This is a quick guide to the bones, the basic building blocks, the simple gestures of Somatically Accessed Wisdom. For more pictures, more protocols, more understanding see the book Gestures of the Heart.
These are practical clinical skills to address neurobiology in the therapeutic hour. What this means is that good feeling can be augmented and distress patterns can be interrupted. Skepticism is welcomed. The body doesn’t lie which is why it is so valuable to take a Scale of Well Being (SWB) before balancing, before a single two minute gesture or before a ten minute protocol. Ask the client on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a strong well being, where they are before doing anything and then again after the entire interaction. As human beings we get to be surprised that a quiet ten minute protocol can effect change. A typical response is noting about two to four points difference from where they started.
A reference guideline is that the more upset the client is the greater the change. More often than not, it really does take just a biochemical nudge to ease the nervous system to greater harmony. We are wired for resiliency. We can access resiliency with straight forward codes.
The code that is key is drinking water and balancing the brain. From there anything is possible. I have three ways to balance the brain: Heart Blessing (two minutes), Gate to Peace (two minutes), and Brain Harmonize (five minutes). Begin here. Choose one way or combine them, explain it to the client, and in the case of the physical gesture, do it in a parallel fashion with the client. For all the individual gestures and for the protocols, it is the therapist’s job to time the gesture or visualization.
One other thing: sometimes doing one two minute gesture is all that is needed. For example, if there is looping thought doing Basic Relief for twp minutes or if there is shame/guilt doing Back Again for two minutes could shift the experience. Play, experiment, knowing it all contributes to the good. Working with body sensation and feeling is the essence of empowerment.
Heart Blessing: hands are crossed over the chest
with alternate tapping with each hand.
Gate to Peace: palms on top of each other, alternate tapping with the middle finger just below the wrist crease.
Brain Harmonize: visualize each of the following for one minute knowing that however it is visualized it will be fine.
-DNA Breath: breathing in from the sacrum (base of the spine)
tracing a spiral with the breath to the crown, on the exhale
breathing out an overlapping spiral to the sacrum.
-Gold White Weave: imagine gold light going from the right to the
left hemisphere, at the same time imagining white light going from
the left to the right hemisphere, the gold white light overlapping
and forming a radiant weave of light.
-Spacious Heart Breath: breathing in the heart center and
with the breath, tracing an infinity symbol (a sideways figure-8)
and breathing out the heart center.
-Unity: imagining thousands of points of light and energy all connected in the body and pulsing harmoniously.
-Star Compass Visualization: imagine a radiant star in the center of the brain.
Twelve Individual Components of the Protocols:
-Back Again: one hand on the chin, one hand on the thymus below the collarbone. Useful to metabolize shame or guilt.
-Basic Relief: one hand on the forehead, one hand underneath the nose. Useful to increase mental clarity.
-Eyelid Sweep: with an index finger at the corner of each eye, gently pulling the fingers over the eyelids, across the temple, and around the back of the earlobes, and then starting over again. Helpful when there is too much stimulation.
-Going for Gold: one hand on the heart, one hand on the thymus underneath the collarbone. Helps to take in feelings of gratitude and appreciation.
-Crown-Heart Hold: one hand on the top of the head, one hand on the heart. Access the wisdom of the “awakened heart.”
-Forehead-Heart Hold: one hand on the forehead, one hand on the heart. Benefits the integration of knowing and feeling.
-Head-Heart Hold: one hand on the back of the head, one hand on the heart. Soothing to the nervous system.
-Brain Flow Mudra: one hand on the back of the head, one hand on the forehead. Helpful to regulate the ANS when there is high arousal, also useful for insight.
-Middle-Ground Mudra: one hand on the back of the head, one hand on the crown. Relaxing to have contact with the brain stem while providing communication with our neocortex which is involved with perception, thinking and reasoning.
-Wise Brain: one hand on the crown, one hand on the forehead. Provides connection with our higher knowing and our deep seeing.
-Temporal Hug: right hand on left side of the brain above the ear, left hand on right side of the brain above the ear. Important contact to help the temporal lobes be up to speed in terms of here now processing.
-Solid Ground: thumb and index finger under the middle of the eye, while other hand is on the sacrum at the end of the spine. Facilitates release of uncomfortable feelings.
Simple Tune Up
1. Go for It: hands are crossed over the chest with alternate tapping with each hand, one to two minutes, then hand on forehead, hand on heart, two minutes. Seeing, feeling what we want in our heart and telling our brain to go for it.
2. It’s Okay: eyelid sweep begins with each index finger going gently over closed eyelid, across temple, and around back of ear, then starting over again for one to two minutes; then one hand on the brain stem and one hand below the navel for two minutes. Letting the body feel upset and soothing the arousal.
3. Sharing the Wealth: breathing in the heart center up to the crown and with the same
breath, breathing down to the sacrum and back up to the heart, exhaling; several rounds for about two minutes. This helps to create even, balanced energy in the body.
4.Befriending the Body: hand on the chin and a hand under the collarbone for two minutes, then both hands on the heart for two minutes. Gives resiliency and cohesion. I am in my body.
5. The Body’s Intelligence: one hand on forehead, one hand underneath the nose for two minutes, then one hand on the forehead and fingertips on the brain stem with the other hand for two minutes. Provides centering and balance.
Three Protocols that Cover the Bases:
Five-Step Flow to center in the body and to soothe if there is upset.
1. Brain Flow Mudra
2. Head-Heart Hold
3. Double-Hands Heart Hold: hold both hands on the heart.
4. Hold one hand on the heart and one hand two inches below the navel.
Hold one hand two inches below the navel and one hand on the sacrum.
Going the Distance With an Intent to engage the body with instruction and vision.
1. Wise Brain Mudra
2. Brain Flow Mudra
3. Head-Heart Hold
Making Room for Regard to increase resonance with positive feeling.
1. Gate to Peace
2. Double-Hands Heart Hold: both hands on the heart.
3. Forehead-Heart Hold
4. Hold one hand on the heart and one on the sacrum.
5. Massage outer ears, opening the senses.