Somatic Trauma Mapping

Identify and reprocess your trauma with somatic mapping in Birmingham.  Get to the root of your issues and heal the pain contained within your subcortical brain.

Navigate Your Internal Body Brain

Somatic Awareness

Learn to regulate your emotional experience.  Free yourself from tension, anger, and chronic pain caused by your past traumas.

Get Yourself "Unstuck"

Release yourself from unconsciously re-experiencing your most painful memories.  You don’t have to remain stuck in unhealthy cycles.

Understand Your Trauma

Every good answer begins with a good question.  Trauma mapping helps you develop the right questions to solve the right issues for you.

Guide Your Therapeutic Recovery

Somatic trauma mapping helps you chart the right course for your therapy.  Neuroscience shows that the most effective way to heal trauma begins with learning how you experience emotion and self.  This is the first step on the path to reduce symptoms and heal.

Personalized Trauma Mapping in Birmingham

If you’re therapy isn’t tailored to your needs, it simply isn’t going to work. At least, it won’t be as effective as it could be. Cookie-cutter solutions aren’t right for human beings. You’re unique and your traumas are too. You need a therapist that treats you accordingly.

Reprocess Your Fight or Flight Response

Your subcortical brain dictates your emotions and reactions to the world around you.  You feel these deep emotions before you can even process them intellectually.  Somatic therapy helps you get in touch with and adapt to what you feel on an experiential level.

Tap Into the Best Version of You

It’s easy for your subcortical brain to become dysregulated by trauma or chronic stress.  This leads to extreme emotional responses and a host of other symptoms.  Trauma mapping is a powerful first step in realigning your “body brain” to serve you.

Somatic Trauma Mapping

Somatic trauma mapping is a therapeutic approach that integrates various techniques, such as brainspotting, posture analysis, muscle tension assessment, and the exploration of chronic pain, to understand and address trauma stored in the body. This holistic approach recognizes that trauma impacts not only the mind, but also the body, and seeks to uncover and heal the somatic imprints of traumatic experiences.


Brainspotting, a technique developed by Dr. David Grand, is a form of therapy that involves using the visual field to access and process unresolved trauma in the brain and body. During a brainspotting session, the therapist and individual work together to identify and focus on specific eye positions that correlate with areas of the body where trauma is held. By using the eyes to “spot” these somatic “brainspots,” the individual can access and process traumatic memories and sensations that may be stored in the body.

Posture analysis is another important component of somatic trauma mapping. Our posture, or the way we hold our body, can reveal valuable information about our emotional state and history of trauma. Trauma can impact our posture, causing us to tense certain muscles, hold our body in protective positions, or exhibit imbalances. By observing and analyzing a person’s posture, a therapist trained in somatic trauma mapping can gain insights into how trauma may be affecting the individual’s body and overall well-being.

Muscle tension assessment is also a key element of somatic trauma mapping. Trauma can often result in increased muscle tension or chronic muscle tension patterns in the body. Through gentle touch, palpation, or body awareness exercises, a therapist can identify areas of tension or tightness in the muscles that may be associated with traumatic memories or emotional distress. This can provide important clues for understanding the somatic aspects of the individual’s trauma.

Integrative Treatment and Body Work:

One common somatic symptom of trauma is the sensation of a “black hole” or emptiness in the chest. This can be described as a deep, hollow feeling in the chest that may be experienced as a physical sensation of emptiness or a sense of emotional numbness. This can occur as a result of the body’s response to trauma, which can trigger the freeze response, a survival mechanism that involves dissociation or disconnection from emotions and sensations. The sensation of a “black hole” in the chest can be a way the body copes with overwhelming emotions or experiences, as it attempts to protect itself from the intensity of the trauma.

Other somatic symptoms of trauma can include sensations of tightness, heat, coldness, numbness, heaviness, or feeling lighter than the room. These sensations can arise from the body’s physiological response to stress and trauma, which can affect the nervous system, musculature, and circulation. For example, the body’s stress response can cause muscles to tense up, leading to sensations of tightness or heaviness in various parts of the body. The body’s circulation can also be affected, leading to sensations of heat, coldness, or numbness in different areas.

Additionally, trauma can disrupt the normal regulation of body temperature and body sensations. Some individuals may experience increased sensitivity to temperature changes, such as feeling unusually cold or hot, or may experience numbness or tingling sensations in different parts of the body. Others may describe feeling disconnected from their body or feeling like their body is lighter than the room, which can be related to dissociation or disconnection from physical sensations as a coping mechanism for the trauma.

It’s important to note that these somatic symptoms are not always solely physical sensations, but can also have emotional and psychological components. Trauma is a complex experience that affects the body, brain, and mind, and somatic symptoms can be a manifestation of the interplay between these different aspects of the self.

