Myofascial Release and Unwinding: “Kiss, Smile, Breathe, Repeat” and Fetal Position for Sleeping

The comments section of the Mindful Yawning Experiment post spawned an extremely useful conversation with a like-minded innovator, Andrew Hutchinson. Head over to those comments now and catch up with where I left off before my Skype conversation with him, then read the rest of this post.

rick wrote:

any news about your discussion with Andrew Hutchinson? I am curious about the defnite technique

The conversation with Andrew was very interesting and I wish we had recorded it. We have talked about recording the next one.

Partly as a result of the conversation, I have been able to narrow the “definite mechanism of action” for any myofascial release/unwinding: This is simply running current through nerves so that they begin to shed the fascia that is adhered to them (and this is usually accompanied by “unwinding” motions such as the head or body rotating).

All successful methods use that mechanism of action. Yoga achieves it. While a yoga pose is being held, the nerve current that flows through the body and its limbs in order to maintain the pose also causes the wound soft tissue (fascia and other nerves) to unwind from around those active nerves. The reason so many yoga poses exist is a kind of “paint by numbers” system, throwing as many configurations of active nerves at you in the hope that you turn on the right ones for your specific problems.

What I personally do however is use “body scanning” — mindful awareness of tension points in my body — to find the most seriously wound bundles. I then run current through those areas, usually by gripping a muscle fed by those nerves, or by extending a limb and holding it. For example, simply bending the foot at the ankle upwards towards you can be felt all the way up to the shoulder, and fascia along this entire length can be caused to unwind from around the nerves — even all the way into the arm. I hold the pose while relaxing everything else and allow release/unwinding to take place.

Triggering such release while standing will often have my body begin to enter “tai chi”–style patterns of movement as it moves through more unwinding.

A key thing I discovered is that having the mouth open during this, and any other “nerve current flow” poses, causes the unwinds to happen much more easily and in a more pronounced way.

So, my current advice is that people practise yoga (for example) or custom stretches with their mouth open. I am completely interested in hearing your stories of what you observe by trying this.

My two most important guidelines are always the same, and should always be observed, for any such body work:

  • There should be no sudden movements. Do everything slowly and never go beyond your body’s limits.
  • There should be no pain. If there is, stop, because you are doing it wrong.

Andrew takes advantage of the effect different mouth configurations have on body-wide fascia/nerve unwinding by:

  • Holding his head backwards to look at the sky, then making a “kiss” motion with his mouth, but holding his lips in the “pucker” — then turning his head slowly left to right, and along other axes. When making the pucker in this pose, you should be able to feel nerve current flowing all the way down into the base of the spine. The base of the spine is probably the most important “key centre” for unwinding to originate from.
  • Also other facial expressions such as smiling, which also have body-wide effects.

His website is: http://www.kisssmilebreatherepeat.com

I was already aware of the kiss pattern as I had it in my notes from previous years. However, I had not considered making it a staple of my own method. I have now introduced it at certain times. I recommend beginners start out with the kiss method I just described to get used to inducing useful nerve current flows and to experience the unwinding that results. Then you can move on to trying your own custom stretches, grips, and so forth, when you’ve got a better idea of what works and what it feels like when something is unwinding — which I would describe as a “gushing” sensation along the length of the engaged nerves and fascia. Yoga practitioners have also long described the sensation of fascial release as “gushing” or other water-based terms.

Global unwinding is NOT quick (although strong positive results can be experienced quite soon in your practice). It will probably take many days or weeks of work before you experience genuine lightness and freedom in your body. This is a lifetime of adhesions you are releasing, so do not rush and expect it to be fixed in a matter of hours.

Sleeping Position

One other technique Andrew shared with me is a modified fetal position for sleeping. This position uses no pillow, which goes for any primal sleeping position. No pillow should be used for sleeping. The angular “crook neck” caused by the elevation of a pillow creates a choke point for fascial adhesion. Fascia coming in from the whole body can end up adhered and wound around the neck, clavicles, etc. through using a pillow. When it comes to this work, sleeping with a pillow is the devil. If you stop sleeping with a pillow, the body can release the fascia caught in this area by itself, during sleep, because the “stretch” is taken out of the fascia so it can slack off and move back to its correct position on its own.

Learning to sleep with no pillow gives better sleep and lets a lot of the work be done by the body itself in the night.

The fetal sleeping position we are recommending is as follows:

  • Lie on your side. The shoulder in contact with the bed needs to be turned inwards so it is brought “into the body”. That arm can be straight so the hand is down by your waist, or the elbow can be bent so the hand it up by your face. Either is okay, so long as the shoulder is turned inwards and brought into the body.
  • Place the other hand wherever it is comfortable (it will naturally find its place).
  • The knees are bent slightly so the legs are slightly drawn up towards the body. This is therefore NOT a “full fetal position” (curled into a ball).
  • The wrists need to be loose.
  • While sleeping, place your awareness on your top lip just beneath your nose. This induces a primitive sleeping/healing trance whereby the reptile brain takes over the running of the body.

Andrew wrote:

The arm on the ground lies on the rear of the shoulder so basically turn your palm of your hand to face your feet (and maybe a fraction more if it feels comfortable). With regards to angle relative to the upper body, i’ve found that to be successful in anywhere from anywhere between 90 degrees (to the upper body) to (approx) 45 degrees as it’s the “inward rotation” of the shoulder that’s more important. the upper arm is simply bent up with the palm facing the neck/throat/clavicle, wrist bent and “soft” almost tucked in under the chin. The one thing i’m not sure i emphasised enough though (i was going to email you regarding this anyway as i remembered this morning) is the “relaxing” and bending of the wrists – this is essential. I’ve know for a few years that the wrists had connections to various other body parts and functions and this practice backs that up more. You’ll feel the shift when you do it. You can feel the shift even when standing and you bring your hands up to chest level and relax the wrists, allowing the palms to face your chest with the back of your fingers lightly touching. I’m sure there’s something about the prayer position that relates to this as an early healing modality but i’ve yet to find any evidence to support this. not that i need it to validate it but finding something would be interesting.

Effectively, the whole position is about tucking up into a ball without actually tucking into a ball. You will feel as if you are but with the angle of the legs/hip not being that acute at all (and no need to tuck the head in either – this can actually be counter productive). It’s simply a feeling of being protected with feeling being the important word, something i know i don’t need to emphasise to you.

I realize that a picture would be most helpful. Andrew, if you are reading, could you possibly find us one?

I was surprised how easily I adapted to this primal sleeping position. It did not take long to let the body settle into it and to fall asleep. On the first night I tried it I awoke lying on my back with my body doing its own unwinding programme. This has since happened on other nights, too. So there are two benefits of sleeping like this: the first is that the body can do a lot of the unwinding work for you on autopilot, and the second is that if you are sleeping like this then you are not introducing more errors that modern sleep positions create.

Andrew, if you want to jump in and add some more guidance in the comments section, feel free!

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53 Responses

  1. Yuki says:

    “Holding his head backwards to look at the sky, then making a “kiss” motion with his mouth, but holding his lips in the “pucker” — then turning his head slowly left to right, and along other axes. When making the pucker in this pose, you should be able to feel nerve current flowing all the way down into the base of the spine. The base of the spine is probably the most important “key centre” for unwinding to originate from”

    When doing the kiss and during left and right and some other directions, when does the smile part take place?

  2. Hi Yuki, the smile doesn’t take place during this particular “exercise” at all – although your face may draw itself into a smile after doing a few of these – it may do all kinds of facial contortions as you “unwind” facial tension. Don’t be at all surprised if your brow wants to really squeeze together, as if squeezing tension from the middle of your forehead – After all, this is the other end of the superficial back chain and an obvious place for tension to be stored, especially with many of the modern lifestyle ills that exist – such as computer posture (as discussed) along with shoes with considerable “drop”, downward head posture (very prevalent in today’s society), sitting in chairs in general and so on. Not to say tension doesn’t get “stored” elsewhere but the end of this chain is an obvious place for it’s “release” (as is the calves, hence this being the most frequent place for cramp). I actually have a theory based on the tensegrity model that involves densities of stored tension that make muscles appear to be “shrinking” – and in particular the posterior deltoids being a location for this but i’ll chat with our knowledgeable host about this first as he’ll probably explain it better than i could. The smiling is for when you breath in (through the nose) while doing a few “rounds” of nasal breathing (the “kissing” is when you breath out). These are exaggerations of the breathing sensations on certain nerves of the face and eyes, simulating a certain chemical response that allows a relaxation of the muscles so that they can go through (increasingly) larger ranges of motion, “unsticking” fascia/tight muscles and further allowing an even more powerful chemical response and releasing facial tension, thus changing the messages sent by your facial muscles to the pituitary/pineal etc – nervous system to limbic to endocrine. Your facial/eye muscles are the messengers about how you see the world to the rest of your mindbody so tense face muscles equals tense body/.state of mind. A “relaxed” face/eyes/tongue also has the added benefit of completing the energy circuit as used in the micro cosmic orbit as the tongue starts to sit where it should completing this circuit. There are exercises you can do to help this too but i’ve typed enough for now.

  3. I’m afraid i can’t find a picture anywhere yet but then i am almost loath to do so anyway as this is about a feeling, not an exact position. However, let me try with this explanation. Before i start, i should say that this has progressed since we spoke and there are a couple of adjustments that take this to the next level. Things that i had tried before but not been able to do comfortably so moved away from (As we discussed, this has happened many times on this journey!). If you look at the ape in the picture linked here (http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150415-apes-reveal-sleep-secrets), that body position is great to get across how it should “feel” but most of us (probably all of us) won’t have the necessary range of motion in our elbows and shoulders (and other bits) to do the optimal position with any comfort at all. So, for starters, you will want to try this. Lie on your side and extend both arms straight out in front of you, palms down (facing your feet) so that the shoulders are almost “hunched”/rolled in – this is key to working with the neck/shoulder area as it’s this shortening of these muscles that allows the neurological relaxation of them – effectively they switch off their alarm systems and can now do all the healing they need to do – add to this a focus point awareness (under the nose/top lip area), the legs up, wrists relaxed and bingo, watch it begin. If you then wish to use a “mindful” approach and follow the energy as it goes around doing what it does, feel free. You can even subtly direct it if you feel you can without causing it to stop – this is the danger of bringing our intent in, it can hinder a beautiful process. Your arms will be at about 45-80 degrees to your upper body but don’t worry about exact angles, just that it feels good – we have to remember that feelings are important here, they are our mindbody’s way of telling us what works and what doesn’t. If this feels uncomfortable at first so feel free to use a small pillow to start with if you need. It may well feel uncomfortable as you struggle to get your shoulder into that “groove” between upper lat/side of body and your head.

    What we are eventually looking for is to be able to lie/sleep with our lower arm under our head like this (http://www.hypnia.com/content/381-pros-cons-sleeping-side-back-stomach) or with that lower arm even more under the head so that we are actually lying on the arm. Obviously there is not one magic position here but variations of this have a profound effect on the message that is being sent to the brain about how protected you are. When you are protected, resources that go towards defence can now be utilised for healing. Add the “focus meditation” into the mix and you have a little magic.

    The final position to help with unwinds in the necks.shoulder head etc (that magic zone) is lying on your back with your hands behind your head and allowing the backs of the arms/elbows to touch the ground. Most of us can’t do this straight away as there is too much tension in the chest/neck/throat/shoulders. By allowing this to stretch out as you lie there, you will have a powerful effect on the thyroid region amongst other things (obviously communication, confidence etc etc). This position is not for healing as it’s not a “protected” one but will be great for long term release and postural change. And is the position we (should) go to once healing has occurred.

    Apologies if anything is not clear, please feel free to ask any more questions and thanks to our host for the great work. It was because of our chat that i got back to work trying to advance the method further hence the adaptations. It’s easy to give up on trying to adapt further when it’s already doing the job for you in it’s current form. Glad we talked and i’m sure you can add to this. I should mention that the reason for the arm being under the head is that you will notice that the hand naturally curls up at the back of the head, protecting our one “weak spot” on the back. The “perfect” fetal position for healing will cover all of these spots – the throat/chest/neck (which has many “weak points” and that area on the back of the head. Anyway, enough for now, still waking up 🙂

    • Illuminatus says:

      That gorilla pic is almost exactly how I slept last night. I have a good range of motion however from all the work I’ve already done.

      Amazing that we need this much info just to sleep right, but modern life really will fuck you up like that.

  4. Illuminatus says:

    I’ve been trying the kiss technique more and it seems pretty universal. It can even release the adhesions in the hands. Sit up in a bed with arms down by your sides then pucker and hold the pucker. Feel for the lines of tightness extending all the way into the hands. Keep awareness inside the hands, and they will very subtly start to move as the fascia unwinds from the wrists. Some of this is super-subtle, and super-slow. Lines of fascia are released from the fingers all the way up into the head, e.g. where they join into the nerves either side of each eye.

    These lines are important to release/unwind because they create “bunching” in the shoulders around the clavicle. The main reason these lines of tension get inserted, in my opinion, is as follows. In a “normal” (modern) sleeping position you make a fist which goes under the pillow. You then toss and turn while keeping the fist clenched. This holds a line of tension and twists it so it does not easily release later on. These lines of tension therefore stay in the arm, from fingers up through arm up through shoulder up through neck where they attach to the nerves in the face and temple. This line is probably a major reason for rounded shoulders developing in time. The kiss pucker engages both sides of this line, where it attaches both under and over the jaw. This is the power of the pucker face: it engages both the under and over lines.

    With even greater mindful awareness this can even be used to release similar lines of fascial tension from toes into ankle then up the leg.

    Rest in between; perhaps get up and move around. Then settle down again and repeat. Different angles of approach work on different lines, though the pucker face seems to remain constant as a way to engage any of these lines.

    Wow, we’ve potentially invalidated an entire industry (manual therapy) here.

    • ha ha, it does have huge potential. Developing the subtle skill to feel those lines will take time for some but in the meantime just doing the exercises will work even without those subtle feelings. i feel you are in a better place than me to explain how to get this from a simple technique to something that can be used in the “micro-surgical” fashion and look forward to where we go from here. In the meantime, the adaptations that take place from adopting these positions will make it easier with every go. And great tip about getting up to walk around then go back to it – i believe that will help immensely.

  5. Illuminatus says:

    My sleep was even better last night and my body is finding its natural positions more and more easily.

    I believe a MAJOR reason for why modern sleep positions are not refreshing (and add all these winds in) is as follows:

    Lying on a pillow, and with fists clenched or whatever, the body does not believe it is lying in a grounded position, on earth. It believes it is falling, so never rests into and absorbs into the ground. So the lines of tension are a protective mechanism that it does not release until it believes it is lying on solid ground. This is also probably the reason for the feeling of falling and sudden waking most of us have experienced at some point (hypnic jerk).

    Just a theory at the moment, but explains a lot.

    • I’d agree with that but i believe that the body does feel that it is on solid ground, even on a soft bed (we would have made nests as apes still do when necessary) – but the head and neck (when raised by a pillow) are subject to this “sensation” of never truly “resting” on something. Add the fact that the muscles of the jaw have to work to keep the mouth closed when in this position due to the angle of the head when on a pillow (vs when on the arm/hands) and you have a recipe for 7-8 hours of winds/tension build up every night. The raising of the lower arm to that position also exaggerates the protected feeling/”softening” of the underside of the neck/shoulder/traps, thus allowing it to truly “relax”/switch off. I never know it was called a hypnic jerk, i like that.

      • Illuminatus says:

        I am including head and neck in my definition of “body” there. If one part of the body doesn’t feel like it’s truly resting, that will trigger body-wide tensions. And yes a firm mattress is as good as the floor.

        • Yes it will (one part not resting affecting everything else) , thanks for making that clear. I slipped into separating parts mode (it’s that “western science” upbringing! 😉 which is never helpful.

  6. Illuminatus says:

    The kiss face achieves everything I was trying to get across with my various other posts on facial expressions and yawning simply because it activates all the relevant nerves. It causes the “push” nerves to push,, and the “pull” nerves to pull, with the effect of straightening out the fascia in which those nerves reside.

    I recommend people try gently moving while making the pucker face. Raise a leg here, move an arm there, move the waist in little circles. Let the body guide you. Everything should be slow and gentle.

    Sit down and pucker, and begin to gently move. Notice how the body moves you in and out various “computer use” poses as the over-extended nerves slowly withdraw back to their correct position.

    This one technique can achieve so much.

  7. James says:

    sleeping without a pillow is one thing I’ve been doing for awhile and its help prevent migraines.

    I sleep like the picture of your mom – I mean gorilla.. 😀 and with my hands behind my hand or at my sides while laying on my back.

    I swapped back and forth for a bit between using a pillow and now and using a pillow pretty much always fucks me up.

  8. boq says:

    Thank you both so much, just fooled around a bit with the excercises and I can certainly feel they’re having a positive effect!

  9. Yuki says:

    I have tried a couple of times the sleeping of arm posture, and always after a couple of minutes I feel energetically vibrations (usally it feels pleasant ) taking over and like covering my entire body, also I feel my inner mind is “shifting” though I have a hard time falling asleep in this posture .

    Are those energetically vibrations the part my body is unwinding?

