December News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

Trauma Training Tip Allostasis is a term from Western neurophysiology that describes the process of how we achieve stability by distributing the impact of stress across various body-systems. Acupuncturists know this well – when we offer constitutional support, all aspects of a person’s capacity to manage their life are supported. Allostasis is what helps us survive, learn from and find stability after stressful experiences.   For example, touching a hot stove will signal a rise in adrenaline, alerting our flight response to quickly remove our hand.  Adrenalin also enhances our memory to help us avoid touching hot stoves in the future, …

Alaine DuncanDecember News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

November News ‘n Views

Trauma Treatment Tip While choosing the wrong points is never a good thing in anyone’s treatment — it is also not enough to simply choose the right points when working with survivors of trauma.  We need to prepare our patient to receive our needles.  We need to create a receptive field. Some patients won’t tolerate needles.  Their system is in a state of high arousal.  If their tissues are braced and tight Qi simply cannot flow through them.  We also risk stimulating greater dysregulation and more chaos when we needle into states of locked down, braced, hyper-aroused tissues.  We also risk losing the trust of …

Alaine DuncanNovember News ‘n Views

October News n Views

Trauma Training Tip Metal “type” trauma survivors are often overcome by grief. They may experience a very primal sense of shut down.  It is hard to inhale – to receive life – and any of the gifts that are here for them now – or exhale and let go of their past.  The question, “How can a loving God allow bad things happen to good people” is tormenting for them.  Their breath may be shallow and they may have deeply soulful survival guilt. Patients with survival guilt may feel grief or shame for surviving when someone else didn’t; for not …

Alaine DuncanOctober News n Views

September News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

Trauma Training Tip Can your patients notice something novel in their environment, such as a door closing or a voice in the hallway, without a lot of activation? Can they easily come back to the present moment, or do they become consumed by their arousal and “go away”? This is an expression of the vitality and flexibility in their parasympathetic nervous system – and the spirit of their Lung and their Po, or animal soul. The Po initiates our self-protective response.  It provides us with sensate, embodied awareness. The Po helps us distinguish excitation from threat.  When is a tickle fun, …

Alaine DuncanSeptember News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

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 …

Alaine DuncanAugust News & Views

July News & Views

Trauma Training Tip Be playful with your patients!  Relationship heals!  We humans are tribal creatures that  require community and the need to feel connected to others is primal. In fact, shunning or ostracizing a community member equated to a death sentence in ancient cultures. In a recent Washington Post article, “A Hunger To Connect: Loneliness Hurts, but where would we be without it?” Marta Zaraska, reports that being lonely is bad for our health – she quotes a study that indicates the risk of dying over a 20-year period was 50% higher for lonely men and 49% higher for lonely women. Zaraska …

Alaine DuncanJuly News & Views

June News ‘n Views

Do you have patients who have experienced a high velocity injury?  An automobile accident, a fall, or exposure to a blast?  We acupuncturists have much to offer. These injuries can create massive disruption in the physiology and function of connective tissue.  They can create complex and difficult to manage pain patterns and leave a person feeling fragmented and missing a sense of connection with themselves and others. Fascia, one type of connective tissue, is particularly vulnerable to high velocity injuries.  In theory, fascia is universally elastic. It is the web that receives the impact and is always part of the …

Alaine DuncanJune News ‘n Views

May News ‘n Views

Trauma Training Tip As we move into the Fire season, the important functions of the Fire Officials in the self-protective response, as well as the many ways  they can be disturbed by traumatic stress, will become more palpable in our treatment rooms. Traumatic stress too often results in a loss of trust in other people or a sense of disconnect from our own true nature.  Acupuncturists are in a unique position to help survivors build their capacity for relationship and develop an embodied, coherent sense of self. The interface between the Fire element and the Ventral Vagus Nerve illuminates the …

Alaine DuncanMay News ‘n Views

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