April News n Views

Trauma Training Tip The Sympathetic Nervous System, informed by the Liver & Gall Bladder in Chinese medicine, supports our ability to mobilize for food, mating and protection.  It guides us to orient, strategize, and implement our “fight or flight” response. The Sympathetic Nervous System is always “on”.  Even in our deepest sleep, we have the capacity to protect ourselves by mobilizing to a perceived threat. We have two ways our fight or flight response is tempered by the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Primates, including humans, are gifted with a social nervous system, enervated by the subtle, relationship-centered Ventral Vagus nerve. Depending on previous …

Alaine DuncanApril News n Views

March News ‘n Views

Trauma Training Tip! Many trauma survivors suffer from digestive symptoms.  They may feel bloated and gassy or may become obese or have trouble with metabolizing certain nutrients. There is a powerful dynamic in the middle Jiao of trauma survivors. Our mobilization response to threat, which is guided by the Liver and Gall Bladder officials, includes a message to the Spleen, Stomach and all the fu to shut-down.  In a moment of danger, we needed all our qi in our muscles and joints to power an escape.  Our long-term vitality depends on nourishment, but our immediate survival is rooted in successful fight or flight.  This shut down is designed to …

Alaine DuncanMarch News ‘n Views

News & Views on Integrative Healing – February 2017

Happy Chinese New Year!  Spring, or the Wood element calls forward the mobilization phase of our self-protective response. The Liver, the General of the Armed Forces and the Gall Bladder, the Official of Wise Judgment, are together responsible for strategizing and implementing our fight or flight response in the presence of perceived danger. If our patient’s mobilization response was thwarted or unavailable to them at a critical moment in their past, it will remain in their tissues. The Spring may support these body memories to emerge. Helping these responses complete will support the smooth movement of Qi and the benevolent nature of the Wood to emerge. …

Alaine DuncanNews & Views on Integrative Healing – February 2017

News ‘n Views On Integrative Healing, January 2017

The dynamics of fear and courage are all around us this winter. This season is an especially important one to attend to fear inourselves, our patients and our communities. When fear consumes us, our kidney/adrenal system becomes braced and frozen. The K’e cycle, the Sheng cycle and our Jing are affected. Our Bladder official communicates directly with the structures around our brainstem that initiate our fight and flight response.  Hyper arousal in the brain stem can hi-jack our frontal cortex – and compromise our Shen’s capacity for thoughtful, relationship-centered decision-making.  This dynamic between the brain stem and the frontal cortex is mirrored in the K’e cycle between Water and Fire. Brain stem …

Alaine DuncanNews ‘n Views On Integrative Healing, January 2017

News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing December 2016

Trauma Training Tip The Kidney and Adrenal Gland are contained in a fascial “sac” that integrates them into a single functional unit. One important job they play together is to signal our response to danger or life-threat. Life-threatening experiences in infancy, or intense or ongoing threats in adulthood may cause this signaling center to get stuck “on”. Enduring high arousal consumes Jing and causes high morbidity and mortality rates in trauma survivors. Patients who did not experience feeling safe while immobilized as infants or young children, with e.g. hugs, playful wrestling and cuddling, may be very challenged by not being …

Alaine DuncanNews ‘n Views on Integrative Healing December 2016

R&B After Trauma: Signaling Threat: December 9&10, 2016

The Kidney/Adrenal system is responsible for Signaling Threat, the subject of the Second Module in the Restoration & Balance After Trauma series. Building resiliency in this system will help survivors restore their capacity to feel safe again, recognize threats more accurately, reduce their morbidity and mortality and enhance their vitality. The whole body is alarmed when the Kidney’s signal of life-threat penetrates the pericardium and reaches the Heart. With repeated alarm, the Kidney loses its capacity to regulate fear. Survivors are tossed between hyper-arousal and collapse – their Jing is consumed and their Shen is disturbed. Exploring Shao Yin – Kidney/Heart dynamics in this integrative, East meets West context …

Alaine DuncanR&B After Trauma: Signaling Threat: December 9&10, 2016

News & Views on Integrative Healing, November 2016

Trauma Training Tip: As the weather becomes colder, trauma survivors who have repeatedly needed the freeze response to help them cope with life threatening situations may experience more vulnerability. Freeze, also called collapse or dissociation, is a physiologically brilliant and life-saving solution in certain circumstances.  When too much electricity is flowing into our home, a circuit breaker shuts off the power to prevent it from burning to the ground. Similarly, when life presents an overwhelming challenge, we may freeze to prevent our heart/mind from imploding. While the freeze strategy is brilliant in the short term, the damage that ensues when it …

Alaine DuncanNews & Views on Integrative Healing, November 2016

News & Views on Integrative Healing: October 2016

Trauma Training Tip The Self-Protective Response is initiated by the Po, the spirit of the Lungs. When we hear a twig snap, if our Po is intact, a message is sent to the orienting functions of the Liver via the K’ecycle. We narrow our focus, orient our sense organs towards the sound, and are instinctively animated to respond to this felt sense* of threat. We don’t have time to consider whether, where, when or how fast we should move – we respond instinctively. That capacity for instinctive responses is the gift of the Po. There is a slight sympathetic arousal – which …

Simplicity MetricsNews & Views on Integrative Healing: October 2016

News & Views on Integrative Healing: September 2016

Trauma Training Tip Touch the skin and touch the world for your patient! Touch is our first sense.  It is our first and most primal communication.  Many people live without sight, hearing, smell or taste — but no one can survive without touch! Our skin is a boundary organ.  It is a relatively global tissue — bones and muscles have a beginning and an end — but our skin surrounds us. When we touch with attention on the skin, we touch our patient in a global way.   We can inadvertently activate a memory of boundary violation if we are unaware of the …

Simplicity MetricsNews & Views on Integrative Healing: September 2016

News & Views on Integrative Healing: August 2016

Trauma Training Tips Did you know you have a brain in your guts?This visceral brain informs us about our comfort in relationships and helps us make nourishing attachments. You actually do “know it in your guts” when you meet people. In life-threatening conditions, all our Qi goes to mobilizing a flight or fight response; we shut down our digestion temporarily. Repeated early traumatic stress may result in chronic shut-down of digestion – or a freeze response in our viscera. As adults it will be hard for our Spleen qi to transform food into qi; we may have trouble assimilating trace …

Alaine DuncanNews & Views on Integrative Healing: August 2016