    • Yes Yuki. Well to call it unwinding i think is a little misleading as i see this as micro tremors, shifting/changing your bodies vibrational frequency – “dissolving” areas of dense/stuck/wound matter through vibrations/micro tremors. Remember to “play” (and really do think of it as play) with the positions as well – as you will find that you may need to adapt yours slightly, depending on what your body needs. If you listen to it, it will tell you where you need to be and that will change as you go through the process. You shouldn’t really be able to fall asleep in this posture, that’s a good sign. When you are ready for sleep you will shift to another position. Go with it, it’s all good. If you can, pay attention to where the energy wants to go and be there with it.

  10. moviestar says:

    Thank you very much for this and your recent posts (including the one about breath). They are very valuable. What still amazes me is that I discover the same stuff using a different approach. For example the toe stretching – I was “taught” this while under the influence of ayahuasca. It does exactly what you describe. I like to imagine I’m a cat when doing it (most 4-legged animals do this stretch pose) (I include palms).

    Let me share more of my perspective on some of these things:

    Andrew Hutchinson’s website is spot on. Thanks for sharing this:
    [from the techniques post] “Something that can really help with this is to imagine that you have a team of mini you’s inside you and when you take your awareness somewhere and just stay there without prejudice, they will sort out whatever needs sorting in that place”

    Funny thing is you can actually see these “mini you’s” under ayahuasca or if you’ve smoked DMT. McKenna calls them “self-transforming-machine-elves”. Since I met them I call them “helpers”. When I asked them what are they – they just pointed back at me and said they are me :). There is an undeniable sense that these are some kind of beings that are trying to help. I remember many times when they have tried to drive my attention into the nose or jawline and while I kept steady concentration there they did their “healing”.
    Now going back to earth, if you look at it from a point of “it’s all body-trauma”, these beings might be just visual representations of the body healing itself. The same can be done without any mind-altering drugs – just by simply focusing on areas of the body – and then you have a sense of the body “being worked on” (as in the blog article).

    Another interesting phenomena (and maybe you guys can join in with your insights) are “energetic parasites” which ayahuasca is very efficient at removing. This is what the shamans call them. From my point of view, it looks like this:

    In the altered state of consciousness sometimes you will feel a full body scan. After that something strange and sick might be localized in some part of your body. Like a ball of disgust or pain. Now, over the span of 10-30 minutes this ball will start moving out of the body upwards through the throat. When I have good enough visuals I can clearly see this as some kind of crazy inter-dimensional worm/parasite as big as a leg. It goes through the throat and when it’s there I automatically snap my head backwards and open my jaws accompanied by a looong healthy yawn. I can see the parasite escaping through the mouth and it’s done. The whole process ends.
    Again going back to earth… isn’t this exactly what you guys have discovered with tilting the head backwards, yawning, releasing the tentions, releasing the traumas…. could these “energetic parasites” be simply traumas in the body and can be worked on without any drugs?

    • Moviestar. Yes, this is exactly what is happening and yes, they can be worked on without drugs (not that drugs can’t be a useful aid – although they can “speed up” a process that shouldn’t be “speeded up”). The trauma/tension/dense matter is being disturbed out of it’s current state by you affecting energy/frequency – and the excess energy contained within this densely compacted/woven/wound fascia/tissue/matter/tension has to find a way out, which can take the form of tremors, body “windings” or (ideally) the yawn (or kiss). There is something special in the kiss due to the link between circular (or sphincter muscles) and the mouth does have a strong connection with the sphincter/perineum area. Once you’ve activated this mechanism through kissing tension out of the body, it’s almost like you’ve set up a permanent link, which will let you know whenever you need to do so (you will get the urge to pull a kiss face (or smile) and if you do it, you will have a “release”. Eventually the releases get shorter and shorter until there is little (or nothing) left to release and by this point you will probably have changed significantly. I know this is very basic but i don’t have much time right now and i don’t want to get too into it here as it’s a face to face discussion but hopefully that covers it for now.

  11. James says:

    I’m still on the comedown from my lastest LSD trip (not with b.caapi this time around) and I got a lot of these super yawn/grimace thinks as well as tons of shaking in my legs, I mean I had one leg shake for at least 3 hours if not more, when I followed the nerve current the shakes went from my leg all the way up into my teeth from where I had tooth surgery years ago and my body had not worked out the trauma properly.

    • Illuminatus says:

      “I mean I had one leg shake for at least 3 hours if not more, when I followed the nerve current the shakes went from my leg all the way up into my teeth from where I had tooth surgery years ago and my body had not worked out the trauma properly.”

      I used to think stuff like this was bullshit. However I recently discovered a definite line of fascial tension extending all the way from my left ankle (which I severely sprained in a fall) into my left hand. My theory is that this is where I put my hand down during the fall and that the line of tension was never released. I have started gently releasing it now using various techniques and these are working well.

      The problem with such lines is that they impeded normal tissue movement in the rest of the body. So, the line of tension provides an unmoving obstacle which other tissue winds around. Also, this line creates a constant mechanical pull between the two points.

      By the way, meditation definitely causes myofascial release. Many of the “sensations” observed via mindfulness, e.g. in insight meditation, are stimulations of fascial blocks in order to release them. I am now of the opinion that much of the emotional healing that takes place via meditation is due to fascial release. That is quite a turnaround from my recent comment on the other post where I said I was more concerned with just the mechanical side of things.

      I came to this conclusion while meditating this morning. I could feel the ankle-to-hand line appearing in awareness and that observing its sensations was actually directly releasing it. This “line” also wrapped around nerves in my abdomen. The subtle shifts taking place in the ankle itself — and this is just with sitting mindfulness alone, no physical activity — hurt like hell. But the ankle was more free afterwards, and freed off other parts of my body as a result. It made me think that many emotional issues are to do with avoiding the work that needs to be done on such past trauma, probably because it hurts or is otherwise dysphoric at times. By knowing now that I HAVE to go through it, I can now settle into and pass through such releases in a more contented and deliberate way. I think the so-called Dark Night might therefore consist at least in part of the dysphoria encountered by the resolution of past traumas.

      This whole thing for me has further blurred the line between body and mind.

      • So with you on the dark night aspect. The mindbody creates blocks/tension/compensations to cope with trauma (emotional or physical, all one in many ways) and this is why the physical aspect is so powerful when combined with that mindful acceptance and “going with the flow” – tuning into the body’s urges. That tuning in to what it needs to do, not what you want it to do. I particularly love how “physical” pain (the sensation of pain) moves from one area to another as one is resolved, proving that there was no muscular/fascial damage of and kind, despite the pain suggesting otherwise. Loving what’s going on here guys.

  12. Yes James, dental work is a killer – i had more than my fair share with 16 extractions, 4 of which were very significant in the trauma caused – “wisdom” teeth removed before they had moved, let alone broken through, a process now known to be not only unnecessary but actually dangerous, both short term (potentially) and long term (definitely). I was under 18 and had no idea what was being done to me at the time and believed them when they said i needed it done.

  13. moviestar says:

    MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH!

    I’m very happy about this technique. I fixed a major issue in my posture yesterday.
    But it’s not so easy as described on Andrew’s blog, let me explain:

    I was trying the kiss/smile technique for the last two days. I felt it was doing something (especially the smile) so I kept going. Nothing major happened and it seemed like I was on the brink of a yawn all the time but nothing was getting released. Until I figured I would stand up (I was sitting or lying all the time previously). So I stood up in front of a mirror and started smiling.

    Now I remembered Ed saying to let the body unwind itself. So instead of mindlessly doing the technique I forced a smile and let the body do whatever it wanted to do. This resulted in major shoulder rotations and neck stretching. I was very much unwinding, at times it hurt a bit,especially when the neck was stretching, I helped it a bit with my hands (I have to mention I had manual body work done on me last year so I knew what going on).

    Suddenly, my feet snapped into a different position and my belly stuck out. Literally it was a snap like my whole posture changed. I realized my feet are now parallel to each other when standing. My whole life I had bad feet position when standing – always wide apart to the outside. This resulted in big problems with posture. I had no idea until I saw how standing with properly positioned feet supports a proper posture. My belly stuck out like in a 2yr old child and my back was fully supported by the legs. Good posture became effortless. Awesome :).

    I see now that any sort of mental posture effort (like the Alexander technique) is totally misfired. This is because by trying to do a posture you’re putting an additional layer of effort on top of the bodies natural functioning. THE BODY KNOWS how to heal itself and what a correct posture is. The thing is to get out of your own way to let it happen.
    (this revelation is a bit like realizing the pickup community techniques are totally misfired – as with posture – your body knows how to attract and seduce a woman, you don’t need to put an additional layer of bullshit on top).

    Thanks very much guys for this.
    There’s still more work to do in my shoulders (they’re curled up too much) but I see what happened as a major breakthrough. And yes, I see potential here in totally eliminating manual body therapy (although as I mentioned I have a good idea how the body works in terms of muscles and also I have lots of hours spent under the influence of plant psychadelics so I know how to “let the body do its thing” – not sure if this can be taught to the average joe).
    Wish me luck :).

    • Great news Moviestar. In my defense 😉 i do say on my blog to push the smile and kiss as well as going “softly” with them – i often refer to “playing” with this, exploring it – as it’s that moving through the ranges of motion (while stimulating that release of chemicals) and exploring that will cause these happenings. The relationship between the muscles used for these have a considerable effect on our posture through the atlas vertebrae and hyoid bone amongst other things. Sounds if you had a cranial bone shift for such a sudden change of posture, just be sure to integrate some nutritious movement such as squatting as a resting position and crawling to set that new pattern/position in place. it may take a while for it to fully integrate but it’s a great start. Good luck and feel free to contact me if you want to discuss further.

  14. Yuki says:

    Hey Andrew!

    I also suffer from OCD/anxiety/social anxiety disorder… whats your take on this with the whole myofasical release?

    And do you know any technique I can work on to completely wipe OCD out of my life?

    • Yes. Apply the above principles – The anxiety/OCD is tied into this tension/winds whatever. It’s been somehow stored within the system and this is how to get it out (tremors/unwinds). One thing you can start doing immediately is whenever a behaviour rears it’s head, stop, stand up straight and kiss the sky as we’ve discussed. Move your head if you wish, walk around – use the kiss (and smile) as an intervention and you will find that it (and the smile) will act as a conduit to remove that trigger/tension. Go back to that activity with the kiss in place as well, very useful. Won’t happen immediately in that one moment but it works pretty quickly if you also do the lying postures/playing with releasing tension – going with the bodies urges when in a variation of one of those positions (read my latest post on my blog if you like, i talk about it a little but no more than me and Edd already have – just worded slightly differently). Other positions have their merit two but those two are key imo. Having the head up at first is a big help but will become less important for reasons i won’t go into as i can’t be arsed to type anymore – call me and we can discuss sometime, face to face doesn’t cause tension like typing does :). I had really debilitating OCD behaviours and all went within about a 1-2 month period but knowing what i now know, i think i could reduce that to about 1-2 weeks with enough persistence and application.

  15. Yuki says:

    Thanks a lot for your help Andrew!! (and edd of course!)
    the post and comments here are a treasure!

