I grew up with abuse. A lot of it. Every kind of it.
I’ve watched over the years as emotional toxicity has manifested in physical disease in every member of my nuclear family. Seriously – every single one is now physically disabled. I believe I have avoided this path by relentlessly pursuing a journey of healing and wholeness. That’s not to say I haven’t had physical stuff show up in my body, it’s just that I’ve found ways to heal that have kept me healthy.
A few years ago I read a book titled Job’s Body by Deane Juhan. The author is a massage therapist and the book unravelled how memories are literally retained in the fabric our cells. This was demonstrated with the fact that an older man who holds his body in a disfigured shape will completely lose his disfigurement when his body relaxes under anaesthetic. Why? His mind has subconsciously trained his cells to hold that shape while conscious.
Even weirder, take the fact that it has been documented that a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) manifested a personality that was an insulin dependent diabetic, but when that personality was taken over by a different personality, the diabetes literally disappeared!
Clearly, the body stores trauma on a very physical level. Many people work for years trying to heal their memories and emotions and never achieve full recovery.
Recently, I came across the work of Dr. David Berceli who has discovered a somatic (body) based therapy that anybody can do for free. This therapy helps to release the trauma stored in certain muscles in the body. Specifically, the psoas muscles. These muscles are the deepest muscles in our bodies. They connect the backbone to the tops of the femurs; they literally hold the top and bottom half of our bodies together! The health of the psoas muscles affect our intestinal system, adrenal glands, lower back, hips and if you’re a woman – your uterus.
When we’re in a fight, flight or freeze situation it is our psoas muscles that clench up and pull us forward to protect our most vulnerable parts. People who have had chronic trauma in their life do this a lot and guess what? It causes physical problems. So many people who’ve experienced abuse have intestinal disorders, lower back problems, hips issues, ‘woman’s’ problems and burned out adrenals. This actually isn’t a mystery when you understand that chronically clenched psoas muscles from a state of fear can create all these problems!
Here’s the cool part: Dr. Berceli discovered that the shaking response we get after a traumatic event actually releases the trauma retained in the psoas muscles. The trouble is, most of us have taught ourselves not to shake when scared, primarily to save us embarrassment.
Do you know what happens to an archery bow when someone dry fires it? It usually doesn’t look any different on the outside, but the insides of the structure get so messed up and damaged it doesn’t work properly anymore. That’s why archery stores charge people who dry fire bows in their shops. Guess what happens when your psoas muscles absorb all the energy of repeated trauma and don’t discharge it properly? Exactly: you get all messed up and damaged inside just like a dry fired bow.
If you want to heal from trauma you need to physically heal the part of you that initially absorbed it in your body. Exercises that gently induce the shaking response have been proven to assist with this. I’ve been doing Dr. Berceli’s Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) daily and I’ve seen a HUGE shift in my emotional and physical well-being not to mention healing of a hip impingement issue. If you want to learn more or give it a try, check out these links: