Be Activated - The body keeps score
I have been working in Sports Therapy (Sports Injuries) since 2003, and using the traditional methods always felt a bit like a battle. Sometimes things were resolved quickly and easily, but more complex cases, or chronic pain and dysfunction often just kept returning, or we couldn't find the source of the pain. This is frustrating for the patient as well as the therapist. Most of us go into this work to help people but often we are all left feeling helpless.
Be Activated gives a framework and a philosophy to return the body back to it's efficient movement patterns, by going to the source of the issues. Our two main survival needs are breathing and moving. If we cannot use our primary muscles for these (diaphragm for breath and all movement should start at hip flexion or extension with the psoas and the glute respectively) then the body is so clever and will find a way to move or breathe using other muscles to compensate. This leads to over active muscles and areas of the body that end up continually tight, sore, or overworked.
The body stores pain and trauma. I have felt this for many years, on a personal level with chronic back pain initiated by traumatic events, physical and emotional. And then ongoing it would be triggered and return when I was under more stress. There is a great book called the Body Keeps Score and this is exactly what is going on. Therefore, we need to work to find these hidden cheat patterns, pockets of pain or tension and release them.
Alex came to me, a long time chronic back pain sufferer, with pain that came and went and at times was debilitating. As a Hypnotherapist he knows the mind, and at first wasn't perhaps buying into what is in the mind is in the body, what is in the body is in the mind. He said stored trauma is something he does plenty of work with himself and he had been trying to "find" the cause of the back and couldn't see anything in his subconscious. He is great at what he does, and years ago we had done some "visualised/feeling activation" where he knew from previous sessions what the activation technique would feel like so I would test the muscle, he would "visualise feeling" the activation where I told him to, and then we would retest and the muscle had improved as if it would after I had physically touched him! WOW! The brain and body connection is so so real.
So, recently Alex had a few sessions where as I call it, we removed layers (think of us as onions, we remove layer after layer of stored pain, energy, emotion whatever is stuck in there) and then we came across what "he didn't know he didn't know!". Read that again, "what you don't know you don't know"! Douglas Heel (creator of Be Activated) teaches this at the core of his work. What we don't know, that we don't know....stored in our bodies, hidden, protected, buried. When something is ready to be released and healed it will come up, or we will get down to it by removing layers.
Be Activated Therapy is a process of uncovering the cheat patterns in the body and the way it moves and breathes, in order to bring our bodies out of the fight/flight/freeze of a stress response. Many of us spend way too much of our lives stuck in this response which is meant to help us literally run, fight or freeze to avoid capture from a lion or such like! Two minutes - adrenaline only gives us two minutes when it kicks in to give the boost in energy we might need to deal with the threat, then it should drop and return to our resting state, calm. A nervous system that thinks it is continually under attack will continue to react and act like it is.
When pain is stored in the body from a trauma, such as a significant fall/impact injury, even a trivial movement that lead to great pain such as stepping off a curb leading to a broken ankle due to awkward direction of fall/landing, or an emotional response where the body literally wants to run, or freeze; we can find this buried under layers of coping mechanisms our body has very cleverly designed around it to stop it “being a problem”! Afterall, we still need to breathe and move to survive, the body doesn’t really mind how as long as it is “protecting” the perceived damaged area (often long after bones or soft tissue have healed)
In Be Activated we then work to re establish the correct movement patterns, and breathing patterns so our body can build resilience, and thrive not just survive! And in the case of Alex, it seemed to appear in our session when we realised he had over half a dozen breaks to the ribs! At first he said oh yes, it’s a running joke that if I fall/hurt myself I will break my rib, but I had to stop him and ask, well why? Why does the rib end up broken, unless it has direct trauma only to that one bone (i.e. landing only on your ribs with a go pro in your inner snowboard jacket pocket crushing into the rib which Alex's brother had done on a trip I had been on) why would something else not kick in to help break the fall? He began to see where I was going with this.
We looked at visual field blockages (areas in your visual field which throw your system off and weaken it) and found that anything close to the face was causing his system to shut down. I see this often with falls as trauma as the last thing that the brain registers is something flashing towards your head and does everything to protect that with any part of the body it can. I have had the same after concussions and whiplash injuries usually in water but at speed when wakeboarding. Brain shake and bruising is dangerous and of course the body will always try to prevent or protect against this. Now any time the body is slightly threatened or thinks it is, it can trigger it to shut down again.