  16. No worries Yuki. I should also have added that you can think about your body in this instance as a pressure cooker. As tension is released, the unwind/tremor etc is releasing energy but some energy gets trapped in the face as the face is getting tense in response to these releases – It will always have something to “say” about what’s happening – analysing, questioning – the kiss will release this – It helps get rid of any excess tension as the face is always gathering it and then (eventually) passing it further down the chain to the neck, shoulders (trapezius in particular). So the kiss is like an escape valve in one way. Also, think of the smile as acceptance and the kiss as the letting go. If you find a block/tension, try smiling at it (ideally a soft, Tao inner smile but not to worry, any smile will do) and then kiss to let it go. You can repeat this and it will work it’s magic. It can take time with major blocks but it will help. Not all blocks need acceptance but it won’t harm. Eventually your face will adopt the necessary expression that is best for each block you come across and the expression will change when it feels appropriate but as a general guide, i find the aforementioned approach to be very useful. Hope this helps 🙂

  17. Yuki says:

    Hmm I am kinda in doubt now if I even perform the laying posture correctly…

    I attempt to lay on my side, and I pull my bottom shoulder inside my body, but to be able to move my arm a bit more freely I need move it forward a bit so I can have more movements with my arm, but the shoulder keeps being tucked inward my body as much as it possibly can while laying on my side…

    Now, I raise my legs up but not too much, probably not even half way…

    However I found that my posture doesn’t lay totally on the side, a bit of the side stomach tend to touch the bed as well… I don’t know if this is correct or I need to be perfectly on my side

    • Illuminatus says:

      This gorilla has nice sleeping posture: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150415-apes-reveal-sleep-secrets
      Try that.

      Mainly I would advise you, for the moment, to stop rigidly following instructions and instead trust that your body will find a comfortable position by itself. As long as you don’t use a pillow, it should find a natural resting pose.

    • hey Yuki. If you need talking through (as that communication can help), let me know and we can skype. But this should do the job. Lie down, ideally on a hard(ish) surface (yoga mat on floor/back garden etc) but a bed will suffice. Anything to provide that particular somatic feedback/element (lying on something, being “supported”). You will almost certainly “progress” to harder surfaces but you can start on a bed if that’s preferable. Harder surfaces will make for a speedier progress but can hinder progress in the early stages if you are not ready. If you can’t get comfortable on a hard surface, start on something softer. It’s that simple – we are trying to get comfortable so even the move from hard ground to bed is technically part of the process/method. Start in any position (ideally fetal but it doesn’t really matter) and when you get an urge to move (as you are not perfectly comfortable), move. If you find you get “stuck” (nothing happening, don’t know what to do), start at the head and check if it’s comfortable. The check the neck, then the shoulders. then arms etc etc. If anywhere is not comfortable, you will then get an urge to move to another position – to get comfortable – you can’t get this wrong as every time you do it, you are progressing – and you will be told to move again when it becomes uncomfortable. That’s it. There are “accelerators” (cues that can assist in the early stages) but just go with this first as this is working in this form for a number of people and currently achieving very positive “results”. Good luck.

  18. Yuki says:

    Thanks andrew! I will keep this in consideration!

    Every night I keep practicing before I fall asleep

    The truth is when I am assuming the fetal like posture, even when I lay on my bottom hand/arm, I feel it’s quite comfortable for me, I don’t really feel the urge to move my hands or whatever to other positions… now, when I assume the posture without a pillow, ok it feels comfortable but I don’t feel that it induce sleep… with pillow, it feels a bit more comfortable than without, but I get a feeling of sleepiness…

    I did some search on google that laying down without a pillow isn’t so healthy because it does not support the spine so much… is this where the laying on hands part come in?

    • Illuminatus says:

      “now, when I assume the posture without a pillow, ok it feels comfortable but I don’t feel that it induce sleep… with pillow, it feels a bit more comfortable than without, but I get a feeling of sleepiness…”

      This is just a transition. Personally, now I find sleeping without a pillow MUCH more comfortable.

      “I did some search on google that laying down without a pillow isn’t so healthy because it does not support the spine so much… is this where the laying on hands part come in?”

      Who was it written by? Pillow manufacturers, with their little diagrams showing how their product supports the spine? It’s funny, those diagrams literally show the lines of fascia tension introduced to the body by using a pillow. They are like the tumour pictures put on the side of cigarette boxes.

      If the article was written by scientists, well remember that scientists (often without knowing it) are creating theories that support the status quo. It reminds me of scientific literature from the early 1900s saying that smoking promotes lung health and removes excess phlegm.

      The idea that the human evolved to require a pillow to “support the spine” is frankly preposterous.

      • As Illuminatus says, the spine support argument is false. Yes, when you first go without a pillow it will not be easy and that’s part of the process. If we are doing this the optimal way, it is on hard ground and you would be “forced” to use your arm for a “pillow”, the way it should be (from a “postural” point of view). I am however, aware that we have become so poorly conditioned to these positions that this can be too much for some and therefore starting in bed/softer surface and working towards arm under the head (with comfort) in this location first may be necessary. Then progress to a harder surface when ready. Ideally this should be “waking rest” and you don’t want to fall asleep (although it’s not a major issue if you do). Going without a pillow is key and it sounds as if you are ready for that transition. The next step (as already alluded to) would be to lie with your “underarm” acting as a pillow, the way it would for most of our evolutionary past. This position unravels secrets in the mobility of our shoulders (particularly the rear deltoid where you will find staggering amounts of tension “stored”) as well as re-introducing the elbow/forearm/wrist complex to a range of motion most of us have lost (largely due to sitting posture with the arms out, reading books and on computers – as Edd has said many times) lost. Sorry that’s a tad scatty, very busy day but hopefully it helps. As i’ve said, always at the end of a skype line if required.

  19. Yuki says:

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned somewhere, but I came across this interesting article:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119282/

    • Yes Yuki, I’ve linked to that before (not sure if it was on here) as i remember reading that a few years ago. It’s a big part of the equation and as we (the group i’ve been working with, predominantly in the US) move forward we have realised that this is the probably the most powerful (and easiest) “intervention”. Utilising discomfort to create signals – which we then follow, showing the mindbody complex that we will respond to it’s signals (many of which we have ignored for years, hence our “health issues”) rather than ignoring them – so it doesn’t have to create chronic pain/illness to try and get our attention – this (obviously) also improves communications between the various aspects of the brain and body (apologies for the separation, they are one – i simply do so to make a point) restoring “physical” health through perfect posture as the system will move to find comfort – through this process we achieve what Bruce Lee said (“flow like water my friend”). If we look at the “brain” aspect and take Iain McGilchrist’s work as a starting point, those parts which have become over dominant through myriad factors (in more recent times this being “over stimulation”) have their feedback loop broken – or at least interfered with, bring about equanimity as the other aspects receive stimulation too. Obviously some forms of meditation go some way to help with this but they have one major fault. They don’t act upon those signals. And if you don’t act upon the signals given by the system, the system will break down eventually. It doesn’t give you signals just for fun (Well, sometimes it does give signals just to see if you are listening but that’s for another post). I believe that the very message at the heart of many modalities have been misinterpreted over time (and maybe even tampered with maliciuously, who knows) and we have ended up with things that appear useful and do go some way to helping (temporarily) but miss that final ingredient – which is not just to listen, but to act.

