Can Yoga Improve a Child’s Behaviour?

In this article, Michael Chissick, author of  Seahorse’s Magical Sun Sequences, Ladybird’s Remarkable Relaxation and Frog’s Breathtaking Speech answers the question ‘Can Yoga Improve a Child’s Behaviour?’

Overview

In the following case study you can read how *Sinclair’s behaviour improved significantly because of his success in the yoga lessons over two terms. The plan, to teach challenging postures with aspects of social & emotional of learning at the core of the programme, helped change Sinclair’s attitude and behaviour.

*Not his real name.

Is this scenario familiar?

Sinclair was a Year 4 pupil child in a primary school where I was asked to deliver yoga for a year. His class teacher described him as having a low self image, often moody, with a short attention span; often disrupting the class with silly noises or swearing. Sinclair was aggressive to other children and found group work difficult. On the positive side Sinclair enjoyed PE, loved football, was sharp and incredibly flexible.

My main focus
Whilst I am a specialist children’s yoga teacher, the main focus of my work with children centres on the social and emotional aspects of learning. I teach whole class and everyone is included. The foremost aim in every lesson is to enhance children’s self esteem. Other benefits like improved flexibility, fitness, better concentration and calmness, for example, are natural when you practice yoga, yet combined with the emphasis on the aspects of social and emotional learning contribute to a powerful increase in the child’s sense self worth. blog image2

Individual Aims for Sinclair
Working with his Class Teacher we decided on the following specific aims:

  • Improving Sinclair’s self esteem
  • Encouraging Sinclair to be a role model
  • Improving Sinclair’s group communication skillsblog image3

Our Approach
Our approach was to cultivate and build on the following three positive aspects:

  1. Sinclair the demonstrator
  2. Sinclair the ‘helpful teacher’
  3. Sinclair the ‘star’ at school and at home

Sinclair the demonstrator
Sinclair was a natural yogi and we quickly realised that he was excelling at the posture work.

We decided to use Sinclair as much as fairly possible to demonstrate new postures and reinforce old ones to the whole class. Before the lesson class teacher would remind Sinclair that he was being given the responsibility of showing the other children postures and it meant that he had to show responsible behaviour too.

Sinclair the ‘helpful teacher’
Group work was an essential ingredient of the lesson in achieving our aims. The children worked in groups of six. Each group was to work as a team to find a way to perform a specific posture in an interesting way that also supported and connected with each other.

We made it clear that we were looking to reward group skills which included listening and making decisions. Above all there was an emphasis on group members helping each other in a kind and encouraging way. In other words children were given the responsibility of looking out for each other.

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Sinclair’s expertise at the postures set him up as a natural leader and his attention to detail meant that he could spot ways to help children in his group.

We had given some input on how to change an aspect of the posture in an encouraging way, and Sinclair learnt and applied these skills with ease and a gentleness that his teacher had not seen before. He was also very keen to be the group spokesperson, yet gradually, over time, he more readily agreed to let someone else have a turn.

Sinclair the ‘Star’ at school and at home
Sinclair performed the most challenging postures to whole school at two achievement assemblies, where he was encouraged to explain how yoga had helped him to be calmer and more focused. We also discovered that his family eagerly awaited his return from school on yoga day when he would teach them new postures and play yoga games with his two brothers.

Certificates and stickers
Sinclair worked hard to get the special certificates that were awarded to children who could show:

  •  Good listening skills to teachers and children
  •  How to help other children in group work
  •  Improved behaviour

He also earned his fair share of stickers for good listening, learning to be still in calming postures and games and relaxation, as well as increasing concentration and being well mannered.

Summary
The combination of our behavioural approach and the yoga improved Sinclair’s self esteem and consequently improved his behaviour because:

  • He experienced a great sense of success in the yoga
  • The calming and relaxation aspects of the lesson gave him experiences that helped him feel in control
  • He was perceived as an expert by his class and earned their respect
  • He tried hard to overcome his disruptive behaviours in order to win the special certificates and stickers that were an incentive for him to change.
  • Sinclair’s parents were able to celebrate his success at home and give lots of genuine praise.
  • The combined effect of rewards and praise from me, class teacher, peers and parents had a very powerful and positive effect on Sinclair’s self esteem.

Conclusion

This case study is yet another example to support the case for yoga to be taught in schools as part of the integrated school day on an ongoing basis. Clearly, it also shows the importance of placing the social & emotional aspects of learning at the core of the yoga lesson.

Further details from: www.yogaatschool.org.uk

Michael has been teaching yoga in Primary Mainstream and Special Needs Schools for nearly 20 years. Michael offers teacher training for schools and individuals. For more information: www.yogaatschool.org.uk


 

Titles by Michael Chissick

 

Chissick-Peacoc_Seahorses-Magic_978-1-84819-283-6_colourjpg-webTitle: Seahorse’s Magical Sun Sequences

Price: £12.99

ISBN: 978-0-85701-230-2

Read a free extract HERE!

 

 

 

Chissick-Peacoc_Ladybirds-Remar_978-1-84819-146-4_colourjpg-web

Title: Ladybird’s Remarkable Relaxation

Price: £12.99

ISBN: 978-0-85701-112-1

 

 

 

 

Chissick_Frogs-Breathtak_978-1-84819-091-7_colourjpg-web

Title: Frog’s Breathtaking Speech

Price: £12.99

ISBN: 978-0-85701-074-2

A Day in the Life of… a Production Designer at Singing Dragon

Here at Singing Dragon, we’ve asked Production Designer, Emma Carroll if she wouldn’t mind us jumping into her shoes for a day. Luckily, she agreed, and below is the result: a day in the life of an Production Designer at Singing Dragon.

Emma Carroll, 2nd February 2016

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When I tell people that I am a Production Designer, the response I get is always “Oh, so you design book covers?” Then I am met with confusion when I say “Yes, and their insides.” Not to mention the ‘production’ portion of Production Designer.

Like many office dwellers, I begin my day with emails (and a hearty mug of vanilla chai tea) – after clearing some space to work on my desk, I should really add having a sort out to my to-do list! More often than not, I will have queries from printers, asking about our new titles, and commissioning editors asking for quotes.

As I am in charge of arranging all print orders for new titles, from deciding where they print and sifting through paper samples to supplying the finished files, I begin the main part of my day there. Once I’ve cleared my unread messages and responded to those that need responding to, I check on press schedules to see if I’ve got to do anything specific for the current month’s-worth of new books.

At least two weeks in every month are ‘press weeks’, meaning the weeks we send the book files off to the printers to be printed. Today was a press day for some of our May colour titles which are printing early in China for an event, so my morning was filled with putting final corrections on Mouse’s Best Day Ever by Susan Quayle, and designing the back cover and spine. Once it was checked by another member of Production Design and a member of Production Editorial, the files were whizzed off to the printers and the printing process began!

