When clients come in with an ailment, they normally only bring up potential physical causes. Rarely do people in general consider emotional health and the impact it has on the body. However, trauma and negative thought processes can manifest physically or compound existing health issues.
For example, a client may break out in a rash when under stress or an emotional crisis. At first, as practitioners we may look at pathogens or maybe even herxing as a trigger. We may recommend drainage or detoxification. While good and often helpful for holistic treatment, taking a closer look at mindset and trauma is just as critical, and oftentimes even more critical than the physical areas.
Neuroplasticity, Trauma, and Stress
We often hear how children are malleable, and have the unique ability to bounce back. There’s scientific evidence that points to this. Physically, children tend to recover faster and easier from injuries, such as broken bones, as they are still developing their bodies. Emotionally, the majority of development happens as a child. This includes neuroplasticity, or the forming and reforming of neural pathways. Children can easily learn and unlearn habits and mindsets during this time. (1, 2)
While most neuroplasticity forms as a child, it can also alter throughout life. After all, neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to modify, change, and adapt structurally and functionally in response to experience. One key area it changes as we age is by responding to damage, stress, and trauma.
Neuroplasticity allows the neurons to compensate for injury and disease throughout life. If one hemisphere of the brain is damaged, the intact hemisphere may take over some of its functions. The brain compensates for damage by reorganizing and forming new connections between intact neurons. (3)
According to a 2012 study, 60% of adults report a type of trauma during their childhood. And beyond childhood, trauma can occur and affect the brain’s plasticity. When the brain experiences a traumatic event, our working memory, which is housed in the prefrontal cortex, is radically compromised. Flashbacks to the traumatic event and prolonged stress wear down the prefrontal cortex, resulting in long-term damage to prefrontal neurons. (4, 5, 6)
Chronic stress, described as exposure to potentially threatening or emotionally challenging stimuli, can also alter or injure the amygdala and plasticity. Research found that stress increases glutamatergic signaling in the basolateral amygdala, which results in enhanced brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression and dendritic outgrowth. This and other factors of chronic stress lead to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation, responsible for many of the negative symptoms that manifest from stress or trauma. (7, 8, 9)
How Does Trauma Manifest in the Body?
How often do we take the time to ask what type of stress our clients are experiencing? What anger or rage are they holding inside their body? What emotional trauma or experience have they yet to process?
Recognizing and facing emotions is a critical part of dealing with trauma that manifests itself in the body. It may be easy for clients to brush away emotions. However, they need to recognize that emotions are crucial and certain emotional responses can be their bodies crying out for help. In essence, emotions are intrinsically tied to the mind, and they can trigger a physical response. (10)
The body’s physical responses can react in two major ways: initial and delayed. How the body manifests trauma is not always clear in the moment in which it occurs.
Initial reactions often stem from emotional processing. The mind processing these emotions results in a palpable response often felt by the person as an abundance of unbalanced emotional experiences and symptoms (such as anxiety and depression). Due to this, initial reactions can ingrain themselves in dysfunctional ways in the body. A person may write these emotions off as normal happenstance and body functionality. (11)
Imbalance in emotional functionality from the initial response isn't always something that the person recognizes as a problem until it becomes more of a pattern. These patterns can then lead to a delayed trauma response. Clients may suppress and ignore these initial responses initially due to believing that it is just a functional emotion rather than stress memory held by the body. (11)
Once the symptoms become more intense, the association of a traumatic experience is then recognized. This can then lead to powerful delayed responses that become more frequent and persistent. The physiological response that appears as a delayed reaction manifests as a more serious illness that the client can no longer shove aside and must cope with instead. This can also result in post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, at this stage. (12)
Examples of how trauma can manifest as initial or delayed responses in the body include: (13)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Distortion of time and space
- Memory problems
- Rumination or racing thoughts
- Strong identification with victims
- Anxiety or severe fear
- Exhilaration as a result of surviving
- Feeling out of control
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Numbness and detachment
- Elevated heartbeat, respiration, and blood pressure
- Extreme fatigue or exhaustion
- Greater startle responses
- Muscle tremors or uncontrollable shaking
- Nausea and gastrointestinal distress
- Sweating or shivering
Both trauma and chronic stress can severely impact the body for years to come. For example, researchers discovered individuals within 1.5 miles of the 9/11 tragedy had heightened amygdala reactivity compared to those 200 miles away for several years after the fact. They exhibited symptoms such as hypervigilance, insomnia, recurrent memories, self-isolation, etc. (14)
Emotional Clearing: How Trauma Impacts Mindset
No one wants to experience trauma, but unfortunately, it can happen to anyone. And no matter how large or small the trauma, it is still a painful experience to live through. The stress, especially the chronic stress in the aftermath of trauma, can lead to harmful mindsets, which can result in further health issues for your client. (15, 16)
Many people only focus on healing a physical ailment when going through a health issue, paying no attention to their mental health and emotional well-being. However, a person's mental and emotional state has much to do with how the body heals since many mental and physical issues can be directly related to an imbalanced emotional state. (17)
As a practitioner, you can shed some light on this mind-body connection and help your clients achieve greater healing. In particular, a negative mindset creates stress for the body. Some people can become victims of their issues without even realizing they are doing so. You may hear clients say phrases like, "It's because I'm getting old," or "I don't have time to focus on my health." These are all responses based on the victim mentality and can hold your client back from healing. (18, 19)
However, it’s not just about forcing your clients to be positive all the time and to disregard their feelings or thoughts. In fact, faking positivity and suppressing emotions can cause more long-term stress and depression.
In a study looking at the effects of emotional suppression of stress, two groups were shown a disturbing medical procedure. Group 1 was asked to express their emotions while watching and Group 2 was asked to suppress them. Group 2 had worse cognitive functioning and researchers found that they had increased sympathetic activation of the cardiovascular system. In summary, they found more people suppress their emotions, the more damaging it is on the physical body. (20, 21)
Rather than force positivity, the idea is to encourage your clients to feel their emotions completely and honestly in order to start to change their mindset and heal from the trauma. No matter what these emotions are, it will benefit them to accept the emotions rather than repress them in lieu of trying to “be a good person” or “being positive.” Instead, help normalize their emotional trauma symptoms. For example, explain to clients that these feelings and symptoms are not a sign of weakness, a character flaw, being damaged, or going crazy. (22, 23)
If clients force positivity, or a “forced happiness,” upon themselves, it doesn’t address their harmful mindsets. This does not encourage a healthy processing of trauma or a rewiring of the neural pathways. Trying to change one’s mindset without understanding the underlying cause is simply a band-aid to cover the issue. Understanding why a patient has a certain mindset based on the stress from trauma they are feeling will help bring their mindset back to alignment and towards healing on all levels. (20, 24)
Because everyone responds to trauma and chronic stress differently, this is where emotional clearing comes in. Their emotions are authentic rather than “forced happiness" that can make clients feel even more miserable. In this approach, they can understand that their emotional state comes from their experience with trauma and is not who they are as a person. (20, 25)
While it’s important to not have clients force themselves to be happy, it’s crucial to simultaneously remind them that they are not their illness or situation. There's a difference between forcing down emotions and accepting negative self-talk. It may be easy for clients to accept negative self-talk and fall into moments of victimization because they are in pain. However, if clients recognize when they are enacting negative self-talk and start to shift their focus into more of positive territory with thoughts of growth and healing, they can reach more of a balance with their emotions and mental state without suppressing what they are feeling from their trauma. (26)
So, in aiding in your client’s recovery, support your clients by reminding them they are not alone, they are not at fault, and recovery is possible and anticipated. By taking the steps with your client to help them embrace their emotions of stress from trauma while practicing positive self-talk, it will allow the neural pathways in their brain to start creating a more healthy mindset. (23)
Ways to Rewire the Brain and Process Trauma
To help clients strengthen their neuroplasticity and process emotional trauma, we have to look at their post-traumatic growth. This is an important aspect of “rewiring” thought processes in regards to healing for clients.
Post-traumatic growth is a psychological transformation that looks at finding the purpose of the pain. This involves patients looking beyond the struggle to have a greater appreciation of life and become more resilient, not to punish themselves for their emotions and feelings. It’s a complete acceptance of self in regards to things happening “for” them versus “to” them. This will help in more instances of positive self-talk as well. (27)
The good news is that humans have the ability to remodel their brains at any age. While it may be a challenge, just like with any other form of holistic functional and foundational medicine, it’s a marathon and not a sprint to heal from core issues.
Neuroplasticity can help halt the damage done from trauma, possibly helping to reverse it. Research has shown that “day-to-day behaviors can have measurable effects on brain structure and function.” This means that your clients can be active in their road to healing from trauma and its physical responses by taking easy, actionable steps to rewire their brain. (28)
The brain constantly rewires neural pathways when it engages in activity that stimulates it. Basically, any action your client focuses on creates changes in thought patterns and leads to rewiring their brain.
Engaging in a creative activity strengthens the neural pathway that controls attention and focus. Any type of artistic expression — such as creating mosaics, designing pottery, or drawing — helps with cognitive processing and improved brain connectivity. Clients can even join a local art class once a week to help stimulate their neural pathways because it enhances the connectivity of the brain at rest. This “default mode network,” or DMN, helps with empathy, introspection, and memory. (29, 30)
Dancing, especially freestyle dancing, is also healthy for the brain because it doesn’t retrace memorized paths. In fact, in a study that looked at senior citizens, dancing had the greatest risk reduction for dementia because it integrates emotional, kinesthetic, musical, and rational functions of the brain, which further increases neural connectivity. (31)
Having a creative outlet can help establish moments of clarity if the brain is stressed or experiencing episodes of emotional trauma since creativity via action can rewire the brain. Plus, this flow of creative movement and thought increases dopamine in the brain, leading to more sustained feelings of happiness. (32)
Mindfulness and Relaxation
When it comes to handling stressful situations, relaxation and mindful awareness becomes an intrinsic part of rewiring the brain. Clients can help relax by incorporating mindfulness practices, such as breathing exercises and meditation, to help keep their stress from evolving into panic and retrain the brain to remain calm. (33)
There are many different breathing techniques and practices to help rewire the brain, so your patients can take their pick in what can help them during moments of emotional stress. Certain slow breathing techniques enhance autonomic, cerebral, and psychological flexibility. Breathing in many traditional practices is the representation of life that encapsulates an energetic state of consciousness. (34)
A study on how breath rate affects the brain showed that paced breathing uses neural networks beyond the brainstem that are tied to attention, body awareness, and emotions. After doing three different breathing exercises, the researchers found that there was an increased activity in the amygdala when participants breathed rapidly. The amygdala is responsible for processing fear and other strong emotions, so by slowing down the breath, the brain receives the signal to reduce that fear. (35)
Another integral part of relaxation is sleep. Researchers at NYU published a study where they show that sleep after learning encourages the growth of tiny protrusions from brain cells that connect to other brain cells and facilitate the passage of information throughout the brain. These tiny protrusions are called dendritic spines. This growth also enhances memory because neurons fired during learning are also fired again during slow-wave sleep. (36)
New Experiences and Learning
Clients can continually challenge their brain by learning new things and embarking on new experiences. When we learn new things, a new pathway in the brain is formed with the potential to connect new neurons. For instance, when people expand their vocabulary, it activates the brain’s visual and auditory processes and memory processing. (37)
In fact, reading, especially reading a fictional novel, can create neural changes associated with physical sensation and movement. In a study done by Emory University, 21 undergraduate students participated by reading the same page-turning novel. The results showed a heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with language, and in the central sulcus, the primary motor region of the brain. Biologically, neural changes were being made just by readers immersing themselves in the story. (38)
In learning a new skill, such as an instrument, neuroscientists explain that playing a musical instrument is an intense, multisensory experience because the plasticity in the neural network affects cognitive enhancements. Plus, music-making places unique demands on the nervous system, which helps shape the organization of the brain. (39)
Your patients can also incorporate memory training to retrain memory patterns, such as using a non-dominant hand to brush their teeth or mnemonic devices (combining imagery, melody, rhythm, spatial navigation, and visualization) to help form new neural pathways. Also known as “neurobics,” these are essentially brain exercises to enhance memory and process new information efficiently and successfully. These can be relatively simple tasks, such as traveling to expose the brain to new environments, or even changing up a daily routine. (40)
Physicality and Health
