WHAT, WHERE AND WHY IT IS STORED
Connective tissue – soft tissue – also known as fascia – is the most abundant and unexplored tissue in the body. It is made up largely of collagen and it is like a three-dimensional net running throughout your body from head to toe, creating a latticework giving your body its shape and form. It runs throughout your muscles and tendons, ligaments, fat, and vital organs. It holds them shape and in relationship to each other. Without fascia, nothing in your body would have shape or form or be able to function. The nerve receptors in the body are almost totally encapsulated in the fascia, your connective tissue.
When we are infants our connective tissue is soft and pliable, almost jelly-like in its consistency. Integrity of form, conferring both strength and tone, comes about through the production of specialized enzymes as well as though the biochemical process called “collagen cross-linking.” This cross-linking occurs when two strands of collagen bind together. As children, our bodies normally create, largely through this process of cross-linking, a harmonious balance between the tightening and softening of tissues, thus keeping the body firm yet elastic.
Throughout our lives we are continuously exposed to the cumulative effects of physical and emotional traumas. These come in the form of stresses and injuries, as well as external toxins, such as preservatives and pollutants. Reactions to painful physical and emotional events are held not only in the mind, but in the body, as well.
When an injury or insult takes place, whether it may be from the stresses of modern everyday life or a more traumatic injury, the body instinctively holds and tightens as a defensive maneuver to protect itself from greater damage while it is healing. A very important survival mechanism occurs in this process. As the memory and pain of the event lock into the body, that creates a link between the source of injury and the brain. Now what you have between the brain and the body is a reflex action. The importance of this is that the next time a similar situation occurs, you have a pre-programmed reflex action that is instilled in you to save your life. That way the next time something stimulates you in a similar way; a sound, a smell, a sight, a sensation, you don’t have to think – “now where did I hear that before?” – instead, you have an automatic reaction; the fight or flight reaction.
As damage occurs, and as the body/mind constellation responds, a secondary but far more powerful process begins. The pain of injurious events actually locks into the body/mind memory. When we understand the function of the brain, we see that this cementing of memory is not surprising. As we’ve said, the number one function of the brain is survival in the moment. This survival mechanism insures that the brain holds onto the evidence of injury; it maintains at least a footprint of the original injury. This process of brain locking, a natural event serves a function, counterbalancing in a very valuable way the dysfunction of the injury. As this connection occurs, actual hard wiring within the brain is created between the circumstances of an injury and the memory-activation of it. Smells, sights, touch — all the senses can become involved; and because there may be a similar sight, smell, or sound, it can trigger the survival mechanism and the flight or flight response.
The thing is, while the injury itself aids in survival, the number one directive, it can also have a deleterious effect on the quality of life you lead. Commonly, at the site of the injury, tissues become constricted and excessive adhesions and toxicity are created. It takes almost no time for further cross linking to take place when tissues are immobilized and the whole area becomes involved. Over time, the tissues become trapped and stuck to each other in an ever expanding network emanating from the site of the injury. We don’t need this area of tightened, hardened, dysfunctional tissue.
Over time, these once pliable soft tissues continue to tighten. Without therapeutic intervention, and even though the injury itself may have long ago healed, these tissues, all too often, continue to tighten, and thicken, in a cycle of worsening dysfunction, thus impeding circulation, impinging on nerves, and causing pain. Flexibility, posture, and mobility are often effected. These same conditions can be brought about by prolonged static postures like desk jobs, driving or studying as well as the cumulative effects of stress, gravity and toxins from food and the environment. These limitations negatively impact a person on all levels: physical, emotional and psychological.
Yet, while memory-locking within the brain was originally useful, it most often outlives its survival function. Sometimes the command center for these re-plays originates deep within the brain – a part of the brain that is not accessible to everyday awareness — the unconscious. The unconscious can trick us; memories of the old injuries that no longer have relevance can become activated. We can think of them as “psychic scars” that also reside within the musculature, nervous and other systems of the body – serving the same original function of bodily scars – a healing to prevent further damage.
Whether the memory lock is accessible to conscious awareness, or within the recesses of the unconscious, the original useful function, indeed, has now become a dysfunction. The once pliable soft tissues continue to entangle, tighten, compress and thicken, thus impeding circulation, impinging on nerves, and causing chronic pain and continued dysfunction. All that’s needed is the footprint of the injury to maintain a healthy reflex action, and not large areas of dysfunction within the body and psyche where flexibility, posture, and mobility are often affected. Indeed, many injuries that took place in the past are no longer relevant, and with a little help, can be erased.
Spiral Techniques helps people to release the psycho-physiological effects – both brain and muscle memories — of events that no longer serve them but instead have become a hindrance to well being and full functioning.
It is Art Jaffe’s belief that the higher self knows which of these scars and areas of tightness are still necessary to retain and to what degree and which are ready to be wholly released. When readiness is present, old syndromes and limitations can be cast off, and freedom and ease of full function can return.