adrenaline starts to be released, thereby causing the blood pressure to go up, the heart beats faster, the stomach stops digesting and begins secreting acid, the eyes dilate and the muscles become jerky and tensed. So your body is prepared for attack or defense and when none comes the damage is irreversible. No one is easier to handle than a drunk, or a man that has gone crazy and so angry that he is like a wild man, he obviously can't perform his primary function in the game and so your defense or offensive gets the advantage of having one more player on their side functioning at peak condition and one less on your side not only functioning poorly but probably causing others to perform badly. Ulcers and lost games, fights and lost friends are just some of the results of the inability to relax.
Any great athletic performance seems effortless because the athlete has practiced and practiced until he has programmed his body for the appropriate response. He has learned to keep his mind calm and to relax while performing, thereby conserving his energy and assuring a longer and better performance. He is like a work of art, graceful and beautiful to look at, because he has achieved harmony between his body and mind. A great coach is the same thing. He has learned to teach and train his team with patience, kindness and understanding. He has confidence in his team and his coaching staff. He knows that they will do the best that they can, and that the game is not the time to change previously conditioned responses or to try to do a coaching job that should have been done in practice sessions. So he remains calm and relaxed on the sidelines and usually winds up winning. Of course there are coaches who become involved to a great extent and are also winners, but they don't last as long and generally pay for their involvement with ulcers and loss of friends and support. No one likes you when you are upset especially your own body. So let's practice a form of relaxation that takes only 3 minutes and can be as beneficial as 1 hour of sleep.
Relaxation Technique: lie on the floor with the feet together and the palms face down on the sides of the body. Look straight up and do not move the eyes. This is important. Now take a deep breath, hold it for a second and tighten the feet. Now relax and exhale. As you do, say mentally to yourself, "relax, my feet are relaxed." Now take a deep breath and tighten the calves. old the tension a second. As you release the breath say gently to yourself "my calves are relaxed." Take another deep breath and tighten the thighs. Hold it for a second. As you release the breath, relax the thighs.
Your legs are now completely relaxed. You no longer wish to move your legs. You could move your legs, but you no longer wish to move them. Take a deep breath into your stomach, hold it. As the air leaves your stomach, relax your stomach. Now breathe deeply into your lungs. As the air leaves your lungs, relax your chest and let your breath become very subtle and soft. Now breathe and tighten the arms and hands. Hold the tension a second. Then relax. As the breath leaves your arms become very relaxed. Your entire body is now very relaxed and you feel as if you are floating on a cloud, very calm and very relaxed. Take a breath and tighten your neck and shoulders. Hold it and as you let your breath out relax your neck area. Now take a breath and make a large frown, an ugly face. Now relax and breathe out, and relax your face, more and more till your jaw almost drops open. Your entire body is now completely relaxed and you feel extremely calm and relaxed. The only thing left to relax are your eyes. Gently close your eyes. You should immediately start dreaming now.
Just let your mind roam and relax, dream of soft and nice things. Imagine you are floating on a raft in a calm lake, or sailing on a cloud. Relax and feel the air flow through your body, relax and dream. Relax and dream. Let the mind float from one thought to the next, paying no special attention to any thought. Just watch them come and go in the mind like you see cars come and go on the highway. Relax and think of beautiful things. Think of nature, music, art, of love. Relax and feel yourself floating.
Now when one wishes to come out of this relaxed atmosphere, one should not just jump up. Gently open the eyes and take a deep breath and move the fingertips and the toes, breathe again and move the arms and the legs, breathe again and bend the arms and legs, and move the hips. Now take the arms and rub the back of the neck and calmly sit up and relax in a meditative posture for a few more seconds. You will feel very relaxed and quite calm and refreshed. This is truly a valuable way of letting an athlete relax and should be used by all serious students.
Three minutes of this relaxation is better for the body than 1 hour of sleep because it calms the nerves, refreshes the spirit, and soothes the mind. It is fast and simple to do and can be used after a workout or running (three minutes of sitting on the side of the track with the head between the legs trying to regain the breath after running does very little to relax you, while three minutes of this exercise does wonders.)
You can do this exercise lying down and it is very helpful to those who have trouble going to sleep. You can also do this standing up or sitting down during the game on the sidelines. As a coach, just take a few deep breaths and tighten the muscles just as if you were lying down. In a few breaths you will begin to become calm and feel more relaxed. Just close your eyes for a few seconds and suggest to yourself a few pleasant thoughts. Your mind should become calm and relaxed and subsequently your performance as a coach and player will be at its strongest point.
The mind cannot be relaxed and calm when the body is breathing fast and furiously. So the necessity of regaining control over your breath as soon as possible after exertion is very important. Often when we run, we begin to experience anoxia and we get too much blood pumping too much oxygen and lose the delicate balance between good and bad air in our bodies. So we must use our mind to control our breathing and slow our breathing to allow the oxygen, carbon dioxide stages to be equalized.
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