Male, 65, highly educated with multiple masters degrees presented with severe and long term post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and panic attacks from prolonged parental sexual abuse as a child. He often had suicidal thoughts and extreme hypersensitivities to most normal clothing, bedding, towels, etc. He also was suffering from shoulder injuries and deep vein thrombosis in the right leg.
Pamela collaborated with his psychotherapist to focus on getting him out of his head and into his body to eventually release stored traumas. He will soon movebeyond chair yoga and gentle asana due to thrombosis and shoulder issues waning. As part of his treatment, he practiced every form of pranayama (breath work) along with some mudra (hand gestures) and mantra (affirmations) and a variety of chants. He likes alternate nostril breath to energize and relax at the same time as well as bee breath for anxious times.
Several sessions of yoga nidra (guided relaxation), somatic movement and restorative rest and release with sandbags in the areas where he is feeling tightness has helped to relieve the trauma stored in the tissues of his shoulders and pelvis.
His care giver and life partner was actively involved in most sessions. She also received private yoga therapy treatments to relieve high anxiety and stress.
He has progressed from being unable to leave his house or wear clothes to being an active walker, swimmer, involved in his church's ministry and ready to take his life to the next level.
“Last summer, the materials hypersensitivity that I had suffered from for two years reached a crisis point. I was forced to wear a minimal number of clothing and shoes to keep from becoming quite physically ill. This profoundly limited my ability to even leave my house and ‘live a normal life’. I was getting to a point of ‘being at my wit’s end’ trying to figure out what to do about the situation, or even to understand what was causing my body to react this way. I tried the medical approach, but my doctors had no idea what the solution was either.
In working with my long-time mental health therapist, I did come to a realization that the major problem was very likely caused by the PTSD that I had experienced as a child (sexual abuse/rape and physical torture, from my parents). I was beginning to dig into the most toxic parts of the trauma that I had -- for good reason -- avoided my whole life. I started asking around about alternative modalities that might help to allow me to ‘have a life’ again. Knowing that Pamela was a yoga instructor, I asked her if she knew anyone who could assist me. To my surprise -- and delight -- she said she was trained in “yoga therapy” and that that technique was very helpful for trauma issues.
I began working with Pamela [in partnership with my mental health therapist] in October 2016. At first, there was only a limited amount of yoga poses that I could engage in, given that, on top of the materials hypersensitivity, I had had, in September 2016, a 4th blood clot in my left leg. But slowly, with Pamela’s assistance and instruction, I was able to engage in more yoga therapy poses, which were focused on releasing upper body trauma. By January, 2017, I was able to start wearing some of my ‘regular’ clothing again, and get out of my house with less traumatic feelings.
By Pamela’s own reckoning, yoga therapy “is the slowest therapy in the world”, but I can enthusiastically testify that it is a most effective therapy. And Pamela is a very patient and helpful guide. I’m the person who does the work and I’m the one who has to deal with the emotional fallout, but Pamela has been and continues to be a wonderful, thoughtful and dedicated guide in that journey. I cannot say enough positive things about her yoga instruction. I still have many roads to walk before I will be fully recovered from this materials hypersensitivity (I’m 65 now and have been in PTSD therapy for 35 years), but I can say, without any doubt, that Pamela Todd is a phenomenally caring, and emotionally connective yoga therapy guide. My life was quite literally saved by her assistance, for which I am deeply grateful.”
Above is the client review that Pamela’s client wrote. Below is the review that the client’s partner and caregiver wrote.
“Because of the yoga therapy Pamela has been teaching my partner, he was able to face his fears and stress with more positive strength. Yes, his mental health therapist and I, as his loving partner, are very important, but your guidance was the link to allow him to begin bleeding off these horrible terrors in a daily regimen.”