  20. Yuki says:

    Thanks for sharing this very interesting!

    Usually people during the night, consciously and unconsciously are changing postures…

    When one is getting into the habit of sleeping in that ape posture, will the same changing of postures still happen during the night?

    Do you know by any chance if sleeping in that posture produces more vivid dreams and better recall over all?

    • Illuminatus says:

      My experience:

      I sleep in that ape posture exclusively, now. I fall asleep — LITERALLY — within seconds of getting in that position and placing awareness on the top lip. I will tend to wake up after one sleep cycle (~90 minutes). I will go to the toilet if necessary. If not, I will just turn over and mirror the position on the other side, and fall asleep within seconds again then repeat.

      I tend to have far fewer dreams now, since I have been doing this. That may be something to do with the body being able to perform its maintenance without obstruction (e.g. the extra fascial tension caused by unnatural sleeping positions) so this maintenance passes under the radar and does not enter consciousness. If I sleep on my back I will still tend to have lots of dreams.

  21. P_locked says:

    I’ve been trying out these mindful yawning and kiss smile breathe techniques for a while and by a while I mean a month.

    For mindful yawning, I stand up and clench my calves and force my elbows down in the pose you described in your other post. I sort of squeeze my back muscles as I do this along with my calves and then release. When I release I just let my arms fall back down to my sides and feel a pull from different parts of my body to move. I can describe this pull as the same feeling one gets when they press both arms against the side of a door frame for thirty seconds, let go, and witness their arms rise without them trying. I then sort of semi guide the body parts through the motion that it is pulling in. I feel like I sort of have to use some muscle but not nearly as much as when I’m consciously intending to move a body part. This results in me swaying around kind of in weird ridiculous poses. I find that my head turns in circles around the axis of my neck a lot. Sometimes my hips move in circles as well in a weird way too (I could never do this in public lol). Interestingly, I’ve found that when I release my calves and the yawning position, if I were to place my awareness in my hips, the pulling sensation starts there thus causing my hips to move. Same for my neck and my arms. Is this normal and am I doing this technique correctly?

    Also, from reading your comments Illuminatus, I can’t tell if you’ve ditched that method completely for the kiss breathe smile method. I’ve tried the kiss breathe smile method and achieve sort of the same result with an even bigger pull sensation in my neck. When standing though, I don’t really feel motion originating in other parts of my body. I tried it while laying down and felt many sensations occurring all over my body. I guess these sensations are unwinding occurring on a micro level. I sort of felt unwinding occur in several places. In fact, when I was doing it an hour ago, I felt like a belt of sensations slowly wrapping around my waist originating from the back all the way to the front. Every time I felt the unwinding begin to die down, I just repeated the kiss breathe smile method again. Again, is it normal to feel this occur and am I on the right track?

    I don’t really know when to end these sessions either. When I feel like I have to do something else, I consciously stop and just go on doing something else. Is there harm to not letting the unwinding fully carry out? I ask this because I woke up this morning with muscular pain on the left side of right knee. Can’t really bend it a lot but it’s gotten better as the day has gone on and I feel like the unwinding helped with the pain.

    • P_locked says:

      Of course, the knee pain could come from a variety of other things. I go to the gym 6 days a week and do HIIT on a bike twice a week. It could definitely stem from my lifting regimen too. I’d be happy to hear what you think though.

    • Illuminatus says:

      I have modified the method into something that works every time, for any problem. Here is a paste of my latest email to Andrew Hutchinson. I will do a full post on it soon, but that will add no new information to the method. Everything you need is below:

      Hi Andy,

      I have a new enhanced version of the kiss technique I’d like you to try out, please.

      You do the kiss face as normal, but instead of holding it, you “suckle” – many times a second. So just how a baby suckles on a teat, you suck towards the lips and release, but many times a second. This suck activates fascia right into the shoulders. Additionally, you should experiment with the head in many different positions, e.g. tucked into the chest, and notice how this releases fascia in different places, e.g. where the shoulder meets the neck.

      Ideally you should be approximating the positions that inserted the fascia twists in the first place – these are mostly sleep positions. So you will want to get the arms involved, too, e.g. by bending the elbow and pointing fists at the sky. Hold a location and suckle many times a second, for about 30 seconds. Then move around to let the loosened fascia reorganize. Then you will be ready to go again.

      Another great thing to do is to “pulse” the hands – and, in other positions, the feet, and other body parts where tightness is felt. So, for the hand, just open it suddenly then release it, many times a second. You can enhance this by simultaneously doing a held kiss, or a suckle.

      The entire problem is caused by fascia sticking to and wrapping around nerves. Pulsing those nerves causes them to release fascia. It must be done over and over again because these “winds” accumulate, and are contributed to from many different angles/positions. The lines from the hands joining into the neck, face, and behind the ear, seem very important.

      It is good to just work on the tightest spots, which will present themselves to you. It makes for a simple logical order to do things in. E.g. I have a tight lump in my neck: locate it mentally and suckle while simultaneously pulsing the hands and therefore the nerves that feed through that tight spot. They release, very tangibly.

      Let me know how it goes?

