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  1. I so believe this. I grew up with an alcoholic mother and I was often afraid and never knew how she would act. I also lost my best friend at the age of 17 in a train accident. I have suffered with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other illnesses for many years and I truly believe that trauma can get lodged in your tissues.

    I interviewed Dr Dawson Church for my Eat Real Food Health Summit where we talked about how the diet and the mind body connection play a huge role in our overall health. Thank you Lissa for this wonderful article and wouldn’t it be great if doctors were taught in medical school more about nutrition and traumas being lodged in the body.

  2. I’ve been wondering when you where going to get to this. My teacher thought that medicine and healing needed to have a more “group” mentality between different modalities…each specialization requires lifetimes In order to master just one aspect of inner healing…there is so much to really learn how to process just the “why..” We also exist simultaneously on different levels of understanding including higher dimensional energies…there are some very potent light energies coming through me that no exactly where they need to go in order for the healing to occur…another important fact that needs our attention is that the earth’s energy is raising and the old paradigms are losing their grip on our lives which means the body needs to learn how to not only incorporate these higher energies but also heal the personal issues which are holding us back from raising our own thoughts and emotions to meet our needs…thanks!

    • I think I saw the combined efforts from several women I have been channeling lately open up a portal down into the Halls of Amenti….Thoth talks about it in his book, “The Emerald Tablets of Thoth-The -Atlantean”. trans by Doreal. The reason I am bringing this up is that is where Thoth would go, underneath the pyramids to be restored by the Flower of Life’s healing energy. These cosmic energies are re emerging from where they have been stepping waiting for this moment to re awaken and heal many of these energies which are some of the root reasons for our human suffering…they know exactly where they are needed to bring some real relief of one’s darkness and pain….I have been helping the pyramids energies to awaken and know that Thoth and some other ancient powers have been helping me do this….pray that these energies will help others to awaken to their own potential to help and heal our collective selves…for humanities sake…

  3. Lissa, are you familiar with the books by Dr. John Sarno MD? This blog post covers much the same territory. The main difference is that Sarno concentrates purely on the psychology behind chronic illness (specifically suppressed rage) while you venture beyond that into spirituality.

    I’ve been dealing with chronic pain and muscle stiffness for 12 years which severely restricts my mobility. I spent the first two years just hoping it would go away on its own. Then I wasted the next three years bouncing between doctors (who could find nothing physically wrong) and all sorts of therapists, including a psychologist. They all cost a lot of money, none helped, and a few made things worse. I finally gave up on the medical industrial complex.

    After reading Sarno’s books I became convinced the problem was psychosomatic, but I still don’t know where to get help. Everything I tried from the physical to the metaphysical showed some promise at first, but ultimately failed miserably. I refuse to go on any more wild goose chases, and I don’t know who to trust. My gut tells me that I need a spiritual solution, not a physical or psychological one, but I can’t even bring myself to trust God these days. I’m really lost.

  4. Lissa yes… my truth and belief is that unresolved trauma is absolutely at the heart of many Public Health challenges as Drs Bessel van der Kolk and Stephen Porges highlight and the trauma translates at a personal and collective level as you so beautifully articulate. Each and every one of us has the opportunity to find a self-healing path that works for us as we are all uniquely and intricately woven. Thus we will each need to follow our whole body to tune in to what will work and won’t work for us. I have, as you might recall, spent 17 years self-diagnosing a birth trauma and a near miss with my son and raising awareness of the undiagnosed birth trauma and perinatal PTSD (and vicariously the impact on health care professionals and partners) is my sacred purpose. My body has led the way to me finding TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) developed by Dr David Berceli. This is a toolkit that is accessible to everyone and was designed to empower and enable people to gently, through self regulation and simple yet powerful exercises, shake off the tension and trauma and reset the nervous system. This process helped me to shift out of shutdown, freeze and dissociation and literally thaw and, as you mention here, to alchemize this into soul growth and meaning making! I am now in a delicious rabbit hole of research into trauma informed approaches (which here in the UK is not well developed and is just gaining some momentum) where I too am delving deep into how trauma plays out for the one and the many and how, when unresolved, it leads to the kind of conflict and othering that we are witnessing and how very much we need to find our voices. Sending love and blessings.

  5. I believe it is very misleading and harmful to say that trauma must be caused by events. Our culture and prevailing ideas about people and how they should behave and think can create an environment that is traumatic to sensitive individuals. There are so many assumptions about what is healthy and unhealthy, and there is a constant barrage of labels, whether psychiatric or more casual. Stating as facts what are merely theories or assumptions – this is abusive, this person is toxic, this relationship is unhealthy.

    For most of her life, my daughter has felt isolated and alone. She feels powerless to even have her own opinion because she feels unworthy to disagree with what so many people believe to be true, especially about mental illness. For years, she did not want to be female. Not because she felt like she was really male but because she thought she had to act a certain way to be female. What she sees around her violates her expectations of humanity, and she feels like life is not worth living when so many people are horrible and judgemental and don’t even try to understand others.

    I believe that she has also traumatized herself with her own ideas. She continually tells herself that she should not do what feels right to her because she does not deserve to feel good. She feels like she is not allowed to say that she feels traumatized because there have not been definitive events in her life that fit the criteria.

    To get to the point, I believe that trauma is usually a matter of perception and not limited to unique events.

    • AIT recognizes this. From what I understand, the protocols looks for even things like past life trauma- things the individual may not even remember. So I think there are many ways to experience trauma. As you say, if you are sensitive, just living in a sick patriarchal greed-based, nature-violating culture like the one we’re in here in the US can be traumatizing.

      • I was thinking that very thing about “living in a sick patriarchal greed-based, nature-violating culture like the one we’re in here in the US.” I’m seeing evidence of that through friends and family who are typically even-keeled, and through clients, too.

    • I suffered debilitating PTSD based on childhood traumas most of which I didn’t have any memory of. I’m fully recovered (in just 2.5 years). What you’re referring to may not technically be defined as trauma. If you study the biology of how trauma is stored in the body (central nervous system and amygdala, NOT the prefrontal cortex), trauma is only recorded when there’s a fight-flight-freeze event – so yes, not just an event, but a life-threatening one. (Humans, like ALL animals are wired for survival.)
      Trauma is defined as, “too much too fast (a bomb, an assault, a car accident, voluntary surgery), “too little too long” (deprivation/starvation), or, “too much too long” (bullying, verbal/physical/sustained conditions – abuse, cold/heat/homelessness).
      As a culture and in psychology we refer to many other things as “trauma” but this isn’t how the body registers them – they are psyche “traumas” – PFC “traumas.” Read Elaine Keras Miller’s book on resilience and trauma for more insight. Can they make us ill? Of course – “sound mind, sound body.” I think part of the issue here is the confusion of the term.
      And I agree with you that psychology and our culture and even diagnoses is loaded with what feels like judgment. But know that anyone can heal. I’m living proof.

  6. Lissa, great to see you writing about this. I’m a Somatic Experiencing, Somatic pPractice and Feldenkrais practitioner and my work is formed around helping people rewire their nervous system after they’ve had early trauma, surgical trauma and the slew of ACE’s that are so rampant in today’s world. I’ve even had the good blessing to assist under Peter Levine numerous times at his trainings.

    Have you ever come across the work of Norman Doidge? This is another great body of work, as it covers the importance of the stages of neuroplastic healing, and it is these distinctions that I have found must be understood when figuring out the best somatic treatment plan for people, especially those with early trauma.

    Many methods, while they work short term (say over a few months, or few years), can still greatly override a person into shutdown and it is important, I believe, to understand this when we suggest practices like EMDR and EFT.

    If you’d ever like to see what I’m up to, be sure to drop me a line. Great to meet you, Irene.

  7. thank you Lissa.
    I enjoy reading your articles and healing underlying trauma is something that really calls out to me…I find that highly inspiring. I have been working as an MD in Peru for the last 13 years now,but looking into someday getting back home to the old continent for further specialisation in mind-body-medicine if that was to be on my path. Kind regards !!

  8. Thanks for this great article. Just a few years ago I had pretty severe PTSD. I’m now fully recovered. I suffered chronic anxiety and worse. I now get to help people end their own anxiety with the same somatic tools that saved me. I’m trained in the Trauma Resiliency Model (chosen this year by Germany for the entire country’s psychology education curriculum), and specialize in childhood trauma and anxiety., seeing clients via video and in Santa Monica and Orange County.

  9. Thank you for this insightful post and for all the research and work you are doing. I very much look forward to reading Sacred Medicine. I hope more and more licensed medical professionals will be trained in the whole health perspective, particularly here in my home country of The Netherlands as well. They are very hard to find… It seems Germany is always one step ahead in this area so maybe these kinds of practitioners aren’t as far away as I think…

  10. Great article Dr. Rankin! May I ask your opinion on what modality you would recommend as part of a post-cancer treatment program? I am in remission and am considering EFT or AIT. Thanks!

  11. I liked this article and wanted to share it with a couple of doctors and nurses that are having challenges. Then I read one part which offended me personally.

    “I am lucky to have at my fingertips a variety of gifted and ethical healers who treat trauma….”

