When people battle disorders such as addiction, depression, and PTSD, they often become detached from their bodies. When this happens, a person can stumble through life, mistreating their body through addictive behavior, neglect, or traumatic relationships with others. In the midst of this, people struggle with ongoing negative thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions that fuel their disease. The feelings that ensue from these negative thoughts are often pushed down, denied or ignored, further perpetuating the detachment. Recovery must include a restored connection between mind and body, allowing people to more fully and compassionately understand and care for themselves, thereby engaging in life in a healthier way.
Mind-body therapy refers to a variety of treatment approaches that offer individuals an avenue in which to reconnect the mind with the body. At Cottonwood, mind-body therapy approaches include: Somatic Experiencing (SE), Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Nei Tsang, HeartMath, and Meditation.
Somatic Experiencing, based on Peter Levine’s book Waking the Tiger (1997), is a type of therapy that addresses relieving and resolving the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other forms of physical, mental, or emotional distress by focusing on an individual’s perception of body sensations. SE is based on the premise that PTSD symptoms or other areas of distress result from a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS, which is believed to be capable of self-regulation, is often impacted by traumatic events. SE focuses on restoring the ability of the ANS to restore self-regulation and regain equilibrium. This is done by promoting awareness and release of the physical tension remaining in the body following trauma. SE provides education to individuals about the body’s stress responses and how to track related physical sensations. Techniques of SE include titration, pendulation, resources, and discharge. At Cottonwood, SE is offered in both group and individual sessions.
Chi Nei Tsang, translated working the energy of the internal organs, is an ancient Chinese healing touch therapy that focuses on deep, gentle massage of the abdomen. It is believed that this form of massage may train the organs in the abdomen to work more effectively, thereby improving the quality of one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Chi Nei Tsang theorizes that unresolved emotional pain may reside in one’s digestive system, resulting in ill health. Goals of Chi Nei Tsang include improved elimination and immune response as well as stimulation of the lymphatic and circulatory systems. Chi Nei Tsang also aims to support the release of emotion, facilitate proper breathing, and enhance visualization and meditation skills. At Cottonwood, Chi Nei Tsang participants learn to practice self-application of massage.
HeartMath, also called Hear Rhythm coherence feedback, is a form of biofeedback that teaches individuals techniques to reduce the body’s physiological response to stressful events as the events occur. HeartMath uses computerized technology to measure heart rate while training individuals to monitor and alter their body’s response to stress. Cottonwood provides individuals with HeartMath sessions as a way to cope with anxiety, cravings, PTSD symptoms, or other distressing events.