The Importance of Tracking Sensation
According to Peter Levine, the creator of Somatic Experiencing and the author of many books on trauma including Waking the Tiger, “trauma is encoded in the brain stem, the thalamus, the limbic system and the hypothalamus. And the language of that part of the brain is bodily sensation. To investigate trauma, we have to be able to talk in that language, to guide the person in that language.”
In the Nervous System RESET framework I offer, tracking sensations in your body is an essential part of the work we do together. We track sensations to understand how your body responds to sensory input. By increasing your awareness of these sensations you will not only begin to better understand yourself, you will also better understand your physiology and your nervous system.
As you feel into the sensations in your body that arise after you practice different sensory explorations and somatic exercises, we use a Safety Scale to track these sensations and to help us understand how well an exercise supports you and your nervous system. The Safety Scale is a 10 point scale on a horizontal plane that can be oriented in which ever way feels the most natural to you. For example, 1 can represent feeling safe, calm and settled and 10 can represent feeling activated and stressed.
We use the Safety Scale to initially establish your baseline and how you are feeling in the present moment. Then we introduce different sensory explorations and body based (somatic) exercises and track how your body responds to these practices. You check back in with your body after you have practice a touch, movement or a gentle breathing practice then you feel into where your number on the safety scale is now, after the somatic practice. This process allows us to build a catered tool kit of resources for you that have been proven to improve how you feel.
Not all somatic practices work for everyone. Some may feel settled and calmer after an external focusing exercise but then some may become activated by an internal focusing exercise. It is essential to track the sensations in your body while participating in sensory explorations and somatic practices so you can feel which are best for you and which you may want to avoid for the time being.
Healing your nervous system takes time. Its a slow process. Building awareness of the sensations your body offers you as a response to sensory input is an essential part of the healing path. Connecting with the language of sensation which dials into the brain, is an essential piece on our journey of nervous system healing and regulation.