When it comes to dealing with stress three seems to be the magic number. If two bad things happen in a row people can handle it but if that number suddenly becomes three, then the body shuts down; we become emotional and have difficulty regulating ourselves.
In children I describe this as being “over the top” and find that a good rest will reset a child. In adults this becomes a harder state to re-set because we can get stuck there. It affects our mental capacity to process. And if any emotional wounds were triggered in the process a person may become inconsolable.
I was recently treating a patient who had become triggered by old family wounds. She was ok until a visit with her sister-in-law shut her down. The sister’s behaviour triggered an old dynamic she had with her father – a feeling of powerlessness and not being heard or having a voice. On its own this incident would have just been a rather unpleasant weekend. But when combined with two prior incidents this patient felt herself slipping back into feelings of severe panic and anxiety.
Fortunately, this patient has a coping plan when she finds herself entering back into these old feelings. The first involves booking in with her counsellor. The second is booking in with me for an acupuncture/healing touch session. Physiologically her body switched from parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) into sympathetic nervous system(fight or flight response. Acupuncture moves people out of a heightened state of fear and anxiety into a calmer more relaxed state where their mind can process situations more rationally.
With the help of a counsellor, especially EMDR counselling, patients can uncover their triggers and get to the root of the action that’s causing their pain – often found in emotional childhood wounds (abuse, neglect, alcoholic parents or divorce).
Covid also caused a lot of my patients to become displaced emotionally and out of balance. Again using acupuncture and healing touch to help guide this emotional energy through their bodies I am able to restore them to peace and wellbeing. Patients often leave feeling exhausted and wobbly as holding onto all that fear, anger and anxiety is exhausting especially for their nervous systems.
If patients don’t have a good counsellor to help them in their worst moments exercise is a good interim solution. A fast walk, bike ride, or yoga with lots of breathwork – anything that gets their body moving will also help move that excess energy through their system.