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Dr Woods Dr Hooper webinar

Roadblocks to Healing: How Past Traumas Affect Your Physiology

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Remember that loud TV emergency alert system that would go off back in the day and make you nearly jump out of your seat? Your body’s trauma response is a lot like that. It’s set up to alert your body to impending danger, flooding it with hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare your body for action.

But in the case of trauma, this response can be overwhelming and long-lasting, leading to a host of effects in your body. Hypervigilance, changes in your nervous system, immune system dysfunction, chronic pain, sleep disturbances, and hormonal imbalances are just a few of the  changes that occur as a result of trauma.

Because of these physiological changes, past trauma can really have an impact on our health both in the short- and long-term. Past trauma creates roadblocks to healing and causes people to remain stuck in their journey despite doing all the right things to get well.

Watch the video as Dr. Ashley Woods and Dr. Brian Hooper explore the effects of trauma on physiology and life:

  • Learn what types of experiences can be considered trauma
  • Find out how trauma is experienced in our bodies
  • Discover how these stuck patterns of trauma actually create roadblocks to healing
  • Learn what you can do to help process trauma for better health

Have you been doing all the “right things” yet remain stuck in your healing journey? Uncovering the mind-body connection of past trauma may be the key to your physical healing. Watch the video to get started on your path today!  

Exploring Traumas Impact on Body & Life

Trauma is a deeply disturbing experience that overwhelms our ability to respond and cope with a situation. When people think of trauma, they often associate it with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is one of the most common types of trauma. However, trauma comes in various forms, and its impact goes beyond psychological effects. In this blog post, we aim to introduce the concept of trauma, both Big T and Little T, and shed light on how it affects the body in numerous ways, ultimately influencing one’s life. It is crucial to address and heal from trauma not only from a psychological standpoint but also from a physical, psychospiritual, and social perspective.

The Pervasiveness of Trauma: A Growing Issue

In recent years, the world has witnessed an increase in traumatic experiences, possibly exacerbated by the global pandemic. Traumatic events such as school shootings, natural disasters, accidents, or personal losses affect not only the individuals directly involved but also whole families and communities. The impact of trauma on mental health and well-being is undeniable, and it is essential to acknowledge the effects it has on individuals’ physiological responses.

The Normalcy of Feeling Abnormal: Understanding Traumatic Stress

When faced with traumatic situations, it is normal to feel abnormal. Traumatic stress training emphasizes that abnormal feelings in abnormal situations are expected and valid. It is crucial to show kindness and compassion to ourselves during the healing process. Acknowledging that experiencing tears or intense emotions is part of the healing journey helps individuals tolerate and accept their responses. Giving oneself time and space for healing is essential, as repressing or intellectualizing trauma only delays the inevitable need to confront and process it.

Differentiating Big T and Little T Trauma

Trauma can take various forms, ranging from major life-altering events like war or natural disasters (Big T trauma) to less conspicuous but impactful experiences like job loss or ongoing emotional neglect (Little T trauma). Both types of trauma have the potential to disrupt one’s life significantly. Even seemingly minor traumas can have long-lasting effects, particularly if they lead to financial difficulties, emotional distress, or chronic stress. Recognizing the impact of different types of trauma is vital in understanding their consequences on physical and mental health.

The Profound Impact of Childhood Trauma

Childhood traumas, often buried deep within our subconscious, can have a profound impact on our lives. Adverse childhood events, such as neglect, abuse, or parental substance abuse, can shape a person’s mental and physical well-being well into adulthood. Studies have shown that individuals with a higher number of adverse childhood events are more likely to experience chronic diseases, have worse health outcomes, and even shorter lifespans. It is crucial to address and heal childhood traumas, as they can significantly affect the trajectory of one’s life.

The Interplay of Trauma and Physiology

Trauma affects not only our mental health but also our physiology. Chronic stress resulting from trauma can lead to inflammation in the body, contributing to the development of conditions like depression, anxiety, and even chronic diseases. The body’s stress response system, involving the limbic system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, becomes dysregulated, leading to imbalances in cortisol levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and other bodily functions. Addressing trauma requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses both physiological and psychological aspects to restore balance and well-being.

Reclaiming Control: Reparenting and Healing

Healing from trauma involves reparenting ourselves, which means learning the skills and practices that may have been lacking in our childhoods. Recognizing that we can provide ourselves with the care, support, and understanding we may have missed out on is crucial. By reparenting ourselves, we can rewire neural pathways, release trapped negative energy, and develop new connections that promote healing and well-being. This process often involves seeking professional guidance from psychotherapists who specialize in trauma recovery.

The Gut-Brain Connection: The Role of the Microbiome

An emerging area of research focuses on the relationship between the gut microbiome and mental health. The gut microbiome plays a significant role in our overall well-being, including the functioning of our nervous system and brain. Serotonin and neurotransmitters, traditionally associated with brain function, are also produced in the gut. Imbalances in the gut microbiome can have far-reaching effects on mental and physical health. It is essential to prioritize gut health as part of the healing process, as a healthy gut contributes to a healthy mind and body.

