Removing Trauma from the Body

Emotional Resolution is about balancing your feelings by addressing the emotions that are embedded in our bodies, replaying when triggered by similar situations, enlarging the scope of the current circumstances and keeping us in a seemingly endless cycle of drama and pain.

Neuroscientist and trauma researcher, Bessel van der Kolk, MD has spent his career studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences. He has some very interesting things to say about how trauma affects our bodies and compensating behaviors.

“The trauma caused by childhood neglect, sexual or domestic abuse and war wreaks havoc in our bodies” — Bessel van der Kolk in The Body Keeps the Score

He says that we commonly think that trauma is a story about the past, but in fact, trauma makes changes to our brain, so that the person sees and experiences the world differently than other human beings. Research shows that “it is almost impossible to become a drug addict/alcoholic without having a prior history of childhood trauma.” Addiction is the result of these people desperately trying to manage unbearable physical sensations.

Peter Levine, PhD has also spent a career working with trauma. He developed a body-awareness approach to healing trauma called Somatic Experiencing (SE). SE focuses on the physiological responses that occur when someone experiences or remembers an overwhelming or traumatic event, in his or her body, rather than only through the thoughts or emotions connected to it. His method is to allow and encourage the body’s sensations, trapped by the trauma, to discharge using a number of “resources” to ground the person in the present moment, that reinforce the client’s inherent capacity to self-regulate.

“The bodies of traumatized people portray “snapshots” of their unsuccessful attempts to defend themselves in the face of threat and injury. Trauma is a highly activated incomplete biological response to threat, frozen in time… Traumatized people are not suffering from a disease in the normal sense of the word- they have become stuck in an aroused state. It is difficult, if not impossible, to function normally under these circumstances.” — Peter A. Levine


I find it affirming, and corroborating, that these two world renowned and respected experts in the field of trauma research both agree that unprocessed emotions are trapped in the body. And that the best path to recovery is by working to release the frozen emotions from the body.

Connecting Trauma and Chronic Pain

In my own work, I’ve found that my clients who are struggling with the repercussions of trauma have issue on two fronts: Emotional and Physical. Often times they are in traditional therapy of some kind, but find it hard to make headway because of chronic body pain.

Traumatic emotions are buried in the body and resurface as pain and named disorders when left unresolved over long periods of time.

Bowen Technique is a system of gentle bodywork, that brings equilibrium to fascia (connective tissue) tension in the body. It is very relaxing and stimulates the body’s nervous systems to re-balance, prompting a healing response on structural and energetic levels Short answer: it feels really good and takes the pain away.

When pain is first and foremost in a person’s mind, it is very difficult to work on anything else, even if “anything else” is critical to relieving emotional pain, which is also critical to recovery. I’ve found that applying Bowen to chronic pain is a necessary first step. When the body calms down, after a session or two of Bowen, clients find their traditional therapy much more productive. They can remember, focus and do the work with out the distracting onslaught of pain.

Adding an Emotional Resolution (EmRes) session before Bowen is a powerful advantage. Emotional Resolution is a simple method of releasing buried emotions, regardless of the circumstances around their internment. The client recalls an emotional situation of note, and the practitioner guides them thru a protocol of physical sensory awareness which releases the triggered emotion that is buried in the body. Immediately afterwards the clients receives a Bowen session to help the body finish processing the emotion release and do the primary work of balancing the fascia to release and ignite a healing response.

The combination of Emotional Resolution and Bowen is amazing. There is a synergy and reciprocity between the two disciplines that coordinate responses between physical and emotional bodies. They literally talk the language of the limbic system that is holding the emotions, the body memories, in stasis and provides portals for their discharge and release.

Emotion work and Body work, individually, can be an asset to any recovery process. But together in the same session, they have produced headway and breakthroughs in my clients. These cases reinforce my enthusiasm and desire to champion this work. It’s so important to those of us that need it.

Are you ready to release your buried trauma and chronic body pain?

Book your Emotional Resolution and Bowen Session today


Video with Bessel van der Kolk

Youtube with Peter Levine

Releasing Wounds of Scars

The effect of scars on the body can not be overestimated. It doesn’t matter whether the scars came from an accident, war, conflict, personal attacks or other traumas or due to a necessary and required surgical intervention or elective procedure. The results of scars never just go away.

The scar itself is a miracle of our body’s repair system. It is the remnant of a living tissue bandage that plugged a hole in our skin, preventing further fluid loss and maintaining a hygienic seal over the area while transitioning from scab to scar.

The fact that there is a visible scar means that the damage was not just superficial wound. It is the result of deeper tissue damage, sometimes thru all layers of the skin, sometimes involving the underlying soft tissues, muscles and organs.

Collagen, laid down as part of the repair process, resulted in a thickened fibrous mass. Thick scar tissue can impede proper circulation of blood, congests lymph flow and can impact range of motion. Severed nerve tissue, in the immediate and surrounding areas, can result in a kind of dysthesia–unpleasant, abnormal sense of touch that runs from numbness to pain. A fibrous and non-elastic scar can have a bio-mechanical dragging and pulling effect on all neighboring physiological systems particularly the fascial membrane covering muscles, bones, organs and glands.

