- Hellerwork Structural Integration
- Individual Dietician Sessions
- Somatic Experiencing
- EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
- Massage Therapy
- Somato-Emotional-Release Massage
Acupuncture is a component of the health care system of China that can be traced back at least 2,500 years. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. Acupuncture has been found to be especially beneficial for individuals struggling with addiction, chronic pain and compulsive eating patterns. Acupuncture corrects imbalances of flow at identifiable points close to the skin.
The practice of acupuncture to treat identifiable pathophysiological (disease) conditions in American medicine was rare until the visit of President Richard M. Nixon to China in 1972. Since that time, there has been an explosion of interest in the United States and Europe in the application of the technique of acupuncture to Western medicine.
Acupuncture is a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical locations on or in the skin by a variety of techniques. There are a variety of approaches to diagnosis and treatment in American acupuncture that incorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries. The most thoroughly studied mechanism of stimulation of acupuncture points employs penetration of the skin by thin, solid, metallic needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Many of our clients at Awakenings benefit from chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called “chiropractic adjustment.” The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile – or restricted in their movement – as a result of a tissue injury. Tissue injury can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time. In either case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain, and diminished function for the sufferer. Manipulation, or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues, restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness, and allowing tissues to heal.
Chiropractic adjustment rarely causes discomfort. However, patients may sometimes experience mild soreness or aching following treatment (as with some forms of exercise) that usually resolves within 12 to 48 hours.
Hellerwork Structural Integration is a form of bodywork that a significant percentage of Awakenings clients benefit from as they process historical traumatic experiences and remove them from physical tissue as well. It is a unique and transformative work based on the inseparability of body, mind, and spirit and the assumption that every person is innately healthy. It is a powerful system of somatic education and structural integration bodywork designed to realign our bodies and movement in gravity. Working with the body fascia increases the availability of health, energy, flexibility, and self-expression. The 11-session series changes your relationship with your body and your experience of being alive.
Individual Dietician Sessions Awakenings is pleased to provide individual dietician sessions with a highly seasoned Registered Dietician whenever a client’s treatment plan would benefit from the additional support that the expertise of an R.D. would apply. This is not only for our clients with Binge Eating Disorder but also for our chronically relapsing substance abusers who are likely deficient in crucial vitamins and minerals that place them in a heightened vulnerable position for craving their personal drug of choice. This is equally true for our Awakenings clients who come to treatment for debilitating anxiety and depression. There are often very serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies involved in mental health issues and an R.D. is the clinically appropriate specialist to determine what the underlying issues may be. Our very own Alona Zerlin, R.D. is extremely popular with our clients due to her gentle nature and her wealth of experience.
Somatic Experiencing is a form of therapy aimed at relieving and resolving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations (or somatic experiences). It was introduced in Dr. Peter Levine's 1997 book Waking the Tiger. In it, he discusses at length his observations of animals in the wild, and how they deal with and recover from life-threatening situations. He concludes that their behavior gives us "an insight into the biological healing process" and that "the key to healing traumatic symptoms in humans lies in our being able to mirror the fluid adaption of wild animals" as they avoid traumatization in reacting to life-threatening situations.
Sessions are normally done face-to-face, and involve a client tracking his or her own felt-sense experience. Practitioners of Somatic Experiencing are often also mental health practitioners such as psychologists, psychotherapists, physical therapists, nurses, physicians, clergy, or bodyworkers. Certified practitioners must complete a training course that spans three years (216 hours of instruction) and must complete 18 hours of case consultations and 12 hours of personal sessions. SE is effective for Shock Trauma in the short term (typically one to six sessions) and Developmental Trauma as an adjunct to psychotherapy that may span years.
Somatic Experiencing attempts to promote awareness and release of physical tension that remains in the body as part of the aftermath of trauma. This occurs when the survival responses (which can take the form of orienting, fight, flight or "freeze") of the ANS are aroused, but are not fully discharged after the traumatic situation has passed.
Somatic Experiencing involves a guided exploration of the physical dysregulation that is harbored in the body as a result of trauma. Sessions often do not focus on talking about traumatic experiences. Clients are educated about how the body regulates stress and learn to track the related physical sensations, feelings, thoughts, and images that arise from traumatic memories. SE hasn’t been subjected to a double-blind study.
Techniques include "titration" of the client's experience. Titration allows the client to experience small amounts of the event's distress at a time in order to release the stored energy and allow their nervous system to return to balance. In this way the client does not become retraumatized and can move through their experience creating new meaning and experience successful resolution.
Another element of SE therapy is "pendulation". 'Pendulation' refers to the movement between regulation and dysregulation. The client is helped to move to a state where he or she is dysregulated (i.e. is aroused or frozen as is often demonstrated by physical symptoms such as pain or numbness) and then helped to return to a state of regulation. This process is done iteratively. The goal is to allow the client to resolve the difficulties, both physical and mental, caused by the trauma.