For our colour titles especially, the printing process takes a fair amount of time – we have to send our books to press three months early for them to arrive for their publication dates! Once they’re with the printers, they prepare ozalids, dummies and proofs for us so that we can double check the layout, materials and the colours before the full print run is started, then advances to make sure we’re happy with the finished product before it goes to the shippers.

Excitingly, we’ve just received the advances for Shiatsu Theory and Practice by Carola Beresford-Cooke!

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Every Wednesday afternoon, I attend two meetings. The first is a Design meeting, where we go over any issues we’ve had while designing and workshop any covers and typesetting we’ve been having trouble with. We also have a small news section where we discuss recent happenings in both the design and publishing world!

In the second meeting we catch up with Production Editorial and run through our departmental to-do list, assigning priorities as well as discussing any extra tidbits we each have to work on for the rest of the week – for me, that can include helping marketing to film and edit videos of our authors or taking photos of artefacts around the office for use on book covers. Most recently, I photographed some beautiful ancient Chinese scrolls to be used on the covers of our newest pair of titles by Guohui Liu (Discussion of Cold Damage [Shang Han Lu] and Foundations of Ancient Chinese Medicine).

I like to round off my day with my favourite parts of my job, so if there’s a book which needs typesetting, or a cover which needs designing, I flex my creative muscles and dig into some book design! One of my favourite books to design was Sandra Scheinbaum’s Stop Panic Attacks in 10 Easy Steps, for which I worked on both the cover and the interior. The cover went through several rounds of drafts but each of them was worth it, as the final result is one of my best covers yet! I love working on both the cover and interior of a title, I enjoy putting little references to the cover on the insides; in this book’s case, I echoed the cloudy texture of the front by using cloud symbols instead of bullet points in the text.

When it’s time to go home, I make sure I leave whatever I want to work on first the next morning in front of my computer so that I can get to work as soon as my emails and the press schedules are checked. But as Jane said in the last ‘Day in the life…’ post, life in the JKP/Singing Dragon HQ is not always quite that predictable!


The Making of ‘Dad’s Not All There Any More – A Comic About Dementia’

Alex Demetris is an illustrator, cartoonist and maker of comics. He completed an MA in Illustration in 2012, which resulted in a comic based on his family’s experience of coping with his father’s dementia: Dad’s Not All There Any More – A Comic About Dementia. Here he shares a little about the process of creating the comic and some of his pre-publication sketches (click to enlarge the images). Alex also co-authored Grandma’s Box of Memories: Helping Grandma to Remember.

The idea for Dad’s Not All There Any More came to me whilst I was studying for an MA in illustration at Camberwell College of Art.  I had been making comics and drawing cartoons as a hobby for a number of years, and decided to enrol on the MA to see how good I could get by focusing on my hobby full time.

The first term involved writing a proposal for a final project.  I toyed with one or two ideas, but it eventually occurred to me that the most interesting subject I could address in my project was what had been going on in my life right then – my Dad’s illness and how my family was coping with it.

Preparing for the comic involved talking through Dad’s medical records with my Mum, internet research into Lewy Body Dementia, taking reference photos, and doing a lot of character and planning sketches.character studies

 

One thing about making comics is that you can’t really edit them once you have drawn them, so it is necessary to meticulously plan out the best way to get the message across in a limited number of
panels.

During my MA I was also learning to use Photoshop as a colouring tool, so I decided to keep the colour scheme simple.  I arrived at the greenish look from some experimentation and feedback from tutors and peers, while the contrasting colouring of the Lewy Bodies and resulting hallucinations in pink developed as I progressed through the comic.Demetris- pg 7 - image

I wanted to create a comic that was entertaining but also educational, to tell a story and also to present facts about a condition that is not well known despite being pretty common.  Additionally, I think that a lot of people view the idea of having a relative in residential care as horrendous, but I wanted to show that in the case of my Dad, who was lucky enough to be admitted to an excellent home, this was not the case at all.  He seemed content and comfortable in residential care, and I enjoyed visiting him there, and seeing what the other residents and staff were up to.

I was very pleased with the final project and am very proud that it has now been properly published.  I hope that, as intended, readers will find it to be both entertaining and educational.

 

Find out more about the comic, read reviews and order your copy here.

You can also see more of Alex’s work on his website here

All images are copyright Singing Dragon and Alex Demetris.

What is ‘Story Massage’?

We all love stories, and when combined with the therapeutic benefits of simple massage strokes, stories can present wonderful opportunities for creativity and nurturing for children of all ages and abilities. Below, Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper, co-authors of Once Upon A Touch… Story Massage for Children, explain more about their innovative Story Massage project.

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What is ‘Story Massage’?

‘Story Massage’ can be imaginative, educational, bonding, calming – and great fun for children and adults alike! We have worked together for nearly 10 years now and continue to be amazed by the power of touch and storytelling in so many different situations.

‘Story Massage’ involves the use of ten simple movements (given through clothes), associated with words that help to build up an engaging and interactive story. Tracing a large circle on a child’s back, for example, can depict the image of the world. Similarly, a gentle squeezing action on the shoulders can represent kneading the dough for a pizza. The ten basic ‘Story Massage’ strokes all described with colourful illustrations in our book are given a name, such ‘The Wave’ or ‘The Drum’, and are accompanied by a distinctive symbol for ease of reference.

We have devised these ten ‘Story Massage’ strokes to offer a structure within which both child and parent can enjoy their own creativity. Our book contains over 25 tried-and-tested ‘Story Massages’ but there is also plenty of scope to adapt favourite stories, or have fun with your own stories to reflect particular interests, activities or events. The strokes can be applied to a child’s back, arms, head, hands, feet, legs – wherever is most suitable for the individual. Depending on the situation, ‘Story Massage’ can be shared as a child to child or as an adult-to-child positive touch activity wherever and whenever you choose!

What are the benefits of ‘Story Massage’?

We now run regular ‘Story Massage’ training sessions for professionals and parents. Indeed, it is so versatile, with such wide ranging benefits, that it is being developed worldwide in settings including the family home, school, after-school clubs, family centres, hospitals, hospices and special schools. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with benefits ranging from preparing an autistic child for a new school, calming a distressed child at bedtime, raising self-esteem and confidence, and encouraging young people at a special school to engage actively with sensory stories.

There is also an educational element. It is ideal for learning numbers and letters, and aspects of history, geography and science. For many children, learning through doing  known as the kinaesthetic approach, means they ‘feel’ what they are learning and this engages them in a different way. ‘Story Massage’ may also help complement other ‘tools’ in helping parents and children develop resilience and coping strategies.

