What a month it has been! Now more than ever it feels like a radical act to take care of ourselves, and create rituals to regulate our nervous systems and sleep cycles. We need to be well rested and have tools to calm our nervous systems if we want to keep showing up to fight for ourselves and for each other.
This month we are so happy to share over three hours of relaxing, ambient music. Each track is associated with a specific brain wave state, and has specific entrainment pulses to get you into that state. Josh will explore each of these brain wave states to give you an overview of how this album can be used therapeutically. After our Music and Mind journey, we will explore some of our favorite herbal self care practices that help to regulate the nervous system. We imagine you pairing these practices with our new album for ultimate restoration and relaxation.
Music and Mind
by Joshua W Bruner
Western civilization requires us to maintain a hectic pace to keep up with the cost of living. Sustaining this toxic lifestyle can run down our parasympathetic nervous system and create mental disturbances due to excessive anxiety.
The constant pressure can cause immune system failures, sleeping complications, depression, stomach issues, and many other ailments. Creating a sound meditation practice can help us to preempt the negative side effects of our fast paced society by regularly relieving stress through visiting meditative brainwave states with the entraining guidance of sound pulses.
Here in America we are being confined to an abusive healthcare system, which is best avoided, if possible. This is why preventative measures are so crucial for us to adopt into our daily routines. What easier way to do this than simply relaxing with some meditative music?
Scientists are uncovering astonishing connections to mental health and music at a rapid pace. Doctors and dentists are now using meditative music to help reduce the amount of anesthetic used on patients. NASA uses entrainment techniques to help astronauts keep a stable sleep cycle while in space. Everywhere we look, sound is showing us a way towards a higher functioning lifestyle in an ever-changing world.
With these thoughts in mind, I’d like to introduce a new meditative album from Flower & Frequency designed to stimulate each of our brainwave states to help maintain healthy neural connections and reach deep states of relaxation.
There are 7 songs (3+ hours) with carefully calculated isochronic tones embedded beneath an ambient soundscape. Explore your Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta, and Epsilon brainwave states while in a comfortable position with headphones on or stereo speakers. Gift yourself 20-30 minutes a day to rest, reset, and restore.
Our brainwave states and how they shape who we are
Gamma: Our Gamma brainwaves join all of our other brainwave states into a single coherence. According to many studies, stimulating this brainwave state we may be able to strengthen failed connections in the mind in such cases of ADD, ADHD, Autism, and more.
Beta: By stimulating our Beta brainwaves we can break up patterns of depression, sharpen focus, stir energy, and help with conditions such as ADD, ADHD, and Autism where there is usually a lack of Beta brainwave activity.
Alpha: Our Alpha brainwaves increase drastically as soon as we close our eyes, lie down, or focus more on our breathing. By stimulating these meditative brainwaves we can relax more and become more tuned in to our environment. Exceptional types and elite athletes often have higher Alpha brainwave activity than the typical human mind.
High Theta: The higher Theta brainwave state is an actively creative field of our mind. By stimulating this state we can deeply relax and explore a daydreamy atmosphere during meditation. This brainwave state is typically lower in instances of people with ADD, ADHD, and Autism. Research suggests this would be a great area of the mind to stimulate for these non-neurotypical brain types.
Low Theta: The Lower Theta brainwave state is on the cusp of our conscious mind. Our "gateway to the subconscious." This is where the creativity of our imagination is formed. By stimulating this area we can deeply relax and explore our neurally rich Theta dream state, which may become elusive during our sleep cycle.
Delta: As we age we produce fewer and fewer Delta brainwaves. This is found to be true even more so in the male mind. If we don't visit our Delta brainwave state during our sleep cycle we may feel sluggish during the day, lack empathy, heal more slowly from illness and injury, and more. By stimulating this brainwave state we can help the mind make the needed neural connections to the Delta state during our sleep cycles and assist in resetting our parasympathetic system.
Epsilon: Our Epsilon brainwaves are the slowest brainwave state and are believed to regulate our body's most primal pulses through what is known as our parasympathetic nervous system. By stimulating this brainwave state we can relax and reset this system in a person suffering from any negative effects of anxiety and stress in their life. When our parasympathetic system is out of alignment, we slip into our sympathetic nervous system, or "fight or flight" mode. This pulls energy, oxygen, nutrients, and blood away from virtually every organ and system in our body that is not connected to our stress response. As you can imagine, this seriously effects the body long term, and keeps us from functioning and healing properly. Getting our brains to an Epsilon brain wave state pulls our nervous systems back into alignment.
Herbal Self Care
Loving up on yourself with herbs and building self care herbal rituals into your daily, weekly, or seasonal self care practices is one of the most profound gifts of healing you can give to yourself. I’ve found that my favorite rituals with herbs are often the simplest, and I am so happy to share some of my go-to herbal practices that restore balance to the nervous system and encourage the body to rest and recover.
