& Body - Without Awareness, There is no Choice!
Vol. 6, No. 14
by John F. Barnes, PT
you were injured a couple of years ago. You received on-going therapy in the
form of hot packs, ultrasound, massage, electrical stimulation, exercise and
flexibility training, joint mobilization and muscle energy techniques,
medication and psychological counselling to no avail. All of the standard tests
show nothing and you desperately want to get better.
You've been given a multitude of different diagnostic labels and all the experts
are telling you there is nothing wrong. You feel imprisoned in a body that won't
respond and allow you to play and work again. You feel helpless and out of
control What if something was overlooked? What could it be?
THE INSTINCTUAL "FREEZE RESPONSE"
When many of us are injured, we go into a state of disassociation at the moment
of trauma to survive. Our body/mind experiences an instinctive "freeze
response" and this positional, physiological memory becomes indelibly
imprinted into our mind/body awareness. The sympathetic and parasympathetic
autonomic nervous systems become stuck in a state of hyper arousal that is not
under our voluntary control.* It is like having your foot on the accelerator of
a car and the other foot on the brake. This consumes an enormous amount of
energy and eventually exhausts us.
Because this positional memory becomes disassociated and locked in our
subconscious, we have no awareness of it and without conscious awareness; we
have no control of it.
This "freeze response", over time, creates holding or bracing patterns
that eventually produce increased chronic muscular tone, spasm, and myofascial
restrictions that eventually become symptoms.
Traditionally, therapy focuses on symptoms, explaining why modalities, exercise,
joint mobilization and muscle energy techniques, massage and/or medicine can,
many times, only produce poor or temporary results.
Why didn't good psychological counselling help? Possibly because the majority of
psychological therapy is done in consensus consciousness. In other words,
"talk therapy" and analysis are focused on the conscious level and the
cause of the chronic symptom complex is on the instinctual level, which is not
accessed by words and analysis, or for that matter by traditional therapeutic
interventions or medicine.
What can help this state of disassociation? Myofascial Release and Myofascial
Myofascial restrictions do not show up in any of the standard tests, so
myofascial restrictions that solidify these chronic holding or freeze response
patterns in our bodies are missed or misdiagnosed in health care.
Myofascial Release frees these powerful, structural restrictions that place
enormous pressure upon sensitive structures that produce pain, headaches and
restrictions of motion. And Myofascial Unwinding (the motion facilitation
component of the Myofascial Release Approach) guides the patient into
significant positions of past traumas.
In the safety of the therapeutic environment, the therapist gently holds the
patient in these significant positions of past trauma. In these therapeutic
positions, the patient's tissue memory releases the instinctual bracing
patterns. The "freeze response" is then deactivated, which allows for
continued structural release and elimination of symptoms.
The release of tissue memory creates awareness to return the patient to
conscious choice and control of his or her destiny. The patient can then
progress toward the ultimate goal of healing and health.
Levine, Peter, Waking the Tiger Healing Trauma; North Atlantic Books., Berkeley
Copyright © 2006-2013
Strathmoremassage.com. All Rights Reserved