This past weekend I was out in Phoenix for an amazing training with an organization called Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB). I learned so much about how traumatic events can impact people, and how helpful a very simple protocol that I have been using for years can be for them.
The points used in the AWB protocol are called; Shenmen (meaning ‘heart gate’), Kidney, Liver, Lung and Sympathetic. These points have been selected for their ability to activate the parasympathetic (the rest and relax aspect) nervous system and to down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system (the fight/flight/freeze aspect).
“Recent research indicates that acupuncture is also an effective way to reduce post-traumatic stress (PTS). Currently, the VA Health Services Research and Development Service is conducting a study on the effect of acupuncture on PTS-related insomnia and a pilot study on how acupuncture might improve quality of life in veterans with traumatic brain injury and PTS. And, the Department of Defense has recently funded a New England School of Acupuncture study on acupuncture for treatment of Gulf War Syndrome, which includes symptoms of fibromyalgia pain and post-traumatic stress patterns.” -AWB
The calming effects of this protocol help to quiet the constant firing of the nervous system that disconnects us from the present moment. When we allow ourselves time to rest and reflect and enlist the help of tools that allow us to relax (i.e. acupuncture), we are able to create space and heal. I will definitely be incorporating this protocol into more of my private acupuncture sessions and have ideas about making it in to a low-rate community clinic as well. Stay tuned!