753: The Neck is the Bottleneck to Healing With Jodi Cohen

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The Neck is the Bottleneck to Healing With Jodi Cohen
Wellness Mama » Episode » 753: The Neck is the Bottleneck to Healing With Jodi Cohen
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The Wellness Mama Podcast
753: The Neck is the Bottleneck to Healing With Jodi Cohen

I’m back with my dear friend Jodi Cohen and today we’re talking all about the neck and why so much of our health depends on what’s going on there. For those who don’t know, Jodi founded Vibrant Blue Oils, one of my favorite essential oil resources.

If you really think about it our necks house and connect so many important things, including the lymphatic system, the vagus nerve, our thyroid, and more. As we age we may think about putting some lotion there as part of our skincare routine, but there’s really so much more to taking care of that area. Jodi makes the case for why it’s so important to pay attention to neck health and any lymphatic congestion there and how this ties in with the overall health in our body.

She also covers some practical tips that are quick and easy but still make a big difference when it comes to lymphatic and nervous system health. These simple steps not only keep things moving but help to signal to our nervous system that we’re safe and get us into rest and digest mode. I always learn so much from Jodi and I hope you’ll join us and listen in!

Episode Highlights With Jodi Cohen

  • Why the vagus nerve is such a key to healing and nervous system health
  • How pathogens in the mouth contribute to lymph and vagus nerve issues
  • Where to focus on the neck and clavicle as a natural facelift 
  • There are more lymph nodes in the neck than anywhere in the body
  • Why we might not actually be relaxed or in parasympathetic while we’re sleeping
  • Ways to help get the body into parasympathetic
  • The opposite of I don’t feel safe is “I have choices”
  • How we can help our kids develop good nervous system health and habits
  • The “how we eat” is often more important than what we eat and why digesting in parasympathetic is important 

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Read Transcript

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

Hello, and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And this episode talks all about the neck as the bottleneck for healing and how so much hinges, excuse the pun, on it. But I’m back with my friend, Jodi Cohen, who is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils, which is a company that I have personally used and seen really dramatic results actually from people that I’ve been close to in my life, including a couple of people who had things that were not responding to any other form of help and responded incredibly well to this. And so, this really got the idea of using sort of therapeutic essential oils in a really unique way on my radar. And in this episode, we talk about this in a very specific way related to the neck in general and all of the things that connect there, including the lymphatic system, the vagus nerve, the thyroid, of course, and so much more. And she makes a strong case for why paying attention to your neck health and any kind of congestion happening there lymphatically to your vagus nerve can be so helpful for so many parts of the body. And she shares some practical tips that you can integrate in daily life that do not take much time or effort that can make a big difference when it comes to vagus nerve and lymphatic and your nervous system health and being able to signal safety to your nervous system. Jodi is always a wealth of knowledge and such a fun person to talk to. So let’s jump in and talk to Jodi. Jodi, welcome back. I’m so glad we get to chat again. How are you?

Jodi: I’m wonderful. How are you?

Katie: I’m doing so good. I always love chatting with you. And we got to recently have a conversation all about topical remedies and the science of why they work so well and can be so effective, even if you have other things going on. I’ll make sure that’s linked in the show notes. In this one, I’m really excited to get to go deep and learn from you on the neck because we touched on the neck a little bit in the first episode about how it’s close to the vagus nerve. There’s the lymphatic connection. Seems like there’s a lot that sort of hinges, excuse the pun, on the neck. So I would love in this episode to get to go deep on the concept of why is the neck the bottleneck to healing?

Jodi: Yeah, if you think about it, you know, our brain is kind of our most important organ, right? And what is how do the good things get into the brain and the bad things drain from the brain? The neck. The neck is really the pivotal point to ensure like nutrients, oxygen, everything flows and metabolic waste, viruses, metals, you know, toxicity drains down. And one thing I wrote, I started, I was super obsessed with the vagus nerve, which is basically the connection between the gut and the brain or the brain and the rest of the body. It basically, you know, send signals to the body from the brain and then receive signals from the body to the brain and controls digestion, detoxification, immunity, inflammation, pretty much everything.

And what we were finding is that in chronically ill people, there was some kind of vagus nerve dysfunction. We called it vagus nerve toxicity at the time. There is a tough researcher named, who basically talked about vagus nerve infection hypothesis. This idea that if the vagus nerve is somehow infected either from, you know, metals draining, you know, from the mouth along the trigeminal nerve and basically getting stuck there or other things, all of a sudden you develop all of these symptoms. All of these autoimmune symptoms, all of these chronic illness symptoms. And when people were able to detoxify the vagus nerve, people healed really quickly. And so that was kind of the starting point. So I created my parasympathetic blend of essential oil and was teaching people to use it kind of behind the earlobe where the vagus nerve is the most accessible to the surface. And that seemed to help a lot. It got people, you know, basically from like zero to seven, but they weren’t getting from seven to 10. So it was like, what else is going on in there?

And if you think about the neck, there’s a lot going on, right? There’s the nerves, there’s the structure, there’s the lymphatic system, there’s the fascia that surrounds it. Then there’s the vascular system. So people who have brain fog, a lot of times what’s happening when we would start to take photos, sonograms of the neck, we would see the lymph tissue completely congested and compressing on the vagus nerve. You know, I mentioned, I just flew home from New York last night and thankfully I wasn’t in the middle seat, but the person behind me was literally between two linebackers. And I was kind of watching them trying to read the book. If your lymph is really congested, it compresses into the vagus nerve and all of a sudden, the vagus nerve isn’t signaling. So what we did is we started to, we took sonogram photos before and after of congested lymph, and then using remedies like essential oils to help topically, you know, the lymph is close to the surface. So a topical remedy is the best way to kind of decongest the lymph, allow for drainage. You open certain points to ensure that, you know, the exit ramp is open. And then all of a sudden, the lymph is decongesting, the vagus nerve can signal. So we started to realize that if the neck is congested, it’s really going to interfere with your ability to heal, especially related to brain fog and brain-related ailments.

Katie: That makes sense. And I would guess it’s a multifaceted answer, but what is contributing so much to that congestion, especially right in the neck and the vagus nerve area? Because it seems like just like most things in today’s world, that seems to be on the rise. Like it seems like something that maybe didn’t used to be as much of a problem as we’re seeing now. So what are some of the things like before we talk about more solutions, what are some of the things we’re doing that are maybe part of the problem?

Jodi: Pathogens in the mouth. You know, if you think about what is the exit route, you know, for either amalgams or any kind of pathogens, I tell everyone, actually, I love your oil pulling recipe. It’s the best one I’ve ever seen. So that’s one way to ensure that the pathogens actually leave when you spit them out of your mouth. If not, where do they drain? They drain along their trigeminal nerve, along the jaw, and then they have to drain down the neck. And so, they’re all these, it’s almost like everyone leaving, you know, the theater after the Taylor Swift concert, like it’s just a barrage to get out. And so it can sit too long and the nerves have a really high affinity for toxins, especially metals. So they get uptaken.

Other things that can contribute to neck congestion, you know, the fascia, we all, what are we doing? We’re like looking at our device. We all have like tech neck, we’re hunched over. And so, then the fascia kind of clamps down, you know, we’re bracing for impact. And if the fascia is congested or I’m sorry, kind of restricted around the lymph, it doesn’t even give it the space to flow. It’s a little bit like trying to fit into your skinny jeans, right? It constricts you.

Katie: Well, it seems like based on that, one other recommendation might be to just move more, not like go for a full out sprint, but just, I know like walking is lymphatically supportive, jumping on a trampoline, like even a little one gently, super lymphatically supportive. In fact, I’ve been experimenting with that of having a mini trampoline in my room and trying to jump on that, especially without any constrictive clothing on and just like help support my lymphatic movement throughout the body. Also, I would guess, and you can confirm or deny, but hydration probably makes a big difference in the body clearing this as well. Can we get more stagnation and congestion when we aren’t properly hydrated and don’t have enough just actual intercellular fluid to move that?

