Wake Up the Pineal Gland
IT'S TIME TO NOURISH THIS REVERED SYSTEM RESPONSIBLE FOR DEEP SLEEP AND DREAMING
At Sakara, we’re all about the intersection of mind and body, science and spiritually, the physical and the metaphysical. So it’s about time that we pay tribute to the tiny yet powerful piece of our biological bodies that connects us to all things otherworldly. We’re talking about the pineal gland.
Biologically speaking, the pineal gland is part of our endocrine system and is located deep inside the center of our brains directly between the two hemispheres. It’s about the size of a grain of rice, and resembles the shape of a pinecone (hence the name). The pineal gland is responsible for producing melatonin, the serotonin-derived hormone that regulates our sleep and wake cycles. Melatonin is a critical neurotransmitter as it has an inverse effect on stress hormones, hindering the excess secretion of cortisol. Proper levels of melatonin in the body also help with carbohydrate metabolism, stimulate free-radical scavenging (flooding the body with more antioxidants), enhance the body’s immune response, increase DHEA—sometimes called “the youth hormone”—and increase deeper stages of sleep including REM cycle. And as we can all attest to, the duration and quality of our sleep largely (if not entirely) affects how we feel on a daily basis, making this tiny organ of utmost importance to our sense of wellbeing. But surprisingly enough, this gland has long been a mysterious piece of our biological puzzle for scientists and researchers, and until recently very little was known about it in the medical community.
On a spiritual and metaphysical level, the pineal gland is synonymous with our third eye chakra. Logistically this makes sense, as the pineal gland is located right between the eyebrows, as is our sixth chakra. The third eye energy center houses our sense of intuition and spiritual connection. It has long been believed by spiritual communities that the pineal gland functions similarly, and is the point of contact between our minds and bodies, and beyond. Now, it’s difficult to objectively back up such a claim, but it’s no coincidence that unlike most of the brain, the pineal gland is not separated from the body by the blood-brain barrier.
Looking back at history, the pineal gland has been revered as a symbol of personal enlightenment by ancient civilizations for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians and Romans depicted the pineal gland as an eye in much of their artwork, and in Roman Catholicism this organ is symbolized as a pinecone. The 17th century French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician René Descartes described the pineal gland as the “principal seat of the soul.” Seems like a lot of attention for what Western scientists consider to be just another endocrine gland, no?
By activating the pineal gland, it is thought that we can strengthen our sense of intuition and our ability to sense and intentionally impact the energy that surrounds us. More practically, an awakened pineal gland helps us to sleep and dream deeper and can therefore connect to our intuition with a sharpness in our waking hours.
this gland has long been a mysterious piece of our biological puzzle for scientists and researchers
This innate power lies within each and every one of us, just waiting to be tapped into. Typically, our pineal gland is active at birth, but for many of us, it begins to dull with age. As a society, we’ve been taught to fear or resist the intuitive, energetic, and metaphysical aspects of ourselves, and with enough suppression, the abilities of the pineal gland and third eye begin to decrease.
An additional reason for this decrease in activity is calcification. Calcification of the pineal gland is largely due to the amounts of sodium fluoride that we’re exposed to — you know, that “good for your teeth” stuff that floods everything from our dental hygiene products to our drinking water to our food. In the late 90’s, a study confirmed that the pineal gland is a target for sodium fluoride, and that it absorbs more fluoride than any other physical matter in the body (including our teeth and bones). This absorption of fluoride causes the pineal gland to calcify and makes it no longer effective. Biologically, a calcified (therefore inactive) pineal gland negatively affects our sleep cycle, hormonal processes, stress levels, and physical performance. On a metaphysical level, this inhibits our sixth chakra energy center and weakens our intuitive nature.
It’s time, then, to awaken that pineal gland. Among the most common techniques for activating a dormant or sluggish pineal gland are breathwork, meditation, and yoga. Anything that draws your attention inward, connects you with your vital life force, and stills the chatter of the mind will lead to a slow but steady opening and awakening of the pineal gland. To increase melatonin production, flood the body with plants that nourish the HPA axis and support the nervous system: look to plants like ashwagandha, passionflower, reishi, and gotu kola. Also, make sure to create a sleep sanctuary at home where you sleep in complete darkness—or as close to pitch black as you can make it, as melatonin requires darkness to activate.
As for the calcification issue, begin to remove all sources of fluoride from your life. Luckily, there are so many fantastic fluoride-free toothpaste options to choose from now. Our drinking water is a major source of our fluoride consumption, so seek out fresh, alkaline spring water or reverse-osmosis distilled water in lieu of tap or conventionally filtered water.
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