Trauma: We ALL Have It — Here’s How to Release It
When some of us hear the word “trauma,” we feel a sense of dissociation. We tend to think of those who have experienced highly catastrophic events, mass tragedy, terminal diagnosis, and other such “extreme” life challenges. But trauma is actually considered to be anything that keeps us locked in some sort of physical, emotional, behavioral, or mental habit. In fact, many scholars believe that pain and trauma are the result of stressful occurrences that have not yet been completed.
So realistically, no matter how subjectively “normal,” “lucky,” or “blessed” a life you have lived, we have ALL experienced traumas at countless points in our lives– even if we’ve yet to identify them as such: from our first collectively traumatic experience of being born, to every heartbreak (whether plutonic, familial, or romantic), to living through a global pandemic…if you meet the minimum requirement of ever having been alive on this earth, you’ve undoubtedly experienced a long list of stressful events that you have not yet fully “processed,” as that is simply the reality of being human.
But before we dive further into what causes this prevention of processing and its subsequent effects, let’s talk facts, because the concept of “stored trauma” admittedly sounds REAL “woo woo” — which alone can be off-putting enough for some not to take it seriously. Is this theory that pain and suffering are stored in the body truly a legitimate, respected, medical ideal? Or just some zany philosophical belief held by the “Spiritual?” Well, according to Harvard Medical School, it’s not only a very “real,” scientific phenomena, but one that, if not addressed, can lead to an onslaught of serious diseases–or worse–death.
“Ever since people’s responses to overwhelming experiences have been systematically explored, researchers have noted that trauma is stored in somatic memory and expressed as changes in the biological stress response. Intense emotions at the time of the trauma initiate the long-term conditional responses to reminders of the event, which are associated both with chronic alterations in the physiological stress response and with the amnesias and hypermnesias characteristic of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
In plain English? The human body was only created to handle so much stress. So when it experiences “too much” (whether literal or perceived), that’s when “trauma” occurs. The energy of this trauma is then stored in our bodily tissues (primarily muscles and fascia) until it can be released (i.e until we can “complete” the traumatic event psychologically). This toxic, stored energy goes on to catalyze both physical and emotional pain that progressively erodes our overall health.
For some of us, this lack of processing is due to a lack of awareness that the trauma even exists. For others, it’s a fear of what subsequent obstacles may arise if they dare de-compartmentalize and face it. Either way, the failure to detox pain (and its physical ancillary repercussions, such as poisonous levels of stress hormones: i.e. cortisol) has literally been proven to cause everything from heart-attacks, to strokes, to obesity, cancer, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and more chronic illnesses than we could ever list in the confines of one blog.
So where does one even begin such an emotionally burdensome undertaking?
Cue: BioDynamic Breathwork
Now, just as there are many types of yoga and meditation, there are also many types of breathwork–and while a lot of them do incorporate the release of stressors, negative emotions, and blocked energy (Rebirthing Breathwork, Clarity Breathwork & Transformational Breath®, just to name a few), we’re going to discuss the modality that specifically focuses on the release of trauma: Biodynamic Breathwork — Fully known as “Biodynamic Breathwork & Trauma Release (BB&TR).”
The goal of BB&TR is to address stored tensions comprehensively (mind, body, and spirit), restructure internal systems, and ultimately, create an inner environment that supports natural healing and transformation. It acknowledges that trauma is stored in both physiological and psychological ways, and it addresses those ways by focusing on 6 specific areas:
The creator of BB&TR, Giten Tonkov, actually began his career as a body worker. It was through his years of experience in this field that he realized doing facia & deep bodywork released trauma naturally by bringing emotions and memories to the surface where they could be acknowledged, “completed,” and eventually released. He then went on to combine bodywork with breathwork, and thus, BB&TR was born.
What’s particularly unique about Biodynamic Breathwork is that it starts by creating a “safe point” that you can always return to – allowing you to go inwards, touch some trauma, and then retreat back to your safe place as needed. This allows you to avoid being RE-traumatized by re-experiencing all your trauma at once.
Interested in being guided through your very own BB&TR session? Learn this life-changing practice from the creator of Biodynamic Breathwork himself! We had the honor of interviewing Giten Tonkov personally at this year’s Breathing Festival, and he explains everything you need to know in his festival session. Here is a preview to that video:
Want more than this sample? ICFB Members have exclusive access to the entire Festival Archive. Click Here to begin your membership today!
Don’t have thousands of dollars to hire your own private breathwork coach or attend expensive breathwork classes? The beauty of an ICFB membership is you don’t have to! As home to one of the largest collections of digital breathwork resources in the world, our members have on-demand access to guided breathwork sessions, full talks, and bite-size toolkit sessions, in addition to LIVE (via Zoom) events from the world’s leading breathwork masters.
Whether you’re looking for ways to decrease your anxiety, increase your athletic performance, calm down your kids or connect deeper in your spiritual practice — Breathwork is the modality for you.
Brought to you by the International Center for Breathwork.
If you enjoyed reading this blog, consider joining the ICFB membership program. For one low monthly or annual fee, you’ll have access to LIVE and on-demand lessons, group breathing experiences and much, much more. Sign up today!
* This article includes information from the following sources: