Welcome to my site. I have been practicing Breathwork for nearly 20 years and since 2012 I have been supporting people to transform their physical, emotional and spiritual lives using a variety of western Psychological and Eastern body based approaches. In 2016 I qualified as a Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release System practitioner, a powerful somatic (body-based) approach for the release of trauma and tension within the body with breathwork as a primary component.
As our understanding of the effect of trauma on our nervous system, brain, and body increases so the new wave of somatic therapies such as the Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release system provide a powerful approach in combating the rising tide of trauma which is affecting our modern society.
It is this combination of ancient body based approaches utilising therapeutic breathwork and bodywork alongside a holistic, conscious awareness of the body, that enables powerful healing and transformation to occur for a wide variety of issues.
The Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release System (BBTRS)©
The Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release System (BBTRS)© is a Unique, Natural, and Powerful approach to Trauma Therapy. It is a breath/body therapy which combines deep connected breathing, bodywork, conscious movement, body awareness and meditation in a safe, supportive environment. As a certified BBTRS© practitioner I guide you to release the old trauma trapped within your system and separate it from the mental and physical constraints you have placed upon yourself.
Giten Tonkov, Founder of BBTRS© Talks a little about the elements that compose it and it's uses.
Each client has a unique, perhaps virtually unbelievable, set of experiences, and an almost equally set of reactions to those experiences.
― Aphrodite Matsakis
Understanding that trauma, and it's effects are unique to an individual is a key point in developing a more compassionate, empathic approach to treatment and recovery. An individual may not recognise that their symptoms have their roots in trauma, recall any traumatic events, feel that their experiences are not valid, or do not fall into a definition of trauma or a diagnosis Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). By understanding that we are unique and our experiences are unique and all are equally valid, then this creates space for us to be more empathic to ourselves and others.
The Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release System, in working holistically and consciously with the body, looks at the individual and their symptoms as both unique and as part of a whole. Below is a list, by no mean comprehensive, of most frequent presenting concerns that can be supported to release:
Inability to focus
Chronic Physical and emotional pain
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Stress and stress related illnesses
Difficulty in sleeping and other stress related symptoms.
After trauma the world is experienced with a different nervous system. The survivor’s energy now becomes focused on suppressing inner chaos, at the expense of spontaneous involvement in their life.
— Bessel Van Der Kolk
The impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, prolonged traumatic experiences and stress in adulthood, as well as shock trauma from various sources cannot be underestimated: It has a major effect on the quality of our life and how we experience it. We often feel frozen in time, in the trauma response, as if the traumatic event is still happening: We may experience many different symptoms from hypervigilance and anxiety, to depression and a loss of joy in life (you can read more on trauma here). Any trauma therapy seeks to "unfreeze" us from this way of being and integrate the experience into our lives, allowing us to heal and move on. Traditionally talking therapies and medication have been used to alleviate symptoms. Importantly though, while alleviating symptoms may provide some relief, we need to deal with the Root Cause of trauma, not just the symptoms.
The bodies of traumatized people portray "snapshots" of their unsuccessful attempts to defend themselves in the face of threat and injury. Trauma is a highly activated incomplete biological response to threat, frozen in time.
- Peter Levine
With the increased understanding of the trauma response, neurochemistry and biology of trauma, it's effects on the nervous system (via polyvagal theory) and the links between the body and mind, so the range of therapies available to support release from the symptoms of trauma has increased. The Biodynamic breath and Trauma Release System is a combination of elements from several types of therapy, with Breath-Work as it's primary component. Breathwork has been practiced by various cultures for thousand of years as a healing and transformative system, but modern science is now taking an interest in its uses therapeutically for the management of many trauma and stress related issues. The Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release system is a somatic (body-based) Therapy (you can read more on healing trauma through the body here), and one advantage is that there is no need to re-activate the emotional response around trauma by reliving the story without releasing the energy created.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
― Anais Nin
As humans we have a tendency to avoid uncomfortable feelings and develop coping strategies that reduce our ability to feel these. This often occurs in childhood as a survival mechanism to trauma or in response to adult trauma. While these strategies may have been successful to enable survival, as we have grown then they no longer serve. The defences we created to protect ourselves now create anxiety. This often manifests as chronic tensions within the body which provide a way of managing the energetic charge created by the experience of traumatic events. The body seeks a natural balance within (homeostasis) but unless there is a discharge of energy, this needs to be regulated by regulating our body (tension) or by regulating our environment. While a balance can be obtained, often maintaining this without discharge actually takes a lot of energy and effort: which reduces our ability both to feel and enjoy life (You can read more on this here). In the Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release System we discharge the energy associated with trauma in an incremental fashion, reducing tension, releasing life force energy, and increasing the resilience of the nervous system to manage ongoing events and to release us from the Pain of past events.
To switch effectively from defense to social engagement strategies, the nervous system must do two things: (1) assess risk, and (2) if the environment looks safe, inhibit the primitive defensive reactions to fight, flight or freeze.”
― Stephen W. Porges
The Polyvagal theory has revolutionised our understanding of how the body and nervous system responds to threat. It is now seen as a nuanced system and not just a flight/fight or rest/digest. For those whose system is chronically activated in flight/fight or those who are locked into the most primitive "freeze" response the aim is to bring the nervous system into self-regulation and Rest/digest or Social Engagement the most evolutionary advanced aspect. Unfortunately, a disregulated nervous system can bring us into hypervigiilance or spiral us down into feelings of intense hopelessness and dissociation, and many of the symptoms we suffer from stem from this disregulated state. The Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release System, in discharging energy, looks to re-regulate the nervous system, if you like you empty the container so that any activation has space to be held.effectively without causing the nervous system to overwhelm.
Good morning Mark,
I feel compelled to email you this morning after last nights workshop!
I really feel there was a massive shift last night as I was, first the first time, really able to fully engage and release so much. It is the first time EVER that I have felt the separateness of my ever-chattering mind and my body and that the two were able to do there own thing alongside each other. Previously my mind has tried to control, judge and shame my body whilst my body has been racked with tension and pain, unable to free any of it with any lasting effect. Last night my body was finally able to let go and, after the initial fear and emotions, it rejoiced in the release. It was wonderful to experience, especially without having to relate it to specific situations and whilst still feeling very much in control. The feeling of being able to slow my breath down and go to my particular memory and switch between the two was really very empowering. (I felt that I couldn't find a particular spot in my body as there was nowhere that wasn't in pain or felt safe but the memory worked very well.) I was ecstatic! I had a genuine deep rooted sensation of pleasure throughout my body that I can't remember feeling before. And the possibility that my body can experience feelings other than pain and discomfort is life changing.
I have suffered multiple traumas - inherited traumas, childhood trauma, half a dozen surgeries, a serious car accident and a twenty year abusive marriage with a covert narcissist which left me with Complex PTSD and unable to work (not to mention past life trauma!). I have spent the last three years after ending my marriage trying to heal, researching and trying 'alternative' therapies to avoid medication and traditional NHS treatments as I felt they would simply not work at the level I wanted and needed. Although I have recovered amazingly well and am so much happier and calmer, I began to realise just how much pain my body held; something I was previously unaware of as I regarded it as normal. From the research I've done I began to realise that the pain I was experiencing was body armouring and unreleased trauma and that my nervous system, although greatly improved, was not functioning properly at all. Last night I felt like everything I had learned finally came together. I felt like I had 'come home', if that makes sense. I was absolutely euphoric.
This morning my body is very tired and perhaps a little sore but completely different. I feel like it actually belongs to me, like my limbs are attached and it's all functioning properly. I feel like I have energy running through it, like my blood circulation has just been switched back on, as if it was not working before. The stiffness and pain has eased incredibly and any habitual tension that is trying to creep back seems to be highlighted and thrown out. And despite my tiredness, I am still euphoric!
I appreciate that this may not be the end of the road and that all my troubles are over but this is certainly a very exciting beginning. I can't wait, (after plenty of rest), to 'try out' my new body! And the thought of breathing and shaking again - of 'feeling' again - is nothing short of exhilarating.
I know you said you would be checking in with us all as part of your aftercare but I couldn't wait to give you this feedback! With huge thanks for your work, your professional yet relaxed approach and your knowledge and skill. Thank you. Thank you.
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