How to Release Emotional Trauma From the Body
When we experience trauma, we can’t fully understand it unless we have a way to release it from our bodies. While we can use cognitive-behavioral therapy or yoga to help ourselves process trauma, the emotional aspects of the event are still stuck as tension. To release emotional trauma from the body, we must first rebalance our body’s response to the trauma. During this transition, our body can process the mental aspects of the incident.
Unprocessed or incompletely processed traumas remain as tension.
The survival of an individual who has been subjected to unprocessed trauma is not always apparent. Many survivors cite the release of emotional stress as one of the most critical factors in healing. The fact is that unprocessed trauma attacks the survivor’s DNA and has the potential to reduce a person’s lifespan.
The Dutch psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk is a pioneer in trauma treatment. If traumatic events are not resolved, they may be “trapped” in the body, causing physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms may persist for a long time, although they don’t usually cause prolonged pain. However, there are methods of resolving such events by reducing the initial stress response and fading recollections of the event. But, as Andrea Roberts, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explains, “There is no one-size-fits-all solution for PTSD.”
Even if a patient appears to be emotionally stable, unprocessed, or incompletely processed, traumas can linger in the body and resurface when the patient is exposed to heightened levels of stress. Because these events often lead to state-dependent memories, it’s essential to discuss strategies for coping with these stressors and to discuss booster sessions during vulnerable periods. These periods can be developmental or life-threatening. During such periods, the person’s resources must be increased prophylactically.
Somatic experiencing (SE)
Somatic Experiencing has many advantages over overexposure therapy, including its ability to release stored energy. In addition, it helps people work through emotional trauma by turning off a “threat alarm” that can cause severe dysregulation and dissociation. Through somatic work, people can understand the body’s response to trauma and heal from the “body first” perspective. This article will explore the benefits of bodily work and explain why it works.
In Somatic Experiencing, Dr. Peter Levine’s famous “Slinky” model illustrates how it treats trauma by releasing fight-or-flight energy slowly. He believes that this approach helps the body rebuild its nervous system. Dr. Peter Levine explains how experiencing somatic works in a short interview. He discusses how the technique can help people heal from early trauma and how it can improve their lives and relationships.
Using somatic experiencing helps people connect with their environment by using a sense called felt sensation. Focusing on this sensation helps people become grounded and present. Resourcing exercises help people become more aware of their environment. When this sense is present, a person is free of emotional trauma and can heal emotionally. Those who practice somatic experiencing can release unresolved trauma and increase their self-esteem.
The first stage in releasing emotional trauma from the body is called “retrieval,” and it may feel like an ordeal. During the first few weeks of therapy, it can be challenging to bring up past events that have been stored in the unconscious mind. Though this is a natural process, it can also feel unpleasant and painful. In the first few weeks, you might feel as if you are being punished or tortured, but that’s not the end of the world.
In some cases, crying during therapy may be cathartic, but for others, it may be frightening to unburden previously buried emotions. Your fear of these feelings will depend on how severe your trauma has been. However, experts will help you learn how to deal with newly stirred-up memories and emotions. They may recommend you undergo somatic experiences or other alternative treatments as well.
Another form of cognitive-behavioral therapy is Somatic Experiencing. This therapy uses the principles of somatic experiencing to access hidden parts of the brain. It involves rhythmic left-to-right stimulation and aims to help people process and release trapped stress in the body. The results can be powerful. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can release emotional trauma from the body.
The NIH-funded study demonstrates that yoga can help those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) release emotional trauma from the body. The research looked at women with treatment-resistant complex PTSD. The researchers found that participants who practiced gentle yoga showed significant reductions in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as less intrusive thoughts and dissociation from the body. These findings support Elaine’s personal experience and many people living with other PTSD.
One of the most effective ways to release emotional trauma from the body is to slow down your overactive parasympathetic nervous system, or relaxation response. When this system is overactive, it can send the body into overdrive mode. In traumatic stress, the parasympathetic nervous system initiates the freeze-and-fold response, which reduces heart rate and blood pressure to help the victim dissociate from the traumatic experience. This is a beneficial mechanism that allows the trauma victim to stop feeling the pain too soon.
The practice of yoga is a dynamic back-and-forth between tension and release. A deeper release can be achieved by tensing specific muscles in one pose. The back-and-forth back and forth between the two states allows the body to rebalance itself. In yoga, we are often taught that emotions are our superpowers. When emotions are suppressed, we are unable to make rational decisions. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio describes the effects of emotion on decision-making in his book Descartes’ Error.
Studies have shown that massage can release emotional trauma from the body. This type of therapy can address emotional problems by releasing physical holding patterns, which relate to the tissues of the body and cause pain and discomfort. These holding patterns may be unprocessed trauma or grief.
Massage helps release these patterns by relieving tension and restoring equilibrium in the body. Massage can also improve mood and reduce anxiety and stress. To understand whether massage can release emotional trauma, see the following video.
It is essential to acknowledge the emotional nature of bodywork. All feelings are part of the body. While ethics and boundaries are crucial in bodywork, the client’s feelings should be honored and validated during a massage session. As a massage therapist, you can also work with the client by asking permission to express any feelings that might arise during the session. For example, if your client has a history of emotional trauma, you can ask her to describe the experiences.
A massage therapist can release emotional trauma from the body by helping the client to release physical and emotional stress from the body. Emotional trauma may have been stored in the body for months or years. The massage may bring up the memories of the trauma, resulting in tears and expressions of emotion. This emotional release process can lead to valuable insights into the source of the trauma. Sadly, most massage therapists are not trained in emotional therapy.
Acupuncture works on the mind, body, and spirit. It simultaneously treats the physical and emotional effects of traumatic events, restoring balance and reducing stress. Acupuncture works by rebalancing the nervous system, shifting it from sympathetic to parasympathetic states (the “rest and digest” mode). As a result, emotional pain and trauma can be released from the body, enabling patients to process their feelings and let go.
The benefits of acupuncture are many. It can be used immediately after a traumatic experience or for years afterward. A trauma-informed acupuncturist can adapt the treatment to meet the needs of trauma survivors while focusing on their safety. It’s important to remember that healing from trauma is a monumental and courageous endeavor, and acupuncture is only one of many methods to help the process.
While acupuncture may not be for everyone, it is generally safe and effective. However, patients should consult with a physician before undergoing acupuncture. Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to stimulate specific points of the body. Some points may be heated or exposed to a mild electric current during the procedure. This process can make a patient feel relaxed and energized, and it can also ease physical pain.
Acupuncture works by rebalancing the body’s Qi. In Chinese medicine, Qi refers to the energy that flows through the body’s meridians. If this energy is blocked, disease and pain are the results. Despite its many benefits, acupuncture remains a relatively new and controversial practice in western medicine. While there are no proven medical studies, practitioners have donated their time and skills to help trauma survivors of natural disasters.