Know Thyself: Healing the past through bodywork
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on July 16, 2013.  Posted with permission.

The body keeps the score and stockpiles every event in our lives whether it is a traumatic accident, an invasive surgery, a difficult break-up or a humiliating stumble.

Dr. Michelle Brown of Alternative Natural Health Care in Bonita Springs believes there is a strong connection between mind and body when it comes to trauma. Trauma can be damage to the physical body as well as energetic and emotional distress.

Regardless of the source, these experiences will become cellular memory, Dr. Brown explained, and that stuff can be tough to shake.

Depending on the traumatic event’s severity, the fallout can be dire. Aside from aches, pains and stiffness, some may find it impossible to regulate their own behavior, becoming impulsive and reactive, outwardly or inwardly destructive. Their ability to reason vanishes, and they feel unsafe in their own skins. Drugs and alcohol become common means of self-medicating the mental imbalances and hyper-vigilance.

It can be helpful to go after the trauma’s energetic root.

Acupuncture and Reflexology. Acupuncture targets the body’s major meridians and channels linked to the organs. Acupuncture needles appropriately placed can release blocked energy or even re-energize stagnation or deficiencies. Likewise, with reflexology, the hands, feet and ears are microsystems of the body and optimum targets for acupuncture or acupressure.

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Transformational Breath Therapy®. According to Carrie Sopko, certified TB therapist, there are two main energies in life, fear and love. Fear and all the emotions that accompany it are lower, denser energy. Love, along with joy, happiness, tranquility, and compassion, are of a higher vibration. Given that the breath is the highest vibration, TBT functions on the premise that lower vibrations will rise to higher vibrations. In a TB session, the clients will lie comfortably with their mouths propped open for deep diaphragmatic breathing, guided in meditation by Sopko.

“The breath is the most powerful, self-integrating healing tool we have,” Sopko said.

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CranioSacral Therapy. Licensed massage therapist Rebecca Avers refers to this healing modality as “healing power with a gentle touch.” When the body is under stress, either physical or emotional, one can get stuck in fight-or-flight. CranioSacral Therapy activates the parasympathetic nervous system and makes deep healing possible. The body can relax and self-correct. The CS therapist works from the head to the tailbone and is trained to feel the flow of the spinal fluid to locate and free blockages.

“This healing modality frees the central nervous system to perform at its best,” Avers said.

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Reiki: Reiki refers to life-force energy, and the goal of a Reiki session is to connect the universal energy to the internal. According to Dolores Gozzi, licensed massage therapist and Level III Reiki Master, pain of any sort is a messenger. Traditional massage therapy is helpful for physical trauma, but it doesn’t always go to the energetic source.

“The body holds on to our life experiences on a cellular level,” Gozzi said.

In a Reiki session, the client will lie down and Gozzi serves as a vessel for universal energy by laying hands on the body. The universal energy is wise and knows exactly where to go to release blockages in the body.

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Rolfing. Rolfing, unlike traditional massage, focuses on the fascia or the connective tissue to improve body alignment caused by trauma and stress.

According to certified Rolfer Bess Coble, the trauma from these events affects the body’s structure and function leading to changes in the connective tissue that can show up as tightening, solidifying, lengthening, or shortening. The tissue may feel rigid or solid and can impair movement and affect posture, sometimes with accompanying aches and pains.

Rolfing helps the body regain its self-healing process by resolving its connective tissue distortions. This creates more freedom of movement, increased energy, improved posture, and a reduction of pain or eliminating pain entirely, Coble said.

“This can also help release any embedded emotions in a way that is not overwhelming or re-traumatizing,” Coble said.

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Recovering from trauma is more than bodily repair; it’s the reintegration of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual systems. Bodywork can be the doorway.