What is this?
Essentially, this is how we discharge the stress/pain energy induced within the nervous system and neuroendocrine system after experiencing a traumatic event that caused internal stress and a “shock to the system”
Dr. PeterLevine (the founder of Somatic Experiencing) was inspired to study stress on the animal nervous system when he realised that animals are constantly under threat of death, yet show no symptoms of trauma or PTSD.
Why is that?
What he discovered in his studies was that trauma has to do with the third survival response to perceived life threat, which is freeze response. This is the top of the bell curve on the Polyvagal Chart, and is controlled by the dorsal vagal nerve and parasympathetic nervous system.
When fight & flight responses are not options any longer, we freeze and immobilise. We shut down, numb out, and “play dead.” This makes us less of a target for perceived threat.
But… this automatic trauma response and reaction is time-sensitive. Meaning, it needs to run its course, and the massive energy that was prepared for fight or flight (cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline as well as high levels of glucose from the liver and muscle glycogen, fear proteins, mitochondria) gets discharged through shaking, swaying and trembling. As shown by the video footage below of the impala, polar bear, and my client Tina. This is an innate healing mechanism within our nervous system.
If the immobility phase doesn’t complete, and stress activation cycle isn’t completed, the energy and electrical charge remains stagnant and trapped. From the body’s perspective and it’s neuroception throughout the brain-gut axis, it is still under threat, danger and remains in emergency-survival state. When the smoke detector isn’t switched off, it causes severe dysregulation and dissociation. And this results in a host of symptoms such as low immunity, cardiac and pulmonary issues, high blood pressure, raised blood sugars which may lead to onset diabetes, gut problems, depression, anxiety attacks, inflammation and physiological pain, to name a few
My approach to Somatic Therapy, through the healing powers of the Vagus Nerve, works to release this stored stress energy, to turn off the threat alarm in the amygdala and nervous system, bringing souls home into healthy homeostasis and baseline that is connected, calm and grounded
Leave a Reply