    “But the minute you go outside the system into the realm of traditional healers and energy medicine practitioners who don’t also have licensed degrees, you open yourself to two kinds of risks. Some practitioners have mastery but no ethic, while others have ethic but no mastery. In other words, you may bump into some highly gifted healers, but they may not follow even the most basic medical ethics, such as confidentiality, informed consent, and restraint from having sexual relations with clients.”

    Are you saying ONLY healers with some licensed degree are ethical?
    Are you saying, Only People in the system you can trust as no one in the system has breached confidentiality, or have never had sexual relations with clients….
    Are you saying, Before licenced degrees, there was no such thing as a ethical healers?

    Im confident there are many ethical healers around the world. Could you please give them a little respect and advise people more honestly in this section please. Thank you

    • Dear Adrian, Thank you for your comment. I think you may have misunderstood me. This comment is based on four years of research for my book Sacred Medicine, for which I have been working with healers all over the world. Some of them are ethical and masterful. Most of them are not both, in my experience so far. I’m not saying there aren’t ethical, masterful traditional, indigenous, faith, or energy healers! I’m also not saying that people with licenses are all ethical. I’m only saying that if someone is not responsible to a governing board, there’s no way to know if they lack ethics or mastery, that if someone is a healer licensed in another discipline, at least you know they are accountable to a disciplinary board that keeps a record of misconduct or malpractice. A licensing board also gives clients who experience a lack of mastery or ethic in a healer to report this issue. Surely, there are now and have always been ethical masterful healers who do not have licenses. I’m just saying it’s a risk to go that way… I say this not from prejudice but from my experience and the experience of many others I have interviewed. I had to call one of the shamans I interviewed to say, “Stop fucking raping your clients!” I’m not kidding. No joke. This shizz is real…

      Thanks again for asking for clarification.

  12. A few people have emailed me privately about this blog because they were triggered about the part where I suggest that perhaps choosing practitioners who also have a license and are accountable to a governing board might be one way to help choose healers. Perhaps I need to reword the blog, because I’m not in ANY way suggesting that there aren’t ethical and masterful healers who don’t have a licensed degree. What I’m saying is that 90% of the healers I’ve met lack either one or the other, and that at least if you are choosing a healer with a degree, you know that they are accountable to a governing board where ethics violations or lack of mastery/malpractice can be reported. What I’ve found is that the most masterful and ethical healers I’ve met all just happen to have other degrees, so they’ve been trained officially in basic medical ethics. Some of the ethics breaches I’ve witnessed in my studies have been absolutely shocking, like the shaman whose named I made the mistake of publicizing (not as an endorsement, just as a statement that I was interviewing)- I had to call him and tell him “Stop molesting your clients!” There was nowhere I could report him to because the clients who were coming to me telling me they had been molested were not willing to press charges. How do we govern these unlicensed people?

    Anyway, I included that paragraph as a kind of disclaimer to try to protect my readers. Anybody on the planet right now can just hang out a shingle or take an online course and call themselves an energy healer or a transformational coach or a shaman. How can we tell who is the real deal? We must have very exquisite discernment when we choose healers. Most of them, sadly, I’m finding, do not pass my discernment… But some of them are wonderful and trustworthy and miraculous in their gifts! It’s hard to know the difference. But I”m open to those of you who have feedback on how else to keep these people accountable if they’re not licensed.

    • Thanks for sharing this blog post, Lissa. I agree that alternative trauma therapies can heal the person more effectively than the traditional talking ones. Although I may not have fully healed using kinesiology and EFT, these therapies did break through my trauma a lot quicker than the traditional ones.

      I would like to contribute to society by being a trauma professional and focusing more on the alternative therapies. I was wondering if I would still need to go through the traditional education such as psychology?

  13. What a small world! Just today I co-taught with Ron Ruden at the Energy Psychology conference at Omega and learned Havening Technique! Then we hung out with Asha (who I wrote about here.)

    Yes, we all need to be open and transparent about how we all have trauma and healing it is necessary as part of a healthy lifestyle and as part of disease treatment.

    Thanks for reporting for duty!

    • The two Dr. Rudins are phenomenal. Between you, the Rudins, Brene Browne and all of us trailblazing in our communities and online, there is hope for transformation. Thank you for the reply. It means a lot to me. 🙂 Sending you a hug across the miles.

  14. Thank you so much to share this content in here and i love your experience in here. I know there are so many people are also love this job and they have more interest to get this tips in here.

  15. Hello.
    This article is blank, I would love to read it. Could you please post it or email it to me.

    The Unmistakable Link Between Unhealed Trauma & Illness

    Thanks and best regards.


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