Turning Off the Emergency Signal: Reconnecting Mind and Body

Reestablishing the mind-body connection and alleviating the constant emergency signal caused by trauma is a complex process. Various therapeutic approaches can assist in this healing journey. Techniques such as hypnotherapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), brain spotting, and somatic sensing therapy can help individuals process trauma, rewire neural pathways, and reduce the physiological stress response. These approaches work in conjunction with other practices such as breathwork, guided imagery, and cognitive-behavioral therapy to promote a sense of safety, relaxation, and overall well-being.

Conclusion: Healing from Trauma Holistically

Trauma can have profound and long-lasting effects on the physiology and life of an individual. Understanding the multifaceted nature of trauma is essential in recognizing its impact on mental, physical, and social well-being. Healing from trauma involves a comprehensive approach that addresses both the psychological and physiological aspects of the individual’s experience. By acknowledging and working through trauma, individuals can reclaim control, reconnect mind and body, and embark on a path of healing, resilience, and overall well-being. Remember, healing from trauma is possible, and seeking support from trusted professionals is a vital step towards recovery.

Are you ready to take charge of your health? Schedule your free 20-minute discovery call with our New Patient Coordinator to see how you can become a patient at MaxWell Clinic and start your healing journey today.

hi I am Dr Ashley Woods here at the Maxwell clinic in Brentwood Tennessee and
I am joined today and very grateful for Dr Brian Hooper who is a
a practices so I wouldn’t mess it up who is a state licensed clinical pastoral
therapist how do I think that’s right  exactly there’s a lot of words and   um he is here at the Maxwell Clinic he sees adults and
um DC kids individuals and couples I don’t see children I will see older   teens okay yeah very good and his  practice is a profit practice and is not
part of the Maxwell clinic but it is um  it feels like it is because he he’s a
gift to us I just yeah being here it’s  a gift to me too because he very much   integrates into what we do and um we collaborate we share space
and we share people and we share the I can  I think I can speak for both of us that we  share the um desire to have people thrive and become the fullest version of themselves I
think that’s very accurate and I happen to um have a real love for a functional medicine
is an approach to psychiatric issues even though I’m not a prescriber it’s   a real pleasure to be able to work with  informed Physicians who are able to look
at other aspects to help  people with emotional distress  using food and exercise and evaluation  and their medication when necessary
absolutely absolutely and I think that’s  I think it’s important to have a team
approach um I need to do a little housekeeping  here at the beginning and thank you for
joining us and if you have questions in  regards to anything we say today please
put them in the Q a your microphones are  muted so you can’t be seen or heard and
this is being recorded but your  questions can be put in the Q a   and we’ll have time to answer those at the very end so today our uh our main topic is trauma
and what trauma does to the physiology  of the body and not just the physiology
of body but to the life of the entire  human and when people think of trauma   they think of post-traumatic stress disorder that’s sort of I would say
probably the most common one but there  are all different types of trauma and so  our goals today are to introduce you  to the concept of trauma Big T Little T
and to let people understand how it can affect the
body um in so many different ways and  subsequently your life and that it’s
important to deal with and work  through and and heal not just from a
psychological standpoint but from a  physical standpoint exactly and so um
psychospiritual physical and social  absolutely because it can affect whole
families entire communities sure does  so um and it feels like to me that the
world is becoming a little not becoming  but it just feels like since the pandemic
there’s just been a lot more trauma  that’s come to life and I think I think
we’re all affected by lots of things  that happen in the world whether   they directly touch us or not the Covenant School shooting here in Nashville was very
um impactful um directly indirectly to   so many so many people in lives and so um anyway trauma is really any disturbing deeply disturbing
experience that you have that  really overwhelms our ability to
respond and cope with it so we all go  through stress every day and stress is
not trauma but all trauma is stressful I  think that’s important to recognize it’s
what overwhelms our natural and develop  capacity to respond and the first thing
I learned in traumatic stress training  was that it’s normal to feel abnormal in
an abnormal situation I think that’s  really important and and one of the things
I emphasize is as we work through trauma is being kind to ourselves
absolutely you know having empathic being compassionate with ourselves that
we’re not weak because all of a sudden after a traumatic event out of the blue
we just find ourselves with lots of Tears that’s part of our healing and   we need to be able to tolerate and accept  that yes and just giving yourself time
in space to do the healing that you need  absolutely because I think the tendency
what what I see the tendency is for people  to intellectualize it put a story on it   pack it up and stick it in the closet and I have an analogy that
when she when she pack everything up and stick it in the closet and something else   happens you stick it in the closet because you’re  like oh I can’t I can’t deal with that today that
at some point you’re going to need to  get in that closet and the boxes will   come spilling out and it’ll be a hot mess and you’ll feel like a hot mess
um because it hasn’t been properly worked through or packaged   um and processed because the body the body actually takes on the alarm system
that’s right it goes off as Dr vandercult says the body keeps
the score that’s the title of this book but highly recommend that book yeah the body keeps the score
um yeah we physically experience the trauma not only during it but after the
fact as well but let’s go ahead and talk  about you said there’s large trauma with
a capital t and a small team different  types of trauma so why don’t we talk   a little bit about what those type of traumas are well they can be you know a big
trauma people would think about like a war veteran   um loss of a child loss of a parent a car accident um a shooting um all I mean
