Polyvagal Theory and Harmonetiks
Some thoughts on how harmonetiks is related to the Polyvagal Theory view of self-care approaches for helping to mitigate the effects of stress related issues.
THE VAGUS NERVE SYSTEM
The Vagus Nerve is a fundamental component of the autonomic nervous system, extending from the brainstem to the abdomen. It regulates vital organ functions linking the brain's monitoring with the body's crucial organs, and thus significantly influences overall well-being and physiological balance.
Trauma and the Vagus Nerve
Trauma, as aptly put by Eboni Webb PsyD, is a thief that robs us of hope. The Polyvagal Theory, formulated by Steven Porges, PhD, delves deep into the body's autonomic nervous system and its reactions to stress. When we are in harmony, we operate in the Ventral Vagal mode, a state of social engagement, connection, and positive emotions.
Stress or trauma can thrust us into the Sympathetic Activation state, and then we are filled with anxiety and tension, or worse, we experience the Dorsal Vagal response – a paralyzing freeze state.
Bessel van der Kolk accentuates in his lectures that being traumatized distances us from the present, making us feel less alive. True healing, he says, means being fully engaged in the 'now', undistracted by one’s fears or overpowering emotions. The real challenge lies in helping trauma victims reclaim this sense of being safe in the present moment.
Harmonetiks emerges as a beacon of hope in light of this understanding. Recognizing trauma's debilitating grip, Harmonetiks offers tools for self-regulation and grounding. As Dr. Peter Levine, PhD says, "Recognizing our body as the container of our experiences helps diminish the overwhelming nature of the experience of its contents. By enabling individuals to feel their bodily container fully, while influencing the vagal system to return to the ventral vagal state.
Harmonetiks guides one back to state of a sense of personal safety, connection to the present and over time a sense of belonging.The work we are doing is about empowering trauma survivors with resources, as one of the key strategies to having the ability to recover the feeling of being safe in that container, irrespective of the external environments. Through Harmonetiks, Trauma survivors learn not to rely on external influences but to find security within, restoring Health Hope and Harmony.