The Truth about Trauma in the Tissues
Updated: Jan 2, 2020
Trauma is a large umbrella term that we have all experienced in one form or another. Trauma can be referred to as anything that creates stress on the mind and body or injury to the tissues. Your brain’s job is to remember trauma so if you have the choice, you don’t repeat it. Think about a child touching a hot stove for the first time; the neuronal pathways become very strong, so they don’t repeat this trauma to the body.
Did you know that trauma is remembered in other places in the body besides your brain? Connective tissue, also known as fascia, covers our entire body and lets our brains know where we are in space. Anytime there is an injury to the body, it is the job of the connective tissue to compensate with various tensions in order to protect the central nervous system (brain/spinal cord) and vital organs. Why is this important? When individuals experience a traumatic event, they are often encouraged to talk to someone about it. Therapy can be very beneficial but if the trauma in the body is not addressed as well, it can be hard to heal completely. In fact, even purely emotional traumas can become stuck in the tissues of the body, specifically the organs, and can be the basis for disease.
One of my mentors told me, the tissues are unable to ‘see’ so they have to be encouraged or told ‘it’s okay to let go’. We know logically that we are not experiencing trauma anymore, but the tissues aren’t able to let go until they ‘know’ as well. When I am working with the physical tensions of a patient’s body, they will report having thoughts or experiences arise out of nowhere. The memories are often linked to a trauma and once they start focusing on the experience again, while those tissues are engaged, their body will automatically let go of the tension. The body truly knows how to heal itself. So, sometimes all it takes is paying attention to that area of the body again for a shift to happen, even if it has been a long time since the experience.
The best thing we can do when it comes to any kind of healing, is to approach the journey from a whole-person perspective. Allowing for processing on all levels, meaning mentally, physically, and emotionally. Therapy can be very beneficial as well as addressing the tissues directly through a variety of modalities. Some of these techniques can be facilitated by a practitioner and include myofascial release, visceral (organ) manipulation, neural manipulation, craniosacral therapy, massage, acupuncture, shirodhara, etc.
You can also help your body heal itself with intention. We are made of mostly water so setting the intention of healing and letting go of tensions, while soaking in water, can be very beneficial. Every part of you is connected and your body responds to your thoughts. I encourage you to try communicating with the cells that make up your connective tissue. Tell them lovingly that, ‘whatever the trauma was, it is over, and they can let go’. See what happens.