um there’s there’s so many I  can’t even imagine a fire a flood   um those can be big dramas because all of those in Nashville yeah and
um and people are resilient but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you
and you know little T trauma would be like  well I lost my job well that could be a
big tea trauma if if that puts  you in a hard financial way   um or little traumas that happen every day in your home um or trauma that I find with
people that um it wasn’t a particular event but it was the slow drip drip drip drip of
behaviors from somebody else or neglect neglect is in childhood definitely is traumatic
um I’m going to mention a few cases as  we talk but whenever I share about this   I’ll never share any identity buying information so you’ll never be able to
guess who any of these people are okay  and some of them from my past work with
people but um so I have one gentleman  I have worked with in the past who um
his mother was a drug addict his parents  divorced his father married a new woman
and she decided she didn’t want anything  to do with him and he was a little boy so   he was put into a foster home as a child so he he experienced neglect
um over time developed some physical  symptoms with that but is exquisitely
sensitive to anything he perceives as  rejection from his wife today right yeah
so we’ve had to do a lot of work in two  areas one between them but also helping
him learn to notice the over reaction  right and how to soothe himself in
responding to that that’s part of how  he’s healing from that drip drip drip of
rejection in his Youth and I’m sure  going into foster care initially was a
big T trauma version yeah absolutely well I’m  glad you mentioned the childhood traumas because
um like I said those boxes that we sort  of think we’ve packed away and have dealt   with childhood traumas are huge and there was actually a big study um done by the CDC and Kaiser
Permanente and I think 1997 and the they were looking at childhood I knew you’re familiar with
is what I’m telling our people you’re listening  they were looking at childhood traumatic events
and health outcomes and the results were  astounding not only did they find that
people that had more adverse childhood events had um and there’s a test you can go online and
take it’s called Aces um which  stands for adverse childhood
events Ace inventory yes and in fact  here at the Maxwell Clinic you use that
as part of your intake forms and  I do too in my work we do and it’s   important it’s really important because um and and it’s because because of what
this study showed the study showed that  people had worse Health outcomes worse
more likely to get chronic diseases  and to have worse outcomes from those
chronic diseases and actually the higher  the score the shorter the lifespan in
some cases and this was a big  big big study I think it was 17
000 people um and there’s um  there’s just so much information out
there unfortunately I didn’t really learn  that much about that in medical school
um you know it wasn’t a disease that you  could just slap up you know oh you’ve got   this disease and you you know can have this medicine for it
um and so I think it’s very very much  overlooked and I’m super glad that we  pay attention to it here you know I’m  glad you said that because um it’s not a
medication to and that’s part of what I  love about the Maxwell approach is that
you recognize the whole person approach  and it’s you’re not just about giving a
pill for an ill right which happens  in a lot of Physicians office  because of the way they’re set up but we  won’t go into that but it’s it’s um it’s
not a pill for an ill it’s about  unpacking and healing what initially
happened right in those adverse  childhood events right and this is where
a lot of the work that I do actually is  re-parenting people that doesn’t mean I
become your parent but it means I  help you do those things for yourself
that you should have been taught if you  had had really excellent parenting and   that’s a really good important thing that I wanted to bring up is that you
know people people feel like maybe they’re not weak or they don’t have   enough resiliency because these things  happen to them and that’s not the case
at all no um and but how it affects your  physiology matters immensely depending
on a lot of things like some can you  talk a little bit about some of this   foundational support that you need because you can have two people that
went through and lived through the same  event whatever the event was that was  traumatic and somebody you know is doing well and  somebody somebody else may not be doing well and
just um explaining the difference between  the foundations that you need in a in a
community and the support to to make a  difference there so there are as you’re
alluding to external foundations and internal  foundations that we rely upon to go through a
traumatic event and then to recover from  that right and so external uh can be a a
family that’s supportive of a spiritual  Community that’s supported absolutely
okay Connections in your broader community  in other words uh having uh work that’s
solid and predictable right having  education to be able to understand  what’s going on what happened in your  life from an educational academic kind
of perspective in some way okay um  are you in poverty well that makes it
harder yeah uh or are you a person  that has some means you know and then
internal resources and internal  resources and I want to take just a
moment and talk about parenting if I may and  and what happens if it’s really good what we
get okay and then what happens  if we don’t and I’ll just take a   couple minutes on this but I want you to imagine I’ve got a little guy sitting on
my lap we’ll make him about I don’t know  five years old it’s sort of a sweet age  right so he’s happily sitting on  Grandpa’s lap and uh he’s looking
around he’s checking out you and he’s checking out you and he’s looking around the room and   then he notices on the other side of  the room there’s a puppy okay and he
looks at the puppy and then he looks up at me  and he says papa there’s a puppy over there
and I say yeah buddy there’s a puppy do you want to go see   him and he looks at me goes yeah I want to  go see him so I put him down on the floor
and I said go and go see the puppy so he  toggles over in that direction he stops   part way and he looks back at me because what he wants to know is it okay he’s
safe he said and is he safe if I got his back right he’s not really thinking that
it’s all about keeping connection right because right now I’ve got the strength
and he really doesn’t he’s only five  right so anyway I said go on with an  unknown it’s an unknown right so  I said go on go go see the puppy
