Sunday, May 09, 2010

Trauma Therapy! (Bex- white/black)

I had my first Trauma Touch session Friday! It was only supposed to be an hour, but we spend 2.5 hours working.

First, let me tell every person that has ever suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and trauma, there is hope! TTT is not right for everyone. Its right for chronic anxiety and old trauma. The deeper I dig into this new study of trauma, the more fascinating it becomes. I have come to realize that the other Trauma therapy programs I have been through deal with mostly NEW trauma and the anxiety and panic that comes from them. I am truly amazed at how our bodies work.

Our bodies and our minds are intricately connected. In every culture, mind and body are not a separate concept. This includes traditional Western culture (Greeks, Romans). Physically, our brains connect to neurons that connect and interact directly with nearly every cell in the body. What is not physically connected to the brain is washed with a bath of chemicals called Hormones which tell cells what to do just like nerves. The hormones are ultimately controlled by the brain as well from a tiny "main control center" in the center of the brain. Every medicinal culture also recognizes "energy" pathways or mixtures. These energies overlay every part of the physical body and balance the mind, body, and spirit. They have names that range from but are not limited to meridians (Asian), yin/yang (Asian), chakras (Ayruvedic), humors (Greek), Heraclitus theory of opposites (Greek), and elements (Greek). **** Note: Greece was a collection of City-States, not one culture****

During the Renaissance, as the West emerged from the Dark Ages, science started to blossom. The Church struggled with science because it undermined it's teachings. Many, such as Galileo were Excommunicated and/or killed. The Inquisition eventually came after a French philosopher named Renee Descartes. As self-defense in order to not be killed, he proposed to the Church that the Mind (and Spirit) were separate from the Body. He argued that since the spirit/mind cannot be measured it belonged to the jurisdiction of the Church. Since the body can be measured, and science deals with that which can be measured, it belonged to the jurisdiction of science. The Church accepted this theory resulting in the evasion of the collapse of science during the Renaissance, a lessening of pressure from the Inquisition for heresy (and fewer deaths of scientists!), creation of secular vs spiritual world, and the end of thousands of years of holistic thought.

The last 30 years has seen a trend in the reversal of the separation of body vs mind/spirit in the West. Trauma resolution is just one field that is being changed. New trauma resolution therapies are working with a complex combination of energy work, traditional psychotherapy (or talk therapy) tools, and the physical body, manipulating nerves and other tissues.

Unfortunately in the USA, you can only have a licence to "touch" or to "talk" when you are a therapist. Massage Therapists, Holistic Health Practitioners, and other bodyworkers (Acupuncturists, Acupressurists, Chiropractors, etc) have a licence to TOUCH. Psychiatrist, Psychologists, Hypnotherapists, life coaches, etc have a licence to TALK. Therefore, when dealing with trauma, it is important to work with TWO therapists. One that works with the body and energy. The other that uses talk therapy and/or group therapy. One without the other creates imbalance in the healing process.

These are some of the top programs:
- Peter A. Levine's "Waking the Tiger" and "Healing Trauma" (good for recent trauma, ie: car accident, highly emotional incident)
- Jon Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness Meditation Program found in several of his books (combination of meditation, mindfulness, and guided imagery)
- David Berceli's "TRE: Trauma Releasing Exercises" (no NOT do this program alone!!!! You must work through it with a qualified therapist otherwise you can seriously hurt or retraumatize yourself!)
- Trauma Touch Therapy (Energy work and body-mind integration program facilitated by bodywork specialists---- only 192 in the world!)

Trauma Touch is, as I said, a program that grew out of the massage therapy modality. It does not, however, use what is traditionally thought of as massage. Rather it uses a technique often lumped in with the Swedish Massage techniques called Stationary Pressure. Stationary pressure is a variety of touch and energy manipulations such as reiki, holding the place/body part, working with energetic fields, identifying epi-centers of trauma (via heat, sensations, pain, etc coming from a particular part of the body), acupressure and more.

New trauma theory relies heavily on the fact that the body "holds" emotion, memories, sensations, and much of what is traditionally thought to be stored in the brain. These are all interwoven into the muscle fibers, nerves, and tissue of the entire body, and actually can in some cases change the way our DNA is interacting and directing a cell to function. If all the cells in a tissue are changed that way, the entire tissue or organ could start functioning differently. Hence, the beginning of disease and illness manifesting in the body because of a mental/emotional "thought".

Unlike traditional energy work (Acupuncture, Reiki, Ayruvedic theory, etc), Trauma Touch doesn't just break blockages or move energy, it somehow gets into the root of the problem. It works with the physical body and its energy flow to "uncoil" the changes that have been made in the DNA, tissues, and energy flow via Stationary Pressure techniques. TRE (Trauma Releasing Exercises) work in a similar manner, excepting the theory holds that you can uncoil the trauma by "shaking" out the trauma, much like an antelope shakes after being run down by a predator and manages to escape. TRE works and I have used this uncoiling theory, despite not believing it. While TRE and TTT both require working with a bodyworker and you can not do it yourself and both rely on the body's innate intelligence, letting the body do the work at the pace that it wants and where it wants, there are major differences between TRE and TTT. One, with TRE you run a bigger risk of retraumatizing yourself because trauma can release too fast in too many places of the body at once, therefore overwhelming your system. The process of shaking can be very scary as well. You can do this program every day and get rid all the trauma in a relatively short time. What kept me going back to it, despite how overwhelming and scary it could be is that I was actually reversing trauma and was having major emotional releases. TTT releases trauma too and has major emotional releases, but in a more point specific/target oriented manner and does not involve shaking like a leaf on a stormy autumn day. The uncoiling effect is a bit slower but deeper. So even though the Trauma Touch therapist was working on my knee and ankle for only 15 minutes, and I felt significant changes in my leg (I got back sensation in my foot that is didn't know I lost, my back pain got better, and I regained sensation in my leg that I haven't had for years) over the next 3 days, those changes had a rippling effect through my body (in my thigh, my back, my leg, even in my thoughts). I guess it all boils down to a classic quantity (all over the body) or quality (one specific area at a time).

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