Feedback after this session is great, we moved from a plateau in back pain management to feeling like Alex may have stumbled upon the hidden cause. Our bodies are incredible machines, they will heal when we do the right things. But equally left unchecked they will hide and protect and cover up whatever we throw at them until they ultimately fail under the pressure.
If you feel your body collapsing, or losing power, strength and flexibility, or even just a sense that it is not what it used to be or could be; Be Activated is for you. We can find a way to the source. Educating you on ways to manage the body and breath and empowering you to make the changes your body needs to thrive. In simple testing, intervention and retesting you will see the body work it’s magic right there in the session. This is the reason I have left behind much of what I was taught as traditional sports medicine, and work using Be Activated. It gives results. A framework to work within and a process to follow that makes sense of the body and all it’s wonderful connections and well, to quote Douglas Heel one more time; “What if everything you thought to be true, was wrong?” Science can never say without a shadow of a doubt...but when we feel, truly feel something in our own system change, well that’s enough proof for me. We should always question and strive to find the answers that fit.
If you’re struggling with trauma consider Be Activated with myself and Alex for Hypnotherapy. Don’t suffer in silence. Alex's details can be found below.
Alex Vrettos, Therapeutic Hypnotist
Be More Comfortbale In Your Own Mind
What Alex said about his experience...
I just wanted to update you as things have been going pretty well since our last session. We're not there yet but but I've experienced a massive move forwards!
The session really got me thinking and I will probably be adopting some of the techniques into my own practice.
I've been doing a little work in my head using my own techniques on all the accidents that I have had involving that area of my body and am experiencing release of whatever was there that I did not know was there. I am feeling stronger and far less debilitated.
A Taste Of My Own Medicine
So I have struggled with back pain for a number of years. It has been up and down over those years but particularly bad for the last few months. After a few failed attempts to resolve it, I learned to live with it, but then it got more debilitating.
It has been an interesting time to practice what I preach. I have had a few times when I started to feel anxious and sorry for myself. A few times when I have started to feel burdened by labels such as 'chronic pain'. But I have caught myself. I quote the little voice in the back my head often – whenever I face my own personal challenge he pipes up 'come on hypno-boy, it's time to put your money where your mouth is'. He keeps me accountable and pro-active so those thoughts have never led to downward spiral.
I saw Christie Petrucha-Rourke a couple of years ago for three sessions but saw no difference so stopped, but I went back. I know the vast majority of problems in mind and body are not set in stone and so I went into physical therapy this time with an attitude of finding a solution rather than trying something out. Attitude going into therapy is important and I have my blind spots like anyone else.
After three sessions of slow progress Christie really turned things around on the fourth by stepping into my territory. She mentioned the body holding on to trauma and I scoffed at the suggestion – she knew what I did for a living – I am not harbouring trauma! Notice a little ego creeping in there?
I've had some nasty snowboarding accidents over the years and I'm a little unusual as I have broken my ribs on seven different occasions. I genuinely cannot wait to get back up the mountains though.
Christie showed me that although my mind might be fine with the various injuries – my body was not. She demonstrated this to me by showing how my muscles become weak when she stood close to me and stronger when she moved away.
Christie did some muscular reactivation then and there and my body's responses improved significantly. She then told me that it looked like my body was shutting down to protect itself if anyone or anything came in close – even my girlfriend coming in for a cuddle – and sometimes it does not switch back on again which means other muscles have to overcompensate which is causing my back to hurt.
It is humbling to realise that I am as vulnerable to glitches in my own subconscious as anyone else despite the job that I do.
Since the session I have just been doing a little work on my own memories around all those different accidents to just remind my body that although these things happened, they are no longer happening. Even if I am totally unaware of the stored trauma, I can tell when something is released because I cannot help giggling. We have a little more to do but I feel I am well on the road to resolution of this problem!
Christie can be found here - www.bodywaves.co.uk/muscle-activation – She is not your bog standard physical therapist – there is more to her than meets the eye and I would highly recommend her if you are having any trouble with your body! If you need any help with past trauma then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.