A body-based deep relaxation practice


Relaxing the mind through relaxing the body.

This article from Lion’s Roar, an online Buddhist magazine, leads you through a simple three-step meditation process. The practice given is based on Buddha's teaching to not only become aware of our mind, but also the body, “...visiting each part with awareness, acceptance, care, and without judgment.”

This gentle, supportive, exploratory approach to the body is also an integral part of Somatic Experiencing (SE™) and Somatic Touch trauma resolution therapy. Through contacting and simply noticing what is present in our physiology, we begin to heal:

At Bodhisattva Bodywork, I offer a variety of stress reduction and trauma resolution therapeutic services in my Chapel Hill office and online via a secure video link. I’m also affiliated with a trauma-focused group psychotherapy practice in Japan: Trauma Treatment Center and Resources (TTCR), which offers body-based therapy sessions and educational seminars in both English and Japanese.

Looking for Stress Management? Body-based "trauma therapies" can help!

We’ve discussed that trauma isn’t only defined by big, overwhelming events; it can also be the end product of cumulative stress (click here for more information). Even so, I have some clients who don’t feel “traumatized,” but they ARE stressed out and want to feel better! Not a problem! We can use many of the same techniques to help.

If we accept the standard definition of stress as “a state of physical, mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances,” we can see that any method which serves to release this strain or tension would be beneficial. Another important point is that if we choose to work with, for example, physical tension, we'll often register a reduction in our mental and emotional tension as well.

bamboo flower.jpg

I'm a massage therapist, and massage has long been used to relieve muscular tension. Most of us have had the experience of feeling completely and utterly relaxed after a good massage, and we therefore know first-hand the state of physical, mental, and emotional well-being that follows such a session. (If it’s been a while, please click here to make an appointment!)

Meditation is another helpful tool in our stress reduction arsenal. As with any tool, we obtain the most benefit from consistent, regular practice. Even just a few-minutes-a-day meditation schedule can offer a sense of being more grounded, more present, and more readily able to handle the highs and lows of life. I have a teacher from whom I receive instruction, and I often lead clients in short guided meditations, but simply selecting from among the plethora of meditation apps on your smartphone and downloading and following along will be helpful.

Somatic therapies are also effective methods for relieving stress because they too emphasize and utilize the mind/body connection. Somatic Experiencing (SE™) and Somatic Touch are sensation-focused, and are perfect for those who wish to learn more about how their body physically responds to and stores stress. A specially-trained therapist serves as a guide through this process, offering verbal and hands-on support and encouragement as the client accesses and discharges tension. For those who are experiencing stress as a form of emotion, Integral Somatic Psychology (ISP) offers a method of physically connecting with and processing these feelings.

I'm happy to discuss any of these and other body-focused modalities, and how they may help you reduce the stress in your life! For clients in Japan, I'm also affiliated with a group practice (TTCR—Trauma Treatment Center and Resources) in the Saitama area. There, we have English- and Japanese-speaking therapists trained in mindfulness meditation, somatic therapies, and other body-based modalities to help with stress management.


At Bodhisattva Bodywork, I offer a variety of trauma resolution therapeutic services in my Chapel Hill office and online via a secure video link. I’m also affiliated with a trauma-focused group psychotherapy practice in Japan: Trauma Treatment Center and Resources (TTCR), which offers body-based therapy sessions and educational seminars in both English and Japanese.

Transforming the Experience-Based Brain (TEB) -- Healing through Support

It's my month for learning! I just completed my second time through the beginnings of Dr. Steve Terrell's Transforming the Experience-Based Brain (TEB) training, and I'm excited.

With Dr. Steve Terrell, developer of Transforming the Experience-Based Brain (TEB)

With Dr. Steve Terrell, developer of Transforming the Experience-Based Brain (TEB)

TEB is post-advanced training for therapists who work in the field of developmental trauma; that is, trauma which occurred so early in life that we may not have languaging to describe it. Moving beyond “talk therapy,” TEB incorporates touch skills, attachment theory, polyvagal theory, and work with primitive reflexes into a protocol which supports clients as they make their way from their current “normal” to a “new (healthier) normal.”

I've been a client myself and have been using the TEB skills (I use the general term “Somatic Touch”) in my office and on-line practice for the past year. I've been amazed at how quickly I and my clients report feeling less fearful/angry/depressed, and more present, more alive, and more able to easily and freely engage with others. All without much discussion, and often without knowing the original source of the problems!

Developmental trauma, regardless of the source(s), causes ruptures within our natural stages of growth, leading to physical, mental, and emotional illness. With TEB, we learn that these states are understandable and natural, and the gentle, hands-on work creates a stable base from which clients organically repair these disconnects themselves.

If you'd like to learn more about TEB/Somatic Touch and how it may help you thrive, please give me a call at (919) 636-9439, or email me at “anna@bodhisattvabodywork.com.” If you feel ready to make an appointment, please click here.


At Bodhisattva Bodywork, I offer a variety of trauma resolution therapeutic services in my Chapel Hill office and online via a secure video link. I’m also affiliated with a trauma-focused group psychotherapy practice in Japan: Trauma Treatment Center and Resources (TTCR), which offers body-based therapy sessions and educational seminars in both English and Japanese.

An additional healing modality--Integral Somatic Psychology (ISP™)

The entire staff of the Trauma Treatment Center and Resources (TTCR) in Saitama, Japan with Dr. Raja Selvam

The entire staff of the Trauma Treatment Center and Resources (TTCR) in Saitama, Japan with Dr. Raja Selvam

Okay. This will be a little graphic. Vomiting. Diarrhea. Inability to eat and a greenish complexion for a couple of days. And it (thankfully) wasn't the flu. What in the world?!

I just returned from Dr. Raja Selvam's first ever Integral Somatic Psychology (ISP™) training in Japan, and to say I learned a lot is an understatement. But not only that, I also experienced the power of this work.

Dr. Selvam combines his decades as student, psychotherapist, and teacher into his four step method of fully embodying our emotions in order to more quickly and effectively move through trauma into health.

As I worked with my own deeply-held sense of worthlessness, familiar bodily sensations began to morph into unbelievable emotions. With the guidance and support of my therapist, I was able, for perhaps the first time, to access some of the rage I'd been suppressing and to give it a voice.

So, yes, I then experienced the above “healing crisis.” But it passed. And I'm left with a renewed vigor and the beginnings of a new self-definition. (I'm also very grateful not to have all of that suppressed negative energy still housed within my body!)

My extreme reaction was not replicated among the other 60 or so students attending. All, however, were able to locate and expand an emotion, and through that process remove and even transform some of the “charge” surrounding past trauma. These practical experiences clearly illustrated that accessing and embodying the emotions which underlie our sensations can be an extremely effective method of healing.

ISP.JPG

At Bodhisattva Bodywork, I offer a variety of trauma resolution therapeutic services in my Chapel Hill office and online via a secure video link. I’m also affiliated with a trauma-focused group psychotherapy practice in Japan: Trauma Treatment Center and Resources (TTCR), which offers body-based therapy sessions and educational seminars in both English and Japanese.


A new definition of "trauma" for the new year--why it's a lot more common than you'd think!

Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you in 2019.

At Bodhisattva Bodywork, a large part of my job is educating clients about how normal it actually is to have trauma, and about how we can work together to resolve trauma symptoms and causes within their bodies.

Hokusai's wave.jpg

Most of us think of trauma as something caused by large, overwhelming experiences, such as natural disasters, war, traffic accidents, near-death experiences, sexual assault, near-drowning, child abuse, etc. If we have been fortunate enough to avoid such events, we don’t feel we’ve ever been traumatized.

But trauma doesn’t lie in any event itself. In fact, trauma is the result of anything that causes our body to become stuck in survival mode. Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat (as with the events listed above) or it may be the end product of cumulative stress. Trauma may therefore also result from such events as medical or dental procedures, emotional abuse, neglect, loss, falls, birth trauma, or ongoing physical/mental/emotional conflict. In short, even ordinary events can cause trauma.

How does this happen? Like animals, we are hard-wired to respond to traumatic incidents as though we are in mortal danger—our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems automatically engage to take us into the most effective physical response (fight, flight, freeze, or collapse) that will ensure our survival.

Although animals naturally discharge excess adrenaline energy once they’ve made their escape, because of shame or other pervasive thoughts, judgments, or fears, we often override this healing physical release. The residual survival energy remains bound in our system, leading us to feel “stuck.” With each successive stressor, our innate ability to function with resilience and ease is overwhelmed, and we see-saw back and forth between hyperaroused “on” and collapsed “off,” exhausting ourselves in the process, as seen in the diagram below:

WofT with stressor.gif

At this point, we are said to be “dysregulated.” Our nervous system is overwhelmed, and must now borrow energy from other body systems to function. Those systems, in turn, become overwhelmed, and we find ourselves experiencing a whole host of potential problems, illustrated as “Stuck on On” and “Stuck on Off” in the diagram.

The good news is that we can change this pattern! Anything that allows us to feel completely safe, contained, and supported will help. The longer we can spend in these healing states, bit by bit, the artificial scaffolding our body created to manage our symptoms will start to let go and our innate ability to naturally regulate stress will return and grow.

I’ve spent the last few years learning Dr. Levine’s SE™ work and additional, post-advanced modalities, and am happy to help. Please feel free to contact me with any questions at anna@bodhisattvabodywork.com, or at (919) 636-9439.


At Bodhisattva Bodywork, I offer a variety of trauma resolution therapeutic services in my Chapel Hill office and online via a secure video link. I’m also affiliated with a trauma-focused group psychotherapy practice in Japan: Trauma Treatment Center and Resources (TTCR), which offers body-based therapy sessions and educational seminars in both English and Japanese.