We have recently heard from a mother of four daughters, one of whom has ADHD. ‘Story Massage’ has made such a difference to her family that she wanted to share the five top benefits with others.

  • ‘Story Massage’ is a simple and quick way of giving individual attention to a child. It makes them feel special.
  • ‘Story Massage’ is a wonderful reward for completing chores or counting the days to an exciting event. Now that we have integrated Story Massage into our routine the reward can be either a massage just for them or to be able to make up their own story and share it with the others.
  • ‘Story Massage’ offers my children a channel for making sense of the world and expressing their difficult emotions. We have been very moved by some of the stories our daughters have written.
  • ‘Story Massage’ can help calm down potentially explosive arguments before they start this is one of my most difficult times. And this is where ‘Story Massage’ has become a huge help. It is a great way to diffuse the situation calmly and peacefully.
  • ‘Story Massage’ can be very calming. If any of the girls are feeling tense, upset or tired then ‘Story Massage’ can be really helpful. My daughter with ADHD is usually very fidgety but during a ‘Story Massage’ she becomes quite still, and I can see her whole body relax. The wonderful thing is that she asks for it now because she knows it makes her feel good.

How can your book be used as an introduction to ‘Story Massage’?

Our book contains information and simple guidelines on how to integrate ‘Story Massage’ into the family home. It is a good idea to start slowly and gently, maybe with a few strokes on the back or hand at bedtime, then gradually build up the massage at the child’s pace focusing on a story or song that would hold their attention.  Keep the massage time short and frequent. Before each session begins, the child should be asked whether they would like to have a ‘Story Massage’, and respect should be shown for their right to decline. It is a fun activity that promotes respectful and positive touch for children of all ages and abilities. We hope you enjoy ‘Story Massage’ as much as we do, and find Once Upon a Touch… Story Massage for Children useful.

Once Upon a Touch... Story massage for Children by Mary Atkinson and Sandra hooper

Once Upon a Touch… Story Massage for Children by Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper

A fun and creative way to increase general well-being, improve concentration and self-awareness, and encourage relaxation in children aged 3-11, this book offers a hands-on guide to story massage. To purchase, or for more information, click HERE.

 

LESSONS FROM OUR MOTHERS

By Stephen Rath with Marcia Rath, certified Qigong instructors and writers of Qigong for Wellbeing in Dementia and Aging

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The author Frank Herbert observed in Dune that when we ponder choices in the future we see doors, perhaps many; but when we peer into the past we see a long corridor. And so it seems with the journey that my wife, Marcia, and I took as we traveled through the corridor that led to the publication of Qigong for Wellbeing in Dementia and Aging.

We began our journey when Marcia and I met in 1995 as she searched for authors for a yearly reading conference, and she loved the dad-daughter writing she found in my bio. She was working as a principal in Maine, while I was working my way up the ladder of freelance writing in Colorado with newspaper articles, short stories, and an embryonic novel. We started our life-changing foray into Qigong in 1997 when we bought a Terry Dunn video that introduced us to the Tai Chi long form. Soon, we were taking courses from instructors in Denver, which led me, in 1999, to the studio of a young and gifted Tai Chi Master from Beijing, Zhu Xilin. I have continued my studies with him to this day, and it is through his patient teaching that he guided me through the energetic door of the Small Heavenly Circle, or Microcosmic Orbit. Meanwhile, Marcia studied with Maedee Dupres, and she became certified as a Dragon’s Way instructor of Wu Ming Qigong through Master Nan Lu of the TCM World Foundation.

We entered the next door in 2012 when we became certified in Qigong practices from a Grandmaster of Qigong in Hawaii. During that time, Marcia and I shared our families’ history of dementia with the Grandmaster. My mother had passed away in 2009, and Marcia’s mother was in the middle stages of a worrisome decline. We were surprised when he called us a few weeks after we had returned to Colorado and bade us return to Hawaii. He had an intriguing offer.

Once there, he pointed a finger at Marcia and said, “You do program!” Then he pointed at me and decreed, “You write book!” The fruit of those commands was that Marcia immediately began teaching exercises from the Grandmaster’s foundation (NHRF) to residents at Memory Care facilities in Denver. It didn’t take long before Marcia observed that this simple program was helping the residents’ quality of life. I wrote fledgling chapters for a book that would help people who were experiencing dementia, as well as providing tools for rejuvenation to overburdened caregivers. I submitted my book proposal to Jessica Kinsley Publishers and received a welcoming response from Jessica Kingsley herself; encouraged that the book bridged two strong areas of JKP’s publishing—dementia and Qigong—she wrote that JKP was hoping to find a book on this topic and said, “It is so nice to find one ‘simply’ arriving.” And so Qigong for Wellbeing in Dementia and Aging was born.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the symptoms of decline show up not just in the brain but also in the organs that promote brain functioning and memory, such as the kidney, spleen, and liver. It is no coincidence, then, that memory problems begin in some people who experience nocturnal enuresis (kidney), digestive problems (liver), or worry and confusion (spleen), to name a few. Changes in mood or behavior, such as anxiety, aggression, and depression, are also significant markers for the onset of dementia.

The Grandmaster described the kidney as the number one organ responsible for cognitive decline, because a blockage of vital energy in that organ reduces the amount of oxygen that can nourish the brain. This is affirmed by Western research, which characterizes the process in similar terms:

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Healthy kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO, which stimulates the bone marrow to make red blood cells needed to carry oxygen throughout the body. Diseased kidneys don’t make enough EPO, and bone marrow then makes fewer blood cells (NKUDIC p. 1)

In Part I of Qigong for Wellbeing in Dementia and Aging, we describe dementia from the perspective of both Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), with an overview of the functional interdependence of the organs and the manner in which disharmony in one organ can affect the others. We also explore everyday habits that may contribute to dementia, including the effect that poor posture has on restricting blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

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Throughout the book, we chronicle the stories of people with Alzheimer’s type memory loss, including one remarkable 91 year-old woman, Beverly, whose health, memory and behavior deteriorated after cancer; but with the loving help of her family, she experienced the rejuvenating power of natural healing. Her story illustrates both the challenges and rewards that natural healing can bring.

From our own experience with our mothers and people in memory care facilities, we address some of the common behavioral issues associated with memory loss, such as sundown syndrome, wandering, agitation or other afflictive emotions. Our book pays particular attention to the needs of family members and caregivers who may be experiencing the harmful effects of burnout; and, we include powerful tools to help caregivers relieve stress and restore their own vital energy.

Part II introduces therapies to enhance cognitive abilities through healing sounds, sitting exercises, and hand and feet movements. All of these practices are highly effective; and, since a quarter of the brain’s cerebral cortex is dedicated to the hands, research has shown that hand exercises alone can improve the cognitive abilities of those who suffer from illnesses such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Or, as Marcia likes to say, “Hands light up the brain.”

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Part III provides a list of specific foods, recipes, and herbs that demonstrably encourage natural healing throughout the body. Believe it or not, the cauliflower recipe is quite yummy, as is the hearty goji berry tea.

There were more than a few contributors to the book, and the task of coordinating our efforts sometimes resembled the cliché of herding cats. We owe a debt of gratitude to the wonderful ladies at Jessica Kingsley Publishers—Rachel Menzies, Sarah Hamlin, Kate Mason, and Katelynn Bartleson—who shepherded all of us with kindness and respect through the process of getting our book into print. Thank you so much.

“As the average human life span has steadily increased since the last century, dementia has become a major challenge to the wellbeing of the aging population. How to prevent, treat and improve dementia is a task our society faces. To solve this task, a combined effort is needed from different philosophies and medical fields—a place where the East meets the West. Stephen Rath has studied with Grandmaster for many years, and verified numerous successes of Grandmaster’s Qigong exercises in helping people with dementia. This book provides clear and concise information about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western Medicine in order to help readers understand Qigong’s benefit for this illness. The format of the exercises are easy to understand and practice. I hope this book will bring new light in fighting dementia and improving the quality of life for our elders.”

—Dr. Shi Cheng, MM (China), Dipl. Ac., Vice President and Co-Founder of Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine (CSTCM), Denver, CO

Some words about Dr. Schrott’s book: ‘Marma Therapy’

by Jonathan Hinde, qualified Sukshma Marma Therapist and an Aromatherapist, based in Cambridge, UK.

There are, broadly speaking, two contrasting ways of viewing the body, and two correspondingly different approaches to healthcare: Modern western medicine has its emphasis on the purely physical; while the approach exhibited by oriental and traditional healthcare systems sees the physical symptoms as the ‘precipitated value of consciousness’ and seeks to engage with the subtle imbalances (which may be emotional, spiritual, etc) which have given rise to physical symptoms.

Ayurveda is said to be the oldest record of natural medicine and lays out a complete system already recorded in all its significant values. According to Ayurveda there are special ‘sensitive points on the body’ where there is the most direct correlation between consciousness and the physiology, and these are known as ‘marma points’.

Dr Ernst Schrott has spent many years researching the marma points through careful study of the ancient ayurvedic texts combined with many years of research, study, and practical experience, and has, in conjunction with Dr J Ramanuja Raju and Stefan Schrott, developed a complete system of treating the marma points, Sukshma Marma Therapy®.

In his book ‘Marma Therapy’ (Singing Dragon, 2015) this system is set out in a series of practical and easy to follow steps so than anyone can gain a full introduction to marma therapy and learn to unlock the secret power of the marma points for self- and partner treatment.

Sukshma means ‘gentle, subtle, delicate’, and a key feature of this system is that the treatment is gentle. Perhaps surprisingly, in this case gentle means powerful, significant and lasting, because it is in the subtlety of the treatment that it connects more directly with the source.

Sukshma Marma Therapy® is a very subtle treatment of the classical marma points (vital areas) and nadis (energy channels) in the body. We can think of these vital areas as the junction points where consciousness is most closely related to the body.

This therapy, which requires sensitivity, smart hands and proper training, works on the level of consciousness, and has specific and immediate balancing and healing effects for self-treatment and for treatment of others. It does not include any pressure on the points: even attention alone or a very subtle touch enlivens the inner intelligence located in the marmas and has immediate and extraordinary rebalancing, rejuvenating and healing effects.

What is Marma Therapy?

Marma Therapy is the art of treating very special vital points on the human body, and is one of the greatest healing secrets of Ayurveda. It can be used to detoxify the body, to strengthen and revitalize, for rejuvenation and relaxation, and to release blocked energy. Through these energy points we can stimulate the function of internal organs, strengthen self-healing power, and harmonize mind and body. Marma Therapy covers a wide spectrum of applications: from simple self-treatment to elaborate clinical therapy which requires vast medical experience and specially trained therapists. As an independent form of therapy it is practised almost exclusively in South India. But in fact almost all ayurvedic treatments include marmas as the key points of the body and mind: massage and oil applications, herbal and heat packs or cleansing treatments. Suksma Marma treatment requires only a few basic skills, some body sensation and above all, delight in touch, massage, and well-being.

Prana, the healing energy

Marma Therapy in its very own sense is treatment with your hands. This does not mean to say that we are miracle healers, because the healing power of hands is dormant in all of us! This subtle energy, flowing out of the palm and the fingers, is physiological, natural, yes, even vital. Without it, life would not exist. In Ayurveda, we call this special healing energy Prana. This Prana flows in all nadis, the finest energy channels in the body, and resides concentrated in its energy points, the Marmas. Our hands are full of such Marmas, large and small, that give us the sensitivity to feel the ability to feel mentally and physically, telling us in the way we move our hands and the way we touch. Prana in the hands allows us to give love. It is the power by which we naturally treat and also heal ourselves and others in everyday life.

Sensors for finer perception and power centers

Marmas are subtle, intelligent and very effective control points for body and mind. In these vital points arises condensed information of the organism, its organs and organic systems, but also contents of consciousness and emotions on the body surface. Marmas nonetheless only operate inside, they are our antennas to the outside, sensors for a more subtle perception. They let us sense or see the aura of a person. They anticipate the future and share it with us, maybe only as a vague, queasy feeling in the stomach, in the navel Marma, Nabhi, if something bad threatens, something that we cannot put into words, simply a subtle notion. Or they give us insight and foresight, a clear vision for the future. The Master Marma for this is the “third eye”, Sthapani, when it is fully developed. Marmas are the power centres of the body, comparable to the power places of earth at certain energetic interfaces of our planet.

In the Marmas the primordial sound of creation vibrate

Man, nature and cosmos are considered as a unit in Vedic Medicine. One can recognize the myriad interactions between individual and the environment. Diagnosis and therapy include therefore the living environment, social life, the forces of external nature, the influence of daytimes and seasons, and eventually even the cosmic influences of planets and galaxies. The Marmas are completely in the middle of these interactions. The phases of the moon alter the energy state of such marmas just like the tides. The planets of the solar system affect with their stellar qualities and present location the Main Marmas in the center of the body and strengthen or weaken their qualitites in a cyclic way. Marma Therapy is therefore one of the most intelligent alternative approaches of Vedic Medicine, but also the most delicate, because in the marmas we touch consciousness, Veda and the cosmos.

