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Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) conference

We are living in a moment when 60-80% of visits to primary care physicians are stress-related. In the US, 80% of the adult population reports having experienced a significant stressor in the past month. As a cause and effect of this, approximately 80% of the American population has experienced at least one significant Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). We are dealing, in isolation, with profound individual and social traumas, while the best neuroscience research tells us that the most significant sources of resilience come from deep connection with three things: ourselves, one another, and the living world.  

This is not a physical health issue (although people are physically sick).  It is not a mental health issue (although people are struggling with mental health).  It is a physiological issue arising because we have deviated so dramatically from the historical and evolutionary baseline that keeps humans well. For 99% of human history, the way that we lived was all about connection: bringing online and stabilizing what we’ll refer to as the Connection System.  In indigenous and ancestral cultures, throughout time, there has been a body of Restorative Practices to bring people back into connection when they’ve deviated from it. This workshop will explore a conceptual framework of Restorative Practices, and engage participants in mindfulness-based and trauma-sensitive practices for evoking this connection physiology, which we propose is the biological basis of wellbeing.

At the end of this session participants will be able to:

  1. Conceptualize modern stress proliferation through explication of Dr. Darcia Narvaez, PhD’s concept of the Evolved Developmental Niche

  2. Analyze Dr. Stephen Porges, PhD’s landmark Polyvagal Theory: A neuro-physiological framework for understanding the 4 foundational neural platforms of behavior, with an emphasis on the social engagement system and the physiology of connection and its necessary pre-requisites

  3. Review the Restorative Practices model of wellbeing

  4. Practice a variety of mindfulness-based and trauma-sensitive practices for evoking the Connection System