Biology of Trauma® Podcast
With Dr. Aimie Apigian MD, MS, MPH
Episode 74
Why Stored Trauma Becomes Syndromes & Somatic Solutions
“As a skilled practitioner, you have to work very precisely, very delicately.

A principle in somatic experiencing is titration. You don't really push the person into their traumas; you just help them touch them and then integrate them into their bodies and experiences.”
~ Peter Levine

Why Stored Trauma Becomes Syndromes & Somatic Solutions

Looking Beyond Symptoms to Find the Root Causes

As professionals, we’re trained to look at the physical body and investigate symptoms to diagnose and treat them. 

However, many chronic symptoms can leave providers stumped. Patients endure for years without clear answers. 

Syndromes are a pattern of health symptoms that are vague, general, and may not have a diagnosis.  A person may get a wrong diagnosis just because their provider needs a diagnosis for health insurance billing purposes. 

No matter how many specialists patients see, conventional tests can come up empty. 

So where do we go from there when the body seems to be stuck in a syndrome of symptoms for no obvious reason? In this discussion, Dr. Peter Levine shares with me how looking beyond trying to diagnose a syndrome can lead us to the deeper roots of symptoms: the nervous system. 

Dr. Levine, a leading trauma expert and founder of somatic experiencing, shares how syndromes stem from dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. 

Early adversity and stored trauma disrupt our body’s natural balance in ways medicine doesn’t always uncover. 

By taking a more holistic, “bottoms-up” approach like somatic experiencing, I believe we can help people feel truly heard and start getting to the real drivers of their distress.


Mapping the Autonomic Nervous System from Experience

When conventional medicine failed to explain my own health struggles, I knew I had to look within to find answers. 

At first, I simply started mapping my symptoms, taking note of how my energy levels would fluctuate throughout the day.

To my surprise, the patterns I discovered aligned remarkably well with polyvagal theory. I soon realized my body had been communicating important insights all along – I just needed the right lens to understand its language.

It was incredibly rewarding to see how framing symptoms through the lens of the autonomic nervous system could provide new clarity and direction. 

By listening closely to what our own bodies are trying to tell us, we gain powerful self-awareness and tools for navigating health challenges from the inside out.

Sharing my experience through my courses, speaking at conferences, hosting my annual summits; and this podcast has been very meaningful to me to see my experience helping others. 


Healing Trauma’s Effects on the Body

We now understand that childhood adversity and long-term stress don’t just affect us emotionally – they can truly get embedded deep within our physical selves. 

In this discussion, Dr. Levine highlights how trauma may contribute to the development of many perplexing syndromes over time.

When stress overwhelms the nervous system for too long, it can throw our autonomic regulation out of balance. Dr. Levine explains that this dysregulation leaves us more vulnerable to illnesses like syndromes, fibromyalgia, and lupus. 

His gentle approach to somatic experiencing aims to address trauma’s lasting imprints on the body.

Distressing symptoms can gradually start to lift by helping people and practitioners restore equilibrium through awareness of long-held physical tensions and sensations. 

It’s rewarding to see the power we all hold to heal when we make space for difficult emotions and memories to resurface safely. Integrating trauma’s effects through compassionate self-care may be just as important as any medical treatment for fully resolving syndromes and regaining well-being.


A Safe and Gentle Somatic Approach to Implicit Body Memories

When trauma resides deeply in the body, conventional treatments don’t always understand this sensitive inner landscape. Dr. Levine cautions that aggressively targeting symptoms through breathing exercises may end up backfiring by overstimulating an already overwhelmed nervous system.

His approach of somatic experiencing prioritizes extreme self-care and non-force when guiding the natural release of trapped energy and memories. 

Dr. Levine stresses working with precision and gentleness, following the body’s pace rather than trying to manipulate it externally.

Through careful listening and observation, practitioners of this method can help trapped experiences complete their expression without re-traumatizing patients. By cultivating an environment where difficult emotions can safely emerge a little at a time, steady progress becomes possible. 

This compassionate process respects our innate wisdom to heal when we feel safe enough to face what’s been holding us back.


Making Progress Step-by-Step

Healing is a journey that involves consistent self-care and understanding, not a quick fix. It’s about making small, meaningful changes over time, which Dr. Levine emphasizes through his somatic experience approach. 

This process allows us to gradually unlock our natural healing capabilities by establishing a safe internal environment. It’s not about the distance traveled but finding peace in the present. 

If you’re experiencing physical symptoms, remember that gentle listening to your body’s signals can open the path to recovery. Healing begins wherever you are, step by step.

To your best health and your best self, 

Dr. Aimie 

I told you I couldn’t wait to cover this with you!

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • What element of our body drives all syndromes
  • Why somatic work is one of 3 pillars for stored trauma
  • The stabilization with somatic work changes our biology 
  • What every physician should know about syndromes
  • The role of childhood trauma in chronic syndromes
  • What is Dysautonomia in syndromes
  • Why do lupus patients frequently have trauma histories
  • How do we address the presence of shame and grief often locked into syndromes
  • The key to somatic work with any and all syndromes
  • What is the goal since it’s not ‘absolute safety’

Related And Helpful Links

Where To Start:

Foundational Journey: A 6-week Journey I lead where I take you into your own nervous system.  I want to teach you how to create that felt sense of safety in your body.  

We lay this foundation through somatic and parts work.  

Think of it as stabilizing your system before going into surgery.  We lay the foundation before doing the deeper trauma work.  We follow The Essential Sequence next for safely opening up the body during this Foundational Journey.


3 Most Common Biochemical ImbalancesOne of the biology pieces to syndromes is their strong connection with one or more of the 3 most common biochemical imbalances.  I ended up having all 3, so I am grateful to have that knowledge and teach that knowledge, and if you are one that relates to syndromes, chronic pain, depression, or body aches, you will want this download as well!

Related Podcasts:

First Biology of Trauma podcast episode with Peter LevineWhen we become overwhelmed, we instinctively reach for anything to help us get through another moment, and the freeze response offers the same release as an opiate would. By understanding the freeze response, we can learn to recognize the patterns and help patients break out of the cycle to reclaim their mental and emotional health again.



C60 – Oxidative Stress – C60 is thought to be the most powerful antioxidant yet known. It protects the body from oxidative stress, which is the main cause of cellular damage. By scavenging free radicals and reducing oxidative stress, C60 allows the body to heal naturally.

Cellular Energy Support: Chronic stress and trauma mode for such a long time can cause a lack of energy. I use this even! It has holy basil and ashwagandha to help you come out of chronic stress and trauma. Your cells need energy to repair before anything else can happen in your healing journey. This is the best cellular support I’ve found!

Tri-Magnesium Power: I take this during the day and at night! I use three different kinds of supplements, but this is one of the best supplements for helping you, so you can choose which one best serves you! I choose magnesium every time because it helps activate certain enzymes that are important for the repair of injured tissues (including cells that have stored trauma!).

Comment Etiquette:

I want to hear from you!  I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode and let’s make them constructive! A few requests: Please refrain from including URLs and using yours or someone else’s business name to steer clear of spam.  Please do use your personal name or initials. 

Let’s have a constructive, positive and productive discussion!

Drop your thoughts below about the episode! I want to hear from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with me on social media

Foundational Journey

You. Calm. Alive.

Be safely guided step-by-step through the essential process for addressing stored trauma in your body.


By listening to this podcast, you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.  This entire disclaimer also applies to any guests or contributors to the podcast. Under no circumstances shall Trauma Healing Accelerated, any guests or contributors to The Biology of Trauma® podcast, or any employees, associates, or affiliates of Trauma Healing Accelerated be responsible for damages arising from the use of the podcast.