Healing Attachment Challenges with Somatic Bodywork
The Hypothalamus is the part of the Limbic system in the Human brain that makes the distinction between safety and danger. If danger is perceived, it switches on the sympathetic, fight of flight, nervous system response. If safety is felt, it activates the para-sympathetic, rest and digest mode. In our modern world, with all the stimulation and pressure to succeed, our sympathetic nervous system is too often the default setting.
Interestingly enough, this part of the brain, the "mammalian brain" comes online during the first two years of life. From birth to age 2, our brain grows three times in size! We're born with the primitive "reptilian brain" pretty much intact. And by age 2 we are ready to start programming our neo-cortex, as language skills come on line. But during these first two years, as the brain is growing, the need for safe emotional attachment is key. John Bradshaw called this the building of "healthy interpersonal bridges." They are key to the development of healthy bonding and attachment.
The phenomenon of "attachment parenting" came of age in the 90s, with the pioneering works of Jeanne Liedloff, "The Continuum Concept", and Dr. Sears baby books on "Attachment Parenting." But prior to that, in the Western world, we lived under the strong influenced of Dr. Spock, and the "Let the baby, cry it out!" method of parenting. Those were sad times indeed, and have left deep scars on many.
This is where professional healing bodywork can play a major role in remediation! The "in-arms deprivation," that roots to the first six months of life is at the core of a world of interpersonal struggles and troubles that can last decades. In extreme cases, the hypothalamus never really learned that the world could be a safe place. As a result nearly constant stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system has left many a person exhausted from insistent fears, insecurities, anxieties and high alert status.
Luckily, professionally delivered healing touch can calm this over-active, hyper-vigilant nervous reaction to life and help to promote the deeper relaxation response of the para-sympathetic nervous system. This is where healing takes place. We shut down the high alert status, and simply breathe, relax deeply and heal our wounds.
If you are stressed and have not yet begun to utilize bodywork services as part of your personal wellness regimen, it may be the missing link you've been looking for. Attachment wounds are deep, and missing those healthy emotional bonds as an infant can leave you deficient for many decades. Sadly for some, this even becomes a way of life. Discovering bodywork as a means to move you away from stress and isolation can be a game changer.
I created HeartMind Shiatsu as a method of applying traditional Asian Bodywork Therapy to address this most profound issue of our times. I offer personal services to address these issues, and online training for couples and small groups to discover and practice the power of healing touch in your life. Contact me with any questions of how healing bodywork could serve your particular situation. Also, please share comments on how healing touch has helped you on your wellness journey!