Our body is a meticulous record keeper of everything that has happened to us and, naturally, the more profound the events, the more profound the effect. But the question becomes, where is this “stuff” being stored? It turns out that experience is not only stored in our brain as memory but also elsewhere in our bodies. As Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk says in his bestselling book on trauma and healing “The Body Keeps the Score”, trauma is a fact of life. But some people’s trauma is sustained and repetitive so that the old is mixed with reinjury causing a debilitating cycle. In his book Dr. Kolk chronicles his own research studies with combat veterans and the success he has had reshaping participants’ use of their bodies and brains through meditation, yoga and neurofeedback. The thesis is that we store experiences, including trauma, not only in our brain as memory but also literally in our tissues. Sometimes referred to as “pain memory”, it is what can get us into trouble when we “stuff away” experiences that are too painful to address every day. If they are never addressed and are not released from our system, they then continue to produce other, often unexpected negative effects on our health. Such is the case with a group of experiences that result in a condition referred to PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder, a common condition among combat veterans. Working through somatic or cellular practices, instead of, or in addition to “talk therapy”, we can circumvent the brain, with its powerful defensive mechanisms and get right to our body directly. Modalities to help release trauma are delivered by teachers or coaches that are specially trained so that participants feel safe at all times. The practitioner, with client feedback, identifies the location and character of what is being stored (for example, lower back pain which can be both physical and psychological) and then a protocol is developed too slowly and safely release it.
Lisa Terenzio is a health coach and yoga instructor, offering workshops and 1:1 session from Niantic Yoga.