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Safe and Sound Protocol
Helpful Approaches to Dealing with Trauma
The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a methodology designed to help people who have experienced trauma or chronic stress feel more safe and more sound in their bodies. The protocol uses a combination of music, breathing, and movement exercises. It helps the nervous system reduce the fight-or-flight response and enter a more relaxed state.
If you have encountered trauma, your nervous system can become frayed. The SSP is one of the modalities that can help.
Keep reading to find out more about the safe and sound protocol, a component of the effective trauma treatment methods used at Emerald Isle Health & Recovery!
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What is the Safe and Sound Protocol?
The Safe and Sound Protocol or SSP was inspired by Dr. Stephen Porges’ work on the Polyvagal Theory. It shows that the autonomic nervous system has three distinct branches that each responds to different forms of threat in different ways. The first of these is the ventral vagal complex, which triggers the fight-or-flight responses.
The second is the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the freeze response. The last is the dorsal vagal complex, which shuts down the body’s systems to preserve energy.
What does the sound protocol (SSP) involve?
The SSP is designed to help people who have experienced trauma or chronic stress activate the dorsal vagal complex and move out of the fight-or-flight response. The protocol has three main components: listening to music, practicing diaphragmatic breathing, and doing gentle movements.
1. Listening to Music
The first step in the SSP is to listen to music that has been specifically designed to activate the dorsal vagal complex. The music is based on a scale of frequencies that Dr. Porges found to be most effective in stimulating the relaxation response.
2. Diaphragmatic Breathing
The second step in the SSP is to practice diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing. This type of breathing helps to activate the dorsal vagal complex by stimulating the vagus nerve, which goes from the brainstem to the abdomen.
3. Gentle Movements
The third and final step in the SSP is to do gentle movements. These movements help to further stimulate the vagus nerve and to increase blood flow to the muscles, which helps to reduce tension and stress.
The SSP is a safe and effective way to help people who have experienced trauma or chronic stress to feel more safe and more sound in their bodies. The protocol can be done on one’s own or with the help of a therapist, and it only takes 5 days to complete.
The human voice can activate the parasympathetic nervous system through a process called vocal toning. Vocal toning is when you make a sound with your mouth that is similar to humming.
When your vocal tone becomes audible, it causes your vocal cords to vibrate. This vibration then travels up through your throat and into your brain. Once in your brain, the vibration activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
SSP and social engagement systems
The SSP can also help people who have problems with social engagement. By going through the SSP process and changing their physiological and emotional state, people who would normally have felt anxious during social engagement find it easier to communicate with other people.
Enhancing social engagement by encouraging emotional regulation is a key part of the benefits of the SSP.
Polyvagal theory and the autonomic nervous system
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the part of the nervous system that controls the body’s unconscious actions. The ANS regulates many important functions in the body, including blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and respiration.
The polyvagal theory is a theory proposed by Dr. Stephen Porges that suggests that the autonomic nervous system produces three different states in response to the environment: rest-and-digest ( social and safe), fight-or-flight (mobilization), or shutdown (immobilization).
Changing Stress Responses Triggered by Trauma
The theory argues that these three states are based on an evolutionary process, with the newer fight-or-flight response being a more recent development in humans. The approach has implications for understanding anxiety, stress, and trauma.
The polyvagal theory has been found to be helpful in understanding the autonomic nervous system’s role in psychiatric conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, and depression. The theory can also help explain physical symptoms often seen in these disorders, such as heart palpitations, sweating, and difficulty breathing.
Polyvagal theory can inform treatment approaches for conditions like PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and depression. Treatment approaches based on polyvagal theory can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning.
What is the vagus nerve?
The vagus nerve is one of the longest nerves in the human body. It extends from the brainstem all the way down to the abdomen. This nerve plays a vital role in many of the body’s functions, including digestion, heart rate, and blood pressure.
The vagus nerve is part of the nervous system that helps to control involuntary body functions. Involuntary body functions are things that we do not have to think about in order to do them, like breathing or keeping our heart rate steady.
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What is the Vagus nerve made of?
The vagus nerve is comprised of many different types of nerve fibers. These nerve fibers send signals back and forth between the brain and the organs in the body.
It is very important for keeping the body’s systems working properly. For example, this nerve helps to control the digestive system. It also helps to keep the heart rate and blood pressure at a steady level.
The vagus nerve is also very important for communication between the brain and the body. It sends signals from the brain to the body that tell the body what to do.
Problems with the vagus nerve
There are many diseases and conditions that can affect the vagus nerve. If the nerve is damaged, it can cause problems with the body’s involuntary functions.
Some of the most common problems that can occur include:
- Digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea
- Heart rhythm problems
- Issues with blood pressure
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarseness or changes in voice
- Problems with sexual function
How to activate the parasympathetic nervous system
There are many ways that you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system.
One way is through the use of meditation and relaxation techniques. When you are able to focus your attention on your breath and let go of all other thoughts, you are automatically putting yourself into a relaxed state. This relaxed state allows your body to heal itself and to function at its optimal level.
You can activate the parasympathetic nervous system through the use of acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of different ailments. By stimulating specific points on the body, known as meridians, acupuncture can help to release tension and blockages that may be causing problems within the body.
When it comes to activating the parasympathetic nervous system, deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to do so. This is because deep breathing leads to a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, which are both indicative of a relaxed state. Additionally, deep breathing has been shown to increase levels of endorphins, which are known to promote relaxation.
There are many breathwork types that can be used to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. One type of breathwork is diaphragmatic breathing, which is a deep, slow abdominal breathing technique. This type of breathwork has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety, and can also help to improve sleep quality.
Another type of breathwork that can be used to activate the parasympathetic nervous system is square breathing. This is a breathing technique where you breathe in for four counts, then hold your breath for four counts, then breathe out for four counts. You can repeat this till you feel calmer. This type of breathwork can help to slow down your heart rate and reduce stress and anxiety.
There are also several herbs that you can take to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Some of the most popular herbs for this purpose include valerian root, passionflower, and skullcap. These herbs have all been shown to be very effective in stimulating the vagus nerve and helping to promote a state of relaxation within the body.
The human voice
The human voice can activate the parasympathetic nervous system via the auditory system through vocal toning. Vocal toning is when you make a sound with your mouth that is similar to humming.
When you perform a vocal tone, it causes your vocal cords to vibrate. This vibration then travels up through your throat and into your brain. Once in your brain, the vibration activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
You are unlikely to experience the same benefits through human speech alone.
Attending a trauma center
If you have tried healing modalities to help your nervous system heal, and you still feel jarred, going to a trauma center is the best thing you can do. A center like Emerald Isle Health & Recovery can provide you with holistic healing from trauma. You will be in an environment with trained professionals, who will help you to feel safe every step of the way.
What causes trauma?
Trauma can occur when a person experiences an event that is physically or emotionally harmful. The event can be something that happened to the person or something that happened around them. Trauma can also occur when a person witnesses an event that is physically or emotionally harmful. Witnessing an event can be just as traumatic as experiencing it firsthand.
Sometimes, people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event may feel like they are in danger even when they are not. This is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can happen to anyone. It is important to remember that not everyone who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
There are many different types of trauma. Some examples include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Domestic violence
- Natural disasters
- Car accidents
- Witnessing violence
Who can experience trauma?
Anyone can experience trauma, and it does not discriminate. People of any age can be affected. Unfortunately, trauma is quite common. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 60% of men and 50% of women will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.
Trauma can have a severe and lasting impact on a person’s mental and physical health. Everyone reacts to trauma differently. Some people may feel scared, confused, or hopeless. Others may feel numbed, detached, or disconnected. Some people experience physical symptoms like a racing heart, trouble breathing, headaches, or stomachaches.
There are many different ways to heal from trauma. Some people may find it helpful to talk to a therapist, counselor, or support group. Others may find relief in medication, art, journaling, or exercise. Do what feels right for you and be patient with yourself.
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Combining Safe and Sound protocol with other modalities
When it comes to healing from trauma, the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) developed by Dr. Stephen Porges can be extremely effective. However, it is often even more successful when used in conjunction with other modalities.
For example, many people who have experienced trauma also struggle with anxiety and depression. In these cases, combining the SSP with therapy and/or medication is even more beneficial for treating trauma, and is part of what makes our offerings so effective at Emerald Isle.
Choosing Emerald Isle Health & Recovery for trauma treatment
Living with trauma can be excruciating, but it doesn’t have to be like this. Getting to the root of trauma means that your body and mind can heal, and you can go on to live a whole life again.
Contact Emerald Isle Health & Recovery for a confidential call now to find out how you can deal with your trauma and find freedom!
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