Morning and Evening Tea
Never underestimate the power of a hot cup of tea. The ritual of making ourselves tea is an act of healing in itself. It forces us to slow down, to lovingly pick out the herbs we will use, and to wait patiently while the tea steeps. This is an act of loving awareness that opens our hearts. We are telling the universe, the plants, and our bodies that we deserve this moment of respite, that we are worth these extra moments of self care. When your tea is done steeping, place your face over the cup and inhale. The herbal steam works to loosen pores, open nasal passages, and encourages deep, slow breathing. This lowers blood pressure, and signals to our body that we are safe to enter into our parasympathetic nervous system. If you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, you can work this tea ritual later into the day, or if you are feeling brave, try a coffee substitute. This is a really lovely coffee alternative from herbalist Kami Mcbride:
Kami McBride's Dandelion Mocha:
3 tablespoons Roasted Dandelion Root
1 tablespoon raw cocoa nibs or raw chocolate
1/2 cup milk or almond milk
1 TB maple syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
A dash of nutmeg or clove powder
Decoct the roasted dandelion root and cocoa nibs in 3 cups of water, letting mixture simmer for 30 minutes. Strain then add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, reheat as necessary. Drink as you please!
In addition to this awesome recipe, I like to keep it simple with my teas throughout the day. Lemon Balm, Tulsi, Rose, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nettle, Red Raspberry Leaf, Hibiscus, and Astragalus seem to be the herbs I reach for most, often in combinations of up to five, or just on their own. One of the beautiful things about making yourself a cup of tea, is that you get to really check in with your body to find out what it is craving. This act of loving awareness and inquiry is an empowering self care skill to develop.
Herbal Baths and Foot Soaks
Recently a dear friend reached out to ask what on earth she could do with all the roses in her garden! She wanted a way to preserve and continue to enjoy the many rose petals she might otherwise compost. Among the many rose medicine ideas I excitedly shared with her, my favorite came from a recent episode of the Herbal Highway. Herbalist Karyn Sanders shares that adding a strong batch of rose tea to a hot bath is a wonderful way to ground your body and help your nervous system develop protective boundaries. The medicine of rose is such a beautiful ally for the nervous system, and often overlooked, or thought of as just a pretty flower. Bringing the medicine of rose into a bath with Epsom salt is such a beautiful self care ritual. If you are conscious about the amount of water you are using, or if you don’t have a bathtub, try a foot soak! This is a luxurious spa treatment you can give to yourself at home! All you need is a big enough bowl for your feet, and a towel on the floor. I especially like suggesting this to clients and enjoying myself, because our feet literally HOLD US UP every freakin day. It’s so important to say thank you, to give them a rest, to let the roots of your body experience tending. In addition to rose, I have loved adding lemon balm, chamomile, ginger, and lavender to baths and soaks. In addition to making a tea prior to your bath and adding that to the water, you can also add about a cup of herbs into in a muslin bag and just throw the bag into your tub as it fills!
Lavender Face and Room Spray
I love this nervous system hack, because it is SO easy to make and even easier to use. All you need is a two ounce spray bottle, distilled water, witch hazel or alcohol, and Lavender essential oil. The beauty of this spray is that it works to calm you down by soothing your nervous system, specifically targeting stress that is held in the shoulders, neck, and forehead. If you are someone who gets stress headaches, or who feels stress and anxiety manifest as tense muscles in their upper back and neck, this will be a beautiful remedy for you. Another beautiful thing about this spray is that you can take it with you anywhere! Lavender is also a powerful antiseptic, so this makes a beautiful spray to take with you when you are traveling, camping, or using public facilities of any kind. Just spray it on your hands or onto your surroundings as needed.
Chill the Eff Out Spray:
for 2 ounce bottle:
1 part alcohol (for two ounce bottle 15ml)
3 part distilled water (for two ounce bottle 45ml)
5-20 drops of Lavender essential oil (for two ounce bottle up to 10 drops)
For your alcohol, you can use either witch hazel extract, vodka, or if you want to get really fancy, use an herbal tincture for added benefits! I like to use rose tincture or lemon balm tincture as the alcohol portion of my sprays.
Have so much fun with this one! Shake well each time (as the essential oil can often rise to the top!), then spray directly into your face and all around your body for immediate stress relief. Use before, during, and after stressful situations.
We hope you are feeling inspired to put on some of our meditative music and try out some of these herbal remedies! We are so grateful and honored to walk beside you on your healing paths!
We are also excited to announce that in addition to private sessions and weekly sound meditations at Anchor, Josh is beginning to host sunset meditations with wireless headphones at various outdoor venues in the bay area. Join us this Sunday, May 26th, 7-8pm at the Palace of Fine Arts Lagoon to experience this very special offering. Bring a blanket and cuddle bud and get cozy with us as we meditate to gorgeous ambient music as the sun goes down. To reserve your headphones for this unique experience click the link below.
With Much Love,
Nora and Josh