Polyvagal theory, applied

I’m summarizing polyvagal theory, originated by Dr. Stephen Porges, from a 10:48-minute video interview of him. I’m doing this for my own understanding, and I want to share because it’s a new way of thinking about traumatic responses. It has major implications for my work, and I’ve added my own comments in brackets. I am sure I will continue to refine my understanding.

Dr. Porges says that polyvagal theory is the understanding of how our body reacts to various challenges. The autonomic nervous system [involuntary, like heart beat] has evolved in vertebrates, changing and adding new circuits that function in a hierarchy. The newer circuits can inhibit older circuits. The older circuits were circuits of defense. Continue reading

Post-concussion self-care

I’m getting referrals for craniosacral therapy for people who have had concussions, and I want to help these folks heal. Not knowing what a doctor may (or may not — especially ER docs who are most concerned about intracranial bleeding and not aftercare) have told them, I’m providing information here that may help those with injured brains recover more quickly.

People who’ve had concussions may report these symptoms: pain, dizziness or vertigo, balance issues, gait or coordination disturbance, vision changes, sensitivity to light and sound, language problems, confusion, lack of focus, forgetfulness, nausea, sleepiness, and/or emotional problems.

To clarify the language, concussions may also be called mild TBIs (traumatic brain injuries). People can get concussions from an impact, from being shaken (like shaken baby syndrome), or from being near an explosion (IEDs in war zones make this a tragic problem for many veterans).

To help you visualize what happens in a concussion, imagine your brain is like jello inside a closed hard container (the cranium) cushioned by a thin layer of water (cerebrospinal fluid), with substantial membranes (the meninges) separating the major parts (the hemispheres and the cerebrum and cerebellum, not shown in the image below).

A major impact slams the brain around inside the cranium, damaging brain tissue. Research points to the corpus callosum, which connects and coordinates the left and right hemispheres, receiving the most damage from concussions.

Source: https://www.craniosacralsydney.com.au/blog/brain-trauma-concussion-lessening-the-pain-with-craniosacral-therapy. Note image does not show meninges that separate hemispheres.
Continue reading

Reversing diabetes: Phyllis’ return to health. Part 2.

This is Part 2 in a series of posts telling the story of Phyllis and how she reversed Type 2 diabetes. Part 1 is here. If your reading time is limited, here is a summary.

To recap, Phyllis was working stressful 12-hour days with two-hour commutes each way. She wasn’t eating right. Her doctor told her she had a choice: be hospitalized or see an endocrinologist. She learned her A1C level was 10.2, putting her at high risk for serious complications…

Peace, Quiet, and Nature

Phyllis realized she had to do something differently. She knew she had to get away from food being such a comfort to offset the stress she was under.

She faced the stress first by giving a month’s notice and stepping away from her stressful job and commute.

She says now she was so sick back then, she couldn’t even think. Her body felt bad. Besides the diabetes, she had blood pressure issues, a heart murmur, and thyroid issues (Hashimoto’s, another autoimmune disease). Her memory declined. Continue reading

Happy Easter!

I want to share this wonderful quote from Jean Houston:

Resurrection is essentially a remembrance of one’s true nature and a waking up to this remembrance.

This Easter, may you wake up and remember who you really are.