And really one of the biggest problems is that we are unaware of these issues. After the largest portions of pain and trauma of the site have passed  and it is mostly healed, our concerns go elsewhere and we become unaware of the disability that remains stuck in our bodies by having and untreated scar. All scars represent:

  • the emotion that was present when the injury took place. Even elective surgeries and planned c-sections have embedded emotions related to the need for them — self-worth, anger, anxiety, shock, guilt, etc.
  • bio-mechanical restriction of the fascia where the scar prevent free-gliding of muscles and nerves. Interconnected fascial lines and synergistic and antagonistic muscles groups all rely of easy movement and elasticity of tissue within and adjacent to them.
  • bio-energetic impact of scars is most noticeable when the scars cross body mid-lines and the body meridians as used in acupuncture. When scars are released in these areas and the flow of Qi/Chi is re-established, client often report that they feel more energized after the scar work was performed.

The treatment of scar tissue is a vital element in restoring maximum function of our musculoskeletal and myofascial systems. Pain in these systems are reduced and range of motion increases.

Continue reading “Releasing Wounds of Scars”

Bowen for Stress Relief — amazing advantages!

Stress Relief – its something we all seem to strive for in our too busy and overwhelming world.

The first sets of Bowen moves in each Bowen session is always dedicated to calming the body, getting the mind in the room, on to the table and out of it’s maze of intertwining circuits of  desire and obligation.BlownDanilion

The body can only heal itself when the parasympathetic nervous system is acting (rest and digest).  The defense, recovery and repair system will do amazing things, but only if we are relaxed enough for all the body parts accept that they don’t have to be on alert or scared. The nutrients we eat can work to our fullest advantage when we are at calm and at rest.

Bowen can also be useful for emotional release.  We hold emotions in our fascia when we don’t know what else to do with them in the moment.  Held emotions will tighten the fascia into “armoring” which can result in the hardening of the soft tissues leading to micro-adhesions and pain. The Bowen moves releases the tenseness and allows the emotion to resurface, be acknowledged and released.

That’s why I found this Bowen article charming (link below), in that it equates Bowen to vitamins….and he’s right.  Bowen can be the vital part of your bodywork program that relaxes and resets your body to that it can heal.

When my clients come off the table at the end of a Bowen session, the least amount of praise I sometimes get is, “I feel so relaxed”.  and that my friends is a great complement.

Bowen Explained: For The Relief Of Stress

Bowen called out as Remedy for Fibromyalgia pain

I don’t know David Wolfe, but I follow his page/blog.  He commonly touches on topics interest that are thoughtful, compassionate and informative. Fibromyalgia3 So I was delighted to read his blog today and see him call out Bowen for the chronic pain relief associated with Fibromyalgia.

This is very exciting to see Bowen mentioned and recommended by those outside the Bowen community.  It really is a wonder technique that works wonders on all sorts of acute and chronic issues.

Give it a try!  It is one of the best natural healing techniques to use.

http://www.davidwolfe.com/10-remedies-fibromyalgia-pain/

The body’s mediator: fascia

I talk a lot about how fascia is important. It’s where the knotted patterns of our life and life style lay encased in living tissue.   The impact and fascia6remnants of physical injury is in the fascia. Emotions are felt and trauma lies buried in our fascia.  Our energy bodies are attached to our physical bodies via our fascia.  Right after we are a bunch of cells, the first organized tissue is fascia and all other tissue is formed as slips of tissue off the fascia.  It surrounds, holds, support and shields every structure in our bodies. It communicates information faster than our nerves–much faster.  And it provides transportation for fluids, to keep itself and every thing under it’s supervision hydrated and strong.

What’s not to like about fascia?

I ran across this article some time ago, like July 2010 and found it again in a saved folder.

Listening from your Fascia

Energy Work
Which is interesting, since I’m coming to believe that all the energy work I perform with my clients is really just fascia work. Meaning, when I  project energy from my hands or through intention, my target is the connection between the physical body aka fascia to the etheric body, the first level of our energy body.  As physical beings, sometimes we don’t “feel it” until it actually becomes physical.  When the fascia relaxes, the mind can let go and the spirit is relieved.  Which make perfect sense.  With energy work, I’m coming from the spiritual to the physical.  I just didn’t have a clear idea of where that interface took place.  It works something like this:

  • opening the energy field, activating the physical connection to fascia with Reiki, crystals, essential oils and sound, stimulating information about locked patterns from the sub-conscious, voicing – bringing into the conscious-physical level – the mental or emotional injury, releasing it from the body,  restoring light-ness and peace to the aura and physical body.

Bowen Technique
With Bowen Technique, bodywork that targets fascia using acupressure point access, it works in the opposite direction. In a Bowen session there can be lots of prerequisite moves and procedures, but the sequence that results in the “final” pain release also usually triggers emotional and trauma related discharges.  Usually the originating injury happened years ago and the chronic tension pattern had later erupted into pain from a more recent and relatively benign over-stretch or twist.  It’s this old impairment that is let go. With Bowen, it works like this:

  • stretching muscles & tendons, dragging fascia along for the ride, releasing chronic physical patterns & pain,  discharging suppressed emotions and trauma, relieving the heaviness of life burdens from the body.

