Although the RELAX THAT STOMACH Technique (from the Optimal Performance Program) is dedicated to the topic of relaxation of the digestive tract (stomach & guts) for horses, I promised my Optimal Performance Program students who especially requested an extra course dedicated exclusively to this subject, that we will also raise the issue of relaxing the digestive tract (stomach & guts) for humans.
To me everything in life is connected, but in a very specific way. With the Relaxation of the Stomach for people – a conscious muscle relaxation technique – I want to explore the subject of diets, nutrition, health and how it’s not always connected, if the specific link that unites them – relaxation of our internal organs – is not there:
- How is it possible that some horses can follow quite regular if not unhealthy diet, and yet are perfectly fine, while for the others it’s enough to barely look into the direction of sugars and starch to get LAMINITIS
- Why for some horses LAMINITIS is a returning issue, a threat that can accompany them for years if not for the duration of a lifetime?
- Why giving your horse supplements is not really working, if his smooth muscles are tensed?
- Why EATING HEALTHY is not ALWAYS bringing back health, or preventing illnesses and eliminating inflammations from the body if “you are, what you eat” was really true?
- Why some people can eat really bad food, and have more radiant, healthy and beautiful complexion and really good body, than the ones that follow the most strict diets?
- Is it possible that HOW YOU EAT (and how relaxed are your inner organs, including digestive tract) is more important than WHAT YOU EAT?
Please read my story:
Relaxation of the digestive tract has been something that interested me since I can remember. With a great interest, and gradually growing awareness, I have been observing people and their eating habits, and how they respond to food, diet guidelines, and behave around presence, abundance or lack of food. Thanks to my profession I could at the same time observe these people’s horses, and their eating habits, and attitude towards presence or lack of food. And I observed horses separately from their owners.
What caught my attention the most was that in the reality (and not how people liked to think about it) hardly ever there was an existing co-relation between what these people were eating, and how they felt, and looked, their health, and how their horses felt, but there was always a very subtle yet very palpable and visible to me co-relation between relaxation of a person’s internal organs and their emotional feeling, physical condition, and the health and behaviour of their horses.
Around three years ago, in early 2015, I decided to experiment with these concepts on myself, and see how they work, before I could move them to the ground of horses. Before that very time, I had experienced moments of beautiful radiant complexion, perfectly healthy body that was free from any inflammations, and moments when my skin had minor imperfections and my joints felt slower than usual. However, until that very moment the reason behind these shifts was unclear to me, and I used to look for it in the changes within the diet regime, sleeping habits, work & private life balance and every-day-life common stresses, and many other minor factors. In 2015, however, I wanted to check if it’s possible to mess around with many aspects of one’s Life while consciously relaxing internal organs, and yet remain free from inflammations. I wanted to know that, because if that could have ever been possible, this meant that we can really greatly support our horses in the similar or equivalent areas and functions of their bodies as well: horses who didn’t respond to diet changes, could have been supported by even better and stronger means to stay healthy, and free from inflammations.
I decided to give my new idea a go.
My starting point was Spring 2015. At that time I was meditating, eating healthy, I was having diary products, eggs and sugars, at the same time I was practicing BodyMarc daily, and felt that my inner organs were pretty well relaxed. I was working long hours, and had quite demanding job as the owner of three growing HR companies and multiple contracts to fulfil. At that time I was starting to develop OneHorseLife and was teaching first Online Classes to a fast-growing group of students from around the world. My sleeping habits were hard to keep, as I was working long hours during the day, traveling to the stables on the distance of 55km each way (it was about 1h to 1h 30min if I didn’t manage to make it before the evening city traffic each way. I was spending in the car at least 2 to 3 hours a day just commuting to the stables) and training my four horses long hours in the evenings until the late night hours. Then upon coming back home usually past 10 PM I was back to my day-time-job obligations, and in the night hours I working long hours in front of the computer on my new horse project OneHorseLife. It all felt like having at least 4 full-time jobs on the go. I sleeping very little, sometimes less than 4h a day, and I was eating while running from place to place. Thanks to BodyMarc I was, however, very consciously keeping my internal organs relaxed, and therefore I was functioning very well. To my own surprise I was not feeling tired, was looking good, but still at that time I had many assumptions of what was truly responsible for that. At that time I was 100% convinced it’s a mixture of diet, meditation, and my body awareness program BodyMarc (at that time I thought it’s just increasing relaxation, and not really relaxing internal organs, so my awareness of it’s function was quite limited) that I was following. My family and friends were amazed with my productivity, not to mention that I was able to comment videos and respond to emails sent by my Online Workshops participants from Australia, United States and Europe all nearly in the real time as they were posting them. It felt like I never slept and I am totally aware of that at that time I was fuelled by adrenaline. But as mentioned before, I was looking absolutely radiant, well rested (!), and quite stunning and, most importantly, I was feeling great. I had, however, a very blurred idea of what was truly responsible for that:
Throughout 2015 and 2016 I was practicing and experimenting further with tensions and relaxations of the internal organs, diet, sleep and many other factors, however keeping my focus on relaxation of the internal organs, with special emphasise on relaxation of the digestive tract through BodyMarc practices (BodyMarc is a special relaxation technique developed by my husband Pawel to support ourselves and our riding students who wished to understand and become aware of the functions of their bodies on the deepest level in order to excel in their horsemanship performance).
