One does not have be a combat soldier, or visit a refugee camp in Syria or the Congo to encounter trauma. Trauma happens to us, our friends, our families, and our neighbors. ~ Bessel van der Kolk
As a hands-on therapist, I see the effects of trauma on the human body all too frequently. From infants who experienced a difficult birth to adults of all ages who have encountered trauma somewhere in their history. I’m working toward better understanding the emotional, psychological and physical impacts.
Last month, I attended Dr. Theodore Jordan, DO’s ‘Osteopathic Approach to Trauma’ workshop. We reviewed the physiology of trauma and how the ‘startle reflex’ affects postural muscles. These include the troublemakers I regularly treat, including psoas, pec minor, and sternocleidomastoid.
We practiced and experienced different modalities. Traditional osteopathy, muscle energy, and counterstrain. Plus more modern approaches including Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) and Brainspotting. We wrapped up our final day with a Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) session. Quite an agenda!
On our recommended resources list: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Written by psychiatrist and pioneering PTSD researcher Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., it’s an intense but inspiring read. I’m still making my way though and suspect I’ll be returning to it many times.
So I was thrilled when Maria Popova’s review of van der Kolk’s book arrived in my inbox last week – perfect timing! Check it out: The Science of How Our Minds and Our Bodies Converge in the Healing of Trauma. Popova, a self-described interestingness hunter-gatherer, is the brain behind the online digest Brain Pickings. Her articles include beautiful artwork and links to complementary readings. Far beyond what I can even imagine creating.
Her review is a good place to start to discover the link between the brain and the body. If you’re keen for more, delve into van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score.
Do you have any books or resources that you’ve found helpful for dealing with trauma? Please share in the comments below.