Cosmic switchboards

Marmas are the junctures between mind, body and consciousness. More than that: they are the seams of cosmos and individual, the cosmic control panels in the human organism. In them the primordial sounds of the Vedas are alive. Each Marma is like a special instrument with individual timbre in an orchestra that plays the symphony of life. Marmas communicate through a complex system of innumerable Nadis, literally sound channels. The ancient Vedic texts speak of 72,000 such energy channels, that emanate from the heart and contain the flow of Prana, the vital breath.


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Find our more about Marma Therapy HERE.

A clear, full colour illustrated guide to Marma therapy, explaining the theory, and with straightforward step-by-step instructions for this Ayurvedic form of massage.

Price: £17.99 / $27.95

ISBN: 978-1-84819-296-6

“This wonderful book represents the product of 30 years work by some of the greatest minds in the field of mind-body and consciousness. They have revived the almost lost Ayurvedic knowledge of the therapeutic treatment of Marma points and made it accessible to anyone anywhere in the world. Marmas are the delicate, subtle points in the physiology where consciousness and matter are most intimately connected. By gentle touch the mind and body can be treated. I highly recommend this unique book to anyone who is interested in promoting life in the direction of perfect health”. – Dr Elizabeth L. Young, General Practitioner, London

 

The Influence of Scent on Ageing and Health

An interview with our author, Jennifer Peace Rhind, by Linda Gray. This interview is also featured in the Christmas edition of Good Housekeeping.

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Are there any scents apart from grapefruit that make us seem younger?

Grapefruit is perceived as an ‘activating’ scent, and is associated with energy and freshness and indeed youth! But does this mean that wearing a grapefruit fragrance will make us appear younger?

Maybe – we might feel energised, and this can affect how we behave and project our self, and this may give the superficial impression of youth.

But, our reactions to scent are often personal, and influenced by many things – including our biology, learned behaviours and cultural associations. The effects of scent on our physiology, on how we behave, how we perceive others, how they perceive us, and on our social interactions is a massive topic – and studies in recent years are beginning to give us some answers – and raise even more questions. It would appear that others will respond and react to us more positively if we are wearing a self-selected scent rather than one that someone else has chosen for us. Wearing grapefruit cologne because we have read that it will make us seem younger to others, or a spicy-floral scent because it can make us appear slimmer, or a lavender or spicy apple fragrance because some males can find these scents arousing, is not actually the best plan! The key is to select your fragrances to please yourself! Applying scents that you particularly enjoy and take pleasure in may enhance and amplify your biological odour signature, and it can also improve mood, self-confidence and, yes, your social interactions. Don’t be afraid to learn and experiment with scents – it is a lot of fun – become aware of how they make you feel, and then you can select according to your mood, social plans, or even the seasons. And if you like grapefruit you may also like other sharp citrus oils such as lime and lemon. Grapefruit fragrances can be a bit one dimensional but, some a good ones to try are Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune and Hermès Eau de Pamplemousse Rose.

Are any scents known to have a rejuvenating effect on the brain or body?

Yes. Research has shown that some essential oil scents such as the fresh, herbal rosemary, can have a positive impact on memory and recall – and this aligns with one of its uses in early herbal medicine and in folk tradition. Others such as the beautiful clean, forest scent of Siberian fir can improve vigilance and reduce anxiety when working at a VDU for prolonged periods.

One of the big problems facing us today is the increasing incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. We know that essential oil molecules can access the brain directly, passing through the blood brain barrier, and it is believed that some essential oil vapours – including narcissus, plai (a relative of ginger used in Thai traditional medicine), lemon (the peel is used in traditional Chinese and African medicine to treat cognitive decline), frankincense (used in early herbal medicine to improve the functioning of the mind), and some of the constituents of thyme – have the potential to manage impaired cognitive function, memory and behaviour.

However, there is another important aspect to scent and ageing. It is believed that by actively cultivating our sense of smell, and creating an olfactory memory, we can enhance our cognitive processes (perception, awareness, discernment, learning, insight, reasoning and thinking), and this can promote wellbeing. It may also mean that as we age, and lose our olfactory acuity (which invariably has a negative impact on wellbeing), our olfactory memory will help offset this loss. If we continue to consciously and actively use our sense of smell as we grow older, we might also keep its neural circuits active, and lessen the impact of time. The loss of the sense of smell is devastating at any stage of our lives, and no less so as time diminishes it.

You ask about rejuvenating the body too. Many aromatic plants have the ability to protect and regenerate skin cells. For example, rose absolute can improve the appearance and texture of the skin and is often included in anti-aging cosmeceuticals. Interestingly, there are olfactory receptors in the skin, and so the interaction of scented molecules with these receptors might be part of this highly complex process.

So, can the scents of essential oils rejuvenate the body? I would say, yes – but indirectly and not in the way you might imagine…. Research in ‘metabonomics’ – the study of the metabolic responses to exposure to the inhalation of essential oils – has suggested that their vapours have subtle yet far-reaching effects, such as modulating the production of some neurotransmitters. We are also aware that the inhalation of certain aromatic vapours can alter gut flora, and some may even prevent atherosclerotic plaques forming. Many essential oils are also excellent anti-oxidants, and may have a role in the prevention of some degenerative changes associated with ageing. There is a lot we have yet to learn!

Can we use scent to re-awaken happy memories? I’ve read a little about how scent can trigger memories but wondered if this can be done consciously, e.g. could wearing a scent you used when you first met your partner improve your relationship?!

Thanks to the writings of Proust, the notion of scent awakening memories has become embedded in our collective psyche! This type of memory is even called a Proustian memory, and most of us will have experienced this. It is perhaps this emotionally charged intense ‘feeling’ quality that typifies memories triggered by smells, along with the sense that the memory is accurate, and of being brought back to the original event, that defines the Proust phenomenon. Another distinguishing feature is that the particular odour cue may be experienced just once when it is linked to the event – if an odour is smelled on a frequent basis, it is much less likely to trigger a Proustian memory. These memories are usually characterised by nostalgia, which facilitates the continuity of our identity, because nostalgia gives us a benchmark – an earlier version of our self in comparison to our current self. A personal example – every time I spray myself with Diorella – I am, just for a moment, back in 1973, a young woman, preparing for a date with my boyfriend and wearing this scent for the first time. I can recall my black satin shirt, and pink pencil skirt, and the silver filigree pendant of a Viking ship that my father bought for me in Orkney. I am looking in the mirror of my grandmother’s old dressing table (I can smell that too!), and I am feeling very happy with the way I look, and I am full of hope for the future. When I wear Diorella now, I get an instant, fleeting sense of my younger self. It is very powerful.

So, it is possible, that if we were to wear a scent from our past that is associated with a specific and emotionally charged event, we might be able to tap into good memories. If however, your scent was something that you routinely applied, there would be less chance of this happening. Having said that, romantic attraction is inextricably linked with our biological olfactory ‘signature’ – whether this is natural or enhanced by the use of fragrance, and we can harness the power of scent to gently encourage a loving and perhaps sensually-charged relationship. Just think of Cleopatra’s use of fragrance to entice Mark Antony… but in contemporary times, we probably do not have the option of scenting the sails of our ship or strewing our bedchamber with roses. We can, however, scent our rooms and persons with some of the legendary aphrodisiacal fragrances and incenses, such as rose and jasmine flowers and oils, tiny quantities of ylang ylang essential oil, sandalwood oil, and of course the spices – saffron, cardamom and nutmeg. Contemporary research has shown that such scents can bring about both physical relaxation and behavioural activation simultaneously – in other words, a sense of wellbeing, physically relaxed but attentive and in touch with your senses – perfect for re-kindling and nurturing a loving relationship. Or, maybe you can identify a scent that you both enjoyed but have not used for a while, one that can conjure up feelings of shared ‘good times’ – patchouli oil or Nag Champa incense might do it for some of us!

Jennifer Peace Rhind – short bio

Jennifer Peace Rhind is a author, writer and consultant in essential oil and scent education. She has a PhD in Biological Science from the University of Strathclyde and she was a lecturer in Higher Education for fourteen years. Her books include Essential Oils – A Handbook for Aromatherapy practice, Fragrance and Wellbeing – Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche, Listening to Scent – An Olfactory Journey with Aromatic Plants and their Extracts and Aromatherapeutic Blending – Essential Oils in Synergy (October 2015). All of these are published by Singing Dragon, and explore the relationship between health and wellbeing and the senses, especially the sense of smell. She lives in the south of Scotland with her husband and a Tibetan Terrier called Leeloo.

Books by Jennifer Peace Rhind

Aromatherapeutic Blending Rhind_Listening-to-Sc_978-1-84819-125-9_colourjpg-web  Rhind_Fragrance-and-W_978-1-84819-090-0_colourjpg-web Rhind_Essential-Oils_978-1-84819-089-4_colourjpg-web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sensory Journey-Rhind

Giuliana Fenwick on her book, ‘Indian Head Massage for Special Needs’

As a new author to Singing Dragon, Giuliana Fenwick’s first book, Indian Head Massage For Special Needs, sees the pinnacle of her work so far in a very short space of time. However, it is very much the beginning of the platform as she continues work as an author, public speaker and fundraiser for special needs, helping to give a voice to those who so often do not have one. Hear her story below…

Giuliana’s Story

Fenwick, GiulianaI refined and specialised my massage by blending several complementary healing systems and more importantly by working on my second son, Ollie, who has ASD and OCD. He is a beautiful round peg who simply couldn’t fit into a round hole; who in spite of his many gifts and abilities, just couldn’t tick boxes and who silently drowned every single day, unsupported and surrounded by a total lack of expectation. As a family we had also hit very hard times; I was often on my own and had broken my foot. Determined that we could all pull through, I hurled my crutches into the back of the dustman’s lorry one morning, borrowed some shoes two sizes too big to accommodate my swollen foot and asked a friend to drive me into the nearest town each day so I could knock on doors to schools everywhere and work for free to prove my method worked after seeing the wonderful benefits to my son. The results started pouring in and within six months I had a sustainable business.

And so my story began …

Fast forward four years and I now work full time in schools and specialist academies. I now train parents, carers, teachers, therapists and other professionals all over the UK, including charities such as MIND. My work has also taken me into Europe in both training and public speaking roles, working with charities such as ASHD, ASD & LD Belgium.

Last July saw me raise over £1660 for special needs. I am very passionate about this work!

My biggest joy is my work at Foxes Academy, subject of a very recent channel five documentary, “The Special Needs Hotel”. This work is the most joyful and rewarding of my career. One of the stars of the series, Harriet, later appeared on This Morning and said how her dream would be to open a coffee shop which offers head massage! Click here to watch the show.

To see my “clients” relax, lower their boundaries, sleep better, focus better, increase their productivity and concentration levels, start to embrace experiences and try things they were previously afraid to do, are just the start of the benefits reported back to me weekly. Trust, engagement, openess, clear thinking and confidence – yes, even confidence! – are just a few more I see daily. The results start to happen from the first session. Listening to my young people and placing them in control are key.

650+ case studies later I was being told to patent my method but I have always wanted to share rather than make my work exclusive or expensive. I want my techniques accessible to everyone, regardless of budget. I know how it is to watch your child unravel and feel so helpless. I want to help as many people as possible.

Writing this, my first book, was the perfect answer.

My dream would be to set up training centres for my massage and I would employ qualified ex learners from Foxes Academy to run the attached cafes, thereby putting my money where my mouth is, and showing that those with differences deserve a future.

That will then leave me time to write my next book…

Read a FREE extract from the book, and find out more about specific case studies HERE.

Indian Head Massage for Special Needs

Indian Head Massage for Special Needs by Giuliana Fenwick

Indian Head Massage for Special Needs is NOW AVAILABLE.

This complete manual introduces unique Indian head massage techniques to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, calm sensory overloads, improve sleep patterns, ease frustration and boost mental, physical and emotional wellbeing in people of all ages with special needs, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. The book provides everything you need to get started, including:

  • A full, step-by-step, illustrated massage routine 
  • Essential tips on how to create the perfect environment and how to approach clients with special needs
  • Detailed case studies (Free extract HERE)
  • Information on anatomy, physiology and the complementary approaches to the body
  • Supplementary information on essential oils

Developed by Giuliana Fenwick through work with her son, and extensively trialled in schools and specialist colleges, this tailored Indian head massage is perfect for anyone looking to provide additional support to people with special needs, including parents and carers, teachers, teaching assistants and other school staff, complementary therapists and any other professionals working with people with special needs.

Find out more about Indian Head Massage for Special Needs HERE.

The Thinking Behind ‘Take it as a Compliment’

Bringing together the voices of males and females of all ages, the stories in this collective graphic memoir, Take it as a Compliment, reflect real life experiences of sexual abuse, violence and harassment. In this blogpost, Maria Stoian explains the thinking behind this important graphic memoir, published by Singing Dragon.

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TAKE IT AS A COMPLIMENT by Maria Stoian – NOW AVAILABLE!