At that time I had moments when I was looking very bad, and at the same time I “knew” how to bring myself back to “radiant” and “smooth” within jut 2 weeks in order to allow myself to travel abroad and give a Clinic to international audience and meet foreign people without causing them to worry about me, and having to explain them about my experiment, which was still in progress, and I was not ready to speak about it yet. I was doing it through diet and by deepening relaxation of the internal organs, however I slowly started to discover that diet is secondary to conscious relaxation of the digestive tract.
At that time I also started to very consciously notice a very significant difference in the behaviours of horses who were paired with people with tensed stomach, and relaxed stomach muscles. I have observed how nervous and anxious about presence and lack of food horses became whenever paired with a human with tensed stomach muscles, and how the horses relaxed, and dropped totally interest in food and treats with a human whose stomach muscles were relaxed. It was a fascinating discovery, and I have to confess that many times I was matching students with very tensed internal organs with my very relaxed horses, just to see how they will respond and interact with one another. I was noticing, with growing interest and curiosity how tension spreads quicker than relaxation, and how relaxation always needs support in order to start to spread, whereas tension continues to spread once it’s triggered, and until it’s stopped by a bigger relaxation occurring or brought into the system.
I have also noticed how horse owners, who had very tensed digestive tract, had horses with laminitis, digestive problems and colics, and how my efforts to explain this subtle subject to them, and show them the connection between themselves and what was happening with their horses were really not coming through, due to the tensions of these individuals, and my personal lack of experience. I felt like speaking about travelling to the moon, whereas the problems felt very real, very down-to-earth and very far from the moon itself. There was no direct link that I could show, and my techniques, which I had developed for other people at that time were taking too long time to show a direct link between their execution and the effect. Usually people thought that the problem passed because it passed, and not because they changed something.
I decided to focus on continuation of my personal experiment. At the same time I decided to make my diet even more strict moving it into the direction of healthier, better, more organic, and proper, but this time without relaxing my internal organs. The results were shocking even to myself. Suddenly, I discovered that many things which I was eating and were serving my body well – stopped. I run food intolerance blood-tests, and strictly followed the good recommendations in form of the results that came for my body, but without relaxing my internal organs within a very short time I started to look very badly. My body was feeling different, I felt full of inflammation and my joints were really slow and hurting. At that time of my life I was following the most healthy diet, good sleeping practices and a good work – life balance. Everything looked better, however without relaxation of the internal organs it was missing an important link. I was exercising daily, and spending my time outdoors as usual, I was using the same cosmetics and followed the same routine I did before. I just consciously stopped releasing tensions from my inner organs. I started to see how gradually I became more and more allergic to many things around myself: mould, birds, birch flowers, etc. Things I have never been allergic to, now were shown in my blood tests as allergens.
At the same time I could still pull myself together and within few weeks get back my “beauty” looks and go abroad to run a Clinic for 20+ people looking absolutely stunning. All by turning on my Relaxation of digestive tract techniques, which were at that time still quite blurry even to myself, but I had a very clear “feel” of what I am doing, without even being able to speak about it with others. What was happening in the result of that was absolutely unbelievable even to myself. I think that at that time my true feeling about the whole situation was as if I was taking part in some sort of computer game of Life with a button on/off activating or deactivating beauty.
2016: OHL Clinic UK (while taking photo with a student)
In late 2016 my techniques and what I started discovering became so intriguing to myself, and working in such a strong ON/OFF mode, that I decided to stop teaching away Clinics, so that I can focus in 100% on my own practice with horses and equally importantly – continue to run my private experiments, but this time full time without getting distracted by the clinic schedule, and the need to look “good” for the Clinics and meeting other people. At the safe seclusion of the privacy of my home and the yard I was training at that time, I dedicated my time fully to the subject of relaxation and ultimately – tension of the digestive tract.
