Integration is the process of combining information from many sources. The nervous system combines information from the different senses (vision, hearing touch, etc), and each part of the brain combines information from many other parts of the brain. This process is essential for the body and its parts to function smoothly and effectively. It is also essential for the ability of the brain to extract and organize information about the world.
Our tissues witness everything that happens to us and then they are recorded and stored somewhere in our body. When we experience trauma, shockwaves of disruption in our tissues lead to symptoms. If these symptoms interfere with our ability to live our lives to the fullest we seek medical care. Visceral-Neural Manipulation is a term that represents a group of manual therapies designed to locate and solve these disruptions. Let’s clear up some terms first. Viscera refer to the solid and hollow organs. The term neural represents “nerve”; our nervous system starts in the brain and spinal cord and then travels out to the rest of our body. The term vascular refers to our blood vessels which travel from the center outward and back again. Our bodies are collections of these interconnected pathways and networks that are in constant motion and communication with each other. Trauma (including surgery), infection, repetitive movements, lifestyle, environmental and emotional stressors create highways of tension within the body. My treatment goal is to pinpoint specific areas of tension and with gentle precision guide them back into right relationship which improves function throughout your whole being.
If you were to attend a professional training on trauma, the instructor would likely reference the nervous system and its window of tolerance. In recent years, trauma researchers and therapists have developed a deeper understanding of the nervous system’s role in regulating extreme stress, and have learned some techniques for regulating this system. You have probably heard of the fight-or-flight response, which describes our impulse to defend ourselves or run until we reach safety. This is part of the window-of-tolerance model, but it’s not quite the whole picture. Let’s start with understanding a regulated nervous system. A regulated nervous system experiences a stress and calming response throughout the course of a given day. Perhaps you are driving and someone brakes unexpectedly ahead of you; when your nervous system is regulated you will feel some stress, but once your body feels safe and you are able to act in a way to ensure your safety (i.e., press your own brakes), your system will calm back to baseline. Dr. Dan Siegel of UCLA coined the term “window of tolerance” to describe this space in which we can regulate ourselves without too much effort. Make sense? You’ve probably felt some of these fluctuations in your system today—rushing to get somewhere and relaxing when you arrive on time, for example. Next we’ll explore what happens to the nervous system when a traumatic experience enters the picture. Find a Therapist for Trauma / PTSDAdvanced SearchTrauma pushes the activation of the nervous system beyond its ability to self-regulate. When a stressful experience pushes the system beyond its limits, it can become stuck on “on.” When a system is overstimulated like this, we can experience anxiety, panic, anger, hyperactivity, and restlessness. This is the fight-or-flight mode; your body is activated and ready to move. Some nervous systems will stay here, while others will dip below the normal range and become stuck on “off.” Below the window of tolerance we see symptoms of depression, fatigue, disconnection, and lethargy. Systems can get stuck above or below the line for prolonged periods of time, or they can vacillate between the two. How can you discharge the traumatic stress and transition back into the window of the regulated nervous system? Here are a few tips: