THE BODY HOLDS THE SCORE
"THE BODY HOLDS THE SCORE" Is the title of a book by Bessel van der Kolk a leading researcher in trauma and it's treatment
I am talking about The ACE Study again because I am pleased to see more people are realising just how devastating these unresolved negative experiences are. No one wants to talk about mental health and they really don’t want to talk about childhood trauma but it is so important that we do. Too many people are suffering and dying needlessly as a result of trying to brush it under the carpet because it is a taboo subject or trying to medicate the pain. I used the latter and it nearly killed me on more than one occasion. I know a lot of people who were not as lucky as me.
When I came across the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study some years ago, I was only interested in the connection between these childhood traumas and addiction and so this is where I put my attention but as time has gone on and I have looked at this Study in more depth and realised what a profound effect it is having on so many health issues and that includes… Heart disease, diabetes, lung cancer. It also effects the hormonal system, the immune system and gene expression, that is the ability of our bodies to turn the right genes on that protect us and leave the ones dormant that could cause diseases, if we are constantly in a stress response as a result of an unresolved trauma or chronic stress for any reason this will change that expression and leave us vulnerable to illnesses and diseases. This is no longer a theory, this is a fact that is supported by so many experts in the fields of psychiatry and medicine.
The reason why I am so passionate about working with Trauma is not only have I experienced my own life transform as a result of working through these areas of my life but I have also seen those I work with experience those transformations too. I work mostly with a technique known as Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT for short and some people refer to it as “Tapping”. I won’t go into trying to explain how it works other than to say it is the most powerful and efficient technique I know of for resolving Trauma and stress related illnesses. I have a lot of clients that have come to me after trying other therapies that didn’t work. These techniques work they are gentle and the results are lasting.
What I have been noticing over a period of time is that there can be a multitude of other benefits when Traumas are resolved. Not only do people feel calmer but they find themselves dealing with stressful situations in a calmer way and not getting triggered by other people’s behaviors. Physical symptoms start to clear up such as headaches and physical aches and pains. Did you know that “people with chronic pain tend to report much higher rates of having experienced trauma in their past, when compared to people without chronic pain. It is a common and consistent finding in the research.
Upwards of 90% of women with fibromyalgia syndrome report trauma in either their childhood or adulthood and 60% of those with arthritis report such a trauma history. With or without back surgery, upwards of 76% of patients with chronic low back pain report having had at least one trauma in their past. Sixty-six percent of women with chronic headache report a past history of physical or sexual abuse. Among men and women, fifty-eight percent of those with migraines report histories of childhood physical or sexual abuse, or neglect. Women with chronic pelvic pain also report high rates of sexual abuse in their past, upwards of 56% .” (Taken from the institute for chronic pain.)
When we start talking about abuse and especially sexual abuse it brings up all sorts of reasons why it would be best not to address it. The one I hear the most is… “The past is best left in the past” or it will be too painful! I think we eventually reach a point in our lives when those reasons are not enough because we can’t push it back and the pain of not dealing with them has become too much. I think as people get older it is a lot harder to repress these feelings and unsolicited thoughts that are coming up more often.
When I decided to address my past I didn’t think I had the luxury of a choice, I had to do it and I had to trust it would be ok. It was more than ok.
Here is a quote by Dr Vincent Felitti who led this study.
“What the ACE Study found was the life experiences in childhood, lost in time and further protected by shame secrecy and social taboo’s from exploring into certain realms of human experience. What happens to those children plays out powerfully and proportionally in later life and turns out to be the main force underlying the ten most common causes of death.”
This is a sobering thought for anyone because a conservative estimate based on these findings shows that more than 50% of the population has at least one ACE and because the Study was restricted to only ten questions that score was going to be even higher if those questions were expanded on further.
If you would like to know more contact me.