"Resources" are defined phenomenologically as anything that helps the client's autonomic nervous system return to a regulated state. This might be the memory of someone close to them who has helped them, a physical item that might ground them in the present moment, or other supportive elements that minimize distress. In the face of arousal, "discharge" is facilitated to allow the client's body to return to a regulated state. Discharge may be in the form of tears, a warm sensation, the ability to breath easily again, or other releases of energy which demonstrate the ANS returning to its baseline. Through this process the client's inherent capacity to self-regulate is restored.
Somatic Experiencing is useful for shock trauma and developmental trauma. Shock trauma is loosely defined as a single-episode traumatic event such as a car accident, natural disaster such as an earthquake, battlefield incident, physical attack, etc. Developmental trauma refers to various kinds of psychological damage that occur during child development when a child has insufficient attention from the primary caregivers, or an insufficiently nurturing relationship with the parent. These traumatic experiences often lead to the development in later life of eating disorders, addictions of all kinds and severe depression and anxiety disorders. By successfully treating the underlying PTSD symptoms, we go very far in alleviating the related addictions and other symptoms as well.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing and traumatic life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain's information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
Twenty positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR. Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions.There has been so much research on EMDR that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy. Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.
EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session. After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist's hand as it moves back and forth across the client's field of vision. As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level. For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, "I survived it and I am strong." Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes. The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them. Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.
EMDR Treatment Description:
EMDR therapy combines different elements to maximize treatment effects. EMDR involves attention to three time periods: the past, present, and future. Focus is given to past disturbing memories and related events. Also, it is given to current situations that cause distress, and to developing the skills and attitudes needed for positive future actions. With EMDR therapy, these items are addressed using an eight-phase treatment approach.
Phase 1: The first phase is a history-taking session. The therapist assesses the client's readiness and develops a treatment plan. Client and therapist identify possible targets for EMDR processing. These include distressing memories and current situations that cause emotional distress. Other targets may include related incidents in the past. Emphasis is placed on the development of specific skills and behaviors that will be needed by the client in future situations.
Initial EMDR processing may be directed to childhood events rather than to adult onset stressors or the identified critical incident if the client had a problematic childhood. Clients generally gain insight on their situations, the emotional distress resolves and they start to change their behaviors. The length of treatment depends upon the number of traumas and the age of PTSD onset. Generally, those with single event adult onset trauma can be successfully treated in under 5 hours. Multiple trauma victims may require a longer treatment time.
Phase 2: During the second phase of treatment, the therapist ensures that the client has several different ways of handling emotional distress. The therapist may teach the client a variety of imagery and stress reduction techniques the client can use during and between sessions. A goal of EMDR is to produce rapid and effective change while the client maintains equilibrium during and between sessions.
Phases 3-6: In phases three to six, a target is identified and processed using EMDR procedures. These involve the client identifying three things:
- The vivid visual image related to the memory
- A negative belief about self
- Related emotions and body sensations.
In addition, the client identifies a positive belief. The therapist helps the client rate the positive belief as well as the intensity of the negative emotions. After this, the client is instructed to focus on the image, negative thought, and body sensations while simultaneously engaging in EMDR processing using sets of bilateral stimulation. These sets may include eye movements, taps, or tones. The type and length of these sets is different for each client. At this point, the EMDR client is instructed to just notice whatever spontaneously happens.
After each set of stimulation, the clinician instructs the client to let his/her mind go blank and to notice whatever thought, feeling, image, memory, or sensation comes to mind. Depending upon the client's report, the clinician will choose the next focus of attention. These repeated sets with directed focused attention occur numerous times throughout the session. If the client becomes distressed or has difficulty in progressing, the therapist follows established procedures to help the client get back on track.
When the client reports no distress related to the targeted memory, (s)he is asked to think of the preferred positive belief that was identified at the beginning of the session. At this time, the client may adjust the positive belief if necessary, and then focus on it during the next set of distressing events.
Phase 7: In phase seven, closure, the therapist asks the client to keep a log during the week. The log should document any related material that may arise. It serves to remind the client of the self-calming activities that were mastered in phase two.
Phase 8: The next session begins with phase eight. Phase eight consists of examining the progress made thus far. The EMDR treatment processes all related historical events, current incidents that elicit distress, and future events that will require different responses.
Given the very high percentage of Awakenings clients who have experienced trauma in the childhood, adolescence and/or adulthood, EMDR is a very common concierge treatment frequently added to the individually tailored treatment plan of our clients where is it clinically appropriate.
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "God's Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy."
A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Many individuals have reported miraculous results.
Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery. While Reiki is not a cornerstone of treatment at Awakenings, it is often a supportive adjunctive treatment for individuals with PTSD and chronic pain conditions.