Polyvagal Theory and the Five Elements
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.
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.
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