It goes without saying that certain lifestyle choices help renew brain plasticity as well. For instance, intermittent fasting — involving timely calorie restriction — increases synaptic plasticity and optimizes brain function. It can also help optimize brain function and decrease the risk of metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. (41)
A healthy diet without question can also help in increasing brain plasticity. The neuroprotective actions of dietary flavonoids (available in many berries and vegetables) includes the potential to: (42)
- Promote cognitive function, learning, and memory
- Protect neurons against neurotoxin injury
- Suppress neuroinflammation
Physical activity and fitness can also prevent or slow the normal age-related neuronal death and encourage neuronal plasticity. Physical activity increases the size of the prefrontal and hippocampal brain areas, which may lead to a reduction in memory impairments. (43, 44)
Working with a Trauma Therapy Specialist
Continued practice and applied dedication to these actions can lead to happier, positive emotions that help mitigate those initial and delayed trauma responses. Ultimately, this leads to a happier, healthier lifestyle, which is usually the client’s goal in the first place. (28)
However, there can be negative habitual actions that can hurt the mind and the body because neuroplasticity works both ways. You can recommend that your client also look into working with a trauma therapy specialist. This form of therapy can help your clients if they cannot cope with the trauma they have experienced or if it is affecting their ability to function. Trauma specialists can also help with accountability to make sure clients are rewiring their brain to positively change their thoughts versus cementing negative habits that prevents them from progressing forward. (45, 46)
The First in CellCore’s Mental Emotional Line: ME Support
In addition to these areas, if you have clients who are experiencing the after-effects of trauma, CellCore has a new product that can work to clear away trauma and stress while helping to restore overall balance and health.
An Introduction to ME Support
ME Support is designed to improve emotional wellness and support the body as it processes stress. It also helps maintain a clear and focused state while enhancing energy production. The goal of this product is to allow patients to navigate life’s stressors with emotional balance.
As you may know, micronutrient absorption and nutrients are critical to the nervous system and gut-brain axis. Missing nutrients can throw off the body's balance, causing stress. It can become an endless cycle where imbalance leads to stress, which leads to more imbalance and even more stress. ME Support provides key nutrients to help minimize the negative impact of stress on the body and mind for overall well-being. This can be particularly helpful for those stuck in fight-or-flight mode or trauma responses, and those under prolonged mental and emotional stress. (47)
Carefully and meticulously formulated, this CellCore product uses a proprietary blend of Carbon Technology, composed of citric and ellagic acids with fulvic acid extracts in distilled water. This unique, carbon-rich solution aids cellular respiration needed to produce ATP to help energize the cells. Fulvic acid also encourages the health and diversity of the gut microbiota. All of these ingredients together positively affect emotional, mental, and physical health. (xx)
These ingredients combine with six charged frequencies to help bring your client's body back into balance. ME Support can be taken with all CellCore products and may help minimize negative reactions or sensitivities during detoxification.
Three Key Benefits
Helps the body deal with emotional stress
In clinical applications, ME Support promoted emotional balance and reduced emotional intensity, making it easier for patients to process everyday stressors.
- Increases energy levels, focus, and mental clarity
By balancing the body’s stress response and reducing anxiety levels, ME Support can help patients remain clear and focused while enhancing energy production.
- Ongoing stress support
By nourishing the nervous system, ME Support helps minimize the negative impact of stress on the body and mind for overall well-being.
*ME Support will be coming out soon! Stay on the lookout for this exciting new product release, among others!
Why Healing Often Starts with Clearing Trauma
The connection between the physical and emotional body plays a more significant role in healing than many people realize. Even if an ailing physical body is addressed, ignoring any issues regarding emotional health means true healing will not occur.
The physical and emotional need to be in harmony, with each part being as important as the other. When a client's emotions are in balance, their physical body can heal fully.
Through emotional clearing and strengthening brain plasticity, as well as supplementing with CellCore’s ME Support, you can help your clients reach sustainable, healthy levels of emotions. For clients stagnant in their health journeys, or those especially affected by stress and mental health issues, this may be the most important step to take to reach the root of any obstacles holding them back.