Somatic symptoms of trauma can vary from person to person and may change over time, and they can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. It’s important for individuals who have experienced trauma to seek support from qualified healthcare professionals, such as trauma-informed therapists or somatic practitioners, who can help them understand and address these somatic symptoms in the context of their trauma history. Treatment approaches such as Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and other body-oriented therapies can be helpful in supporting individuals in processing and integrating their traumatic experiences, and addressing the somatic symptoms associated with trauma.

What it Treats:

Somatic trauma mapping is an integrative approach that recognizes the interconnection between the body, mind, and emotions in the experience and healing of trauma. By combining techniques such as brainspotting, posture analysis, muscle tension assessment, and chronic pain exploration, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of how trauma is stored in their body and work towards healing and integration. It is important to work with a trained and experienced therapist who is skilled in somatic trauma mapping to ensure a safe and effective therapeutic process.

Somatic medicine, also known as body-oriented medicine or somatic therapy, is a form of holistic healthcare that emphasizes the interconnection between the body, mind, and emotions. Somatic medicine focuses on addressing physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms by working with the body’s sensations, movements, and physiological processes. While somatic medicine is not a replacement for conventional medical care, it can be used as a complementary approach to support and enhance overall health and well-being. Here are some conditions that somatic medicine may be used to treat:

Chronic pain:

Somatic medicine can be effective in addressing chronic pain, including musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, and other types of persistent pain. By working with the body’s sensations, movements, and posture, somatic therapies such as myofascial release, rolfing, and other forms of bodywork can help relieve tension, release trigger points, and promote improved alignment and movement patterns, which can alleviate pain and discomfort.

Stress-related disorders:

Somatic medicine can be used to address stress-related disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By regulating the body’s stress response and helping to restore balance to the autonomic nervous system, somatic therapies like mindfulness, body-centered psychotherapy, and trauma-focused bodywork can help reduce symptoms of stress and improve emotional well-being.

Trauma and PTSD:

Somatic medicine can be particularly effective in treating trauma and PTSD. Traumatic experiences can be stored in the body as somatic memories, and somatic therapies can help release and process these stored memories, allowing for resolution and healing. Approaches such as Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) are somatically-oriented therapies that are often used to treat trauma and PTSD.

Body image issues and eating disorders:

Somatic medicine can also be used to address body image issues and eating disorders. By working with the body’s sensations, movement patterns, and the relationship between body and mind, somatic therapies can help individuals develop a healthier relationship with their bodies, improve body awareness, and cultivate a positive body image.

Anxiety and mood disorders:

Somatic medicine can be used as a complementary approach to treat anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. By regulating the body’s stress response, promoting relaxation, and addressing physical symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, somatic therapies can help improve overall emotional well-being.

Psychosomatic disorders:

Somatic medicine can also be beneficial in treating psychosomatic disorders, which are physical conditions that are influenced by psychological or emotional factors. Examples of psychosomatic disorders include tension headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, and other conditions where emotional or psychological factors can manifest as physical symptoms. Somatic therapies can help address the underlying emotional or psychological factors contributing to these physical symptoms.

It’s important to note that somatic medicine is an integrative approach that works in conjunction with conventional medical care, and it’s important to consult with qualified healthcare professionals to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your individual needs. Somatic medicine can be used as a part of a comprehensive and holistic approach to health and well-being, addressing the interconnected nature of the body, mind, and emotions.

Untreated Trauma Causes Long Term Damage to the Body:

There is growing evidence to support the link between emotional disorders, such as anger, and their potential impact on physical health, including the possibility of long-term damage to the body. While the exact mechanisms are complex and multifactorial, research suggests that chronic emotional distress can have detrimental effects on the body over time, potentially contributing to the development of various health conditions, including cancer.

Emotions are not solely confined to the mind, but they also have a profound impact on the body. When we experience intense or prolonged emotional states, such as anger, the body responds by releasing stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can have physiological effects on various organs and systems. For instance, chronic anger has been associated with increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and suppressed immune function, among other physiological changes.

One way in which chronic emotional distress, including anger, can potentially cause long-term damage to the body is through the impact on the immune system. The immune system plays a crucial role in defending the body against harmful substances, including cancer cells. Prolonged stress and negative emotions have been shown to weaken the immune system, making it less effective in fighting off cancer cells and other pathogens. Additionally, chronic stress and negative emotions can also promote inflammation in the body, which has been linked to the development of cancer and other chronic health conditions.

Emotional disorders can also have indirect effects on physical health through unhealthy coping mechanisms. For example, individuals who struggle with anger may engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep, which can increase the risk of developing cancer and other health problems over time.

It’s important to note that the relationship between emotional disorders and physical health is complex, and it is not necessarily a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Many factors, including genetic predisposition, lifestyle factors, and environmental factors, can influence an individual’s risk of developing cancer and other health conditions. Emotional distress, including anger, is just one piece of the puzzle.

