Body Based Healing For Trauma
Healing…mind…body….what do all of these have in common? Of course, we all want to heal from whatever ails us. But how? What’s stopping us?
Trauma. So probably for most of you, when you hear the word “trauma,” you think “abuse.” Trauma is much broader and far-reaching. Every day we all experience traumas. Think about it. Someone cuts you off at a stoplight, someone gets recognized for a job you know you could do so much better, even people not liking your posts on Facebook. These all can be considered traumatizing. These all lead to stress which lands somewhere in your body or nervous system depending on how sensitive you are.
Now add all those little traumas up over a lifetime. They create illness or pain in your body, especially if you’ve had some type of abuse or you experienced a medical trauma.
The body remembers what the mind forgets.
The truth is that talking about these traumas in therapy can add to the charge in your nervous system. Body-based treatments are being recognized as much more effective than talk therapy. They help your body get online to release stuck physical and mental pain. Healing also occurs when you are feeling validated and heard. I can personally attest to this. I spent 4 months in India getting an Ayurveda medical treatment called Kshar sutra for an anal fistula (which I suffered with for many years in silence because of shame.) I healed completely because I was surrounded by loving and caring people who inspired me to heal.
Here is a list of basic techniques to help your body not be disassociated so that you can connect to your mind and body and heal.
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1.) Stand by a wall. Place a rolled-up towel, cushion, or soft exercise ball in the curve of your back. Breath and feel your feet on the ground and visualize your spine expanding and contracting with your breath. After a few minutes, you will feel more at ease, in control and powerful. “The wall’s got your back!”
2.) Lay on your bed or a mat. Put your hand on your chest and stomach. Feel your feet and back on the bed and breath. Feel like the bed is holding you like a loving hand. To expand on the exercise, massage very gently on your sternum. Our sternum (chest area) holds grief because of being so close to the heart. If tears come, let them. Lastly, very gently massage in a line from the top of your stomach to your belly button. (In Chinese medicine these are called mu points and are very powerful.)
3.) Spend at least 10 minutes a day outside. Find a favorite tree. Look at that tree closely. Wonder how long it has been there. Visualize its root system and think about how connected it is to all the other trees around it. You can even touch the tree. After a while, you might feel energy from the tree. But most importantly think about its connection to Mother Earth. Now you have your own Mother Earth tree. On the days when you feel no one cares, know you are connected to this tree unconditionally.
4.) Sit in a chair. Feel your feet on the ground. Feel the back of the chair “having your back.” You can do this technique 1-3 times while sitting. You can even do the tree exercise. Close your eyes and feel the tree right in front of you. This is your Mother Earth tree. It is here for you and its roots have your back.
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