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Imagine that you are putting a soft, silver glove onto your right hand a special glove of natural endorphins. Immediately the fingers of your hand begin to feel larger and to tingle, as though there were springs at the ends of your fingers. The silver glove, with its endorphins flowing around your fingers, your palm and the back of your hand, will cause your hand to feel thumb, the way it would if you were to place it into a large container of icy slush. As your birth companion strokes the back of your hand and arm, feel a tingling and then a numbness surrounding your hand and moving up your arm. Once your hand and arm lose all sensation, they begin to seem as lifeless and senseless as a piece of wood or a piece of leather. The silver mist of endorphins gradually drifts throughout your hand so that it can be transferred wherever you wish to bring about relaxation and comfort. To transfer the numbing effect, just visualize placing your hand on various parts of your body each part now feels light, numb and senseless. Practice will condition your body to react with calm when you feel your hand and arm being stroke. Go only with your breathing and your visualization, not your body. Let your body continue to lie totally limp and senseless.

In your minds eye, see or imagine within your body a large, soft, flexible, inverter thermometer. The bulb of the thermometer is just above your forehead. The flexible tube extends all the way down to your toes. Inside the bulb is a clear fluid of natural relaxation. There are forty gradations on the thermometer. As you count down from 40 to 39 to 38, and so on, picture the fluid of relaxation gently flowing down from one number to the next, flowing out into your circulatory system and bringing your body into relaxation. To reinforce the concept of relaxation filling every cell, nerve and muscle of your body, visualize more fluid flowing down into the tube of the thermometer. You will feel a deep relaxation gradually saturating your body as the fluid fills the space in the tube. As you slowly count down, the round numbers -30, 20 10 and 0- will bring you to a new and deeper level of relaxation. By the time you reach the lower teens, you will find yourself in a very deep relaxation. The final ten digits will bring you to the ultradeep relaxation you will use during the latter part of the thinning and opening phase of labor. When your body is thoroughly relaxed, imagine that you are wearing a long, silver glove of relaxation, with the relaxation moving upward in and around your wrist, your lower arm and now all the way to your elbow. Your arm begins to feel almost as though it were not there. Once you experience this sensation, the relaxation can be transferred to other parts of your body, particularly the lower pelvic area.

THE SENSORY GATE VALVE Once you have mastered the art of bringing yourself into a deep state of natural relaxation, see or imagine yourself in the center of the inner mind, the Control Room of the subconscious, where you are sitting in front of a large round valve. The valve controls the messages that are sent from the brain, past the sensory gate in the brain stem to all of the nerves in your body. The indicator of the valve is set to the ON position at twelve oclock, where it is normally as you go about feel. If you were to injure yourself, you would experience pain. To shut off any of those feelings and sensations throughout your body, you can turn the dial to the OFF position at eight oclock on the dial, and you can feel a sense of well-being begin to sweep over your entire body. Relaxation and comfort begin to set in. You can feel the sensation of relaxation, numbness and tingling begin to be evident in your elbows, knees, lower legs and ankles, then all the way down to your soles of your feet. Whenever you feel that tingling at the soles of your feet, you know that you are directing the relaxation and endorphins within your body. You can feel sensations of pressure or movement, but you feel a total sense of comfort. When the dial is in the Select position at four oclock, you can deactivate any part of your body where you choose to experience only comfort and euphoria. Your body becomes conditioned to shut off any message other than that of comfort and relaxation and ease to any given part of your body. This exercise is helping you to learn how you can practice numbing a hand or any other part of your body, and then transfer that relaxation and numbness to your lower abdomen. Right now you can move any part of your body, except it now feels as though all sensation has left your right hand. Your hand feels like it is encased in a glove of relaxation. It becomes heavy and numb, almost totally immovable. Your fingers begin to feel larger. Now you want to transfer the numbness and lack of sensation to the cheek at the right side of your mouth. Feel the numbness now transferring to the right side of your mouth, your tongue, and the tissues in and around the inside of your mouth. Feel that section becoming increasingly numb. Tissues within your mouth begin feeling larger. Now tap the side of your cheek until you have restored the normal feeling throughout that side of your face. Tap until every part of that area is back to normal. Now return your hand to your leg and restore the Glove Relaxation. Now your hand transfers that heavy numb feeling to your right leg and right foot. The leg and foot are so heavy that it is impossible to move them. Your foot feels as though it is stuck to the floor. Now your right leg on which your hand is resting has become so heavy that it is impossible to lift. Your right foot is so heavy that it seems stuck to the floor. Any attempt now to lift your heavy right leg or lift your foot from the floor is impossible. Your foot is stuck. Try to lift your right foot. You cannot. Now put the indicator back to the normal position of ON and return all normal functioning to your entire body. Return now to a state of alertness. With practice you will be able to reach an even deeper level of numbness and relaxation each time. As your labor progress during birthing, you will find that you are able to go deeper and deeper into this level, transferring the numbness and relaxation to your abdomen and pelvic area with the simulation of the Glove Relaxation. This will help you to keep those areas filled with endorphins and feeling comfortable.

Once you have mastered the art of bringing yourself into relaxation, you may want to begin practicing time distortion. When you are in a relaxed state, give yourself the suggestion that every five minutes will seem as one minute. During labor, when you are nearing the end of your thinning and opening phase, the birth companion will give you the suggestion that every twenty minutes will seem as five. Time distortion is an important part of birthing and is included among the prompts used by the birth companion. This loss of sense of time, and the accompanying state of amnesia, comes at a time in labor when you are so deeply relaxed that it is difficult for you to talk, and you lose a sense of the people around you. At this time, you will go more deeply into your birthing body and to your baby, and you will begin your journey together. This is a gift of nature that can occur with all birthings if the mother is willing to let go, bring herself deep enough and turn her birthing over to her body and her baby.