Jodi: Absolutely. And it’s not just water. It’s the salt in the cells. You know, the other thing you were saying as I was thinking of it, the body is hydraulic system, right? There needs to be space down below for things to drain. So a lot of it is also congestion. You know, the majority of the lymph drains, 100% of the lymph drains through the clavicles. This is the main exit route for the lymph. So if there’s congestion down here, what happens? The toxins and the congestion back up and they sit too long around the thyroid, around the vagus nerve, all of these things, you know, what are we seeing in our society today? We’re seeing all these digestive issues that have to do with vagus nerve function. So many people have thyroid issues. What could it be? Could it be that the toxins are sitting too long and getting up taken by the organs?

Katie: That makes sense. And I think as women, especially we, at least we tend to focus on our face a lot and wanting to keep our cosmetic appearance looking good. And we put lots of stuff on our face and hopefully if we’re using natural products, some of those things are actually very supportive, but I know I’ve heard a lot about people, especially with aging. And I’m now aware of it too. Like our neck and chest area can actually kind of give us away when it comes to aging, even if we’re taking special care of our face. And I think the things you’re speaking to make a strong case for also paying attention to our clavicle and like that area in our chest and also our neck, which also cosmetically, like you said in the first episode are beneficial, but actually potentially much more beneficial than all this focus we have just on our face and how it looks like. It seems like this is kind of a key to the whole body.

Jodi: You know, it’s funny, one of my daughter’s best friends, the dad, is a famous plastic surgeon. He was saying like, you know, you can do it. I don’t do any Botox or anything, but there’s a lot you can do to the face. If the neck is a mess, you have to get a facelift. And then that causes all of these other health concerns because that messes up the lymph congestion. It creates other scars near the head. It can lead to all these other problems. So you’re better off being proactive with your neck. And the way to do that, it’s really simple. It’s an easy, natural facelift, right? You start with three steps. You open the clavicle. You can just gently brush along the clavicle. You can do this at any time. You can start underneath, then go on top. This is step one. Order matters. You know, you don’t yell fire in the crowded movie theater without opening the exit doors. This is opening the exit doors and 75% of the lymph drains on the left side. So you can start with that left side. If you kind of gently touch your clavicle and this feels tender, you just know like, okay, that’s an area I’m going to work on. It’s a little bit like if you try to run a mile and it’s hard for you, you’re like, I’ll work on that. So, you know, you can do this like 10 strokes, 20 strokes, once a day, twice a day. Anything is better than nothing. So that’s step one.

Step two is really just opening, you know, the majority of the lymph nodes. There are more lymph nodes in the neck than anywhere else in the body. And the more you allow them to like gently move, it’s literally like, you know, if you have a tangle in your hair. Kind of gently. Taking it out. The more you kind of allow it to unlock and, decongest, the easier it is to flow. So behind the ear is step two. And then step three is kind of, you can drain down the sides of the neck. You can, you know, go on the jawline. You can get a Gua Sha. You can just use your fingers. All of this just really opens up space. And I love the addition of essential oils because oils are kind of expansive. So they help create more space. They can create warmth, which can create movement, which can create flow. They just help to kind of unlock things and let things move.

Katie: That makes sense. And with all the talk of the vagus nerve, I would love to also go deep on the topic of the parasympathetic nervous system, because it seems like in the modern world, especially for all the various reasons that we all talk about with screens late at night and food late at night and our higher stress levels and watching the news and all of the factors that we tend to spend a lot more time in sympathetic nervous system dominance than parasympathetic. I know Molly Eastman, who’s a sleep expert, told me recently that our nighttime respiration rate, you actually want to see it like ideally somewhere in the five to eight breaths per minute range to signal that you’re actually in parasympathetic. Most people are not in that range, me included. And so even if we don’t feel mentally stressed, very often our nervous system might feel stressed and we might be in sympathetic nervous system dominance, even when we’re sleeping, which can contribute to poor sleep and all kinds of problems. So I know this is also, like you said, so connected to the vagus nerve and to our nervous system. So what are some other things we can do to support? Being able to downshift into parasympathetic more easily. I know you have a specific oil for this, but I know there’s also a lot of complimentary things we can do.

Jodi: Well, you brought up something interesting, Stephen Porges, who wrote The Polyvagal Theory, he’s kind of the father of the modern thinking on the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. He talks about so many of us, we think when we’re asleep, we’re relaxing, right? So many of us are sleeping in the sympathetic state. Like if you conk out, if you like, you know, it’s basically like, you know, your phone just dies, just run out of juice. That is often sleeping in sympathetic. And so even though you think you’re resting and recharging, you’re really not, you’re in the wrong gear. It’s kind of like trying to drive your car in neutral.

So backing up a moment for people who don’t know a lot about the nervous system, your autonomic nervous system controls your automatic functions. The things you do without thinking, breathing, digesting, detoxifying, immune function, anti-inflaming. And because it’s designed to keep you alive, it have two gears. Kind of the gas pedal, you know, you’re in danger, you need to allocate resources towards survival. This is called your sympathetic branch of your nervous system. And then the danger has passed. It’s safe to rest, repair, recover. That’s called your parasympathetic nervous system. And sadly, you know, most of us think of the lion chasing us down the street and then, you know, there’s danger and we respond in sympathetic. They’re not that many lions running around my neighborhood, but to your point, any kind of emotional threat, can turn us on. We can turn on the news and see that there was a school shooting and think, oh my God, could that happen to my children? And suddenly in our mind, our kids are in danger and our sympathetic nervous system is going through the roof.

And interestingly, you know, there’s a great book, Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. It talks about how in the wild, the lion chases the zebra, the zebra outruns it, it’s safe. It stops and shakes. For any of you who have dogs, you walk your dog, they bark at their friend, and, you know, they walk away, and they shake. What they’re doing when they’re shaking is kind of shifting gears into the parasympathetic rest and digest branch. We as humans, sadly, don’t shake. We turn on the news, we see the school shooting, we run into a friend who, you know, tells us about their mother who might be going through something. We pick up our kids at school, they have a bad day, they’re upset, we pick up that energy, you know, we just keep going through it. And we’re kind of stuck in this danger, danger, danger. When there’s not really danger. And what that means is that our blood is being routed away from our core, from our organs of digestion and detoxification to our arms and our limbs in case we need to fight back or flee. Interestingly for anxiety, you know, the part of your brain that kind of helps you make accurate, calm decisions is called your prefrontal cortex. And that requires blood flow in order to think clearly, in order to like not make every mole hill a mountain, you know, to say like, oh, that’s, you know, I wouldn’t have picked that, but I’m going to be okay. And when we’re in that kind of fight or flight sympathetic blood flow is routed away from our prefrontal cortex because we can’t really contemplate the fate of the universe and also survive the threat.

So everything that happens, we experience as more intense, we experience as anxiety provoking or overwhelming. And so, what’s interesting, the gear shift between danger, fight or flight and safety, parasympathetic rest and digest is your vagus nerve. It’s the longest nerve in the body. That connects the brain to the rest of the body. It starts at the very back of the head, splits and is most accessible, if you feel with me behind your earlobe, you’re going to feel a bone. That’s your mastoid bone. That is literally where the vagus nerve is the most accessible to the surface, which makes it the easiest to stimulate it right there. You can also stimulate it with box breathing. Yoga is great. There are a lot of techniques that my mentor says like gagging yourself with a tongue depressor. Coffee enemas, basically anywhere that the vagus nerve travels through, or nerve aids you can use to stimulate it. Much like the supplement graveyard, you know, if you don’t practice it, it doesn’t help you. No one that I was telling gag yourself with a tongue depressor. They would look at me like I had five heads. They’re like not doing that. But oil, you can carry it in your pocket. It’s as easy as this. It takes two seconds. You can do it on your kids. That somehow, they’re able to do. They’re like that I can do. And then they notice like, oh, I was really anxious and upset, but now I feel okay. You know, I was worried that the school shooting is going to happen at my school, but now I’m realizing it might not. It’s a different state, different school, you know, like I’m probably safe. I’m probably okay. I can probably relax and digest my food and eliminate my waste.

Katie: Oh, so many important points in what you just brought up. And I will say an unconventional one that I would add to it is for vagal nerve stimulation. I got this tip that actually singing or yelling, both like yelling, especially women don’t typically do as much or growling, things like that. Anything vibrational stimulates the vagus nerve and also the thyroid. And I didn’t know this at the time, but I started taking voice lessons years ago. And it was around the time that my thyroid started improving. And I realized probably from like having to belt, I was probably stimulating my vagus nerve and my thyroid function a lot just through the vibration of my vocal cords. And so that’s a free thing we can all do. Even if in my case, you’re not singing well, you’re singing poorly in the shower, you’re still stimulating your thyroid and your vagus nerve.

But I also love that you brought up shaking because you’re right. You see this play out on National Geographic. If an animal narrowly escapes death, they will shake and then their nervous system will regulate. And I think when humans even experience the beginnings of that, we often try to suppress it and like act calm. But ironically, trying to act calm is not sending the safety signal to our body. So I had someone also recommend recently, like if you’re going to go on stage and speak or you’re doing something that’s making you nervous, shake on purpose first. Like don’t fight it. Try to like lean into it and let your whole body shake because that will actually help your nervous system feel much more safe more quickly than if you suppress it. And I had this experience, I’ve mentioned it a couple of times on here, but in my sort of trauma recovery, one of my first therapy sessions with that, that was somatic therapy. I relived the trauma and felt unsafe in it, which was actually really helpful. But when I got at the end of it, when I was put back down, my whole body shook for hours. And I think it was finally like emotionally letting my body process the emotions that I had suppressed for decades. And it was really, really helpful. So I love that you brought that up.

Even as just a note to be aware of that, if you experience those nervous system shakes, maybe lean in and let your body have that response rather than trying to fight it and maybe even like do it on purpose. But I think this topic in general is so vital. I think more and more as I learn, I think if we could focus on signaling our nervous system to feel safe in our own body, that that is such a key to so many aspects of health, even physical health. And it’s so often overlooked, but like you talked about in today’s world, we’re getting so many signals that we’re not safe. It is worth being intentional about finding ways to tell your nervous system that you are safe. And that’s going to ripple into so many areas of health and life and sleep and everything.

Jodi: No, that’s exactly what I think. It’s funny. I shake sometimes in yoga, like holding the pose. And I also, when I’m having a really big wave of emotion, I think oils, I actually love oils for this because I think so many of us, we don’t want to feel our feelings because we’re scared. We’re scared to actually feel angry or to feel fear or to feel sadness. So we just kind of stuff it. But if you can, you know, drinking from a fire hose is hard, but if you can gently like sip through things or breathing, I breathe out emotions all the time. I get sometimes scared passing trucks and traffic. It’s like stressful for me. So I just breathe the whole way. But I find that oils do the same thing. And especially with smelling, like it’s almost perfect because you can kind of smell in and be very intentional. Like if it’s fear, you know, you can smell in bravery. And then when you blow out, you can blow out whatever you’re ready to let go of in a small manageable amount. And sometimes you shake when you’re doing it.

Katie: I love that. Yeah. I think the oils and because scent is so closely tied to so many sensory experiences, to memory, to emotions, like you said, I know even kids who have used certain essential oils as scents to like get their body and their minds to trigger things. Like they’ll use an oil when they’re studying and then use it again when they’re taking a test because it’s so tightly tied to so many aspects of our memory and our body.

And I think also that topic you just mentioned on being willing to feel our feelings and not resist them is also a huge key that’s often overlooked. And I love that you kind of talked about almost like microdosing, like you don’t have to lean all the way into them all at once but give yourself permission to feel them and not resist them. And I think every ancient tradition has some version of the quote, what you resist, persist. And if you resist it, it’s going to stay there and probably get bigger to get your attention because it’s there for a reason. Whereas if you can just accept it, maybe be aware of your language around it. Don’t say I am angry. Say I’m experiencing anger, or I have anger or I feel anger. Don’t identify with it, but give it space to exist. It will often pass more quickly than if you lock it down. And I know I did that in my own life for many years. I would just sort of like pack down the feelings and then have to unpack them as a grownup and learn to release them. And I’m still learning, but I think that’s also such a valuable tip because I think our inner experience shapes our outer experience as well. And with the talk of nervous system health, if we’re suppressing emotions and existing in sort of a low-level state of anger or fear or guilt or panic or whatever it is, our nervous system is of course aware of that and it’s there to keep us safe. And so, it’s keeping us in sympathetic, but that might not serve us for rest and digestion and sleeping and connection and bonding and all the other great things we wanted to do.

Jodi: Exactly. You know, someone told me that the opposite of I don’t feel safe is I have choices. And I think, you know, just listening to this podcast, you always have choices. You can shake, you can smell something, you know, you can breathe. Like there are so many things that you can do when you’re having that hard day. Or that hard moment.

