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Trauma: Its Source and Resolution

Almost all of us at some time in our lives have experienced a traumatic incident that has had long-lasting physical and/or emotional repercussions.  Whether it is from combat, automobile accidents, physical abuse, life-saving surgery, or day to day stress, trauma can have severe consequences on our bodies, our belief systems, and our relationships.  It can leave us feeling depressed, helpless, full of anxiety, anger, or overwhelmed with life.  If we do not successfully integrate this experience, it can lead to physical conditions such as muscle tightness and dysfunction, high blood pressure, nervous system disorders, and chronic pain (just to name a few!).

Sometimes after trauma our autonomic nervous system, which controls how our body responds to challenge and rejuvenation, loses its capacity to know when to prepare for a threat (fight or flight or freeze) and when to relax and nourish itself.  Most clients I have seen tend to be stuck in the fight, flight or freeze mode, so their bodies are unable to fully relax and self heal.  It is like the autonomic nervous system has a red flag that is perpetually up and waving, signaling panic at all times!

As a craniosacral therapist, I have treated many people who have been traumatized.  The ones who have been treated in a timely fashion, right after an incident, tend to recover more quickly.  But trauma can be resolved even decades later. It just takes time and work.  The traumatized brain, which brain studies show has been rewired, must be reset.  Unrealistic belief systems (i.e. the world is a dangerous place) must be examined and resolved. Tight, painful tissues need to be tended to.  Sometimes chronically braced muscles need to complete an unfinished movement, or know that it is safe to release the holding. Many times, as the body heals, so does the emotional reaction to the incident.

The ANS (autonomic nervous system) is part of our primitive brain and mostly works independently of our thinking brain.  The ANS is best accessed and helped by breath, sensation, movement, and touch.  That is why craniosacral therapy can be so helpful in healing physical and emotional trauma.  It is a light touch healing modality that honors the body’s innate intelligence to release, re-align, and self-heal.  The more advanced CS practitioner carries a wealth of release techniques to help the ANS calm down, muscles to relax, and the client to feel less anxiety and emotional turmoil.  Some clients say they haven’t felt such peace in years. Many are able to finally sleep through the night. The majority of my clients profess more happiness and the ability to live in the moment.  What a gift!

If you, or someone close to you, has experienced trauma consider sending them my way.  I treat all ages, from infancy to the elderly.  I invite you to study more about craniosacral therapy on the web at  Or call me at 610-2005 for a free consultation.

Ilani Kopiecki, BA & CMT, has been a massage therapist and craniosacral therapist for over nine years.  She maintains her office at Stepping Stones Wellness Center, at 803 Pine Street, in Sandpoint.  To arrange an appointment please call her office phone at 610-2005.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Jayne January 12, 2009 at 6:55 pm

I had cranial sacral therapy for TMJ. I was very skeptical but my jaw and ear hurt so bad I was willing to try anything. Within 24 hours my pain vanished. (and I felt really calm and relaxed) I was amazed!


admin January 12, 2009 at 10:20 pm


Thanks for your great comment. I just posted an article a blog of mine on this subject:



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