Program White Paper
Updated: Jun 4, 2019
The work of the Aurora Bio-Fitness Program takes the understanding of stress to a new level with the concept of Bio-Stress. It is this, and our understanding of how to trigger the states which can allow the system to quickly release the Bio-Stress load, which make our program so effective and intriguing.
Bio-Stress is the accumulation of urgent and drastic signals from several interrelated sources which can add up to reach the threshold to trigger sympathetic nervous system activation to initiate the survival state of Fight, Flight or Freeze. Executive functions including analyzing and choosing are impediments to quick action and the neuro communication is compromised in favor of the more primitive reactive brain
The Bio-Stress load builds with exposure to toxins, various illnesses, head injuries, various impacts on our attachment phenomena and impacts to the social engagement system.
Pat Ogden (2000) who also utilizes a somatic approach describes the dynamic: “…clients affective and cognitive information processing may be `driven’ by an underlying dysregulated arousal, causing emotions to escalate and thoughts to revolve around and around in circles”. This build-up of arousal and unprocessed charge in the system is the Bio-Stress load.
The common concept of stress as coming from areas such as mental and emotional activities, perceptions, beliefs, and thought patterns is only one of 8 categories of Bio-stress signals. This limited view does not allow the perception of other avenues for release. Our model of the MindBody system recognizes Bio-Stress signals from 8 sources [* See below], including categories such as: the immune system, stuck survival reaction patterns, the social and relationship area (fight/flight, trauma, fear, shame) and the physical body.
High Bio-Stress load affects the function of the other areas. For example the immune system can be more easily triggered when the Bio-Stress load is high. This may be why some believe the gut problems cause cognitive and behavioral issues when they are part of the overall reaction to the Bio-Stress load.
Our perspective of optimizing human performance seems to be more conducive to achieving a better state than the perspective which sees and defines only disease. The client is coached and encouraged to envision a better state for themselves and set goals for improvement. It is known certain brain nerve tracts have improved function with goal-directed actions.
Some methods use the concept of changing states to help bring the system out of the survival state and consciously address the emotional issue at hand. They suggest the person use nature, supportive family and friends, memories, strengths, passions, and humor, among others. These activities improve the state of mind and allow the frontal lobes to engage. This has the effect of quieting the nervous system and helping the person move through it. However, this is an uphill battle until the Bio-Stress load is reduced.
Our methods work to influence the Nervous System habits which can trigger unhelpful states. When the background Bio-stress load in the system is released, function improves so it is easier for the person and their MindBody system to address, process and release deep-seated and long-held emotional charges and trauma.
There are ways to activate neural networks, and turn down the urgent and chaotic
Bio-Stress signals connected with the trauma or stress, to encourage the system to reset. Although we use an understanding of psychological processes, it is a mostly direct and mechanical process. We use the primitive nervous system to bring familiar neural patterns and messages of safety and control into the deep nervous system. As more and more nerve networks come back online, the system moves to better function. Things don’t seem as desperate without the traumatic Bio-Stress signals. This allows the nervous system to regulate itself and be more resilient.
* The Eight Categories of stress signals.
1. Stuck survival reaction patterns: fight/flight, trauma, fear, shame
2. Neuro-motor reflexes: birth, primitive, life-long reflex systems
3. Cranial neuro-circuits: seeing, listening, learning, thinking
4. Bio-regulation: acu-meridian system, immune system
5. Nutrition: for energy and brain performance
6. Executive skill development: planning, concentration, decision-making
7. Mental stress:, emotions, memory, perception, beliefs, thought patterns
8. Relationships: social engagement, family, self