The accumulating evidence suggests that chronic emotional distress, including anger, can potentially contribute to long-term damage to the body, including the increased risk of developing cancer and other health problems. It underscores the importance of addressing emotional health as an essential component of overall well-being and healthcare. Seeking appropriate support from mental health professionals, developing healthy coping strategies, and engaging in self-care practices can all be important steps in promoting emotional well-being and protecting physical health in the long term. As always, it’s crucial to consult with qualified healthcare professionals for a comprehensive assessment and appropriate management of physical and emotional health concerns.

The Body Brain

The relationship between the body, brain, and psyche is complex and multifaceted, involving intricate interactions between various physiological and psychological processes. The concept of “psyche-soma” refers to the interconnectedness of the mind (psyche) and the body (soma) and how they mutually influence each other. In recent years, research has shed light on the role of the subcortical brain, a deep and primitive part of the brain, in shaping our emotional experiences and overall well-being.

The subcortical brain, also known as the limbic system, is a group of structures located deep within the brain, including the amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and other regions. These structures are involved in regulating various physiological processes, such as emotions, stress response, memory, and autonomic functions like heart rate and breathing. The subcortical brain acts as an interface between the body and the higher cognitive functions of the cortex, helping to process and integrate sensory and emotional information.

One of the key functions of the subcortical brain is its role in processing and responding to emotions. The amygdala, in particular, is often referred to as the “emotional alarm center” of the brain. It plays a crucial role in the formation and processing of emotional memories and in the generation of emotional responses. For example, when we encounter a threatening or stressful situation, the amygdala activates the stress response and triggers the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare the body to respond to the perceived threat.

The subcortical brain is also closely connected to the body through the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates various physiological processes, including heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and immune function. The ANS has two main branches: the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response and is often associated with stress and arousal, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “rest-and-digest” response and is associated with relaxation and recovery. The subcortical brain helps regulate the balance between these two branches of the ANS, influencing our overall state of well-being.

The intricate interplay between the subcortical brain, the body, and the psyche can have a significant impact on our emotional and physical health. For example, chronic stress and negative emotions can dysregulate the subcortical brain and the ANS, leading to a wide range of health problems, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and other psychosomatic disorders. Conversely, interventions that target the subcortical brain and promote regulation of the ANS, such as mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and body-based therapies, have been shown to have positive effects on emotional well-being and physical health.

Understanding the complex interconnections between the body, brain, and psyche, particularly the role of the subcortical brain, can have important implications for holistic approaches to health and wellness. Approaches that address the integration of the body and mind, such as somatic therapies, body-centered psychotherapy, and other mind-body interventions, can be valuable in promoting overall well-being and addressing various physical and emotional health concerns. Integrative approaches that consider the interplay between the body, brain, and psyche can provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to healthcare, taking into account the multifaceted nature of human experience.

Posture Analysis

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can impact a person’s posture, mood, and even their personality. Trauma, whether it be a single traumatic event or prolonged trauma exposure, can have far-reaching effects on both the mind and the body, including changes in posture that may reflect the physiological and psychological aftermath of the trauma.

One of the ways PTSD can affect posture is through increased muscle tension and hypervigilance. People with PTSD may carry tension in their muscles, especially in the neck, shoulders, and back, which can result in a slouched or hunched posture. This may be an unconscious response to protect oneself from perceived threats or to brace against overwhelming emotions associated with the trauma. Additionally, individuals with PTSD may exhibit a heightened startle response, causing them to hold their body in a guarded or defensive posture, such as crossing their arms or clenching their fists.

PTSD can also impact a person’s mood, leading to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, and emotional numbness. These mood changes can influence a person’s body language, including their posture. For example, someone experiencing anxiety may adopt a tense or rigid posture, with a stiff spine and limited mobility. On the other hand, someone experiencing emotional numbness or depression may exhibit a slouched or collapsed posture, as if their body feels heavy and weighed down.

Posture can also be linked to changes in personality that can result from PTSD. Trauma can affect a person’s sense of self and identity, leading to alterations in personality traits and behaviors. For instance, someone who was once outgoing and confident may become more withdrawn and avoidant, leading to changes in their posture, such as avoiding eye contact, slouching, or appearing closed-off.

It’s important to note that posture is not solely determined by personality or character, but it can be influenced by a variety of factors, including past experiences, physical health, and mental well-being. Posture changes associated with PTSD are not indicative of a person’s worth or character, but rather may be a manifestation of the trauma they have experienced and the ways in which their body is responding to it.

Understanding posture changes in the context of PTSD requires a compassionate and trauma-informed approach. It’s crucial to avoid making assumptions or judgments about a person based on their posture alone, and instead, approach them with empathy and understanding. Trauma-informed care, including therapy and interventions that address the physical and emotional manifestations of trauma, can be instrumental in supporting individuals with PTSD in their healing journey. Working with qualified healthcare professionals who understand the complexities of trauma, posture, mood, and personality can be beneficial in helping individuals navigate the challenges of PTSD and work towards recovery.