Katie: I love that. I just wrote that quote down the opposite of I don’t feel safe as I have choices. And I think that’s also been sort of a theme of this conversation is there are things we don’t have control over, like what’s happening in different places in the world or all the things we see on the news. And I personally take the stance that it is often better to not overindulge in the news because we can’t do anything about that. But our nervous system still sort of wants us to. We don’t like our nervous system doesn’t understand that we’re removed from all those things. It thinks these are immediate dangers in our own life. So I tend to avoid watching the news too much. But I think that that’s just such a key of that, like feeling of safety and doing the things that can help signal the safety. And so, I love that you tie this all in and give a very practical, easy remedy, because also many of the things we can do require effort. And I feel like simple like oils before bed or at different times of the day is a very low investment in something that can have a big shift for our nervous system.

Jodi: Yeah, it’s like, I mean, I think so many people love coffee in the morning because they like the smell. I think there’s something about smell and ritual, you know, Thanksgiving dinner, all of these Christmas, the tree, you know, it’s just a nice ritual that’s really easy. You can smell, you can topically apply, you can make it a really small nurturing ritual that kind of helps you both physically, you know, like making your neck more attractive and kind of opening up, making sure that the garbage leaves the body. And then also mentally, it’s just something you do for you.

Katie: When I don’t know if there’s data around this, but just purely anecdotally, I’ve noticed there almost seems to be like the nervous system kind of learns a Pavlovian response, especially with sense in that, like the more I use them, the more I notice it takes less time to feel like I’m downshifting into parasympathetic. It’s like my nervous system smells it and is like, oh, relax time. And it like does it more rapidly, the more my nervous system sort of entrains to it. But is that, that’s just my anecdotal data. Is that?

Jodi: No, you know, smell is super correlated with safety, right? We have to smell food. We have to smell water. We smell predator odor. That’s why it has direct access to the thalamus in the brain and all the other, the four other senses have to kind of do a workaround. You know, when we got a new puppy, they sent us home with a blanket that smelled like its mother. And whenever it would be kind of anxious when he smelled the blanket, he calmed down immediately.

Katie: That’s fascinating. And I think also most of the people listening are women. And I think especially relevant to women, because I read recently that, you know, throughout human history, women have more often been the foragers and were, you know, going out into the woods to find food, to find remedies. And we had to have more attuned receptors in our nose because we needed to be able to smell the difference between the mushroom that would heal you and the mushroom that would kill you. And literal lives depended on this, whereas guys typically are not quite as attuned. And the person writing it was talking about how in the modern world, that means that all these artificial fragrances that we’re constantly bombarded with, we’re more sensitive to and all of the toxins in the air we’re more sensitive to. But also, it means in these cases, we’re more sensitive to the remedies, which is kind of exciting.

Jodi: Yeah, no, I completely agree with that.

Katie: And I think a lot about, since it was part of my adult journey and something I was a slow learner at on nervous system health for kids especially. And I know as parents, we want to make sure they feel safe and create a loving environment for them. But I would assume these remedies can also be used on kids. Are there any, as a mom yourself, things that you used with your kids to help them signal safety, to learn to feel safe in their environments and in their bodies and to develop a good foundation for that?

Jodi: You know, one thing that surprised me, how you eat is almost more important than what you eat. So I was making all of these nutrient-dense whole food meals. And like, basically, we were eating them on the minivan on the way to soccer practice, right? Yeah. You need to actually eat in a restful digestive state in order for the whole digestive cascade to turn on. And so, once I realized that, I stopped rushing out the door. I made dinner earlier, but the parasympathetic blend, basically digestion is a parasympathetic event. And so all you need to do is just dab a little bit behind your kid’s ears before they sit down to the meal. And it allows your saliva to turn on, your stomach to release hydrochloric acid, your gallbladder to release enzymes, your pancreas, I’m sorry, your pancreas to release enzymes, your gallbladder to release bile, and you know, that whole motility wave.

