top of page

Trauma and the Nervous System

The human nervous system is the body’s “master system,” in that it has a major controlling influence on all of the body’s other physiological systems. The nervous system functions both chemically and electrically, and has an unparalleled sensitivity to even the most subtle stimuli, including thoughts, feelings, and movements. All outer stimuli leave an imprint on the nervous system, which constantly works to process their effects and create and maintain equilibrium and harmony.

When the nervous system is overwhelmed, either through a sudden or a repetitive stress, it is “traumatized,” and becomes less functional and less able to have a balanced response to life’s events.

In addition to studying the nervous system’s physical channels for electrical movement (the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system), we can gain additional insight into how it functions by also visualizing it as a series of concentric electrical energy fields.

My own clinical experience practicing Breema bodywork has led me to look at it this way—small, superficial traumas affect the outermost layers or fields of electrical energy. Larger, older, and repetitive traumas can affect the deeper electric fields, where they often disrupt the normal patterns of communication and exchange.

I look at the nervous system according to this simple analogy: picture it as a labyrinth, with a unique pattern of electrical energy controlling access to each branch (and to each consecutively deeper electric field) as one tries to move toward the center. To affect the deeper electrical fields, the practitioner’s quality of touch and movement must be in sync with the particular energy pattern of each section. Each unique pattern cannot be discerned even one step before arriving at its specific area of influence. To be able to “move” from the superficial to the deeper parts of the nervous system, one must tune in, moment after moment, to the exact pattern that enables “further passage.”

The Breema bodywork practitioner, through years of practicing body-mind connection and working with Breema’s Nine Principles of Harmony, develops the sensitivity to find the precise quality of touch and the types of movements that allow him or her to access the core of the nervous system. In fact, all of the body's systems, including the nervous system’s protective energy patterns, are based on the same principles from which the Nine Principles of Harmony are derived. By bringing his or her own nervous system into harmony during the bodywork session, the Breema practitioner creates a synergistic field that helps the recipient’s nervous system become healthier and more balanced.

This helps explain why Breema bodywork feels so natural and so good to receive. The nervous system (and all the body’s other systems) receive great support from Breema, because the body’s instinctive wisdom immediately recognizes the “Breema Touch” as natural and essential nourishment that affords significant advantage in recovering from stress and trauma. Breema supports the body to let go of dysfunctional patterns, so it can heal, rebalance, and find new resilience and vitality.

Jon Schreiber, D. C., director of the Breema Center and Breema Clinic in Oakland, California, has been teaching Breema in the U.S. and internationally since 1980. He has presented Breema at medical, psychology, bodywork, exercise, holistic health, and personal growth conferences. His numerous articles and books focus on the universal and practical philosophy of Breema. Join Jon, Alexandra Johnson, MD and Angela Porter, LMFT for the half-day workshop Reconciling Trauma by Coming Home to the Body, in Oakland and Santa Cruz. More information at

bottom of page