The Poly- Nature of Our Neural States.
Consider the nervous system (see video below), it has one primary function: to ensure the survival of our physical body. As Stephen Porges, researcher at the Kinsey Institute points out from his Polyvagal Theory, “When states of safety are manifest in the structures of the body, the body is poised to serve as a platform for healing.” Unfortunately, many clients/patients seeking improved wellbeing suffer chronic conditions of stress to such an effect that their bodies are simply unable to receive the benefits of the manual therapy — in some case even getting worse after treatment.
To manage such stress, many therapeutic approaches today consider autonomic nervous system (ANS) function to support release. Stanley Rosenberg, author of Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve, proposes an understanding of Polyvagal Theory as an approach to healing, in particular an understanding of the multifaceted roles of the cranial nerves, such as the (poly-) nature of the vagus nerve even greater results in manual therapy.
Using the Ear for Insight and Regulation.
All of the major nerve branches are received by the ear. As a result, reflex zones on the ear reflect the entire nervous system. Using the ear as a guide to understanding neural states and their effect on specific parts of the body, manual therapist can quickly gain understanding for selecting and prioritizing treatment approaches. Not only that, using stimulation techniques on the ear manual therapists can help regulate ANS function and prime the body for tissue release (see video below).
The use of the ear in manual therapy (e.g. clinical methods from Auricular Medicine), can increase the efficiency of a manual therapy practice and help deliver improved outcomes.