These therapies are established training protocols for our neurology and physiology. They are known to extend our adaptive capacity, whereby we increase our perceptual abilities and the “bandwidth” of our responses. These therapies are specifically oriented to: the Parasympathetic Nervous System (All Living Things, Animals), Peripheral Motor Reflexes and the Sympathetic Nervous System (Animals, Vertebrates), Spinal Cord Reflexes, Sympathetic Nervous System and Brain-Stem (Vertebrates), Brain-Stem and Mid-Brain (Mammals), or Mid-Brain and Neo-Cortex (Primates). Identifying the most appropriate selection is done by either the SURVEY or the DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS.
The intention is that by focused attention on specific neurology global function will be enhanced. However, integration requires complex movement, so combining these therapies with activities that challenge our perceptions and actions globally, for example going camping, rock climbing, or hiking on a trail, is important – as long as a stress-response is not induced (see the section below). Combining these therapies with habituated behaviors such as playing video games minimizes their efficacy.
If these therapies are successful one will discover that the boundary of one’s limitations has moved. It is therefore suggested that one challenge one’s belief in one’s limitations. For example, if you believe you are terrible at math, you may discover that you derive pleasure from being more mathematically engaged in the world. If you did not challenge this belief, you may never discover this.
Contrary to common wisdom stress and learning are not compatible. We learn effectively when we are challenged, which is a type of stress called Eustress. However, if pushed beyond our capacity to adapt (Adaptive Capacity) we become triggered into a protective reaction called Distress in which our ability to change is inhibited. It is important that when doing any type of therapy that Distress is not triggered, either during the session or in the several days following a session. It makes coming back to the therapy more challenging as it embeds an association between that activity and a protective reaction.
How do you know if you are about to trigger a protective stress reaction? The answer is that it is quite challenging. It is much easier to observe that you have triggered a stress response as you will see a sudden change in behavior, flushing or something else that will cause you to pause. Stop whatever you are doing if this happens, and do something fun or relaxing. It is best to be conservative with these therapies, and increase the duration/intensity only as long as the client/patient/child responds positively. For neurology that is very poorly integrated an exercise duration may be only a few seconds, but the exercise may be returned to multiple times over the course of a day. The rule of thumb is that if you feel that a stress response is being triggered, do the exercise for a shorter period, or break the exercise down into smaller parts, or both. However, it will be likely that once you are training where the patient/client can adapt to the challenge you are presenting their tolerance will increase, and therefore the duration/intensity should also be increased.
In a nutshell, the more fun or interesting you can make these therapies, and the more you can build them into playful activities, the more effective they will be.
SKILL LEVEL REQUIRED
The activities and floor exercises are organized so that anyone should be able to derive benefit from them. The table therapies are oriented to professional therapists (primarily Manual Therapy, as that is this authors orientation). Where resources oriented to non-professionals is available, that is included.
The list is by no means inclusive and if you are a therapist whose modality is not described here, you can still utilize the Survey and/or Diagnostic Tools in your modality. For example, if you are an Ericksonian Hypnotherapist, and the Vertebrate Layer indicated, you could model a story that had a strong timeline, visual component and intention, and linear movement (walking over a flat surface). Another example would be if you are a Personal Trainer and the Mammal Layer indicated, you would bring both more caution and emphasis to homolateral exercises (triggering a stress response may happen more quickly with these exercises for that client).
Sometimes one finds that reactive compensatory responses are excessive, and sometimes the opposite – that the neurology just doesn’t even try to step up to the challenge. It is interesting that one therapeutically one approaches both mechanisms identically. This tactic has been established experientially, and this author has encountered statement of this tactic from multiple sources, and from his own experience.
If you have a modality that you would like to recommend for this framework please contact the author: