AUTONOMIC HEALING INTEGRATION (AHA)
What is AHA?
Autonomic Healing Activation is a type of somatic therapy that activates and normalizes the reactive stress response. For a more in-depth look, please follow this link. AHA is not psychotherapy which treats the mind. AHA is a somatic intervention that allows the brain to create involuntary sensations and movements which release stress from the body. The involuntary activity orchestrated by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) permanently removes the stress that has accumulated over the years in one session. Involuntary sensations indicating that stress is present in your nervous system are familiar to you already. Those nervous habits like tapping your toes or fingers, fidgeting, pacing, clearing your throat, twirling your hair, chewing on your fingernails and countless others, are neurogenic tremors (involuntary activity resulting from stress). The chills you get when you are afraid, the butterflies that you feel in your stomach when you are anxious, the blushing that occurs in your face or neck when you are embarrassed or self-conscious, the shudder you experience when you feel threatened, are also neurogenic tremors; involuntary sensations resulting from stress. Those involuntary sensations and actions (neurogenic tremors) simply show us that there is stress trapped in your nervous system; they do not remove it. During AHA you consciously allow your ANS to generate and coordinate involuntary sensations and movements that completely remove stress!
Why is AHA so effective in one session?
When we experience threat, real or perceived, a cascade of events occur in the neurobiological system. These events begin with lower brain functions, brain stem, the autonomic nervous system and neurochemicals without reference to language. In preparation for a real or perceived threat the automatic bodily experience is for things to slow or contract. If the threat materializes, the full threat response activates with alarm and an increase of all bodily functions, heart rate, temperature fluctuations, no access to righting reflexes, non-volitional movement and no access to words or mental descriptors. The higher the threat the more primitive the response will be, i.e. childlike, dissociative and animalistic. Then a combination of responses occurs once the threat slows or ends; bodily functions increase or slow down or somewhere in between. The ANS generates neurogenic tremors that literally remove the stress from the nervous system throughout the body. During AHA the individual revisits the bodily process of threat with little to no language. Because emotional and physical pain are identical in the way the brain processes them, the AHA therapist facilitates the gradual and natural process of somatic release that the ANS was either not allowed to or was unable to accomplish when the original threat to well-being was experienced. The neurogenic tremors created by my ANS are involuntary and the intensity, expression or duration of the neurogenic tremors cannot be predicted. Once AHA somatic processing finishes, cognitive material can be accessed gradually and safely. AHA resets permanently the homeostatic systemic somatic response in one session. Homeostasis is the maximum efficiency of operation of the brain. This allows individuals to integrate the bodily responses and send a message up to the higher functioning brain where cognitive material is stored. The message is to return back to rest and recuperation and run at maximum efficiency. Once completed, individuals can compartmentalize their stressful or traumatic experiences using limited verbal language. AHA allows for the ability to recognize and organize the automatic bodily responses such as the autonomic nervous system, opioid response, immune system and hypothalamic pituitary axis and utilize the important background responses in the foreground. Individuals suffering from unhealthy stress, trauma or lack of primal needs experience these ingrained set of threat responses and are unable to verbalize what is happening. If the individual is not able to somatically release it, relive it and organize in a systemic way in the body solely before they can categorize and organize with verbal language they develop poor coping skills and cannot regulate their neurophysiological system. AHA integrates the lower brain functions or bodily systemic responses first then introduces them to the higher-level functions or mental constructs second. AHA works best with those who have limited access to language, have suffered from threat to their survival and who suffer from every day stress.
What can AHA be used to address?
AHA can be used for anything from chronic trauma (preverbal), PTSD, severe mental illness, depression, phobias, anxiety, eating disorders, fear, distress, psychosomatic diagnosis, physical/mental/sexual abuse, emotional distress, self-esteem issues and everyday stress. It is also highly effective in managing the urges to engage in unhealthy coping with stress through sex, eating or psychoactive substances.
What are the benefits of AHA?
- AHA addresses the symptoms of reactivity to stress triggers listed above
- AHA occurs in one session
- The behaviors that were reactions to the stress trapped in your nervous system do not have a reason to exist
- Addresses everything before neuronal threads/negative thought patterns occur
- Unparalleled results in stress removal
- Minimal or no return of symptoms when Preventive Stress Management is done consistently
- Treats all forms of stress and trauma
- Provides tools for success and assurance
- Achieves lasting outcomes
For additional information on AHA, please see the links available on the Resources page.