What Causes Trauma?
As Freud said, the cause of trauma is a breach in the protective barrier against stimulation. What is this protective barrier that Freud refers to? According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), all living bodies generate an external field of energy called wei chi, which translates as “protective energy.” The definition of wei chi in medical qigong is slightly different than that of TCM. In classical TCM texts, the wei chi field is limited to the surface of the body, circulating within the tendon and muscle tissues. In medical qigong, however, the wei chi field also includes the three external layers of the body’s auric and subtle energy fields. This energy originates from each of the internal organs and radiates through the external tissues. There the wei chi forms an energy field that radiates from the entire physical body. This field of chi protects the body from the invasion of external pathogens and communicates with, as well as interacts with, the surrounding universal and environmental energy fields. This wei chi is also referred to as the superficial fascial network and called the “whole body immune system” and is the transitional phase where energy is becoming matter, and matter is becoming energy.
Dr. Rolf was very much aware of this field of relationship in the body. “Rolfing® [Structural Integration] is an approach to the personality through the myofascial collagen components of the physical body. It integrates and balances the so-called ‘other bodies’ of man, metaphysically described as astral and etheric, now more modernly designated as psychological, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects.”2
Common to all types of trauma is this “breaching” of the protective envelope and leaking out of our vital nature and stream of consciousness. Dr. Peter Levine refers to this fracturing as the trauma vortex, and you may read about it in his books Waking the Tiger and In An Unspoken Voice. What Levine and others have stated is that trauma is in the nervous system and not in the event or the story of what happened.