What I was discovering was pretty much confusing and sometimes even upsetting even to myself: it was absolutely against everything I believed in until then, read about in the books, and trusted through my own “common sense” and “books” and “science” based intuition.
What I was discovering was that what I was eating and what I was doing with and to my body (exercise, sleep, diet, supplements, good work-life balance) was less important than how I was eating, and what level of internal organs’ relaxation I was able to maintain throughout the day thanks to the support of my internal organs relaxation practices (BodyMarc). Of course, good life practices such as proper diet, sleep practices, getting enough movement and moments of relaxation throughout the day, etc. all all meant to increase and support relaxation of the internal organs, but what I was discovering and experiencing on the example of my own body was that once tension was started in the body, it was so much easier for the body to keep on tensing even if the life routine was meant to bring relaxation, than to start to relax the gathered tension by releasing tightness from fascia and smooth muscles. I have literally felt how my body is squeezing and expanding, depending on what I did to my internal organs in terms of keeping them relaxed or not. I discovered that Relaxation can be triggered to spread in the body by external means only to a very small extent and for a very short time (minutes, not even hours), and that once internal organs tense due to smooth muscles and fascia tensions they would continue to tense and affect one another – one organ squeezes another one, causing discomfort to spread, and the tension to grow. I literally felt, on my own body, how this tension makes blood circulation limited, making my sight blurred and un-sharp as I wake up after a long sleep but with not fully relaxed inner organs, and how such a condition kept throughout hours and days was making my internal organs under-oxygenated for most of the time.
I learned and observed how in such a state it’s very easy for the body to continue to repeat the chain of tension, and how it felt like sliding a very slippery slide with only one direction – towards bigger tension. I also felt how in order to release these tensions the body needed a very strong impulse from within that allowed the relaxation to start, withholding the existing tensions for a while in order to spread new sensation of release within the body for at least several hours to several days in order for the internal organs to let go. I discovered how such an impulse most of the time had to be triggered by a person itself, in that case by myself, and how it couldn’t be provided externally by diet, sleep, and relaxation practices other than the ones that were really providing smooth muscles relaxation started consciously by me and within my own body.
Having had my diet very strictly following the best guidelines, qualities and quantities, sleeping more than 8h, and doing an hour of yoga daily, but having digestive tract purposefully quite tensed I was looking like this:
At that time I already started to suspect that what we eat doesn’t really matter as much as how we eat it, and most importantly: how well our internal organs and digestive tract is kept relaxed through the practices that allow the conscious relaxation of it.
I started to play with the process, observing the results and confirming them while working with horses. Again, it all felt like some sort of computer game with on/off buttons placed in my internal organs: no diet + relaxed internal organs resulted in slim, healthy feeling body with no inflammation, super specious feeling within the joints. And then the purposefully tensed digestive tract + the best diet, exercise and sleeping patterns for several weeks to few months resulted in very bad body condition, and skin inflammations in areas precisely connected with digestive tract. These inflammations were not responding to any treatments, and were not responding to changes of the diet. I was absolutely amazed, and thrilled, because under my skin I was already sensing how it all can be transferred to the work with horses, and what a great help it can bring so many of them. I was slowly closing my experiment and started to relax internal organs purposefully with even better techniques developed meanwhile by my husband, Paweł Marciniak, for the BodyMarc practice.
At the time when the above photo was taken, in April 2018, I was already practicing food relaxation with our horses having created the very first exercises based on my own experiences gathered within last three years. I knew what conscious relaxation of the digestive tract is, and what does it mean and feel when the stomach is tensing, and relaxing. I experienced on my own body, and within myself that it’s possible to relax consciously smooth muscles, and I was in total amazement discovering how it changes horses’ movement patterns, behaviours around the food, and in the herd, the way horses are moving, reacting, how affectionate and willing to train they become.
I was also noticing how big can be disproportion between the diet, life routine and my look and health: at the time of the above photo I was following literally no diet, I was eating – for my standards – quite unhealthy and random food, I was sleeping less than 5h a day, and undergoing a very stressful transition by moving with 9 horses, 2 dogs and 1 husband ;-) from Portugal to Spain and starting a yard project, building all training facilities from the scratch spending nearly all my life savings. At the same time I remember this time as one of the most fruitful times of my Life: I was looking good, feeling good, I was very fit without doing much about it, and I felt enormous freedom and space within my body, joints and muscles. I became very flexible, had no inflammations, and I was observing how I can modify the horse’s diet without causing any negative results to the horses, and how I can modify my diet dropping all the dietary guidelines in favour of just focusing on deepening and spreading relaxation of my digestive tract. It all was deeply shocking, simple and – most importantly – working. It was very different to what I read about, heard and believed in, and at the same time it was like the new religion given and working, and happening in front of my Life.
