In my 15 years as a healing artist, I have time and again contemplated, studied, interviewed, and paid attention to the ‘why’ in regards to who heals and who does not. Another way to call that is who finds the joy of authentic Self-expression and who does not.
The answer that I’ve come to is energy in the present time. We must have our energy with us and available to make new habits and patterns and to release old beliefs and create new ones, this is made possible with somatic release breathwork. This might sound like an esoteric answer, but it’s actually physiological and scientific.
Psychological theorists agree that within the first seven years of our life, the majority of our primary belief systems are formed. They stay like this, attuned to and informed by the environment a person was raised in until the belief system is changed. A belief system is formed through repetition of actions by our primary caregivers, and the institutions and cultures we live in. They are not formed by something that happened once, but by repetitive action, they form a groove in our synapses.
For example, if your mother had unprocessed sadness so your sadness as a child was triggering for her so she turned away or went further from you when you cried, you would form a belief system that your sadness pushes others away. The way you responded to that belief as a child would continue to recreate itself in your mind and body each time you felt sad. You might decide unconsciously to just not feel sad, so when sad comes in, you immediately check out from it. This, in time, creates a shutting and a resulting numbness in a person that actually manifests in their brain and body. In the brain, a neural programming happens that avoids pain. In the body, perhaps you shrug your shoulders forward, slump your lower back, jut your head forward, and furrow your brow to assist in shutting down the centers of the emotion. In doing this you invest your energy in shutting yourself down, and you freeze your energetic currency a little bit at a time. This energy is in essence frozen down the timeline of your life, at each time you chose (unconsciously) again to shut yourself down. This actually creates tread in your soma or the nervous system aspect of your muscles and tissue.
Those of us with chronic pain or illness should have their attention piqued at this conversation. The perpetuation of this emotional pattern, which creates into a physical pattern, underlies most of our aches, pains, injuries, and illnesses. One simple example is when a person drops their head forward and shrugs their shoulders enough times, they form a collapse in the chest, and a roundness in the back of their shoulders, rib cage, and heart. This can trap nerves down the front of the clavicle, and overstretch the back body, causing shoulder and neck pain and injuries. This is one way of creating a very, very common chronic injury. Right now, check yourself, are you holding yourself in the posture I described or something similar? If so, why? Is there actually any reason in the present moment? If so, does it merit the amount of holding into that posture? Can you undo the posture? You can pay attention to any misalignment or tension in this way.
So much of healing has to do with changing these belief systems into more loving ones, and therefore resurrecting energy and also not recreating the blockage into the future. This is a goal at the heart of so many healing modalities from therapy, to Reiki and energy work, to even massage and physical therapy. It’s not accurate self-care to not allow sad to be sad and to shut down our energetic centers. That creates anxiety, depression, and is underlying many of today’s modern illnesses. We must transform them at the root to ones based in the present time that doesn’t include shutting down to natural feeling such as sad or mad, etc.
As a clinician, I’ve watched person after person be stuck in layer after layer of these patterns. And not only just stuck, lost amongst. At a certain point as a practitioner, I began to feel healing could go a lot faster than the slow trudge through belief systems. That’s where Somatic Breathwork Healing comes in.
Somatic Breathwork Healing (SBH) utilizes a two-part pranayama (breathing practice) to bring the nervous system into an altered state of consciousness. From this state, frozen or stuck energies and emotions thaw and come into play. Simultaneously, the breather is able to witness the places that have become frozen, allowing the Unconscious to let go of unhelpful gripping, bringing energy into the present time. The ability to be in witness is reinforced through Somatic practices prior to the breathe, and also supported through the witness of the facilitator holding the space. In the field of therapeutic trauma relief, it is understood that in many cases of trauma, another person is required to be grounding the space through witness, to allow the body and mind to let go of the frozen fear response. This effect is created in the room with somatic release breathwork by way of the practitioner holding witness. This same effect is created for unnoticed and stuck hurts and pains.
I’ve found that the altered state induced by the breath-work practice actually creates an available neurology or neuroplasticity that works similar to hypnotherapy, but with an additional element of a body activation that allows patterns to be released in the brain, the subconscious, and the body. Each session is created around a specific layer of healing with Somatic timeline presence-ing or healthy belief system messages offered throughout the session that creates a transformation of belief system and a release of patterns at a limbic system level. This can be used systematically for certain illnesses, traumas, blocks, and also of Ceremony, ritual, empowerments, and Rites of Passage.
I watch group sessions and private sessions support people into a rapid transformation into a feeling of relief, ease, inspiration, and energy. It feels incredibly mystical, which it is. And this is an explanation of the science behind it which is also true. As a person who worked hard and in the dark for over a decade to affect healing in my own body and life, I absolutely rejoice at the brilliance and expedited nature of this system. The response I get from people is an overwhelming delight and being awestruck at the revelation of connection with Self and power, and a release of aches, pains, ailments, and mal-adaptive life patterns. To be in connection with Self is to be in connection with the inspiration, direction, and power that is your unique signature that you bring on to the planet. To live as an expression of Self in purpose shared with the population creates a deep sense of fulfillment that in the yogic texts is described as bliss. Call me an evangelist, I want this freedom for absolutely everyone.
Stacy Matulis holds her Masters in Depth and Clinical Psychology, a degree in Holistic Nutrition, and is a certified Theta Healer and Bodyworker. She practices Somatic and Archetypal Healing, Bodywork, and offers private and group Somatic Breath-work Healing in South Pasadena, CA and via Skype worldwide.