so he plops down next to the dog and he starts petting him the way little kids do you know they   don’t have that smooth coordination necessarily and you know everything’s going well until he
finds the puppy’s tail right and  he’s five and he’s a boy so he’s
going to experimentally give us a tail  a little tug he gets nipped at right
and immediately what happens the tears  come right and he’s overwhelmed well I
may not be the perfect grandpa but I’m  good enough in the scene and I leap   across the room and I scoop his little butt up in my arms and I pull him in
tight because I’m rescuing him from  danger but I also realize that he’s
feeling really scared and he needs to  feel my strength right it’s like I pull
him in tight and I say as I’m as I’m  giving him a little hug I’m saying   it’s okay you’re fine take a breath buddy and I bring him back and I sit him down on my lap
and as he starts to calm down a little I loosen up he’s feeling a little bit coming
back into his own strength so I can loosen up a little bit and I say it’s okay you’re fine
and as he kind of wipes the tears away I say  hey buddy we’re not going to pull puppies tail
again our way because he doesn’t like it  and you don’t like it either no I want
to do that I said okay I say you know  what I’m really proud of you because you   went over and you said hi to puppy and you get to do that again we’re just not
going to pull the tail next time okay  and he goes okay okay so I’ve done five  things for this boy I’ve encouraged him  I rescued him when he got too close to
the danger point I’ve soothed  or consoled him I have
lovingly corrected him and didn’t use  anything that’s hugely important I
didn’t use derogative language you know I  didn’t tell him he was stupid anything like that  and then I celebrated the good part of  what he did which was to go out right he
expanded his boundary so encourage  rescue soothe lovingly correct and
celebrate if a parent does that for us  then we have much more in the way of   internal strength and ability to do what rescue ourselves when we go through a
trauma okay to soothe ourselves to correct anything that we may have
gotten wrong that put us in a danger position not that every trauma is your fault I’m not
saying that at all not saying that at all but it gives us some skills   with which to begin to Grapple with that right absolutely and I love that story
that’s that’s a beautiful story but we  also have patients that are clients that
that don’t have they don’t have that  history and they have they have the   traumas and and even in my experience the reason I actually really wanted to
to bring this up is not because things  have gotten a little crazy in the world  but it’s because I see so many patients  that come to the Maxwell clinic and they
have the symptoms we’ll talk about symptoms  that can relate to stress and such but
they have symptoms and they’re real  symptoms they’re not in their head   they’re 100 they’re real bodily symptoms and they’ve been to 12 different doctors
Specialists different clinics and they’re frustrated they’re feeling   like they’re being told they’re crazy  um they’re not crazy they’re people that
have real symptoms that don’t have  a specific label and they have   psychological effects right because they have the symptoms that aren’t being
explained and that is stress in the  mountains like well it’s stress no it’s  not stress I am stressed because I  have these symptoms and nobody’s I
mean you would want an answer right um for instance anxiety could be a   symptom that they have right right that  and there’s no there’s no thing to feel
anxious about right right and  there’s no understanding of you know
where this came from unless they really  dig deep right right and that’s and that
is and so what that’s one reason we have  our patients on their intake forms do an
a score now we don’t Dive Right into  let’s talk about your childhood trauma   because I’m not a therapist that’s your that’s your hat that you get to wear but
it’s important because it’s a signal  to me about what systems might be  upregulated in this person sitting  in front of me who is struggling
um because even if a trauma was 30 years  ago and they didn’t have the grandpa
with the puppy in the lab and you’re a  really good grandpa if they didn’t have
that kind of parenting or that kind of  support um and we as parents I can say this
because I’m a parent I was not always that parent  I was like what are you doing don’t pull them down   you know there there are those instances you’re not going to be a perfect human
um and our I think most of our parents  probably did the best they could  um with what they had but that’s where we  need to learn how to parent ourselves right
we don’t have those skills and so and then what it does to the body
can be a whole Litany of sort of thing let’s talk about that for a moment so we know that
um stress chronic stress can lead to inflammation absolutely which then
in some cases can result in depression certainly depression and I think anxiety
as well so that’s where it needs to be addressed from a two-pronged approach one
physiologically what can we do to bring down the the fire and the
system the inflammation right and then and that’s your bailiwick right yes and then mine
is looking at helping people learn how to acquire the skills that
that they need in order to care for themselves because those neural Pathways in
the brain neural Pathways they think of like the old-fashioned um operator that unplugged the plug
here and plugged it in up there and made the connections you know they need to be unplugged   and rerouted and plugged in in another place I’m glad you’re
talking about that because that is right  yes that’s sort of a neuroplasticity because
what happens when we go through a trauma  whether it’s a drip drip drip trauma or
a small t or a big trauma um we  develop an alarm system goes off
in our brain and it’s like it’s  like the you know the test of the
emergency broadcast system or the tornado  sirens that go off around here every once   in a while and you’re like oh what’s that noise and it is
it is a way that is that is to keep us safe it’s it’s a
it’s a built-in system that keeps us safe  and it comes from Deep structures in the
brain the limbic system and that’s deep  structures that involve the uh amygdala
um the hypothalamus and um yeah  and those those brain structures
get sort of wired and ready for action because  they also communicate with our hormones
they communicate with our  hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis it
turns on our cortisol our muscles tense  up that gets ready for action ready to   run it fights light or freeze right that’s what the the amygdala is it’s
the fight flight or freeze area  of the brain and that gets turned
on and if it’s stuck like you said the  old telephone systems in that kind of   wiring it has to be rewired it has to be released from the body but it’s not just
the wiring in the brain it’s  also the hormones in the body  um cortisol what does Cortisol do  cortisol is think adrenaline so it
stimulates um comes from the  adrenals and it stimulates
glucose metabolism so now you got to have  glucose for fuel you got to have energy to run it
um turns off the sex hormone so people  say well I don’t have a sex drive well   it’s because you’re in fight or flight you your your cortisol is is is up
here and it’s prioritized in from the adrenal standpoint um and it makes your heart beat faster
it makes your blood pressure go up and  all these things in an acute scenario
can can create a way for you to get out  of danger Keep Us Safe Keep Us Alive and
that is just an innate in us we share this with  all mammals um but if it lives there it’s very
detrimental and it can lead to stay  if we stay in this stuff in that stuff
constantly be constant being in an emergency  yeah um and so people that are in constant
states of stress as you reference will  have elevated cortisol levels they’ll
have you know higher blood pressures  higher heart rate I mean there’s a   lot of things renal fatigue fatigue we see that a lot um and then these have trickle-down
effects to other things I mean I see  problem people who can’t sleep because  they can’t turn their brains off at  night hyper vigilance um headaches
um I mean migraine headaches yes um  TMJ low back pain we kind of Harbor
our we keep our emotions in  our hips if you follow yoga
um and some people say it’s a sense  of being not supported Yeah well yeah
there’s a lot of teaching about that  that’s old world medicine but yeah   um I think there’s some truth too I think there’s some truth um and you
know the list is very long anxiety depression I mean definitely you think of that when you   think of trauma because people are  effective psychologically but heart
attacks even I mean heart attacks  cardiac Strokes things that make   blood pressure go up and can affect those things negatively it’s all related am I saying
I’m not saying oh this is all because you had trauma in your childhood no but it’s unhealed
system processing that never got to complete the circuit it’s
negative energy that got trapped and it  you may not be thinking about it so like  I’m not thinking about my 30 year old  trauma I worked with the therapist
years ago for that that’s that’s better I don’t think about that but then when I see   patients and they’re stuck in the fight or flight that’s a problem absolutely that’s a problem
and we’re not even if you’re eating all the right things   and exercising and trying to have sleep  good good sleep hygiene it becomes very
detrimental it’s like a it’s like a  stone in your shoe it’s just not going
away yeah yeah and I think the body has  to reprocess that in different ways it
does and that’s where you know a  combination of cognitive therapy which
is one of the modes that I use can help  us think about how we think about the
things we think about and think about  those things differently right The   Thinker as the Observer right begin to notice that one young woman I’m working
with right now who suffer has suffered  with and happy to put that in the past
tense severe OCD and primarily intrusive  thoughts not so much behaviors but
intrusive thoughts um who has come to the point  where now she says to me I’m beginning to know
notice my thoughts and go oh there’s  one of my and we use this in sort of the
popular sense right or crazy thoughts  you know I don’t mean that in a clinical   sense right sure but these these thoughts that where do these come
from and we know where they come from now  it comes from some history where there was  significant emotional abuse from her father  um but she’s taking responsibility for her
life and learning how to sell soothe and  detach from those thoughts but this is
very important to remember that those  those neurons that got wired together
like the old priorities switchboard  right fire together and that didn’t
happen overnight there may have been one  problematic event that happened but it   kept being strengthened by replaying it’s like those thoughts right it’s
like an energy list so it takes a while to  begin to unplug those the example I like
to use is the imagine the country road  where um a circular driveway uh that’s
just a it’s a dirt driveway okay and you  used one part of the driveway to drive
up to the house and back out to the  road up to the house and back out to   the road well that’s going to get worn right you’re going to even probably get the tracks
where the tires go yeah right the other side is overgrown
but if we stop using one side and started using the other side eventually
the grass would stop growing there but the grass would start growing where
the old pathway was on the other side of  the driveway so we have to learn how to
think differently we have to learn  how to notice feelings and thoughts
and accept the feelings but recognize  where they come from so they become less
powerful I want to go back to the alarm  system you talked about that you picked   a lot and the example I like to use is to imagine you’ve got a smoke detector
and you like the candles for your dining room table that shouldn’t set the smoke detector
off right right and the amygdala hidden  here in the middle of our brain because
this is our brain stem here in my example and this  is the executive function which is conscious the
conscious part the thinking part this  part here the sapphire alarm if it’s too
sensitive what happens is it it it cuts  off our access to using our internal a
rational intellect right and and that  gets in the way of living because then
we do irrational things absolutely right  so that’s part of what has to that’s
part what happens in the healing  process right so what do you do like
um say I have depleted adrenals you know what what
um I I’m this is not a set of actually  asking this question might you use like
ashwagandha to help Uganda is fantastic  yes there’s a lot of different herbs
that can really support adrenals but  it’s like if you had if you were out on
a river and you had a hole in your boat  you’d say how do I get the water out of   the boat you got to plug the hole first  so you’ve got to figure out what caused
your adrenals to take like to tank to  crush in the first place and are you
still in that situation uh and because  when people feel completely overwhelmed
they frequently feel powerless and so  giving somebody their power back to be
able to take actions the one thing that  I would say is the most important is
sleep um because you’re not going to be able to  repair your adrenals if you’re not sleeping well
um and some people can’t sleep because  say why that is what sleep does oh sleep
does so much I want people to hear this  because I know how much how important   it is right right well sleep is when your brain self-cleans itself um it’s when it resets
so if you ran your computer all the time with a million tabs open and never turned it off it
would get buggy the brain is the same way um it that it’s it’s
where it self cleans out the debris um and lets you store and repackage memories
um in fact talking about those deep  structures of the brain in the limbic
system you know we were talking about the amygdala  in that deep section you were talking about
um and that processes that part of  the brain processes and experiences
um alert and also emotionally charged  Memories the hippocampus stores
long-term memories and when we sleep  that’s when a lot of our processing
occurs and you think of REM sleep when we  dream dreams are frequently very crazy and I
don’t know anything about dream analysis  you probably do but that’s when where even   though the dreams may not make sense or you don’t remember you
don’t even dream that is that sleep that  deep sleep is when you’re reprocessing
memories some people have night terrors because  of trauma um so it sleep can be a kind of
vulnerable place but you can’t sleep  unless you feel safe if you don’t feel
safe your sympathetic nervous system is  not going to turn off and um and feeling
safe is important now you may say that’s not  true I feel safe in my mouth I just can’t   sleep there’s more going on there on a physiological basis but
um it’s a reset and it’s it’s one of the it’s almost like a Vital sign around here
sleep is really that important um  and it’s when your brain actually if
I understand correctly produces the neural  chemicals the hormones that we need for
bodily repairs is that right you do a lot of stuff repair   yes yes absolutely and so that’s why I said if somebody’s adrenals are not working well or taxed
um sleep is one thing I really hone on onto and then we do sometimes need
additional supplements there’s a lot of  herbs ashwagandha is is one holy basil
um there’s there’s there’s many that can  be very helpful but it depends on kind of
where you are on the curve and we measure that here at the clinic   um because it’s important because people  can be in that Alert state and then over
time just drip drip drip down to just  a flat line and those people need even
sometimes pharmaceutical help um  to sort of get up out of the hole
um another um thing that I think is  important that we mention is other ways of
processing the button because you can  do cognitive behavioral therapy like   is what you were talking about giving people some skills and different ways
to think about things and but what about  other types of therapy specifically that  you do um because you do hypnotherapy  can you talk about that a little bit sure
absolutely so um so the state  of hypnosis is a a state of
um altered reality okay um and  so I use it broadly so I may do
classical hypnosis which helps people to  lower into that Twilight state but also
um do guided imagery with them um  and we can we can utilize hypnosis to
help people reprocess an event that’s  happened in the past okay and to access
resources is within that can help them not only reprocess in the past but live life differently
today so I’ll give you an example  one one gentleman I’m working  with a very successful entrepreneur on  uh said you know I get really anxious
when I go to to meet new people well  this the stems from trauma in his past
okay so in a state of in hypnotic State  and and I have the classical Chase
Lounge in my office as well I’ve said  that yeah yeah but we can also sometimes
just sitting in the chair also just close  your eyes and let’s try something and they   gently go into a state of hypnosis then but um so um
but he’s you know has that trauma in the background which is part of what
brings on the anxiety when he goes to meet somebody new so we had him access
a state of empowerment what does that feel like in your body where do you feel that
state of empowerment and then in  his imagination holding on to that
um interacting again in his imagination  with meeting a new person and he said
came back the next week and he said that  was so powerful for me because I was
able to access a different state of  being right and that’s also part of   how we work through uh trauma is um and this is very important we all go back and forth
so people have  sometimes flashbacks right or there may  be an event that is triggering for them
so if a person was in a war situation  allowed bang sound May trigger a
response that’s an echo right of the  trauma itself it so what we do is help
them experientially so this is not just talk  therapy it’s put helping them access a state
um a bodily State bodily State feeling  different as they toggle back and forth
between being in that state of calm and  holding on to that while they tap back
on the other right and and so we’re not  asking people to relive the trauma we’re
helping them process the trauma by  holding on to an internal state of being
okay right so why is this important I’m  thinking of a woman who I’ve worked with
who was sexually abused as a child right  and do you think that that could affect
her sexual life with her husband today  absolutely so helping her distinguish
experientially in her body that  awful event that happened then from
today and recognizing this right today  in this moment I’m fine this is a
different experience for me than what I  experienced as a child with no voice for
myself that’s not just a cognitive thing  we do that using imagination yeah like
guided imagery for re-embodiment of  the memory very well said thank you Dr
Wilson but that is because it is like like  intellectually we can know oh yes that
happened and they you know but the embodiment in it’s just that it’s just the it’s where you’re
holding the trauma in your body and  most people have no clue about that  right um because it’s a subconscious  thing it’s something that is sort of
hardwired in there but it’s we can change  it and those are some tools that you use   I’d like to also mention and this is not something that I
do but uh EMDR EMDR stands for eye movement decision um and reprocessing and reprocessing and
that is what that is doing and typically  you would need to be with a certified
EMDR person that that does this and what  it’s doing it’s it’s breaking up that
cluster we’ve talked about with the  the telephone operator right it’s   changing the connection which is also what’s happening in the hypnosis work that I do right
the same sort of thing and it can be it can be done with eye movement
um and it can be done with um hand movement it can be done with sound
um and it’s just a reprocessing a rewiring creating new neural networks
that helps the body realize oh that was a memory it’s not something that I need
to worry about now now intellectually as an adult you would know that but experience
experientially in the body it’s different the body needs   to release the trauma and this is a different Journey for everybody there are certain things
that might work for somebody and  might not work for somebody else  um because we’re all individuals right  it’s and it’s it is work it is work to
go through another technique that I use is  teaching people to breathe now that sounds   ridiculous because we all agree it’s just autonomously but
I teach a process called I call it cognitive behavioral mindfulness therapy   and it’s the bottom line is this helping people to attend to their
breath so that they can detach from the anxious provoking thought
that they have or they can detach from some other um experience that a stimulus brings up
for them right I mean when people have trauma all sorts of things can trigger   them can be the sight of something it  can be a smell it can be a sound it can
be a topic uh that triggers a  look of somebody’s face exactly
anything could could be a quote trigger  that brings back some of the memory of
the trauma or the visceral experience of  the trauma really so if I can help them
learn to attend to their breath then they are  creating a neural network such that when it’s
an unpleasant stimulus they can   uh and bring themselves back into their own bodies and and immediately have comfort uh
so that they can escape the control  of that otherwise control of
that um that provocation that trigger right and people frequently I think will
when they’ve had trauma in their life if they have not worked through it will
reach for other things that are not  healthy like imagery or breathing for  self-soothing we all do it I mean  binging on binging on Netflix
um you know you had a bad day you  just want to get home you have a drink   um gambling anything that can become addictive any alcohol sex gambling
other things that are exercise even as much as I love to exercise daily right
if people can over do right not give themselves time to heal right right and
it becomes a Escape of its own right and that creates other health problems and so
um those are those are ways of self-soothing or distracting   the mind that’s busy and unhappy not  necessarily unhappy but just sort of
running running uh in the same  loops and in a lot of ways
um another therapy that I’ll mention that we  have recently added within the last year or   two our office is IV ketamine which
um has we’ve had some remarkable results  with people that have had post-traumatic  stress traumatic events or even just  anxiety and depression that has been not
uh well treated with other modalities  and even even treated somewhat with   other modalities but they seem to be stuck because it helps with the neuroplasticity
um and that’s that’s been really beneficial and we also do brain   mapping and neurofeedback here at the office  which a brain map is a quantitative EEG
and you’re looking can you  tell them what an EEG is   speaking medical terms an electro esophage I’m not saying the right words the uh
encephalograph thank you um and it’s like what you   it’s a cap that has wires coming out of it  and you’re measuring the electrical activity
in different lobes of the brain and how  it’s connected to other parts of the
brain you can see what’s firing what isn’t  and how efficiently it’s firing and how  inefficiently inspiring and which ones  are looping too much now we can’t look
at it and go oh there’s a history of trauma another we can see if there’s   a history of hedron yeah that’s that’s  a physical that’s a physical a physical
thing but you can see when people are  um that people are hyper Vigilant you
can actually see that on an EEG  electrically it’s an electrical issue
um and then neurofeedback I was just  going to say and neurofeedback is an   amazing process I don’t do it but we have a phenomenally skilled clinician
you’re a technician I should say that  does that is quite amazing and that can
dovetail very nicely with um Talk  therapy as well yeah so I think
the the overarching um message  here is if you would agree
with me is that we are we’ve all  had trauma in our lives in different   different levels and they affect all of us differently depending on our foundations
um the family we grew up in the community we grew up in   um our belief system there’s  a lot of layers to that
um but it is important that as we work  to heal the body we work to heal mind in
the spirit because you can’t separate  those it’s all it’s all one it’s all
connected it’s just a big system of energy  and if you have negative energy in your body
it needs to be released because it’s it’s not it  needs to be worked through released reprocessed
um and you were talking about breathing  I do breathing with patients frequently   teaching them how to protect I know how to breathe I’m breathing right now of course
you are but um we all take little shallow breaths all day long because we’re busy and we’re not
focused on it but really settling  in in breathing in some people  I have found I’ve learned have a  really hard time sitting and breathing
um sitting in the quiet because they don’t like what it has to say right   um and that’s hard yeah I will say this this is a good um test if you can’t
be alone with yourself without  music on or the TV on or other
chatter or beyond your scrolling through  your phone if you can’t be with yourself   for a day there’s something that you need to address yeah yeah and um so
I hope that this has been helpful to  folks I do see we have some q and A’s oh
great here so I’m gonna click on that  hold on one second if I can find my cursor
there you go yeah okay can you discuss resources neurofeedback
Etc that are used to assist in helping individuals rewire their brain and   amygdala in addition to working with  improving conscious thought patterns in
an effort to help that individual move  out of a constant state of hyper vigilance
um yeah I think we we kind of touched on  that sort of towards the end there but
we here at the Maxwell Clinic pair all of those  things together um we use neurofeedback we use
um as far as the electrical brain  retraining and we consider that sort of
the spark and then we work on the suit  we work on the soup of of the person in
that we maximize sleep nutrition um you know so you see what’s going on
with them biochemically yeah yeah that’s what you mean by you have to do that the suit the   biochemical parts of it um Dr  Rossi likes to refer to it as
spark and soup but the spark is  the neurofeedback part um and
