Polyvagal Theory and the Five Elements

This course is rooted in an East-meets-West approach to restoring balance and regulation in survivors of traumatic stress. It marries theoretical and clinical concepts from Western neuroscience with Acupuncture and Asian Medicine (AAM) to elucidate body-informed clinical skills for acupuncturists.

Polyvagal Theory and the Five Elements

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1:30 Hours 
On-Demand Video
Interactive Quizzes
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Certificate On Completion

What you will learn

  • Recognize the critical role of the Kidney-Heart axis in traumatic stress.
  • Discuss the interface of the poly-vagal theory with the Shen cycle.
  • Discuss the critical role of developmental trauma on adult morbidity and mortality as a public health concern.
  • Describe common physiological responses to traumatic stress that affect the digestive system.
  • Discuss how an understanding of PolyVagal Theory can inform approaches to building safer communities.

Course Overview

This course is rooted in an East-meets-West approach to restoring balance and regulation in survivors of traumatic stress. It marries theoretical and clinical concepts from Western neuroscience with Acupuncture and Asian Medicine (AAM) to elucidate body-informed clinical skills for acupuncturists.

Advances in the last 10-20 years in the study of the neurobiology of traumatic stress have revolutionized the understanding of its impact on survivors. Survivors will benefit when we integrate modern, scientific understandings of the human response to threat into how we offer needles, manage clinical interactions, and interpret signs and symptoms. 

The polyvagal theory provides a Western scientific foundation for the critical foundation of safety and relationship in the treatment of trauma survivors. When explored in the context of the Shen and K’o cycles in the 5 Element model, it can deepen and inform an acupuncturist’s understanding of the energetic foundation of the traumatic stress response. 

Many of the symptoms that bring patients to acupuncturists and other integrative medicine providers – elusive, chronic, and hard to diagnosis problems like intractable pain, autoimmune disorders, digestive disturbances, insomnia, depression, and anxiety – have a connection to autonomic nervous system dysregulation caused by traumatic stress that is ongoing or occurred long ago.

Trauma survivors are fortunate to live in a time and place where ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, integrative approaches are available for restoring balance and regulation to their body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

This course is approved by:

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1.5 CEUs/PDAs
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Group 1 | 1.5 hours
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1.5 CPD

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NCCAOM PDA Course Participant Attestation

By registering for this course, I agree to abide by the NCCAOM PDA Course Participant Attestation.

I understand that the information in this course presented by the Provider and/or Instructor(s) is for educational purposes only and should only be applied with appropriate clinical judgment and used by a trained and licensed
practitioner. Governmental laws and regulations vary from region to region and the contents of this course vary in permissible usage. The participant is required to check their local, state, and federal laws and regulations regarding the practice requirements and scope of practice issues and the use of the information of this course including, but not limited to, theory, herbal medicine, and acupuncture. I acknowledge that NCCAOM does not endorse any specific treatment regimens of any kind. Furthermore, if I use any modalities or treatments taught in this course, I agree to waive, release, indemnify, discharge, and covenant not to sue NCCAOM from and against any liability, claims, demands, or causes of action whatsoever, arising out of any injury, loss, or damage that a person may sustain related to the use of the information in this course. I understand that this Release is governed by the laws of District of Columbia, U.S.A. and shall survive the termination or expiration of this course.

Unlimited Access

Once purchased, we grant you a lifetime access license. See more on our Terms of Use page.

We encourage you to return to courses as learning continues; in each view, we learn and understand new things.


Unless otherwise stated, CEU/PDA/CPD requirements must be completed within 1 year of the purchase. You are advised to print and save your certificate for your records and under your association requirements.

Dimploamtes of NCCAOM & Floridas members need to fill in a form after completing their courses for us to submit the points. CAB & Fachverband members need to write to us an email upon completing their courses to get the required documents. Look for our email after the completion of the course.

About the Teacher

Alaine D. Duncan, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

Alaine Duncan is an acupuncturist and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. She is the author of The Tao of Trauma: A Practitioner's Guide for Integrating Five Element Theory and Trauma Treatment. Alaine has a fascination for the interface of East and West, the personal and the political, the individual and the collective -- and holds a special place in her heart and her mind for the role of healers and healing in cultural transformation.

5 Courses

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Course Includes

  • 1.5 Hours Course Duration
  • Course Certificate
  • Course Credits
    AACMA Image AACMA1.5 CPD's
    ACI Image ACICertificate
    AGTCM Image AGTCMCertificate
    NCCAOM Image NCCAOM1.5 CEU's
    Fachverband Image TCM FACHVERBAND1.5 Hours

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