Before I can talk about Take it as a Compliment, I feel I should introduce the project which preceded it. It was a short comic called The Elephant in the Room, which I made during my undergraduate degree. It was a fictional story exploring how the trauma of sexual assault might affect a person’s perception of reality and how they might deal with it in their daily life – which is to say that they probably would not talk about it, but instead bottle it up.

The project ended up being something I talked about all the time, and, as a consequence, the subject of sexual violence came up frequently. One day, I mentioned a comment I had read online which said, “When I finally plucked up the courage to tell my mother about my rape, the first thing she did was ask me what I was wearing.” I thought this was a horrifying response, in its words and also in how common the sentiment it expressed is. Instead of being appalled, however, one of the girls I was with said, “Well, a woman is responsible for her dignity.”

I couldn’t believe that the testimony of this girl wasn’t enough to convince this girl – that it didn’t say enough. I thought, “This happens to so many people, how have you missed this?”

The much more common response to my project was that people started sharing their stories with me. There was a lot of, “Oh, this happened to me too” or, “This reminds me of something else I’ve experienced” or, “I haven’t talked about this before, but now i feel like I can.””

All this made me think that if I were to draw up all these stories and put them in a book, it would speak to people when they read it. It would speak to them so loudly, and so clearly that it couldn’t be ignored by people who thought that the source of the problem was women’s lack of “dignity.”

When I started collecting stories, it was definitely a group effort. I didn’t have a very prominent web presence, so my friends helped me get the ball rolling when they told their friends about the project, and when the feminist society at uni posted a link sending people to the project’s blog, that was a huge help as well. I ended up with anonymous Tumblr messages, emails, and even a few interviews.

TiaaC Press release imageEach story is stylistically a bit different as a result of each voice being different. I received stories that were several pages long, and some that were only a couple of sentences. There are chapters where the narration is there, word for word, and there are also stories that only include dialogue. I found the responsibility of telling the story as truthfully as possible – often without knowing the protagonist – to be a bit difficult. Some people were very frank about what had happened to them, to the point where they were just recalling a series of events. Others talked about how they felt, and that was when I had to decide whether to show it, or use their words.

I also thought a lot about how I would be designing the characters. I had never met most of the people who shared their stories with me, and the people I did know needed to not look like themselves, while still being themselves. I didn’t want the audience to read the characters incorrectly; I wanted to convey the sense that they were all just everyday people.

To make a point about how I was thinking about the problem, I simplified it in a little exercise for my classmates. I made a small activity book and among the questions I had prepared, I asked the readers to make judgements about the characters I drew, to assign personalities to them, and to label them as heroes or villains. The idea was that, in real life, there are no guaranteed visual signs for what a person is like, and any interpreted signs are based on what we have been taught by culture and the media. The responses I got were that it was difficult to say which character was what, because they all appeared neutral – and yet there were clear patterns in how people judged the faces. After I explained, “Of course they just look neutral, that’s what real life is like, that was the point.” I was advised to draw the characters more “good” or “bad.”

The frustration that people felt when the characters didn’t fit into neat two-dimensional boxes was something I thought might come out of Take it as a Compliment. While I wanted each story to have its own individuality, and show each character’s humanity, I also wanted it to have a certain level of neutrality, a sense of this individual human being and their unique experience being one of many. I learned that statistics didn’t say as much to people as I thought they would. It seemed everyone already knew the 1 in 6, 1 in 4, 1 in 3 estimates from this study and that one. Somehow it wasn’t enough, it didn’t translate perfectly that the 1 was a human being. And equally, that what happened to them was caused by another human being. Survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence are real, everyday people.

As it turned out, the anonymity ended up not being that important to all that many people, tumblr_n5et4x7qE61sklb5to1_1280what with there being interviews and emails sent. Not only did people choose to approach me without anonymity, some people even signed their names to their stories. One person introduced themselves in their written story by name, saying, “And that’s my REAL name, because these things happen to REAL people.”

All throughout its creation, I thought of Take it as a Compliment as being for two groups: For survivors and for bystanders. For the survivors, I’d hoped that the act of telling their stories would be part of a sort of healing process for them. And for bystanders, it was a message to be active in the discussion and to take action regarding the issue.

I don’t know how much personal benefit the survivors in the stories got from sharing, but it was clear that many of them did it not for themselves, but out of a concern for other people. Almost every contributor prefaced their story with something along the lines of, “People need to know this is a very real, and a very common occurrence.”

I think one of the most exciting things about the book getting published is that the survivors who did choose to remain anonymous have a chance to see that it became a real thing, and that it’s part of a conversation. Before Take it as a Compliment was picked up by Singing Dragon, it really was just all the stories, back to back. That was the main thing that needed to change. The publisher really felt – and I agree – that there needed to be a conclusion. A lot of people might get through the book and feel a lot of anger, and rightfully so. They might also feel helpless. But there is a lot of power in the discussion. There are a lot of us out there who are aware of the issues and who are eager to make changes.

My hopes for Take it as a Compliment going forward would be for it to keep doing what it’s been doing, which is to keep the conversation going. Even after the project was finished, and it was on display at my university’s grad show, I was approached by an older woman who said, “I really connected with your project because I’ve also been raped. Thank you.”

When we stand up and talk about these experiences, we can make more of an impact together, than we can by suffering in silence on our own.


 

Maria Stoian is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Scotland. She is interested in the way illustration and games can be a non-aggressive way of encouraging people to recognise when they might be biased. Take It As A Compliment was Maria’s Master’s project at Edinburgh College of Art.

Stoian_Take-It-As-A-Co_978-1-84905-697-7_colourjpg-printTake it as a Compliment  by Maria Stoian is AVAILABLE NOW

Price: £14.99

ISBN: 978-1-84905-697-7

 

 

Memory in Trauma by Steve Haines

In this article, Steve Haines shares his thoughts on memory and trauma, and how important it is to recall past memories. Steve Haines is the author of medical graphic book Pain is Really Strange. His new book Trauma is Really Strange will be available on the 21st December.

 

The old primitive brain is shown in blue and red: the limbic system, brain stem and cerebellum.

The old primitive brain is shown in blue and red: the limbic system, brain stem and cerebellum.

Some Thoughts On Memory

Where are memories stored? In order to heal trauma, how important is it to remember what happened? These are common questions that often come up working with clients and teaching on trauma.

There are folklore phrases such as ‘muscle memory’ and ‘cellular memory’ that can be very useful but need to be applied carefully. They speak to the importance of information stored in the body. However it is essential to understand that for the information to be available to our awareness, our brain needs to be involved in processing the patterns of information flow happening in the body. Where the information is processed – in the primitive brain (unconscious) or in the cortex (conscious) – determines whether or not the memory is explicit.

