How is trauma defined?

Merriam-webster cites:

TRAUMA: “A very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental, physical, emotional problems usually for a long time”


  • a: an injury (as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent
  • b: a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury
  • c: an emotional upset “the personal trauma of an executive who is not living up to his own expectations”

2: an agent, force, or mechanism that causes trauma

The body and mind are very intelligent mechanical devices. They allow your heart to pump blood throughout the body. They enable the digestive system to break down foods and for nutrients to be distributed throughout the body. Because of this intelligence, your immune system can fight off bacteria and disease. You inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. To some extent you can even regulate body temperature. The mind and body stimulate sweat glands when hot, and activate shivering when the muscles are cold. The list is endless.

Its intricate system is optimally designed so you can enjoy simple things like picking up a cup of coffee, which requires over 30 billion ATP (adenosine triphosphate for intracellular energy) to do just that.

The body activates your hip flexor muscles so you can flee from a dangerous situation. It protects you whenever there is any indication of danger or need for survival. In a healthy system it automatically knows what to do when there is internal and/or external conflict.

The body is a self-healing mechanism, as long as we do not constantly abuse it, and ignore the signs and messages it tries to give us.

At some point, we may encounter danger and trauma, if we do not acknowledge the harm as having passed the mind and body remain in a traumatic state.

Prolonged exposure to a traumatic state induces both psychological and physical complications.

Trauma creates a major impact on the entire nervous system.Traumatic memories are stored in several regions of the brain (amygdala, thalamus, hippocampus, hypothalamus, brain stem). When these areas are disrupted, normal body functionality is affected. Memories of trauma can be trapped on a cellular level where the body will recognize old traumatic patterns and react physiologically to them when triggered by an action or event at any given time. This trauma will re-occur until the brain recognizes the event as having passed and is of no significance.

It is important to bring down the central nervous system so the body recognizes it’s not in constant chaos. Some techniques that can help bring the body, mind and soul to that state would be meditation, breathing, restorative yoga, hands-on techniques (Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Brain therapy, Somato-Emotional Release) and many more.


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Tony Eng is a certified massage therapist and yoga instructor that specialize in an osteopathic approach, using techniques such as Cranio Sacral therapy, Myo-Fascial Release, Visceral Manipulation, Neural Manipulation, Brain Therapy and Somato-Emotional Release. He has an extensive teaching background in several modalities including Anatomy and Physiology for bodywork and yoga. Tony is able to share his knowledge and teachings of the importance of intuitive touch and bio-mechanics of the body. He believes the body is a sacred place and it deserves the upmost metta!

For more information on Tony and his work, click here.