Could an ancient ayurvedic method of healing be the key to combating stress and alleviating our ailments?
The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda bases its approach to health on balance. It covers everything from achieving the best nutritional balance, to the optimal physical, mental and emotional balances, through the depth of your body and aura. While most people know about Ayurveda for its dietary dosha teachings and holistic disease prevention, a very specific targeted approach is making a resurgence: the pechoti method. This unique holistic therapy is named after what ayurvedic healers call the pechoti gland, located behind your belly button. By dripping oil into your belly button, rubbing a balm around your navel, or using navel candling or reiki, you can nourish and heal different parts of your body. Intrigued? Then read on to find out more.
The concept of the pechoti method is based on the fact that the belly button is your original source of sustenance. The pechoti gland lies at the end of the umbilical cord in the womb, and although your umbilical cord is cut when you’re born, the gland remains active throughout the rest of your life. So, by stimulating this area, you can access all kinds of holistic benefits. “It makes perfect sense – your belly button is the earliest centre of nourishment for your body, and the area behind it is connected to a combination of more than 70 million nerves through the body,” says holistic therapist Kate Gasson (facebook. com/soulshineholistictherapies). “Emotional turbulence, stress, anxiety and so on can all cause poor health and chronic pain. So, by stimulating the pechoti gland, you target the other glands within its network and make waves to communicate with every cell in your body, facilitating a whole-body healing process.”
Your navel is situated over your digestive tract, as well as major lymph nodes and blood vessels. Crucially, it’s also connected to your vagus nerve – one of the largest nerves in your body, running from your gut to your brain – meaning it plays a major responsibility in the rest and digest functions of your body. “Stimulating the vagus nerve via the pechoti method can positively alter your brainwaves, leading to a deep state of relaxation,” says Kate. “In addition, many western ailments are influenced by gut health. By communicating directly with the gut via your belly button, you release energetic tension and blockages and, in some cases, disease (in a holistic sense, the word disease means literally that – your mind and body is not at ease).” Rebalancing treatments such as pechoti therapy are the perfect example of how your physical and mental health can be brought back into balance by targeting a central point.
Although the concept of poking things in your belly button might seem strange at first, it’s the ideal access point to the major organs behind your belly, as there’s barely any muscle to the back of your navel compared to the rest of your torso. If you’re wondering why this ancient method is only now seeing a renaissance, the increased popularity of CBD oil and other cannabinoid plant compounds has a lot to do with it. “The thirst for knowledge around CBD and its benefits is growing leaps and bounds,” says traditional naturopath Dr Lakisha Jenkins (drlakisha.com). “People using cannabis medicinally often want to avoid the psychoactive effects. By using CBD oil in the navel, the veins in the umbilicus absorb it so it avoids being metabolised by the liver and having unwanted effects.” The gastrointestinal tract, in particular, contains lots of cannabinoid receptors, so simply dropping the oil into your belly button can be a good reliever for anxiety, PMS, and endocrine or nervous system disorders.
As with any healing oils, you can choose different applications to target particular issues. Simply dilute your chosen aromatherapy oil with a carrier oil, such as moringa, sweet almond or olive oil, and drip three drops into your belly button as you relax, meditatively focusing on what issues you want to target. If you want to leave the treatment in place overnight, soak a cotton bud in the oil mix and pop it on your belly button before you sleep. You could also mix different aromatherapy oils with shea butter or coconut oil and rub them around your belly button, using a flat palm, in a medium-firm circular motion. Some popular preparations are citrus oil and frankincense for increased mood; neem oil for better circulation and skin health; castor or peppermint oil to help with digestion, including constipation; eucalyptus for oral and throat issues; and lavender for relaxation.
Navel candling is another ancient healing method, this time with Indonesian origins. Here, the energy of the navel, or hara, is known as the ‘seat of life’, where your inherent emotions lay. This continues both the ayurvedic and basic biological principles of your belly button as a source of nourishment. In hara, gently burning a hollow linen and beeswax candle protruding from your navel – similar to how you’d use ear candles – creates a vacuum to unleash your peaceful, inner self. Just make sure you remove any decorating belly button jewellery first! As well as different preparations of essential oils within the candle, herbs can be used for more targeted treatments, such as fertility or gynaecological problems, PMS, digestive issues and more. Try the Priadara navel candles (£7.85, ellisons.co.uk). You could even brew, then cool, herbal tea bags such as fennel or chamomile to soak into your navel.
Both oil and candling forms of the pechoti method can be complemented by other holistic treatments, including reiki or crystal healing. Your belly button itself sits directly between the second and third chakras – known in Sanskrit as the Svadhisthana and Manipura chakras. Fire agate and orange carnelian are the ideal ‘gut healing’, intuitiveness-boosting stones to place in your belly button. By using a little pressure with your thumbs or middle fingers of both hands, gently and rhythmically press your navel area. If you feel pressure or tension here, this could signify a blockage. So, by concentrating healing to this area, you’ll not only get the targeted benefits mentioned above but also realign your creative, sexual and confident self too.
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