This year was the 5th annual Fruit Festival, where kindred souls gathered for raw food, stimulating classes, and making and renewing friendships
Forty years ago, Bernard Jensen (the nutritionist who guided my mother to curing her terminal cancer) introduced me to the slant board.
The Fruit Festival reminded me of the solution of an inversion table. And I am happy to share this information, about why reversing the flow gravity in our bodies is so important, even essential to healthy aging.
The inexorability of gravity:
Because we live day-in and day-out with the force of gravity, we don't often think about how much energy we exert fighting it. Yet, when we feel tired, we are sensitive to the effects of gravity and feel compelled to lie down to ameliorate some of gravity's inexorable pull. When we go to the zoo and look at the animals on all fours, we develop a great appreciation for our human up-rightness. However, we don't often think about how much stress our being erect puts on our bodies. When we walk or run, we're putting all of the gravitational pressure of our entire body on one small spot (our feet), creating thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch. Merely standing creates tremendous gravitational force against the feet and the spine.
Wherever there are weaknesses in our bodily structure—in the knee and hip joints, the lower back, the neck and abdomen—there will be more frequent injuries. In fact, the single largest health problem in the United States is back pain, an effect from our perpetual struggle against gravity. As well, gravity affects us on a cellular level. Many biologists now feel that gravity plays a significant role in the cell's loss of ability to replicate itself, thus contributing directly to aging and death. Bernard Jensen has said that there is not a single disease in which gravity does not play a part.
Clearly, if we could diminish the force of gravity on our bodies, we could, as well, diminish the sagging muscles in our faces that give some of us, after the age of 50 or 60, jowls and necks that we hate seeing in the mirror. If we could diminish the force of gravity, we can diminish the crowding of our internal organs that occurs because our insides, as well as our outsides, start to sag, thus making them less efficient. In short, if we could reverse the force of gravity on our bodies, we would look and feel younger.
Well, we can't. Gravity is a fact of life that is inescapable. Outer space, where we, indeed, escape gravity, seems to be the only place where we can escape from the pull of gravity. But space travel has its own set of problems: we are no longer exposed to the all-important effects of electromagnetic energy (as discussed in the prior Musings, HERE and HERE).
What we can do, however, is find ways to allow gravity to work FOR us instead of AGAINST us.
Robert Lockhart is an Aussie who has a healing center "down under" (as they say). He spoke knowledgably and eloquently, at the Fruit Festival, about the benefits of reversing gravity through inversion.
Our bodies have evolved in a way that they normally work, not too badly, with the law of gravity. For instance if we look at the construction of the intestinal tract, we see that through most of the journey, food follows a downward slope. When the food reaches the beginning of the colon, it is now mostly liquid, and thus responds easily to peristaltic movement. In the ascending colon, the appendix lies below, and this organ, usually thought of as useless, actually serves to act as an irritant to force the food material uphill. By the time the material reaches the descending colon, gravity is able to exert its force to pull the waste downward.
To find an occasional reprieve from gravity, the logical question is: since gravity is the force that keeps pulling everything down, why not change the direction of our bodies so that what was going down in us now goes up, and what was going up now goes down? In other words, since we can't change gravity, we have to change ourselves. We can turn ourselves upside down. In this way, we are using the force of gravity for healing.
Yoga discovered the importance of upside-down eons ago. They invented the shoulder and head stands.
When you are standing up, the pull of gravity, and thus the pull on the flow of blood and all other fluids in your body is five or six feet. When you lie on the slant board, with your head lower than your feet, the pull of blood to the upper part of your body is about 18 inches. It's not a lot, but plenty enough to accomplish a considerable task.
Brain anemia may not be a medically recognized disease entity, but anyone suffering from chronic fatigue has it. If muscle tone or circulation is not good enough, then the blood can't travel uphill to the brain sufficiently to feed the brain. Without sufficient blood to the brain, virtually all of our functions will be weakened. The cerebellum, the back part of your brain, is where every physical organ is regenerated. You cannot breathe, you cannot hear, see or taste, you cannot think properly, nor move any part of your body without your back brain getting enough blood flow. This is, as well, the first part of the brain to be adversely affected by gravity.
Animals instinctively feed their brains the blood that is needed by how they sleep. An animal is always in a prone position during sleep, and its head falls lower than the rest of its body. In fact, if you hold an animal up by his front feet for long enough (for a dog, it's four hours; for a rabbit, it's three quarters of an hour), the animal will die because its heart and arteries cannot pump enough blood into its brain to keep it alive.
One of the conditions that we find the most responsive to the slant board is prolapsus of the internal organs. Any of us who have been on a traditional western diet, with refined foods, for any extended period of time, will have a prolapsed bowel. The transverse colon, which crosses over the abdomen, will dip in the middle, thus forcing the waste products in the colon to actually have to go upward, against gravity. This almost always proves too difficult, and a prolapsed colon then becomes a clogged colon. Bladder and prostate difficulties generally arise because the organs have fought against gravity for too many years, and the bladder is no longer in its proper place. Uterine fibroid tumors can be caused by the organs above bearing down, causing pressure on the uterus. The uterus, then, becomes mal-positioned, thus rendering the uterus less capable of throwing off toxic material.
Going upside down, either by lying on a slant board, or on an inversion table, repositions all of the internal organs. Gravity pulls the organs upwards, thus creating space between the organs so that the oxygen can reach the organs more easily.
Simply lying on the slant board (which gives a 45 degree slope) or the inversion table (which you can position so that you are fully upside down at 180 degrees) with your arms stretched out above your head both is and feels wonderful.
You may have noticed that between 3 and 5 p.m., it gets harder to keep your energy level up. This is because at this time, the sun and moon change their configuration in relation to each other. The fluids in our bodies make a concomitant change in response. It's best to find time to do inversion around this time and you will find that you have renewed vigor for the rest of the day. In fact, 15-20 minutes inverted renews your body the same as an hour of sleep.
You can augment the effect of the inversion by doing simple exercises.
To bring more blood into the abdomen, pull the stomach in and up, toward the shoulders.
You can also pat the stomach, stretching your upper torso from side to side. This both increases circulation and breaks down pockets in the intestinal tract.
Flex the knees, bringing them as close to your chest as you can get. This is a brain exercise.
Bicycle on the board. This is good for the abdominal organs.
Lift the legs and rotate them in large circles. This brings circulation into the pelvic area and stretches the muscles around the prostate. It also releases pressure on the bladder.
Lift legs straight up to as close to a 90° angle to your body as you can get, then lower them slowly. This builds abdominal strength.