um and there is some retraining  there the breath work that’s that’s   working on increasing vagal tone we didn’t talk about the vagus nerve much but I will mention it
briefly here um the vagus nerve starts in the deep brain stem and runs all the way down uh through
the diaphragm it innervates the diaphragm which is the big muscle   that keeps us breathing if the baker’s nerve  is cut you’re done for you can’t breathe
because that’s what pumps pumps  the lungs up and down um and
to exercise the vagal nerve I have people  take a really deep nice long breath
and when we let it I find when we let  it out slowly and let instruct people to
experience the sense of release that  comes as they exhale slowly but that
immediately brings down um the  anxiety calms heart rate he does
lowers blood pressure I believe yes  and it’s a practice it’s a practice   because in the moment you know you can take a deep breath in the side but if you practice 10
minutes I tell my patients to practice 10 minutes of deep slow meditative breathing
like bookends on the day 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before bed and   it really sets the intention for the  day and helps pack it up for for the
evening but that what that diaphragm  expansion does in addition to helping   you take a deeper breath it just sort of sends little neural chemicals up to
your brain because the vagus nerve was  stretched and it’s just like Oh we must  be relaxing now but this is good um because  you can’t stay in a fight or flight State
and be relaxed at the same time right right and you have   to practice that it’s it’s a it’s a  practice and I tell people don’t be
making your grocery list while you’re  you’ve got 10 minutes on your phone   um just set it aside set a timer and do that um so those are the things the second
question is what if you’re really sure like what if you’re not really sure
where you are in regard regards to  processing drama I like this one yeah I
think in that case um make an appointment  with a psychotherapist that you trust
um and have a conversation about what  feels like it’s not quite healed for you
perhaps and um and what  what is healed and bring the
uncertainties out and just discuss them  have an evaluation and see where you are
yeah I I have a lot of people that come  with physical symptoms and they don’t   come talking about trauma that comes up much later after we’ve made sure we’ve
crossed all the t’s and dotted all the  eyes and made sure everything is tucked  in another question we have is another  unrelated question the microbiome in the
gut thank you for a person who is  asking this question because that is   important seems to be getting more and more attention as having a profound impact on
the state of our bodies nervous system  and brain can you discuss this and how
an unhealthy good microbiome packs the  overall healthy process oh yes yes we
can just keep going for hours here but  this is an important question if your gut   is not healthy your brain is not healthy because you’re the gut
microbiome we’re learning more and more through science about what a big role it
plays in our overall mental and physical health um and I think the more research
we do more we know I mean I think if I  understand correctly from the fellowship  year I did an integrative Psychiatry that the  the gut produces the neurochemicals the brain
needs in order for us to feel good  and balance most people think that   that serotonin and neuropreneur only produced in the brain actually it’s produced in the gut and
the gut sends more information to the brain the  brain does to the guts I know right yes yes so you
know we usually start with some gut work  so a great carbon that’s a great question   that’s a great question yes okay last question here is
thank you so much for generally uh  generosity with this webinar what you
were saying makes so much sense I am  recovering from a TBI and an accident
for through an accident for three years  in a trauma that unknowingly got packed
into a closet has been spilling out  while I have worked hard weekly in
different therapies to physically heal  after these years I understand that the
roadblocks and recovering from  the undealt with trauma in the   brain and the mind and body disconnection some pain much of what you have talked
about already continues Frozen in the body despite the work with PT and   OT vision therapy and cognitive behavioral  therapy what you’ve said about the
immedi listen amygdala makes so much  sense how can you turn the emergency   signaling off and get the mind and body working together not triggering each
other I am sorry if I missed it  he missed you have packed so much  excellence in facts in a short  time do you work with patients
outside of Tennessee okay this is sort of a long question but I am I am so glad that you asked this
question um a a TBI which stands for a traumatic brain injury can cause your gut to be leaky
um in addition to all the other things that can come with a traumatic traumatic injury
um and I think your question embedded in here is what do you do to turn off the
emergency signal and that’s sort  of what we’ve been talking about
um hypnotherapy the EMDR  there’s also brain spotting
which is very similar to EMDR we  we don’t specifically do that here   um there are other types of therapy um that that are somatic sensing
therapy and doing really good work exercising the vagal nerve with breath
work guiding imagery working with a good therapist um doing doing good cognitive
behavioral work I think we’re at time now and um if you have questions that we weren’t able
to get to please reach out to us I’d like to to be able to continue   to answer your questions if possible um  or if you’re interested in becoming a
patient at the Maxwell Clinic go to or if you’d like
to reach Dr Brian Hooper he is I’ll let  you share your information yeah the best
way to reach me is through my  website and uh the website is  www.dr Brian b-r-i-a-n Hooper Dr Brian
and there are forms there you can just fill out a selective email form send me that or
you can call my phone number directly  it’s on there as well so I just want to  take a moment and thank you so much for  thank you today this was fun this was
fun to talk it’s fun and it’s important  it is important it’s really important so
um reach out if you would like more  information and have a blessed day bye

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Ashley Woods, MD

Dr. Woods' focus is on her patients and their wellbeing. She believes in the innate intelligence of the human body and its capacity to heal given the correct environment, nutrition, support and tools. She seeks to find the root cause of patients’ symptoms in the context of each individual’s unique genetics, environment, and lifestyle.