Tap. It’s hard to be physically well if you are suffering from psychological trauma. I would add to this article from Dr Mercola the stress cure I heard of which is used by the Mangyan, a mountain tribe from Mindoro in the Philippines, and which I use to steady my heart beat. I will add the link at the bottom of the post.
Creating a Foundation for Healing
The first technique taught in Gordon’s program is slow, deep, “Soft Belly” breathing for eight to 10 minutes. Simply breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, keeping your belly soft and relaxed. Closing your eyes will help eliminate external stimulation. As you do this, pay attention to your breath and allow your muscles to relax.
“This is technically a concentrative meditation,” Gordon says. “You are focusing on the breath, on the words ‘soft’ as you breathe in, and ‘belly’ as your breathe out, and on the feeling of your belly softening, relaxing. It is the antidote to the fight-or-flight response. It activates the vagus nerve, which slows heartrate, lowers blood pressure, helps us relax the big muscles, improves our digestion.
It quiets centers in the brain, like the amygdala in the emotional brain, that are responsible for fear and anger, and stimulates centers in the frontal part of our cerebral cortex that make us more self-aware, more thoughtful, more capable of decision-making, more able to be compassionate to other people and to ourselves.
This is the place to begin. This becomes a foundation for learning all the other techniques, because if we’re in this relaxed moment-to-moment awareness, then it’s much easier to use the techniques that mobilize our imagination.
It also becomes easier to use the active, physical techniques that can break up the frozen tension that’s in our bodies. It’s important to know that, when we’re dealing with psychological trauma, we need to work with our bodies, as well as our minds and our imagination.”
Other Self-Healing Techniques
“Shaking and Dancing” is one of these active techniques. It is technically an “expressive meditation,” designed to loosen our trauma-tensed bodies and relax and open our preoccupied minds. Here’s how you do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees bent, and start shaking from your feet up through your knees and hips to your shoulders, chest and head.
Continue for five to seven minutes. “Shaking begins to break up the fixed patterns that have come into our bodies when we’ve been traumatized,” Gordon explains. The physical shaking also loosens the repeating thoughts that intrude in your mind, and opens you up to emotions that have been suppressed and repressed.
“Sometimes it’s sadness. Sometimes it’s anger. Sometimes it’s fear. Sometimes it’s laughter,” Gordon says. “We do that for five or six minutes. And then stop and stand and relax and be aware, be mindful of the breath and the body.”
After that, Gordon suggests putting on energizing music that you find uplifting, something that raises your spirits. Then allow your body to move to the music in whatever way it wants.
“’Shaking and Dancing’ breaks up patterns that come from both fight-or-flight and freezing. It allows emotions to come up. It gives us a little time for mindfulness to become aware of what came up in our body as we did the shaking. And then it gives us a chance to express ourselves in dance, to feel some freedom,” Gordon says.
These three are basic — the Soft Belly breathing, the drawings and the Shaking and Dancing. Once you’re in a state of increased equilibrium — balancing out the fight-or-flight response and bringing yourself out of the freeze response, you can use all the other techniques I teach.
These include guided imagery, written dialogues, biofeedback and autogenic training (phrases that mobilize the parasympathetic nervous system and help us rest and digest), and many others — walking, meditation, mindful eating, being in nature and with animals, laughter, gratitude, and forgiveness.
The Trauma Healing Diet
When we’re psychologically traumatized, our GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, suffers just as much as our brain. Every aspect of digestion is significantly disrupted. We need to restore functioning. Techniques like Soft Belly, which quiet the fight-or-flight response and allow your digestion to operate more efficiently, are part of the healing process.
“There are also many dietary changes we can make that can make a major difference in how we feel and how quickly and well we recover from trauma … If we eat a basic healthy diet and eliminate food additives and preservatives, that, in itself, is going to help your gut to heal,” Gordon says.
“I also suggest people eliminate gluten-containing foods and stay away from milk products until their gut is restored. Trauma often opens spaces between the cells that line the small intestine and these grain and milk proteins can then enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation everywhere in our body, including our brain.
We need to supplement with probiotics. I would also add … a multivitamin, multi-mineral supplement. There’s an interesting study done in New Zealand after the earthquake there, a very good randomized controlled trial, showing that people who took a high-dose multivitamin and multi-mineral [supplement] had far fewer symptoms of psychological trauma than those who did not.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma, I urge you to get Gordon’s book, “The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma,” and start working through the program. You have nothing to lose but your pain. The book will also be an invaluable resource for anyone working with traumatized individuals or patients.
“My goal with ‘The Transformation’ is to make this work available to anyone who wants to deal with the trauma that may have come to them and also to help them — to help all of us — discover our own healing path, our own path to becoming who we’re meant to be,” Gordon says.
If you want to take it to the next level and either work with a CMBM facilitator for one-on-one guidance, or if you want to become a facilitator yourself, go to CMBM.org.
There, you’ll find a listing of practitioners trained in the CMBM model, as well as information about CMBM professional training programs, workshops, webinars, conferences and much more. To allow as many people as possible to learn these techniques, CMBM charges on a sliding scale, based on your ability to pay.
“About 40% of the people who come to our trainings here in the United States come on scholarship,” Gordon says. “We want our work to help all those who want to serve and help others to use what we have to offer. We are a community of healers and a healing community … Come and be part of our community. Our community is here to support you in your life and in your work.”