I have been working with Trauma for the last 25 years personally and clinically. It has been a powerful Journey but also a big part of my purpose as we are all realizing trauma Is a global epidemic that we all share.

What I have learned after looking at statistics (pre pandemic) and working with over 15,000 people is that Trauma Is the root cause of most diseases and disorders, including complex chronic pain. I believe that Shiatsu therapy, when given additional tools and trauma-informed lenses, can be an Invaluable modality with helping our clients, families and communities. As I discovered in my experiences, trauma is never resolved until the body resolves it and that is must be a co-creative process that requires our clients to be active participants. We must create a safe and empowering relationship that is built on; embodied trust, awareness, accountability and tools to be exercised against the usual triggers.

People are complex and the consequences of our traumatic experiences force us to adapt in complex ways that create habitual patterns and strong protective mechanisms. Often what we deal with as therapists are the symptoms of that adaptation and the complexity that they create in the bodymind.

Many of our clients do what I call the CIRCUIT in the quest to find a resolution to their pain, suffering , or disease. Initially going from one medical practitioner to another where they are often given medications that create more side effects, or not being acknowledged as something is wrong at the root.  Sometimes even ridiculed and dismissed that it’s all in the head. At times even retraumatized by invasive procedures and treatments.

Then the search can transition to going to receive complementary treatments from chiropractic, to physiotherapy, to massage, acupuncture , osteopathy, naturopathic practitioners. etc ; each one doing their best looking at the problem from their lenses. This can lead to years of frustrations and loss of hope if nothing substantially improves. Oftentimes this brings about desperation and experimenting with psychedelics, spiritual healing, shamans, psychics, past life regression and the esoteric. They are all valid and have a place but if not received well can be confusing and retraumatizing also which I have seen many times.

When many clients are caught in these circuits oftentimes not only they lose hope but they have no trust and become hypervigilant with their protective barriers. Healing can have an Architecture and can be methodical, intentional, and possess a plan with stages that one has to go through. What trauma clients want is change and that means moving into the unknown. I imagine it to be their dark valley that they know they must cross, but they feel alone often and they need a guide that has walked that valley themselves and walked others . Also to create this change they must be ready for the journey and have the right resources along the way. As they break through the resistance and go through these stages, healing occurs and post traumatic growth.

Understanding the protective barriers

The first stage is establishing trust and recognizing the innate resistance that has been developed for years and all its habitual and protective patterns. As shiatsu therapists with our skill sets, Intuition and intelligent touch; we can recognize how those protective patterns show themselves , physically, neurologically,  psycho energetically and in the meridian systems.

A big foundational piece using the polyvagal fight, flight and freeze scale theory and how that plays in the bodymind. After working with so many clients I have recognized certain patterns , identified them to the clients and created treatment protocols and tools to help trauma clients change their states and disarm the protective patterns with relative ease. EASE is the key as change seems so difficult for many, but when change with EASE can be demonstrated trust can be created.

This first part to me is fundamental even before Hara diagnosis, or treatment of the meridian system as my experience shows that even Shiatsu can be considered by the traumatized and complex client as invasive and hence the protective barriers can be reinforced and trust is lost. Architecture is necessary, it builds a relationship of trust, empowers the client to use tools and resources to build the necessary resilience to overcome and move into the unknown and the change they desire.

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