I started to be convinced that a fully relaxed body can digest even poison, taking from it only these molecules which are neutral or helping for the body, releasing everything else; at the same time I was nearly sure that a very tensed body will respond to the healthiest types and kinds of food with inflammation, intolerance and intoxication.
To Sum Up:
To everything I have experienced, and investigated on my own and for my own research purpose, and to what I have seen and learned while practicing with my horses and the horses of my students, I have discovered that inflammation may have it’s background primarily in the tensions of the digestive tract, and tensions of the specific organs, and secondarily in the quality and quantity of the food taken, life routine. This would absolutely explain why some people get pimples, rushes and skin allergies by just passing by a person eating chocolate, or looking at almonds or nuts, and why other people can really keep their diet very random looking, feeling and being very healthy. Translating this phenomenon to the horsemanship area, it could explain why some horses can eat very “badly” – food full of sugars and starch and yet they are fine, and why the others it’s enough to look in the direction of improper food to get food intolerances, food allergies, inflammations and laminitis. It would also provide us a perfect explanation of why for some horses laminitis is an issue, a threat that accompanies them for the duration of years if not lifetime, even if their owners keep the best diet, trimming, movement and training practices.
When I observe horses prone to digestive tract tensions, it is a very common response at the first moments of conscious relaxation during Optimal Performance Program that these horses ask for scratches at the belly area, release gasses, have increased bowel movements or start to rub their ribs and belly with their mouth. I always read this as a sign of increase relaxation in the internal organs placed in these areas of the body, and therefore a better blood flow in the areas of the body affected with the biggest tension, which must feel to the horse in the exact same way as regaining blood circulation in the “numbed” leg feels to us after we have sat in an awkward position for a longer time. Also, when I work with people who have problems with digestive tract tensions, it’s also a very common situation that during the work on relaxation of the horse that we are doing, their bowel movements increase, and the metabolism quickens. After the session they feel lighter and more energised. From my perspective, I see how their complexion changes and eyes gain a healthy clarity.
I am 100% sure of what I am sharing here with you, and it’s my working knowledge and everyday life experience that is the base of my work with human and horses, however because as of yet we don’t cooperate with any vet and have not done thorough research on horses with measured scientific results I am using many “would”, “might” and “could”. You will also not find similar findings in the veterinary journals and when speaking with vets because until now (until Optimal Performance Program) there were virtually NO techniques of conscious muscle (and especially smooth muscle) relaxation for horses and very little knowledge of conscious muscle relaxation and it’s correlation with heath in humans (however modern medicine gives credits to practices such as meditation, emotion of love and prayer as factors that improve health and relaxation of the body). On the other hand, relaxation of the digestive tract is a subject well researched in human medicine and it’s already proven (since 1930s) how it affects digestion, metabolism, toxins management and toxins release from the body, and nourishment & regeneration of the body.
Exercises shown in the SpotLight Clinic: RELAX THAT STOMACH are absolutely suitable for horses who cannot move or are immobile for many reasons (laminitis, lameness). The practices shown will allow your horse to restore proper blood flow in the digestive tract, release tensions from the smooth muscles in that area and oxygenate organs, which is especially important if the horse cannot move as much as normally. They will also support you to release tensions from your digestive tract, as tensions spread as much as relaxation, and if we work only on your horse, in separation of yourself, the results will be limited. To support your horse you need to experience the same practices yourself, and realise and know how it feels and be able to continue to support him even better. At the same time, we will look into the tensions of the digestive tract for your dog, because many horse people experience tensions between horses and dogs, which cause is shared internal organs tensions.
You can learn more about my experiences and techniques I am using in order to relax the digestive tract in the upcoming SpotLight Clinic RELAX THAT STOMACH here:
You are amazing Anna. So pleased to have been a student and now able to appreciate the wisdom of your words. Looking forward to experiencing and learning more. Thank you to you and Pawel for your dedication in researching, experimenting and sharing with those who are ready to listen. Personally, I have gained so much from your guidances, but only now can I really appreciate the changes even though they have been gradually developing 🙏❤️
Does make a lot of sense Anna, I will enjoy this spotlight clinic next week, can’t do it on the 6th but am really looking forward to it during the week.
Thank you for all the work, experimenting and putting it down in a format that is USABLE for others, much love from me, my horses and dogs, can’t wait to report back some changes 💗💗