Emotional Trauma Healing | Releasing Trauma from the Body
I definitely know what it’s like to feel like you just don’t know how to heal from trauma, and nothing seems to be helping. I’ve been in the trenches, and found my way to the light, but believe me, it’s not an experience I will ever forget.
It may feel like a heavy load you carry, or it may just seem that life is so dark that you just can’t see your way through. If you’re someone who feels like you’re always listening out for danger, and you only ever hear bad news, and you just assume that whatever life has in store for you next, it’s definitely not going to be amazing or wonderful, then you are in a cycle of trauma.
This means that for the most part, your life is driven by your pain body, rather than your Wholeness (the part of you that is at peace, and has never been harmed).
I talk a lot about the pain body [you can watch my IGTV video on it here], and how it’s an integral aspect of the trauma experience. Specifically, it’s about the body and trauma – because yes, trauma does affect your body, your physiology, your health.
If you’ve never heard this, but always suspected that something going on in your body is ‘because of what happened’ – guess what? You may be right.
The pain body is basically your trauma-affected nervous system.
As a result of traumatic experiences, it has basically been trained to react and interpret the world in whatever way you did during the times when you were in danger, or suffering, or in crisis.
The pain body is the part of you that is hypervigilant; the part that has flashbacks, that doesn’t trust people, that is afraid to take risks, and it is even often the part of you that suffers chronic health issues.
It’s terrible and depressing enough to be living your life unable to make decisions from a place of self-love, trust, from a belief in potential, much less from a place of deep-seated peace.
On top of which – you may have physical pain or illness that comes from emotional pain.
Releasing trauma is a healing journey, not just one step you take.
One of the main feelings that I experienced in my worst times, and something I see often my clients, is the sense that life is just not fair, and I’ve obviously drawn the short end of the stick!
After all, everyone else seems to be okay – they are achieving things, they don’t seem to have so many problems and they certainly aren’t triggered like I am!
Maybe this is familiar to you, too!
In situations when other people cope, you are the one who may need to go lie in bed or sit in a corner numb, needing to recover from stuff no one understands which probably doesn’t even affect them (and about which you may have told no one!).
Yet, there is hope for healing emotional trauma
Unfortunately, the body is often ignored, even in trauma informed therapy.
The body holds trauma in its tissues, its muscles, in its biochemistry, as well its neural networks.
This means that the nervous system becomes almost programmed to carry out a sequence of reactions and responses based on trauma memories.
Counselling for trauma which ignores this very physiological reality of the trauma experience, specifically the pain body, is not the most effective trauma therapy – and this is backed by research.
Studies have shown that a somatic approach to trauma healing will always be more effective than talk therapy alone. ‘Somatic’ refers to the body – body awareness, or including the body’s sensations as part of your therapeutic experience.
However, in my experience it is bodywork which directly engages with the body through touch which can be the most powerful means of actually releasing trauma from the body.
Releasing trauma from the body
There are many ways to begin to release trauma from the bodies musculature and tissues, and start to even calms down brain structures like the limbic system (e.g. the amygdala).
Here are just a few examples to give you an idea of the options which exist for you.
- massage therapy
- myofascial release
- craniosacral therapy
- biodynamic cranial touch
- acupuncture / acupressure
- TRE (trauma release exercises – you do this yourself)
Going beyond counselling for trauma
Of course, I am an advocate for talking to a practitioner or therapist about what you are experiencing. I love to do this with clients too!
However, often bodywork is the complementary modality that is overlooked even in trauma informed counselling.
Getting Started In Your Own Time
I created Feel Better Now, as a powerful self-guided online therapy program with self-healing resources including practices to release trauma from the body which you can do at home in your own time.
My goal is to empower you to not just relieve symptoms and heal, but also to expand your capacity for joy and to know your purpose and live it.