Tanika, a 52 year old woman, has been regularly seeing me for the treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis. (Hashimoto's is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid. It's the most common cause of hypothyroidism today). It'd been almost a full year of working together to support her thyroid and reverse immune system damage when one day she walked in and announced -
"You know, I've realized there's nothing actually wrong with me."
For most of her life, Tanika had the feeling that something was inherently wrong with her - that there was something that needed fixing. What she meant in that moment was that she'd come to a profound revelation: she was actually ok. Even though there was an autoimmune process at work in her body, even though she still needed treatment, she no longer felt plagued by the feeling that something was deeply wrong with her. As was evident in the smile on her face, the bounce in her step, her direct gaze and relaxed body, this was clearly profoundly liberating.
So now, I told her, she was ready for the real work. Instead of chasing different symptoms related to a disease process, we could take a deeper look at the root cause of these imbalances in her body. As she told me, 'I know I need support, my thyroid antibodies are elevated, and I still need to continue my thyroid meds for now, but I'm ready to take a dive into healing some old trauma that still lives within me.' This consciousness and this conscious choice to go deep is essential to being ready.
It was at this point that I introduced her to the Brain Protocol.
The Brain Protocol is a treatment plan that rebalances and harmonizes your entire nervous system. In The Body Keeps the Score (by Bessel Van der Kolk, MD, one of the world's foremost experts on trauma) we learn that every and all trauma, whether physical, emotional or mental, gets recorded in the muscle memory cells, in the tissues and nervous system of the body. The time period during which these disturbances occur is important, as the human brain and nervous system develops in stages. If something happens to you between the ages of 18 months and 7 years old, for example, an accident, a divorce in the family, or perhaps the loss of your favorite teddy bear - and this registers at the time as a great loss or shock to you, this creates a dynamic disturbance that often gets locked into the body memory and affects you in very specific ways and can adversely affect all future stages of development.
In the words of Alan Sroufe, (Professor Emeritus of Child Psychology in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota), "to fully understand how we become the persons we are - the complex step-by-step evolution of our orientations, capacities, and behavior over time - requires more than a list of ingredients, however important any one of them might be. It requires an understanding of the process of development, how all of these factors work together in an ongoing way over time".
Here is an overview of the 7 phases of the protocol, all representing a different age of development.
1) Adrenal Phase (birth-18 months)
2) Thyroid Phase (18 months-7 years)
3) Cortex Phase (7 years-puberty)
4) Pituitary Phase (puberty-17 years)
5) Heart Phase (17 years - 21 years)
6) Central Nervous System (21 years - 25 years)
7) Menopause/Andropause (post menopause)
In the Brain Protocol, a series of remedies, organotherapies and cells salts are given that are specific to the phase of development you are working with. Acupuncture treatments throughout the protocol support the process, clearing old pain and helping to set new patterns of communication in the nervous system and body.
With Tanika (as with any patient I guide through this process), we began with the remedies for the Adrenal Phase. During her first month on the protocol, she recovered a memory, confirmed by her mother, that she had fallen from her crib onto her head. This happened before she could even speak. The memory coincided with a complete clearing of chronic neck pain that she's had for years.
The second phase of development is the thyroid phase. We began Tanika on these remedies when she felt ready to move forward in her treatment plan. Within two weeks of beginning these, she began to experience acute pain in her heels, knees and low back. The pain was accompanied by a memory of a jump and fall she'd taken around 6 years old at the beach, an event that she'd covered up and hadn't shared with anyone, but had in fact caused her a significant amount of pain at the time. Accompanied with the memory was a feeling of shame and self-blame, feeling mad at herself for the accident and also feeling herself wholly responsible for doing this to herself. As we explored these feelings, we discovered a piece of the lens she had subconsciously chosen to wear thereafter, that something was wrong, and that she alone was responsible and to blame. She remembered isolating herself for the first time, choosing not to play in the games with the other kids that day and being too ashamed to tell any of the adults in her world what was wrong.
Because, as she said, her pain was her fault and hers to deal with.
Following this treatment plan takes time, about one year to move through the various stages of development. There can be a significant amount of counseling or coaching throughout, as you encounter old beliefs about yourself and the world that have become habits and practiced ways of being. Some of these habits no longer serve and, in fact, block your continued evolution and liberation.
Many of these old ways of being keep you separate and isolated from what you most want.
As I explained to Tanika, trauma happens to each and every one of us. The trauma sets a cascade of beliefs about the world and our place in it. Sooner or later, in the cycle of our life, we have the opportunity to confront again these old traumas, now with the tools, relationships and support to face and move through them. This is a great opportunity that we get to choose.
It takes courage and willingness to change old habits. It also takes the humility to ask for help, and the openness to follow direction. To be able to see ourselves in a new light through the eyes of another who can see us in our wholeness. So that we may return to wholeness and reclaim our lives.
This, to me, is the beauty and magic of healing. It is a co-creative relationship, something we get to do together. As you heal and liberate yourself, so do I and so do we all. It is work I'm continually humbled to be a part of.
A note of care: if you feel that the Brain Protocol is something you'd like to try, I urge you to find someone who will authentically support you through this process. It's not recommended to do it alone, for the explicit reason that we cannot see our blind spots. Also, the Brain Protocol works in the context of a healthy lifestyle, where you follow the fundamentals of good health and hygiene and where your body is capable of eliminating metabolic waste properly. If you're interested in learning more or you're wondering if this protocol is right for you, please contact me directly to set up a consultation.