      • P_locked says:

        Hi Illuminatus,

        Life has sort of gotten in the way of me doing this technique consistently(I forgot). I remember trying this technique the first time and just feeling like an idiot that was kissing some sort of giant while massaging her breast which made me stop for a while. However, trying the suckling technique now, I am now aware of how this affects the fascia in my shoulders. I’ll try sticking to this technique now along with the technique you gave to Salg in your more recent mailbag in which you tilt your head back and make the pucker face.

        Question though. When I do these myofascial release techniques standing up, I know I am supposed to let my body do it’s thing but every time I completely let go of control of my body, I just feel like I’m about to fall forward or backward. When that happens I naturally take a foot forward or back to stop myself but, simultaneously, I’ve stopped the unwinding process from occurring. Am I letting to loose of my body?

        • Illuminatus says:

          No, you only let the body do its thing while lying on a hard surface e.g. a carpeted floor. The kiss technique while standing is purely a short-term management technique.

      • Illuminatus says:

        Just wanted to add: skip this suckle technique if you just read it.

        • P_locked says:

          Oh man, I just did the suckle technique shortly after I posted while standing up and it led to some crazy body movements. I started off standing and then slowly bent down to the point where I sat down cross-legged. I then laid down while my lets were cross legged and my body started to tremor and shake around my hips as they oscillated between stretching the left and right sides. I doubted the tech before but now it seemed like it worked. I got up from the floor feeling lighter than before.

          Did you discover a technique better than the suckle one?

          • Illuminatus says:

            Yes. My new technique is a surgical-precision release on each nerve that has fascia wrapped around it, using yawn-tech. The aim is a total cure requiring no method going (except for normal yawning in the morning and after computer work). If what I’m doing is working as I believe it is I should be fixed in a couple of days. Then I’ll announce it.

            But be warned — I’ve said this many times before about other methods.

            • P_locked says:

              Good luck to you then! I hope it works out to be the method to end all methods. Once again, thank you for the tech. I just did “Kiss, Smile, Breathe, Repeat” on the floor and found it to do the same as the suckle technique in terms in how my body moved about. I’m excited for anything new that is to come.

        • Illuminatus says:

          Changed my mind — the suckle is back in.

          I advise you try to use all facial muscles when kissing/suckling — including the eyebrows (both squeezing them AND raising them), scrunching up the nose, and raising the ears.

          Also, try standing and looking up, and placing the fingers just behind the ears while doing this.

  22. Marius says:

    Has anyone else experienced any success with this? I’ve been trying it for a few days, but I feel I’m stumbling my way through it. I can definitely feel… something. It’s subtle. Little muscle spasms that happen randomly throughout the day, tremors in my feet/toes and my right hand, weird sensations in my face(of lightness, fine vibrations), that sort of thing. Am I on the rig ht path?

    The thing is I’m also doing some other stuff with the aim of releasing tension. David Bercelli’s tremors (which haven’t spread above the legs/pelvis area ), Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique and a program called Code of the Natural by Rob Brinded, which is a mix of stretching, foam rolling, energetic stuff etc..
    In the past I’ve tried to do Wim Hof’s breathing course and some Reichian breathing – both based on hyperventilation – but both made my tinnitus act up like crazy and I stopped immediately.

    It’s all kind of haphazard and I don’t know which – if any- of them is working.

    Anyway, back to the KSBR technique. How long should I do it? How fast should I do it? Should I do it standing up or lying down. Do I inhale on the smile and exhale on the kiss or, as the name suggests, do I breathe after the kiss/smile? Am I overthinking this stuff?

    • Illuminatus says:

      My current belief is that the body is trying to arrange itself symmetrically around the PHRENIC NERVES (the purple lines on this diagram):

      So we have:

      – The deep suck in yawning
      – Laughing
      – Crying

      all being strong pulses along those nerves causing them to shed myofascial binds. The way the myofascial system works, any nerve can become “bound” to any other nerve in the whole body provided there is a sheet of myofascia running between them. The body is a completely customized system for each individual, training via habits. There are useful binds (e.g. from exercise/weight training) and non-useful binds (e.g. from emotional events (anxious gripping, which laughter/crying is there to resolve) and sleep positions/ computer use). Most of these binds will intersect the phrenic nerves at some point, and pulsing those nerves releases the binds, hence yawning, laughter and crying as natural release mechanisms.

      This also accounts for the direction to constantly be breathing during yoga (if you have a good instructor, that is — I have had a few that neglected that step).

      So my current thought is that you should be breathing regularly during all these exercises, and I’ve found that if you visualize the breath pulling down those purple lines on the diagram you will find a lot of stuff releases very tangibly.

      So, hold the pout while in firmly through your nose. When you smile, release the breath downwards through those lines while saying “Ahhh”.

      I have such serious asymmetries in my body via bizarrely different sleep positions on each side (the left side being far tighter) that I have largely given up on attaining anything close to “perfection” and instead try to aim for functionality via making the sides as symmetrical as possible via work down the phrenic nerves.

      This is a strange and frustrating area of life and there are no easy answers. Luckily I have found that completely still meditation fixes a lot of my problems because REM and mental awareness helps resolve asymmetries in function. It doesn’t do anything for my flexibility. though. I am considering finding a genuinely decent yoga instructor and tackling it that way.

  23. andrew hutchinson says:

    Wow, it’s been a while since this. things have progressed significantly for me and those in the “team” we now work with, mostly with chronic illness but the same principles apply. It’s not the ksbr “technique” – there is no technique as such which is what i’d always “known” would be the key. And it’s not mine, i was shown when i tapped into the higher intelligence that we all have. the secret is in how you access and utilise that knowledge it has. I’d hesitate to even get started here as it’s much easier to go through face to face to covers the various aspects and subtleties – needless to say it’s nothing new in terms of “techniques” but the applications of them. If anyone does want to chat, email me at merlintheyogin@hotmail.com and i am happy to chat when i can find time – with two kids running around all the time and the other stuff going on it can be tight but i’ll try.

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