Phase Three: Working with Trauma
It’s so hard to put this content in an order that feels appropriate. Working with trauma requires a certain amount of skill and we have to have explored enough with our horses to know that’s what we’re dealing with. I’ll continue to post content here as we go along, but for now, know that if a horse is carrying trauma, in the form of PTSD, for example, then they may not be able to connect properly with us. It may be hard for them to relate to us and share the connection we offer, and they may not share at all on that electromagnetic field of the heart level. When I work with traumatized horses or tap into old trauma while doing bodywork, I often feel numb, or blank, or like I’m in fog. Sometimes when I put my hands on I’ll feel a buzzing or tingling sensation that is almost electric.
Whether I do a session remotely or hands on, I find it useful to begin by addressing the nervous system components of trauma. When we carry trauma it traps our nervous system in a vicious cycle. The body is often tense and sending chemical signals to the brain that we are in danger. The brain mobilizes chemicals that put the body into fight or flight mode and round and round it goes, trapped in this cycle. There often needs to some kind of intervention to break the cycle.
I always find it fascinating how everything is related and makes so much sense from a survival perspective! If you recall, early on we talked about how the nervous system functions. One aspect of brain function is that the parts that are in direct contact with one another communicate with each other in very direct ways. If we apply that to the the rest of the body, it is interesting to discover that the kidneys and adrenal glands sit in direct contact with another. In Chinese medicine the emotion associated with the kidneys is fear. So signals from kidney to adrenal gland mobilize adrenaline to get us moving or fighting. In Polarity Therapy it is thought that the diaphragm is the meeting point of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and that if there is excess tension in the diaphragm then the body becomes stuck in fight or flight mode. The kidneys and adrenals have a strong fascia connection to the diaphragm. Long story short, it’s often useful, as a starting point, to bring some relief to these organ systems.
Here is a video from the 2018 class where I demonstrate how I would work with these organs hands on.
Here is a series of videos from last year, working with a traumatized mare for a friend. We did four sessions over the summer and it’s interesting to see how she began to shift. Wish I could have had her nearby to keep going!: