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Self-Help Suggestions for Sleep and Relaxation

Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise

1.  Lie on your back and either bend your knees over a pillow or sit in a                chair.

2.  Place one hand flat against your chest and the other on your                            stomach.

3.  Take slow, deep breaths through your nose, keeping the hand on                    your chest still as the hand on your stomach rises and falls with                        your breaths.

4.  Next, breath slowly through pursed lips.

Eventually, you want to be able to breath in and out without your chest moving.  This technique slows your breathing and decreases your oxygen needs as it strengthens your diaphragm.

Box Breathing

During box breathing, you want to focus intently on the oxygen you’re bringing in and pushing out:

1.  Sit with your back straight, breathe in, and then try to push all the                    air out of your lungs as you exhale.

2.  Inhale slowly through your nose and count to 4 in your head, filling                your lungs with more air with each number.

3.  Hold your breath and count to 4 in your head.

4.  Slowly exhale through your mouth, focusing on getting all the                          oxygen out of your lungs.

4-7-8 Breathing Technique - Aids Sleep

1.  Allow your lips to gently part.

2.  Exhale completely, making a breathy whoosh sound as you do.

3.  Press your lips together as you silently inhale through the nose for a        count of 4 seconds.

4.  Hold your breath for a count of  7.

5.  Exhale again for a full 8 seconds, making a whooshing sound                        throughout.

6.  Repeat 4 times when you first start. Eventually work up to 8                          repetitions.

Dr. Andrew Weil developed this technique as a variation of pranayama, an ancient yogic technique that helps people relax as it replenishes oxygen in the body.

Alternate Nasal Breathing Exercise - Stress Relief

(Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)

1.  Sit with your legs crossed.

2.  Place your left hand on your knee and your right thumb against                      your nose.

3.  Exhale fully and then close the right nostril.

4.  Inhale through your left nostril.

5.  Open your right nostril and exhale through it, while closing the left.

6.  Continue this rotation for 5 minutes, finishing by exhaling through                  your left nostril.