What You Need to Know About Trauma Mapping

Somatic trauma therapy locates where our nervous system stores traumatic memories in the body.  A “trauma map” can assist you in understanding how trauma affects your emotional reality, physical sensations, somatic feelings, posture, communication style, unconscious reactions, and more.

Over the course of treatment, right therapist can help you develop a trauma map.  It’s a tool designed to guide treatment based on your unique needs.  Without it, you can’t be sure the therapy you’re receiving is actually addressing the root causes of your issues.  That’s why it’s a crucial part of the therapeutic process.


Trauma & PTSD


Anxiety & Depression


Chronic Pain & Illness


Anger Management


Substance Abuse Issues


Dissociation & Panic


Attachment Dysregulation


Relationship Problems


Communication Issues


Life & Career Goals

The History of Using the Body in Psychotherapy:

The integration of the body in psychotherapy has a rich history that can be traced back to the pioneering work of Wilhelm Reich, a prominent psychoanalyst and psychiatrist in the early 20th century. Reich, who was a student of Sigmund Freud, believed that emotional and psychological issues were intrinsically linked to the body and that unresolved emotional conflicts could manifest as physical symptoms.

Wilhelm Reich:

Reich’s work centered around the concept of “orgone energy,” which he believed was a vital life force that flowed through the body and played a role in both physical and psychological health. He developed a therapeutic approach known as “orgone therapy” or “orgonomy,” which aimed to release blocked or stagnant energy in the body through various techniques, such as bodywork, breathing exercises, and emotional expression.

Reich’s ideas were groundbreaking at the time and challenged the prevailing view of psychoanalysis, which largely focused on the mind and ignored the role of the body in psychological processes. However, his theories were controversial and faced criticism from the psychoanalytic community, leading to his expulsion from the International Psychoanalytic Association and the suppression of his work by the medical establishment.

Despite the challenges he faced, Reich’s ideas continued to influence subsequent generations of therapists and researchers who sought to integrate the body into psychotherapy. In the 1950s and 1960s, other pioneers in the field, such as Alexander Lowen and John Pierrakos, developed their own body-oriented approaches to therapy, drawing on Reich’s ideas and expanding on them.

Bioenergetic Analysis:

Lowen, a student of Reich, developed Bioenergetic Analysis, which focused on the relationship between the body, emotions, and character structure. He emphasized the importance of releasing muscular tension and increasing body awareness as a means of accessing and resolving emotional conflicts.

Pierrakos, also influenced by Reich, developed Core Energetics, which integrated bodywork, energy work, and psychotherapy to facilitate emotional healing and personal growth. He emphasized the connection between the body, mind, and spirit, and the importance of aligning these aspects of self for holistic well-being.

New Age Movement:

In the 1970s and 1980s, other body-oriented approaches to psychotherapy emerged, such as Gestalt therapy, Hakomi, and Somatic Experiencing, which incorporated body-centered techniques and practices to facilitate healing and growth. These approaches recognized the inherent connection between the body and the mind, and the role of the body as a source of information, insight, and transformation in the therapeutic process.

In recent years, the field of body-oriented psychotherapy has continued to evolve and expand, with growing recognition of the importance of the body in the treatment of trauma, somatic disorders, and mental health issues. Research has also provided evidence for the efficacy of body-oriented approaches in improving emotional regulation, reducing stress, and enhancing overall well-being.

Today, body-oriented psychotherapy encompasses a wide range of approaches, techniques, and modalities that recognize the importance of the body in the therapeutic process. It emphasizes the integration of body awareness, mindfulness, movement, breath, and touch as tools for accessing and resolving emotional conflicts, promoting self-awareness, and fostering personal growth.

Modern Somatic Therapy:

In conclusion, the integration of the body in psychotherapy has a rich history that can be traced back to the pioneering work of Wilhelm Reich and has evolved over the years to include a diverse range of approaches. Body-oriented psychotherapy recognizes the intrinsic connection between the body and the mind and emphasizes the importance of the body as a source of information, insight, and transformation in the therapeutic process. It continues to be an important and growing field in the realm of mental health and well-being.

How Body Work can Help PTSD

Myofascial release, trauma-informed yoga, mindful exercise, and Rolf massage are holistic approaches that can support the body in releasing stored emotions and trauma from the fascia and posture, and help individuals with PTSD regulate mood and emotion. These modalities recognize the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and emotions, and offer techniques that can promote healing and well-being on multiple levels.

Myofascial release:

Myofascial release is a hands-on technique that targets the fascia, a complex web of connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, bones, and organs in the body. Trauma and emotional stress can create tension and restrictions in the fascia, leading to postural imbalances, pain, and discomfort. Myofascial release uses gentle, sustained pressure and stretching to release fascial restrictions, allowing the body to regain its natural alignment and function. This can help release emotional tension that may be stored in the fascia, allowing for emotional release and regulation.

