What Characterizes Trauma?
- UDIN (UDIN stands for unexpected, dramatic, isolating, no strategy).
- Trauma is perceived by the individual.
- Awareness that you are endangered.
- Terrified and completely overwhelmed.
- Something you cannot control.
- Feels big enough to destroy you.
Characteristics And Examples of Trauma
- Perception of a direct threat to your life or your well being or your sanity.
- Feeling of complete helplessness and ineffective in perceived overwhelming danger.
- Examples: divorce, loss of job, death of a person, accidents, natural disasters, sexual assault,
abuse, and childhood traumas.
- Vicarious trauma: Trauma often suffered by counsellors or other health-care providers that hear the trauma stories, and become witnesses to the pain, fear, and terror that trauma survivors have endured.
PTSD And The Neuroendocrine System
Endocrine Changes With PTSD
- Highly sensitized HPA Axis.
- Decreased basal cortisol levels/ higher epinephrine and norepinephrine.
- Highly reactive ANS (easily triggered & explosive).
- High levels of natural opiates (numbing).
- Low PNS tone / vagal tone (low HRV).
- Low GABA (loss of inhibition in expressing emotions).
PTSD And The Neuroendocrine System
Neurological Changes With PTSD
- Primitive brain is “on” constantly (hyper-alert).
- The limbic brain is hypersensitive: amygdala is overactive; hippocampus has
- The neocortex or the more complex organizers in the brain have decreased blood flow: cannot down-regulate the limbic centre.
ANS Balance Is Needed
Sympathetic Nervous System
- Fight, Flight or Freeze (survival).
- Chronic stress or trauma may lead to high allostatic load & disease.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
- Rest & Digest.
- Hypothalamus triggers the release of CRH (Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone) which activates the
- Pituitary gland which releases the hormone ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic Hormone) which is carried by the blood to the
- Adrenal gland which releases stress hormones Cortisol / Adrenalin and Noradrenalin to assist the body deal with the stressor
The allostatic load is “the wear and tear on the body” which grows over time when the individual is exposed to repeated or chronic stress. It represents the physiological consequences of chronic exposure to fluctuating or heightened neural or neuroendocrine response that results from repeated or chronic stress.**
Emotional Freedom Techniques For Trauma
When you’re experiencing a negative emotion, your brain is on high alert.
This negative emotion signals a primitive part of the brain called the amygdala, sometimes referred to as the fire-alarm in the brain, to send us into a fight-or-flight response. In prehistoric times, this was an advantage because when there was a threat, like a predator chasing us, our muscles would tense, adrenaline would pump, our blood pressure and blood sugars would rise so we could either stand and fight or turn away and flee.
In modern day society, most of our stressors are triggered internally as negative emotions, which have their roots in our core negative beliefs.
To our system, the perceived threat is just as real to the amygdala and the same physiological responses occur.
How Does EFT Affect The Brain?
- EFT calms the amygdala & interrupts the ‘flight or fight’ reaction thereby allowing the body to move from using it’s resources to protect against perceived danger and into a maintenance, growth, and healing mode.
- Clears energetic disturbances from the body and its’ surrounding field.
- EFT helps to increase our ability to operate optimally on all levels; physically, emotionally, mentally, and relationally.
- Promotes an experience of wellness, clarity, optimism, vitality, peak performance and the ability to make inspired choices leading to health, abundance, and harmony.
Why EFT & Yoga?
“A common denominator of all traumas is an alienation and disconnection from the body and a reduced capacity to be present in the here and now” – Peter Levine, PhD
Yoga and EFT are somatic treatments that help reset the nervous system and helps trauma sufferers reconnect with their bodies and regain a sense of control.
Stimulation Of The Vagal System
- Turn off stress response & hyper-arousal via relaxation response
- Enhances memory
- Fights inflammation
- Blocks cortisol and other hormones that damage the brain & body in high doses
- Helps overcome depression & anxiety
- Helps reduce insulin resistance
- Raises HGH
- Stimulates neurogenesis and neuroplasticity
- Mediates allergic responses
- Aids sleep
- Reduces seizures in epileptics