I have a favourite old pair of jeans right now, some holes are on the second round of stitching. The wrinkles and folds in the material are a memory of sorts, the jeans mould to my body like no other pair of trousers. The fascia researcher Gil Hedley (2005) talks about fascia as ‘fuzz’. The fuzz accumulates and represents time. A certain stickiness and alignment of the fibres in the tissues holds the joints in more habitual ways.

Imagine a small child being shouted out by her father. Her shoulders tense, her neck tightens and there is a surge of fear related hormones and activity in the body. If this happens continuously the pattern of ‘shoulders tense and neck tight’ becomes a deep ‘action pattern’ (Kozlowska et al 2015).

Now imagine 30 years later the adult is on your treatment table. With grounded presence and soft, safe, warm, hands you are holding her head and neck. The tissues in her neck begin to express long held contractions and tightness. A shape in her body emerges, similar to the pattern generated when she got shouted at. Your client begins to feel unease and may think about her father.

The ‘muscle memory’ is the tension and tone in the tensegrity of the neck (Ingber 2008). The ‘cellular memory’ is cellular membrane receptors on local and global cells that grew to be sensitive to the all the stress hormones, immune system signaling and inflammatory chemicals that used to be secreted in the fear response (Damasio and Carvalho 2013). The ‘action patterns’ are simple, default movement schemas held in the old primitive brain.

Sensory nerves signal the changes in tension and chemical milieu to the brain. Only with the brain involved do we have emotions, feelings and thoughts generated in awareness. They may or may not be fully integrated into cognition, but something is happening. A memory is being expressed.

Instead of explicit memories we can have implicit memories (I first heard this term from Babette Rothschild, 2000), here the activation is chiefly in the primitive brain (brain stem, cerebellum and limbic system). The client on the table becomes scared when you touch her neck and too much changes too soon, but she does not really know why she is getting upset.

As a therapist working with trauma it is important to note the surges and changes in the rhythmic activity of the body as implicit memories occur. There are some great early warning signals that something is happening.

We can then help find the right pace of change for the individual so they can learn to self-regulate. The therapist’s skillful presence can lead to co-regulation such that the individual can learn to self-regulate (Ndefo 2015). The primitive brain does not do words and concepts very well, but will respond to safety, touch and presence.

Implicit memories are coded very simply in the primitive brain. Often they are without a timeline. The amygdala – an important part of our threat detection system (LeDoux 2015) – holds lots of symbolic representations of threat. The amygdala will trigger ‘fight-or-flight’ or ‘immobility’ responses (‘defense cascade’ Kozlowska et al 2015) if it senses danger in the incoming information stream.

If the cortex gets involved then we will have explicit memory – we can pull in associated events and a timeline to contextualise the activity in the body. Explicit memories usually only emerge into awareness after the body has changed. The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex should help us say ‘That happened 30 years ago’. The skill of the therapist here is to honor the memories and stories that appear but keep orienting the client to resources in the body and environment; ‘Its not happening now’, even if your body is screaming at you be scared.

Following Dr David Berceli (2008), founder of Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE), I am fond of saying ‘You do not need to remember or do not need to understand to heal trauma’. The goal is to overwrite the symbols in the amygdala with present time information. The body is a great source of good news that can bring you into now.

Summary

Information is stored in the tissues and cells of the body.

The threat detection systems in the primitive brain can be activated as the body changes.

The primitive brain does not do words and concepts very well, but will respond to safety, touch and presence.

If we can support change in the body and down regulate arousal we can change memories with out needing to understand or remember the trauma event.

The goal is to uncouple the charge of the defense cascade from the sensations of the implicit memory.

Notes

1 Kozlowska et al (2015) list some early signs of arousal. For flight-or-fight (their preferred order of this phrase) they list; changes in breath, furrowing of the eyebrows, the tensing of the jaw, or the clenching of a fist, narrowing of the range of attention. For immobility states they list; visual blurring, sweating, nausea, warmth, light-headedness, and fatigue. 

My favourite signs to look out for are anything going too quick (thoughts, sensations or emotions that cannot be integrated into the present moment) and anything going too slow (spacey, floaty, absence, hard to make eye contact, numbness or tingling or loss of body awareness). 

Dry mouth, sense of small or far away feet, absent belly, cold hands and a sense of someone withdrawing are all good signs to put the brakes on, whatever process is being expressed. David Berceli teaches ‘Freezing, Flooding or Dissociation’ as signs that too much arousal is occurring.

Download as pdf: memory v3 2015-10-29

References

Berceli D (2008) The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process. Transcend Your Toughest Times. Vancouver: Namaste Publishing.

Damasio A and Carvalho GB (2013) The nature of feelings: evolutionary and neurobiological origins. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Vol 14, February 2013, 143.

Hedley G (2005) The Integral Anatomy Series. 4 Vol DVD set. Integral Anatomy Productions, LLC, 430 Westwood Avenue, Westwood, NJ 07675, USA (or check ‘The Fuzz Speech’ on YouTube).

Ingber DE (2008) Tensegrity and mechanotransduction. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 12, 198–200.

Kozlowska K, Walker P, McLean L, and Carrive P (2015) Fear and the Defense Cascade: Clinical Implications and Management. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2015 Jul; 23(4): 263–287.

LeDoux JE (2015) The Amygdala Is NOT the Brain’s Fear Center. psychologytoday.com http://bit.ly/ledoux-no-fear-center  Accessed 2015-09-01

Ndefo N (2015) Personal communication. www.trelosangeles.com ‘Sometimes we have to co-regulate before we can self-regulate’.

Rothschild B (2000) The Body Remembers – The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. London: W.W. Norton.

Medical graphic books by Steve Haines, published by Singing Dragon

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Pain is Really Strange is a scientifically-based, detailed, and gently humorous graphic book on pain and pain management. Answering questions such as ‘how can I change my pain experience?’, ‘what is pain?’, and ‘how do nerves work?’, this short research-based graphic book reveals just how strange pain is and explains how understanding it is often the key to relieving its effects.

 

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Trauma is Really Strange is a science-based medical graphic book explaining trauma, its effects on our psychology and physiology, and what to do about it. When something traumatic happens to us, we dissociate and our bodies shut down their normal processes. This unique comic explains the strange nature of trauma and how it confuses the brain and affects the body. With wonderful artwork, cat and mouse metaphors, essential scientific facts, and a healthy dose of wit, the narrator reveals how trauma resolution involves changing the body’s physiology and describes techniques that can achieve this, including Trauma Releasing Exercises that allow the body to shake away tension, safely releasing deep muscular patterns of stress and trauma.

Trauma is Really Strange will publish on December 21st 2015.