Trauma-informed yoga:

Trauma-informed yoga is a specialized approach to yoga that recognizes the impact of trauma on the body and mind. It focuses on creating a safe and empowering environment for individuals to reconnect with their bodies, regulate their nervous system, and release stored emotions. Trauma-informed yoga practices, such as gentle movements, breathwork, and meditation, can help individuals develop body awareness, self-regulation skills, and cultivate mindfulness, which can support the release of trauma from the fascia and promote emotional regulation.

Mindful Excercise:

Mindful exercise, such as walking, jogging, or swimming, can also be beneficial for releasing stored emotions and trauma from the fascia and posture. Mindful exercise involves being fully present in the moment, paying attention to sensations in the body, and regulating the breath. This can help individuals develop a mindful and compassionate relationship with their bodies, and create opportunities for emotional release and healing. Regular mindful exercise can also promote overall physical and mental well-being, helping to regulate mood and emotions.

Rolf Massage:

Rolf massage is a form of bodywork that focuses on realigning and balancing the body’s structure through deep tissue manipulation. It can help release tension and restrictions in the fascia, restore balance and alignment, and support the body in releasing stored emotions and trauma. Rolf massage also promotes body awareness, mindfulness, and relaxation, which can help regulate mood and emotions.

By addressing the fascia and posture through myofascial release, incorporating trauma-informed yoga and mindful exercise, and utilizing Rolf massage, individuals with PTSD may be able to release stored emotions and trauma from the fascia and posture, and regulate mood and emotion. These holistic modalities recognize the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and emotions, and provide techniques that support healing on multiple levels. It is important to work with qualified and experienced practitioners who understand the complexities of trauma and provide trauma-informed care. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise or bodywork practice.

Dance/movement therapy:

Dance/movement therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses movement and dance to explore and process emotions, thoughts, and feelings. It can help individuals increase body awareness, express themselves creatively, and develop insight and self-compassion.

Tai Chi:

Tai Chi is a mind-body practice that originated in China and involves slow, flowing movements, deep breathing, and mental focus. It has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, improve balance and flexibility, and promote relaxation and mindfulness.

Mindfulness-based approaches:

Mindfulness-based approaches, such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), incorporate mindfulness practices, such as meditation, body scan, and mindful movement, to cultivate present-moment awareness and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Outdoor/nature-based therapies:

Spending time in nature and engaging in outdoor activities, such as hiking, gardening, or ecotherapy, has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits. It can help reduce stress, increase relaxation, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being.

Taproot Therapy does not provide these physical therapy services, but can referr you to providers in the community in conjunction with therapy. If you are a physical therapy provider that would like to work with us please send us an email.

How Can Fixing the Body Help the Mind?


Hormones are chemical messengers produced by various glands in the body, including the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, and adrenal glands. Hormones can affect our mood, thoughts, and behaviors. For instance, stress hormones like cortisol can impact mood and cognitive functions when released in excessive amounts, leading to symptoms such as anxiety and cognitive impairment.

Nervous system:

The nervous system, which includes the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (nerves throughout the body), plays a crucial role in how our body and brain interact. For example, the autonomic nervous system regulates involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate, digestion, and breathing, and it can influence our mood and emotions. The sympathetic nervous system, often associated with the “fight or flight” response, can trigger stress responses, while the parasympathetic nervous system, associated with the “rest and digest” response, can promote relaxation and calmness.

Body sensations:

Our bodily sensations, such as tension, pain, or relaxation, can impact our mood, thoughts, and relationships. For example, chronic pain or discomfort can affect our mood negatively, leading to irritability, frustration, and difficulty concentrating. On the other hand, relaxation and comfort can positively influence our mood and cognitive functioning.

Body language:

Our body language, including facial expressions, gestures, and posture, can communicate our emotions and thoughts to others, influencing our relationships. For instance, non-verbal cues such as a warm smile or a friendly gesture can enhance social connections, while negative body language like crossed arms or frowning can create barriers in relationships.

Health and well-being:

The overall health and well-being of our body can impact our mood, thoughts, and relationships. For example, engaging in regular physical exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and managing stress can promote better mental health and cognitive functioning, which can positively impact our mood and relationships.


Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain that play a critical role in regulating mood, emotions, and cognitive functions. Imbalances in neurotransmitters can lead to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. For example, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is often associated with feelings of well-being and happiness, and low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression.

Somatic Trauma Mapping FAQs

Meditation & Mindfulness Therapy - Image of a Painting with the Sun Setting Over a Mountain Range Symbolizing the Sun Setting on Your Trauma

How Does Trauma Mapping Work?

A somatic trauma map is developed by the thorough identification and processing of traumatic memories.  It allows you to understand all the parts of your traumatic experiences.  This helps inform your treatment plan in a way that allows for deep healing and personal growth.