It’s also really great if they have constipation, because it kind of helps with that motility wave, you know, and it allows them to relax and feel comfortable and to just kind of feel, you know, being a kid, these days is so complicated, but it allows them to have power. When I bump into hard things, I always try to read books of people who have gone through something tougher because I feel like if someone else can do it, I can do it. So I recently reread a, Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. He survived the Holocaust with a great attitude. And my favorite quote was, “Between the stimulus and the response, there is a space. And in that space lies our power to choose our response. And in our response lies our hope and our freedom.” And I think that when you’re able to kind of pause, you know, like calm your nervous system, activate your parasympathetic nervous system, there are so many things that our children are tempted with or trying to, you know, people are manipulating them to try to do. If we can give them that kind of pause space of, you know, oh, someone wants me to make this choice that maybe I don’t want to make, they’re better able to say no to peer pressure or to, you know, get in touch with their own feelings and make the best choice for themselves.

Katie: I love that book as well. And I love that quote. And that’s great advice for kids. I also think moms really do set the tone for the emotional tone in the house and also nervous system tone. And we know this with babies, actually, that they don’t fully develop their own sort of autonomous self-regulated nervous system until there’s different estimates, but maybe around seven years old. And they actually physically depend on interaction with the parents and especially the mom for their own nervous system regulation. But I think even after they develop that on their own, it just seems like moms really do set the nervous system tone for the house. So all of these things that we’re talking about, these strategies, when we do them for ourselves and also prioritize our own feelings of safety and our own calm, I feel like that really ripples throughout the whole house. And that often one of the best gifts we can give our kids is our own nervous system regulation because they get to benefit from that as well. Not to mention more than modeling these habits that they can integrate and hopefully have a shorter learning curve on all of these things then we, some of us have as adults, especially looking at myself on that one.

So I love these tips and I love, like I said, that they’re accessible and they’re easy for moms and that they can be used on kids directly. But I always love to be able to speak to that the importance of not just self-care in the bubble bath sense of the word, but self-care in the feeling safe in the world sense of the word, because that gives our kids permission to do that as well. And I think we have to model it. And I think there’s so much power in modeling it. And it’s not selfish to take care of ourselves. It’s actually vital for our kids.

Jodi: Well, and you know, I’ve learned there have been those moments where I’m late, I’m running out at the door and my kid needs me in the morning. You know, it doesn’t go well. But the more I can regulate and lean in, it’d be like, all right, baby, you have all my attention. What do we have? You know, then they get better really quickly. They just want you to know mom was there. You know, you can’t have a tug of war if you don’t pick up the rope. And when you’re able to regulate, you know, everyone in the house can be melting and you can be really calm and just be like, what do you need? How can I help?

Katie: Well, I love that. And I love all of our conversations. Are there any other quick tips you would share with moms, especially knowing that most of the audience listening are moms and kind of that realm of quick tips and easy to apply oils or spots that can be especially helpful for moms?

Jodi: Yeah, my favorite is parasympathetic, kind of right behind the earlobes. My second favorite is fascia release, because especially, you know, we get kind of achy and pain. I think it works everywhere. Like it has changed my yoga practice. I can now do heart opening. I can now do pigeon pose. You know, my hips get really tight and it’s great for kids ouchies too. You know, I used to call it the boo-boo cream.

Katie: That’s awesome. Especially, I feel like with kids often what they most need when they’re injured or hurt is love. And then what they second most is something that feels helpful. And so, I love anytime it’s a natural thing that can help them feel safe and feel good in their body faster. So I will of course link to all of those in the show notes. I also was writing down all the book recommendations as you were sharing all of those throughout your answers. So those will be linked in the show notes as well. Any parting advice for the listeners today?

Jodi: I just, I think that there is so much kind of going on in the world that feels completely outside of your control. It can feel really stressful and overwhelming. But again, you know, the opposite of I don’t feel safe is I have choices and you always have the choice to regulate your nervous system. And I think you’d be shocked at how once you feel safe, all of a sudden, a lot of the things that feel overwhelming or dangerous feel easier.

Katie: I love that. I think that’s a perfect place to put a pin in it for today. But Jodi, I always love getting to talk to you. I always learn a lot from you. Hope to see you again in person soon. But thank you so much for your time and your wisdom and for sharing today and for being here.

Jodi: Thank you for having me.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did. And I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of The Wellness Mama Podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


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