FIRST OF ALL- WHAT IS TRAUMA?
Trauma is described as “any disturbing experience that results in significant fear, helplessness, dissociation, confusion, or other disruptive feelings intense enough to have a long-lasting negative effect on a person’s attitudes, behavior, and other aspects of functioning”. The defense systems of fight, flight or freeze is activated and the entire world becomes chaotic through our lens.
Trauma can leave a person scared in many ways, it can become a part of them that they can’t seem to get rid of. According to some approaches, our bodies store trauma and create energy blockages. The great premise of tantric healing is opening up the energetic blockages and letting your energy flow freely through your body. This way of healing touches the spiritual aspects of your being, unlike conventional healing methods.
WHAT IS TANTRIC HEALING
Tantric healing is commonly performed in the form of tantric massage. Tantric massage offers a hands-on bodywork experience which introduces ‘tantric essence of shakti, or energy’ into the reflexology practice. In tantric practice, sexual energy is very strong and it can be healing. However, most people don’t know how to connect with this power and use it for their own benefit. Tantra teaches people to experience this very powerful and sacred energy in the whole body instead of it being limited to genitals. While cleansing the energetic pathways in the body through tantra, the sexual energy starts flowing upwards.
Tantra provides holistic healing as a traumatic experience can change a person on many levels including; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. On a physical level, trauma traps in the body and tantra practices techniques like ‘‘safe touch, shaking, body massage, de-armouring’’ to release the body. On a psychological level, traumatised people experience overwhelming emotions and adopt limiting beliefs. Tantra helps people experience their emotions with self-regulation and adopt more empowering beliefs. On a spiritual level, trauma survivors can feel fragmented and disconnected. Tantra promotes wholeness and divineness in everything and offers the practitioners a spiritual awakening. Healing happens when the client finally re-establishes feelings of safety and releases the shields and armours they had.
TANTRIC HEALING TECHNIQUES
Here are some of the tools and techniques of tantric trauma work:
Safety and Trust: In tantric healing, the most fundamental concept is to establish a feeling of safety. Trauma survivors lose their feelings of safety in their own bodies and re-establishing it is monumental progress. Tantra aims to make our bodies our safe homes where we feel most welcome, proud and safe, instead of seeing the body as a source of shame and a residence for haunted memories. We are the sole owner of our body, and it is important to be mindful about that. Choosing a tantra practitioner with whom you feel safe and relaxed is a key factor. You need to speak about your boundaries, communicate consent, feel comfortable enough to be open and honest and trust the healer. Being able to identify and verbalise your boundaries and preferences is very empowering and a key element in any form of bodywork-related therapy. It gives a person the control and lets them be an active participant in their own healing.
Avoiding re-traumatisation: This is extremely important for tantra practitioners who are willing to do trauma work. A person can get re-traumatised by the recollection of the events. Thus it is important to avoid conversations that continuously lead to fear and helplessness as they are not helping the person feel safe and empowered. Every person has their own pace to process events and gain insights and each person is going through a unique journey. It is important not to be demanding or persistent. There is no one-way road to healing and letting the person find their own way through the tools tantra provides them is the goal.
Breath: Breathing can be used as a tool for healing and releasing your energy blockages. Breathing techniques to cope with psychological issues and emotional healing is very common
both in conventional therapy and alternative approaches.
Sounds: During trauma, a person feels helpless and silenced. Trauma practitioners activate the throat by making sounds and releasing what has been frozen. One of the techniques is making sounds during the exhale and connecting with your breath through this method.
Letting the feelings flow: By accepting your feelings and actively experiencing them as they come, you will be able to let go and release muscle tension. Suppressing, denying or using any other mechanism to somehow avoid your emotions can give them more power than they initially possessed. These emotions can be stored in your body and create blockages. Tantra therapists can give you tools to experience and express the feelings without them escalating and flooding in a wave you can’t cope with. As the sensations related to trauma arise, the therapist helps the client notice them and release the trauma. When the body feels ready to let go, it will be successfully guided by the therapist into release.
Acceptance: Tantra practitioners provide unconditional acceptance which is the key factor in healing and is recognised by every therapeutic approach.
Self care: With the intensity of all the emotions they are experiencing, trauma survivors can neglect self-care. Tantra promotes daily self-care and “me-time” with practices like grounding, meditation, exercise and breathing. All these practices promote a healthy life and build a foundation for a habit of taking care of yourself on a daily basis.
Connection: Trauma can weaken the connection you have with everything; your emotions, your body and other people. You can feel isolated and lost. One of the many benefits of tantra is enhancing that connection with yourself, your body, others and the universe. In tantra, everything is one and is a part of the divine. Promoting this wholeness and feelings of being a part of something bigger can help you find hope, meaning and purpose in life.
Embodiment and Sensations: People can feel dissociated after traumas and some parts of the body can stay numb as a result. Tantra aims to help people experience their bodies fully. To connect with your body and heal the trauma, tantric work goes through sensations. Our body continuously communicates with us through sensations and somatisations. These cues inform us of our surroundings and inner world. Being mindful about each sense can guide people and provide an important base for decision-making.
Touch/Bodywork: Tantra uses touch to establish love, nurture and healing. Deep scars buried in our bodies can be released with touch. It is a very simple, direct and natural way to connect with others and with ourselves.
Shaking/Movement: Trauma can immobilise and freeze the body and energy gets trapped inside. Mobility equals vitality. Tantra promotes movement in many forms, one of them is shaking. Shaking allows energy to flow through the body and break free from the blockages.
De-armouring: The energy blockages in your body as a result of trauma creates an armour. This armour can immobilise and desensitise the body. Pressure techniques are applied to different parts of the body to de-armour and release the blockages.
According to research, people can go through positive psychological change after a traumatic event and function even better than they had initially. This phenomenon is called Post Traumatic Growth (PTG). Five domains have been reported where PTG is established: better interpersonal relationships, increased personal strength, changed life priorities, appreciating life on a deeper level, and spiritual growth. Tantric practice provides tools to reframe your narrative and transform yourself. There is a possibility that PTG can be promoted with tantric healing methods. With tantra, clients can finally leave the burdens they have been carrying and end up stronger. They can find meaning and purpose in their lives.