Why Build a Somatic Trauma Map?

Trauma mapping facilitates the reprocessing of painful experiences.  It provides a means through which you and your therapist can come to realizations about your traumas.  From there, it makes it easier to select an appropriatecourse of treatment—and then act on it.

Where Does Trauma Mapping Come From?

The somatic experience framework was created by Dr. Peter Levine.  It is based on the study of neuroscience, stress physiology, biology, and other disciplines.  Its aim is to heal dysfunction caused by traumatic shock.  Today, it is especially useful in the treatment of PTSD.

Where Does Trauma Mapping Fit?

Your somatic trauma map is both the first step and ongoing guide in a holistic treatment plan.  It will continue to develop over the course of therapy.  As your knowledge of self becomes more refined, so does your trauma map.  Over time, it provides a guide for care.

Why Taproot Therapy Trauma Mapping?

Taproot Therapy is Birmingham, Alabama’s premiere treatment center for PTSD. We offer personalized treatment based on your needs and goals. We lead with empathy and we consistency get great results for others like you. We’ll help you get to the root of your trauma.

“We are a hopeful species. Working with trauma is as much about remembering how we survived as it is about what is broken.”

– Bessel A. van der Kolk,
The Body Keeps the Score

The Link Between Body and Brain Mental Health

The link between neurotransmitters, gut health, and micronutrient precursors has gained significant attention in recent research as scientists uncover the intricate relationship between the gut and the brain, known as the gut-brain axis. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain that play a critical role in regulating mood, behavior, cognition, and other physiological processes. Gut health refers to the well-being of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, as well as the trillions of microbes that reside within the gut, collectively known as the gut microbiota. Micronutrient precursors are essential nutrients that are required in small amounts for various physiological functions, including the production of neurotransmitters.

The gut is not only responsible for digestion and absorption of nutrients but also serves as a complex ecosystem that communicates bidirectionally with the brain through a network of nerves, hormones, and immune molecules. Emerging evidence suggests that the gut microbiota can influence the production and function of neurotransmitters, as well as modulate the integrity of the gut lining, immune response, and inflammation, which can impact brain health and mental well-being.

One key area of research in the field of gut health and neurotransmitters involves the role of micronutrient precursors. Micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain. For example, serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating mood, appetite, and sleep, is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan, which is obtained from the diet. Studies have shown that alterations in gut microbiota composition and function can affect the availability of these precursor nutrients, leading to imbalances in neurotransmitter production and function.

Additionally, the gut microbiota itself can produce certain neurotransmitters, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine, which are known to influence mood, cognition, and behavior. The production of these neurotransmitters by the gut microbiota is dependent on the availability of specific precursors, such as amino acids and vitamins, which can be influenced by gut health and overall dietary intake.

Furthermore, research has shown that disturbances in gut health, such as dysbiosis (an imbalance in the gut microbiota), increased gut permeability (leaky gut), and gut inflammation, can trigger an immune response and lead to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These inflammatory molecules can disrupt the normal functioning of neurotransmitter systems in the brain, leading to alterations in mood, cognition, and behavior.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in using dietary interventions, such as supplementation with specific micronutrient precursors and modulation of the gut microbiota through probiotics, prebiotics, and dietary fibers, to promote optimal neurotransmitter function and overall gut health. For example, some studies have shown that supplementation with certain vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium, can improve neurotransmitter synthesis and function, and potentially alleviate symptoms of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

In conclusion, the connection between neurotransmitters, gut health, and micronutrient precursors is an area of active research that has shed light on the complex interplay between the gut and the brain. Understanding the role of gut health and micronutrient precursors in neurotransmitter production and function has important implications for mental health and well-being. Further research in this field may open up new avenues for therapeutic interventions aimed at promoting optimal gut health and neurotransmitter function for the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.

What are some Somatic Therapy Techniques?

Body scanning:

This technique involves bringing attention to different parts of the body and noticing physical sensations, as a way to promote body awareness and relaxation.

Breathing exercises:

This technique involves focusing on the breath as a way to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Movement therapy:

This technique involves using movement and physical activity, such as yoga or dance, as a way to promote emotional expression and body awareness.


This technique involves using technology to measure physiological responses, such as heart rate or muscle tension, and teaching individuals how to regulate these responses through relaxation techniques.

Touch therapy:

This technique involves using safe and appropriate touch as a way to promote emotional connection and regulation.

Sensory integration:

This technique involves using different sensory experiences, such as touch, sight, or sound, to promote emotional regulation and body awareness.

Trauma release exercises:

This technique involves using physical movements and exercises to help release and process stored trauma in the body.

List of Notable Somatic Therapy Practitioners:

Peter A. Levine:

Founder of Somatic Experiencing, a form of somatic therapy that focuses on resolving trauma and promoting resilience through body awareness and self-regulation.

Pat Ogden:

Founder of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a somatic therapy approach that integrates body awareness and mindfulness to promote healing from trauma and other emotional issues.

Bessel van der Kolk:

Author of “The Body Keeps the Score” and a leading expert on the neurobiology of trauma and the role of the body in healing.

Babette Rothschild:

Author of “The Body Remembers” and a pioneer in the integration of somatic therapy with traditional talk therapy approaches.

Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen:

Founder of the Body-Mind Centering approach to somatic therapy, which emphasizes embodied anatomy, movement, and touch.

Thomas Hanna:

Creator of the somatic therapy approach known as Hanna Somatic Education, which emphasizes the role of movement and body awareness in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Alexander Lowen:

Founder of Bioenergetics, a somatic therapy approach that focuses on releasing emotional blockages and promoting greater self-expression and vitality through movement and body awareness.

The Link Between Neuroscience and SOmatic Medicine

Unraveling the Neuroscience of Mapping Somatic Trauma: Understanding the Brain-Body Connection

Mapping somatic trauma involves exploring the intricate connection between the brain and the body to gain insights into the effects of trauma on our physiological and psychological well-being. Neuroscience plays a vital role in deepening our understanding of this brain-body connection and shedding light on the mechanisms underlying somatic trauma. In this section, we will delve into the neuroscience behind mapping somatic trauma and how it contributes to the healing process.

The Stress Response and the Amygdala:

When faced with a traumatic event, the brain’s stress response system is activated, with the amygdala acting as a key player. The amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the brain, plays a central role in processing emotions, particularly fear and threat detection. In cases of trauma, the amygdala’s hyperactivity can lead to heightened emotional responses and an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Understanding the role of the amygdala in mapping somatic trauma provides valuable insights into the brain’s initial response to traumatic experiences.

Neuroplasticity and Memory Formation:

Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize and adapt, plays a significant role in the formation and processing of traumatic memories. Traumatic experiences can induce changes in neural connections and alter brain circuitry, leading to the encoding of somatic trauma. By mapping somatic trauma, we can identify the specific neural pathways involved in traumatic memory formation and gain a deeper understanding of how trauma impacts the brain’s structural and functional organization.

The Hippocampus and Memory Retrieval:

The hippocampus, a region crucial for memory formation and retrieval, also plays a role in mapping somatic trauma. Traumatic experiences can impact the hippocampus, resulting in memory disruptions and difficulties with recalling traumatic events accurately. By examining the hippocampus’s function in the context of somatic trauma, we can better comprehend the mechanisms underlying memory retrieval and the challenges individuals may face when trying to articulate and process their traumatic experiences.

Sensory Processing and the Somatic Experience:

The somatic experience of trauma encompasses the sensory and bodily sensations associated with traumatic events. Neuroscientific research highlights the involvement of sensory processing areas, such as the somatosensory cortex, in mapping somatic trauma. These areas are responsible for integrating and interpreting sensory information from the body. By understanding how the brain processes and integrates somatic sensations, we can gain insights into the somatic markers associated with trauma and the potential pathways for healing and resolution.

Neurofeedback and Regulation of the Nervous System:

Mapping somatic trauma can involve the use of neurofeedback techniques to regulate the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS controls the body’s automatic functions and is divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. Trauma can dysregulate the ANS, leading to heightened arousal, hypervigilance, and a range of physical symptoms. Neurofeedback helps individuals regain control over their nervous system by providing real-time feedback on their physiological states. By monitoring brainwave activity and bodily responses, individuals can learn to regulate their ANS, promoting healing and restoring balance.

The intersection of neuroscience and mapping somatic trauma provides valuable insights into the complex interplay between the brain and the body in the context of traumatic experiences. Understanding the involvement of the stress response system, neuroplasticity, memory formation and retrieval, sensory processing, and the regulation of the nervous system sheds light on the intricate mechanisms underlying somatic trauma. By harnessing this knowledge, therapists and individuals can develop targeted approaches to navigate and heal from somatic trauma, facilitating the restoration of well-being and resilience.

Choosing Somatic Medicine: Embracing a Holistic Approach to Healing

When it comes to our health and well-being, we are often presented with a myriad of options for treatment and healing. One approach that has gained recognition and popularity in recent years is somatic medicine. Somatic medicine offers a unique and holistic perspective on health, focusing on the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit. In this section, we will explore why choosing somatic medicine can be a transformative and empowering decision for individuals seeking comprehensive healing and well-being.

Addressing the Root Causes:

Unlike some conventional approaches that solely focus on treating symptoms, somatic medicine aims to address the root causes of illness and imbalance. It recognizes that physical symptoms often arise from deeper emotional, psychological, or energetic imbalances. By exploring and addressing these underlying factors, somatic medicine offers a more comprehensive and lasting healing experience.

Embracing the Mind-Body Connection:

Somatic medicine recognizes the undeniable connection between the mind and the body. It acknowledges that our emotions, thoughts, and experiences are not separate from our physical well-being. By working with the mind-body connection, somatic medicine provides a framework for understanding how emotional and psychological factors can impact our physical health. This integrated approach encourages individuals to actively participate in their healing process by cultivating awareness, self-reflection, and emotional resilience.

Holistic and Individualized Care:

Somatic medicine embraces a holistic approach, considering the whole person rather than focusing solely on isolated symptoms or conditions. It recognizes that each individual is unique, with their own set of experiences, traumas, and circumstances. Through a personalized and individualized approach, somatic medicine seeks to address the specific needs of each person, tailoring treatments and interventions accordingly. This personalized care fosters a deep sense of trust, empowerment, and collaboration between the individual and their healthcare provider.

Promoting Self-Healing and Empowerment:

Somatic medicine empowers individuals to take an active role in their healing journey. It recognizes the inherent wisdom and self-healing capacity of the body and guides individuals in reconnecting with their innate healing resources. By cultivating awareness, mindfulness, and self-care practices, somatic medicine encourages individuals to become active participants in their own healing process, fostering a sense of empowerment and self-agency.

Integrating Complementary Modalities:

Somatic medicine often incorporates a range of complementary modalities and therapies to support healing and well-being. These may include bodywork, movement practices, mindfulness and meditation, breathwork, energy healing, and more. By integrating these modalities, somatic medicine offers a diverse toolkit for individuals to explore and find the approaches that resonate with them on their healing journey.

Cultivating Long-Term Resilience:

Somatic medicine focuses not only on the resolution of immediate symptoms but also on cultivating long-term resilience and well-being. By addressing the root causes of imbalances and providing tools for self-care and self-regulation, somatic medicine equips individuals with the skills and resources to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease and resilience. It fosters a proactive approach to health, promoting long-lasting transformation and empowerment.


Continued Reading: Books about Somatic Therapy

1. “In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness” by Peter A. Levine

Amazon link: In an Unspoken Voice on Amazon

2. “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk

Amazon link: The Body Keeps the Score on Amazon

3. “Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment” by Pat Ogden, Janina Fisher, and Kekuni Minton

Amazon link: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy on Amazon

4. “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences” by Peter A. Levine

Amazon link: Waking the Tiger on Amazon

5. “The Healing Power of the Breath: Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Enhance Concentration, and Balance Your Emotions” by Richard P. Brown and Patricia L. Gerbarg

Amazon link: The Healing Power of the Breath on Amazon

6. “Somatic Psychotherapy Toolbox: 125 Worksheets and Exercises to Treat Trauma & Stress” by Manuela Mischke-Reeds

Amazon link: Somatic Psychotherapy Toolbox on Amazon

7. “The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation” by Deb Dana

Amazon link: The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy on Amazon

8. “Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy” by Pat Ogden, Kekuni Minton, and Clare Pain

Amazon link: Trauma and the Body on Amazon

9. “The Body in Psychotherapy: Inquiries in Somatic Psychology” edited by Edward W.L. Smith and Michael Heller

Amazon link: The Body in Psychotherapy on Amazon

10. “The Somatic Therapy Workbook: Stress-Relieving Exercises for Trauma, Anxiety, and Depression” by Livia Shapiro

Amazon link: The Somatic Therapy Workbook on Amazon

11. “Body-Centered Psychotherapy: The Hakomi Method” by Ron Kurtz and Hector Prestera

Amazon link: Body-Centered Psychotherapy on Amazon

12. “Somatic Psychology: Body, Mind, and Meaning” by Pat Ogden and Kekuni Minton

Amazon link: Somatic Psychology on Amazon

13. “Trauma-Sensitive Yoga in Therapy: Bringing the Body into Treatment” by David Emerson and Jennifer West

Amazon link: Trauma-Sensitive Yoga in Therapy on Amazon

14. “Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health” by Thomas Hanna

Amazon link: Somatics on Amazon

15. “The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment” by Babette Rothschild

Amazon link: The Body Remembers on Amazon

16. “Somatic Psychology and Bodymind Therapy: A Body-Centered Approach to Practice” by Pat Ogden and Kekuni Minton

Amazon link: Somatic Psychology and Bodymind Therapy on Amazon

17. “The Embodied Present: Theories, Methods, and Techniques of Somatic Psychotherapy” edited by Susan Aposhyan

Amazon link: The Embodied Present on Amazon

18. “Yoga for Emotional Balance: Simple Practices to Help Relieve Anxiety and Depression” by Bo Forbes

Amazon link: Yoga for Emotional Balance on Amazon

19. “Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing” by David A. Treleaven


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“Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going on inside ourselves.”

– Bessel van der Kolk

“As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself... The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage.”

– Bessel van der Kolk

“Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.”

– Bessel van der Kolk