August News & Views

Trauma Training Tip.

As Late Summer emerges, the corresponding organs, tissues and substances of the Earth Element will call out to us.

Traumatic stress responses are held in body memory.  Trauma survivors will use different tissues to help them manage, contain, or control these overwhelming experiences.  The tissue that holds their stress pattern will depend on the nature of the trauma, their constitutional “type” and the management strategy that they used during and after the event or situation.

Muscles or “flesh” are the tissue associated with the Earth Element.  Muscles carry a lot of sensory information.  When we speak of how our body feels, our muscles are the tissue that speaks the loudest and clearest.  If we have experienced a failure in self-protection, our muscles will hold the story and whatever beliefs we may have about that experience.

The acupuncture channels flow between muscle beds and in the trough between muscle and bone.  “Listening” to the muscles, the channels and the officials with your hands, heart, ears and your needles will help guide your treatment choices.

 Alaine’s Two Cents

I came across this beautiful prayer and offer it to you in the spirit of the Earth’s capacity for generous service. We live in challenging times.  I am grateful to share the world with Bodhisattvas like you.

Bodhisattva Prayer for Humanity

May I be a guard for those who need protection

A guide for those on the path

A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood

May I be a lamp in the darkness

A resting place for the weary

A healing medicine for all who are sick

A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles

And for the boundless multitudes of living beings

May I bring sustenance and awakening


Enduring like the earth and sky

Until all beings are freed from sorrow

And all are awakened.

– Shantideva, Indian Buddhist sage 700 A.D.

Prayer performed each morning by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Check This Out!

Want some grounding in the physiology of the muscular system from a Western perspective?  Click on this great overview:  The muscular system explained in 6 minutes

 Clinical Curiosity

Q.  My patient is in her late 30’s.  She has back pain, lifelong chronic diarrhea with undigested food, dizziness, headaches and muscle wasting.  At 4 years old she was hospitalized for severe malnourishment and ‘almost died’ from starvation.  She spent many formative years on a liquid or chicken and rice diet.  She has never felt supported by her family, and wonders if the support she needs will ever be available to her.  She is an Earth CF.

A.  So glad this woman found you!  She is a great example of complex multi-symptom illness found in survivors of early autonomic dysregulation – and the need to anchor her with a clear and consistent treatment message to bring regulation and balance to her core vitality.

In addition to attending to her commanding digestive symptoms, I recommend a close look at her ilio-psoas muscle group.  The ilio-psoas connects the femur to the lumbar spine.  It connects the “outside” world to our “inside” experience.  As such, it holds a lot of information about how we connect with and feel about our unique place in the world.

The ilio-psoas is also our primary fight-flight muscle.  It has two opposing functions. It both helps us to stand our ground (fight) and run away (flight). Holding the dilemma between standing our ground and fleeing is a complex choice to make in the midst of a threatening experience!  If a survivor can’t decide which function to use in the moment, or their trauma occurred before a mobilization response was developmentally available to them, the ilio-psoas may be prone to spasm, severe pain and can even create or exacerbate scoliosis.

The psoas muscle is most often anchored at T11-T12; the level of GV 6, Center of the Spine, and Bl 20, the back Shu point of the Spleen.  The tension inherent in this dilemma of choosing between fighting or fleeing leaves this vertebrae more vulnerable to fracture than any other vertebrae.

When she is ready, using the Hua Tuo points in the area, GV 6, Bl 20 and Bl 21 may be important ways to support her back pain, and enter into her body’s discussion of support, connection, stability and capacity to protect herself.  She may benefit from the support of your hand in this area while she lies on her back with distal needles in place for a few sessions before local needles will be welcome.

Coming Up!

Digesting The Gristle
August 26th & 27th, 2017
8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 300
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Cost: $350

In this module, you will explore and learn hands on skills to address dynamics of:

  • Survival Issues In the Muscles: Stand My Ground or Mobilize to Fight or Flee.
  • The Impact of Developmental Trauma on the Visceral Brain
  • Restoring Gut Function in Survivors of Developmental Trauma.
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Morbidity/Mortality.
  • Restoring Balance in the Fluid System in Patients with Hyper-Sensitivity Reactions.

Register here: https://integrativehealingworks.net/class-registration/

Next year’s series starts September 15&16, 2017 with a new name “Tao of Trauma”.   It starts with Awakening Arousal. 

The series follows the 5 steps of the self-protective response, and coincidentally, the 5 phases of Chinese Medicine.  I’ve re-named it The Tao of Trauma – the title of my book, scheduled for publication in 2018, which arises out of this material.

$350 per module, if registered 30 days in advance, $375 thereafter.
$1500 for all 5 modules if registered by September 16, 2017.
Half price for previous attenders.

Learn more about the series here.

Alaine DuncanAugust News & Views

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