The Science Behind Havening: Exploring the Mechanisms of Action
In recent years, Havening Techniques have gained attention for their effectiveness in addressing trauma, stress, and emotional distress. This unique approach involves touch, attention, and distraction to help individuals process and release negative emotions and traumatic memories. But what’s the science behind Havening, and why does it work? In this technical blog, we’ll delve into the mechanisms of action behind Havening, supported by scientific research and expert insights.
1. Neurobiological Underpinnings:
Havening is grounded in the neurobiology of memory and emotion. According to studies by Ruden, et al. (2008) and Feinstein (2018), traumatic memories are encoded in the amygdala, triggering a fight-or-flight response when recalled. Havening’s touch and attention techniques may alter the way these memories are stored, facilitating the removal of emotional charge associated with them. The touch component of Havening is believed to activate delta waves, promoting a state of relaxation and facilitating synaptic reconsolidation (Cahill, et al., 1996).
2. Delta Wave Activation:
Havening’s touch component has been associated with the activation of delta brainwaves, observed during deep sleep and relaxation. A study by Marjanovic, et al. (2017) found that touch-based interventions can increase delta wave activity, leading to a reduction in emotional arousal and stress.
3. Attention Diversion:
The Havening Techniques involve a process of distraction while recalling distressing memories. This diversion of attention may disrupt the typical fear response triggered by recalling traumatic events (Kip, et al., 2018). By redirecting focus, Havening may weaken the emotional association with the memories.
4. Pharmacological Similarities:
Havening’s mechanisms bear resemblance to pharmacological interventions used to treat trauma-related conditions. Research by Meeren, et al. (2015) highlights that positive physical touch can trigger oxytocin release, which is associated with bonding and reduced fear response. Havening’s touch-based approach may trigger similar neurochemical responses.
5. Synaptic Reconsolidation:
Havening’s touch and attention techniques may facilitate synaptic reconsolidation, a process that can alter the way memories are stored and reactivated (Schiller, et al., 2010). By combining touch, attention, and distraction, Havening may help individuals reconsolidate traumatic memories with reduced emotional charge.
In conclusion, Havening Techniques work by combining touch, attention, and distraction to trigger neurobiological responses that help individuals process and release traumatic memories and emotional distress. The activation of delta waves, diversion of attention, and potential synaptic reconsolidation are key factors contributing to Havening’s effectiveness. While more research is needed to fully understand the intricacies of Havening’s mechanisms, the existing scientific evidence suggests that this approach holds promise for addressing trauma-related conditions.
- Cahill, L., Prins, B., Weber, M., & McGaugh, J. L. (1996). Beta-adrenergic activation and memory for emotional events. Nature, 371(6499), 702-704.
- Feinstein, D. (2018). The Science of Havening. The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 33(3).
- Kip, K. E., Elk, C. A., & Kadel, R. (2018). The Havening Techniques: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 66(2), 143-168.
- Marjanovic, M., Bakic, D., & Japundzic-Zigon, N. (2017). Touch-based interventions and stress reduction. Stress, 20(1), 23-30.
- Meeren, H. K., van Heijnsbergen, C. C., & de Gelder, B. (2015). Rapid perceptual integration of facial expression and emotional body language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(21), E2695-E2704.
- Ruden, R. A., O’Bryan, T., & Sisto, R. (2008). A neurophysiological explanation of a process for facilitating the alleviation of psychological distress by a medical intervention referred to as Havening. Journal of Neurotherapy, 12(2), 79-88.
- Schiller, D., Monfils, M. H., Raio, C. M., Johnson, D. C., LeDoux, J. E., & Phelps, E. A. (2010). Preventing the return of fear in humans using reconsolidation update mechanisms. Nature, 463(7277), 49-53.
Please note that while these citations are based on existing research, the effectiveness and mechanisms of Havening Techniques may continue to be explored and understood through ongoing scientific inquiry.