So I’m observing this wonderful synergy in practice: Energy work and Bowen.

Same work from two different direction.  I see it more clearly and more in-depth with each client.

The fascia is the bridge between…a truly wonderful thing.hands-light

Fascia, Fascia, Fascia

It seems that I can’t see it or hear it often enough: Fascia is amazing.  It holds us together.  It is our body’s silent communication system, more rapid FasciaImbalancesthan nerves. It transports fluid between muscle, organ and circulatory tissues, keeping them supple.  It collects fluid around damaged tissue like a bandage.  Think of healthy fascia as a series of fine net stockings or cobwebs that surrounds every fiber, bundle of fibers, groups of bundled fibers, tissue groups, organs, separating body compartments in large sheets or diaphragms, supporting and holding everything in it’s place. It’s everywhere.  It’s pervasive.

Fascia can be physically damaged by injury or as a byproduct of some medical procedures, just like any other tissue. Fascia also reacts to our emotions by contracting over the trauma that is energetically held in the body like a bandage.

“Damaged” fascia is not the fluid flexible net of fibers that functions fully.  Injured fascia is tense, jumbled and convoluted, like a fisherman’s net that has gotten balled up and tangled.  Over time these areas, will become tightened, knotted and kinked, stiffening into armor like hardness.

In this compromised condition, fascia can not transport fluid nor relay messages as is normally found.  The tissue is it supports become dry and brittle and incommunicado from the rest of the body.

Injured fascia can cause severe, disabling, chronic muscle pain.  It affect not only the tissue that is armored, but all muscles and tissues that have to work differently because of this restriction.

Click here for another great video explaining why fascia is important

When there is a restriction in one area of the body, there will be compensation on the other side of the body in a diagonal direction. That “overworked” area will cause another area, diagonally across the body to compensate.

Pretty soon there is a zigzag of stressed body areas. So often what hurts is not the originating point of the problem.  Neck injuries can become hip and leg issues and vice versa.  Ankle issues can show up in the shoulders. So what needs help the most? Where it hurts now or the original injury?

Bowen to the rescue!

Bowen works with fascia as it’s target.  When skin, muscles and tendons are moved, the fascia they are connected to moves.  If gently and methodically done, the fascia will again separate into it’s beautiful web-like structures. The armor will soften, the tissues are hydrated and the information highway is connected again.

On the other hand, tissue and it’s associate fascia is moved  quickly, hard and fast–it resists and stays in it’s armored state.  Remember the corn-starch and water experiment?  If you handle it with too much force, it resembles a solid brick.  But if you handle it slowly, it feels more like sand or liquid.  The same is true of fascia–the slower and gentler the better.

In my opinion, almost all all chronic pain announces an underlying fascia issue.  The longer the pain has been in place, the more compensating patterns have been erected. And the more hardened armor, locking it into place will be present.

A series of Bowen session will unwind these patterns. By gently manipulating fasical sheets through their connections to other tissues, the elasticity is returned.  Relaxed fascia loosens it’s grip on muscles, organs and other tissue allowing the communication and fluids to flow at more appropriate levels.   Oh, what a relief!

10% of our brain energy

One of my favorite quotes about energy and how we use it is by Nobel Prize winner Roger SperryEnergyHead

“Better than 90 percent of the energy output of the brain is used in relating the physical body in its gravitational field. The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy available for thinking, metabolism and healing.”
Roger Sperry, PhD.,
Medical Nobel Prize winner for brain research, 1981

I find this number-90%” astonishing! That means that only 10% of the brain is left for thinking, metabolism and healing in the perfect healthy specimen. If any part of the body is compromised or injured, it will chip away at that 10%.

I think of the times when I’ve injured myself beyond the band-aide. When it had to be wrapped, soaked, stitched or immobilized for a period of time. Just the effort of dealing with any ongoing pain definitely compromised my ability to function with any efficiency, not to mention having to do things differently because some limb, joint or section of skin needed to handled differently or couldn’t be used in the same way. I’ve had to rethink the simplest tasks. Things take 10 time longer. I wasn’t thinking about my job, my relationships, my goals and dreams–I was absorbed with thinking about how to take a shower with a cast.

But those injuries are relatively short lived. What about those people that are acutely or chronically ill? Take my example above and multiply the effect.

Where is that 10% now? That 10%, left to handle all the thinking, metabolism, and healing, is now greatly reduced.

I had a teacher that taught me to look for BGOs which stands for “blinding glimpse of the obvious” . This was a BGO for me. Of course! What I observed in my friends and family that are/were largely compromised in some way reflected this very concept:

We only have 10% of our brain power left for everything beyond keeping upright in Earth’s gravity.

It has given me a renewed compassion for anyone that is physically compromised. It doesn’t matter how they got there: genetic, poor choices, ignorance, lack of options or self-inflicted.

They are just doing the best they can with what they have, right now.