Acknowledging the Pain to Heal

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in Blog, CranioSacral Therapy, natural childbirth, SomatoEmotional Release, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When we consider the concept of evolution, we often think about change happening over generations.  We look at Darwin’s work meticulously charting changes in beak size and other factors that can help a species adapt to their surroundings.  We debate over whether the digestive tract of the human body has evolved to adequately process the increased consumption of grains thanks to the Agricultural Revolution.  But, what about the evolution of each of us as individuals during our human experience? The human brain reaches full development around the age of 25.  That is not to say that the kitchen timer rings and suddenly our growth is complete.  There is always an opportunity to grow, change, and evolve towards our greatest potential.  What matters most is the ability to let the ego go and be open to change.  This may be easier said than done.  When I talk about evolving in your human experience, I am not referring to adding an inch to your height.  I am referring to literally allowing pain to destroy that which no longer serves you on your journey.  (I am in no way endorsing seeking out pain, staying in a volatile relationship, or inflicting it on others.) We as a culture shun pain.  If someone tries to talk openly and honestly about pain, we say they are complaining, they are weak, they are self absorbed.  The over-medication of our escapist society with a surge in prescription drugs, alcohol consumption, and any other feel-good substance do nothing more than numb us from that which is there to help us.  These tools do have their place, but we are all individuals.  We each have our own body chemistry, physiology, life experience, beliefs, situation, & outlook that can affect the role of these medications.  Prozac may work great for one person, while another may respond better to CBD oil.  It is important to find an Integrative Functional Medicine practitioner to help manage supplements and medication. In the Army, we were constantly told (and it trickles down to the lowest rank) to, “Suck it up, and drive on!”.  The most common cure-all was 800mg of ibuprofin and water.  It was ingrained to put mind over matter and just keep pushing through.  I understand that the mission comes first, and sometimes we do need to FIDO (F*&k it, drive on).  But, when it is all said and done, restoration and reset are paramount. Soon-to-be mothers often choose an epidural or an elective cesarean section because they are afraid that they cannot handle the pain.  When I was 9 months pregnant, a friend gave me the best advice for labor.  “Savor the exquisite pain,” she said.  She went into a story about with her...

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Reaching the Invisible Wounds

Posted by on Oct 27, 2015 in Blog, drug-free, PTSD | 0 comments

Everyone knows the cliché about holding emotions in our bodies. The most common one is, “I carry my stress in my shoulders”. What if I told you that emotions tied with a physical, mental, or spiritual trauma can remain in the visceral body? This can be from both acute (that one firefight in Mosul) or chronic (the day in day out life during a deployment with a horrible commander) events. I have noticed with my clients that unless properly addressed and freed, this stuck energy can manifest into a multitude of issues. I am a CranioSacral Therapist (using Upledger techniques). I believe that all bodies can heal as designed. I am also an Army veteran with two combat tours. I cannot tell the stories of my clients, but I can tell you mine. I can tell you why I do what I do now with such passion and hope to improve the lives of those affected by PTSD. TRAUMA AND THE BODY When a trauma or emotional event occurs, it stimulates the release of cortisol, i.e. adrenaline, causing a chain reaction to recruit the fight, flight, or freeze response (in women, it is considered tend & befriend) in our bodies. This surge can be life-saving by enhancing the senses to focus, aim, and fire at the right moment or providing a surge in power to carry a wounded comrade from danger. But, what happens when the fight is over? Wild animals have been observed “shaking it off” after surviving an attack from a predator. Edward Tick, Ph.D, author of War and the Soul: Healing our Nation’s Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, mentions a soldier’s need to cleanse and purify the body after returning from war. Like recovering equipment upon redeployment, our bodies must be cleaned out or the emotions can remain stuck and build up. During a deployment, our bodies are constantly on guard. This puts tremendous stress on the adrenal glands as they are the main cortisol-producer in the body. Any additional stress from home or simply missing family just compounds the stress hormones. Chronic stress and/or a singular traumatic event can take a huge toll on the body. This can manifest into a variety of symptoms I have witnessed from the psychological (anxiety, depression, hyper-vigilance, irritability), physiological (panic attacks, hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue, autoimmune diseases, insomnia), and physical (chronic aches & pains, fatigue, reduced libido, headaches, asthma, allergies, and even heartburn) realms. That’s right. That lingering energy can run your body down and affect it for years if left unresolved. According to Peter Levine in his book, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, “post-traumatic stress symptoms are, fundamentally, incomplete physiological responses suspended in fear.” The body literally needs...

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The Control Touch- From Helicopters to the Craniosacral System

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in Blog, brain health, CranioSacral Therapy | 0 comments

In aviation, a pilot’s control touch can be the difference between a smooth ride and a bumpy one.  Flying helicopters requires a certain type of finesse.  Back in flight school, the Instructor Pilots (IP) used a lot of similar cues to teach us how to fly.  The one that has been coming to mind recently is how minute our control inputs were to hover.  To get to this level of calm, you had to completely relax and “think” the aircraft where you wanted it to go. I have always loved hovering.  Literally floating ten feet above the ground.  During our first couple weeks of flight school, that was a big focus.  Just learn how to keep the helicopter still in the air.  It sounds easy, right?  Well, it took most of us about 10 hours in the cockpit before it finally clicked.  Ten hours can be a long time when you’re just trying to focus on not going anywhere.  They would start us off simple, giving the student one of the three controls at a time to get used to it. While the IP had the helicopter under his control, we just hovered, rock solid, over the same spot.  It looked effortless.  I looked over at the way he sat, his hands moving slightly, his feet gracefully working the pedals, yet we remained still.  “You have the pedals,” he said.  “I have the pedals,” I replied and put my feet out on the pedals.  To complete the three-way positive transfer of the controls, he responded once more before giving me full control of our yaw, “You have the pedals.”  Almost immediately, the helicopter started to yaw to the right.  “You need more left pedal,” he instructed.  I gave the left pedal a little kick, and we violently swung 120 degrees to the left.  “A little less than that.”  We continued rocking from right to left until my quads started burning because I was pushing too hard.  The IP took the pedals back to give me a few seconds to shake out the lactic acid built up from my legs fighting themselves.  After some time of doing little more than working the pedals, I learned how to lighten my control touch and stay relaxed.  One by one, I practiced with the each of the controls until I became more comfortable and accustomed to the helicopter’s response to my inputs. It took some time and a lot of patience, but eventually, I learned how to hold the helicopter still, 10 feet above the ground.  Stillness.  When it came time to start moving, I was instructed to just “think it forward”.  Any movement of my hand holding the cyclic that could be visually noticed was too much....

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