SHEN uses natural Qi holistically relax tension, relieve pain, & forward your journey towards insight, resolution and re-empowerment
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Hands-on Help
for Healing Emotions, Pain and Trauma

SHEN Therapy uses Qi to relax tension, relieve pain 
and holistically forward a Hero's journey
 to recovery and re-empowerment.


    Article on Trauma and Recovery

Like a turtle, many humans travel through life efforting under a heavy, restrictive burden.

    Only our load is not often as visible as a turtle's shell. Instead of the innate, natural joy, grace and lightness of being which is our birthright, many of us who have survived trauma go through life constricted by the responses we retain as we seek to recover from the experiences we've lived through.

    Most of us are aware of the impactful events of our personal history, and have worked very hard to heal the wounds of our past. And yet we still find ourselves reacting to people and situations in ways we wish we wouldn't.

      We will often notice repeating patterns, such as similarities between the people (and/or situations) in our lives now and the people/events in our history.   You may notice that you still respond to present situations in old familiar ways of behavior, such as feeling fearful, angry, overwhelmed, avoiding certain people or situations, etc. This might happen with a person or place who merely REMINDS us of someone or something that happened in our past that was distressful. These are all indications that the experiences from the past are still held in physio-emotional somatic contractions within us and that our inner self is seeking a comparable circumstance to discharge and release these constricting, bodily held reactions birthed in our past.  How is it that these constrictions began? Why do they stay?

     When a living cell, such as an amoeba is pressured or poked with a probe, it reacts by contracting in an involuntary reflex. Human beings also will contract in a reflex to sudden, unexpected pressure, shocks, or pain, such as a physical injury. Our bodies react by contracting not only when we are actually physically wounded, we respond the same way to emotional pain.


In other words, our bodies grip/contract involuntarily when we feel emotional pain such as grief, fear, disapproval, shock, helplessness, revulsion, horror, belittling, shaming, demeaning, isolation or terror, in the same reflex we do if we are physically injured. We respond not only to our own emotions, but the emotions of others, to imagined pain or to the threat of pain.  If you spend time with an infant, an animal or a young child, you can clearly see them contract physically if they are startled or scared.

     This gripping reflex normally releases slowly, but if a painful experience is intense, or happens repeatedly, the physio-emotional grip doesn't release, and constriction is retained in our body. Any repeated similar experience then layers on top of the original unreleased contraction, until we are living with layers of chronic tension, 'yang' tension which constricts our bodies, or 'yin' tension (overweight and/or numbness). Our minds may forget the origin of our pain and tension, but our bodies don't--they become the "turtle shell" of this article's title.

     When impactful events in our lives happen, it's important to know that along with physical sensations, any emotions including shock or numbness that we felt during the event are also retained, along with the details of our surroundings, what we were thinking at the time, the reactions of any participants or witnesses, smells, sounds, etc. Our thoughts and feelings become enmeshed with the physical sensations of the experience and these memories are held not only in our minds, but also in our bodies. 

    Some of us do not show or easily express our feelings in the present because of the reactions we received from the people around us when we did express our feelings when we were young. However those of us who do not show our feelings or who appear unaffected on the surface are still reacting internally to situations.

    Until those physio-emotional contractions resolve, the thoughts and reactions we had in our past, the conclusions our younger selves made about ourselves, about what we thought the world was like, about how we believe men and/or women are, the decisions about what we thought we needed to do to thrive or survive, etc. will strongly affect us in present time, because the experience is still living, buried alive involuntarily inside us.

   Early or severe physio-emotional contractions become so deeply buried and tightly held that they remain even when we stretch and exercise. As we become "weighted down" with our turtle shell, some of us exercise less and less and move more into our heads as our bodies become tighter and more uncomfortable.

    People learn to cope while carrying around these tensions and the resulting constrictions. They learn to compensate in order to function. The more sensitive of us may break down under these reactions, because over time, the impact of retained unreleased bodily-held deep contractions is monumental.

    Over time, retained internal contractions constrict our organs, impede the circulation of our internal fluids, inhibit the functioning of our muscles and our joints. This affects our flexibility, our MOBILITY,  and keeps escalating physical problems such as deterioration and disease, as long as our constricted selves are still in the very real physio-emotional grip of our history.

    Until these deep bodily held reactions to old experiences dissolve, the outdated emotions and thoughts of our younger selves also keep re-surfacing at every opportunity. You will notice them in present time as prominent and repetitive thoughts, reactions and behaviors.

   Most of our present day challenges, in fact, have their origins in these retained reactions and responses to past experiences. Most, if not all, of our current sensitivities, distress, numbness, negative emotions, unwanted feelings, fear-based reactions, overwhelm, "acting out," etc., are the subconscious result of our inner selves seeking to throw off these deep internal constrictions and heal.

 There's more.      


    In addition to our individual histories, all of us alive today have experienced powerful, intense global events, living through them personally, reacting to our friends and family who have or have not survived them, or virtually through the graphic pictures, videos and stories presented through our media.

    Events such as September 11, tsunami, Katrina, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earth movements, war, acts of terrorism, corruptness in our governments, shootings in our schools, abuse by our clergy, racism, violence in our streets and homes, and the aftermath of such experiences can activate anger in us or contract us in sorrow, fear, helplessness, horror, shock, grief, disbelief and numbness.

    In this light, please look into SHEN Therapy, and consider scheduling a few SHEN sessions for yourself, your family, your friends, or attending a SHEN workshop, especially if you or loved ones have a history of trauma, injury, abuse, chronic pain or emotional challenges. There are few contra-indications for receiving SHEN; please contact me with any questions you may have.
   Today, many good therapies, healing modalities and support groups are available.  SHEN complements every form of therapy and health practice, and especially will enhance  bodywork, yoga, mindfulness practices, spiritual practices, psychotherapy and counseling, Gestalt therapy, rebirthing, martial arts, dance and art therapy, dream analysis, flower essence therapy, behavior modification,  physical therapy, post trauma therapy, meditation, and all self-improvement modalities.   SHEN is especially effective with those who practice Vipassana and Ekhart Tolle's Power of Now.

 We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a HOME. Part of [healing] the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light.

~ Hildegard von Bingen


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