Stress & Trauma: How to Use Manual Medicine

June 14, 2021



Rebekah Kelley: Welcome to the Humanized Podcast, Your Health Personalized. I’m your host, Rebekah Kelley, and I’m so excited to have Lisa Klein.

But before I invite her onto the program, I want to remind you to subscribe, to get all of our variety of casts in audio, video and transcription at I’d also like to thank our lead sponsor Village Green Apothecary at

Thank you, Lisa, for being on. So happy to have you here.

Lisa Klein: Thank you, Rebekah.

Rebekah Kelley: Our segment is Stress and Trauma: How to Use Manual Medicine to Help Individuals Process the Effects of Stress and Trauma. What can I do, myself, to alleviate issues from emotional stress, like sleeplessness, low concentration and mood swings, basically all three things that I’m dealing with right now!

Lisa Klein: One of the most interesting things about the body is that it responds to touch. I’m a physical therapist; my career is trying to figure out how you help free people from pain. Essentially through that process, a whole world was discovered about how powerful the hands are when used to touch the body. So thousands of hours of training and practice later, you can actually use that therapeutically.

What can happen is when you’re feeling stress and trauma, it sets into your body because it can’t be processed out and can’t leave. In the wild, when animals have stress and trauma, they shake it off. So you need some way to kind of shake off what you’re experiencing.

If you think about what we’ve been feeling for the past year, that’s a lot to shake off. We found you can use the hands to help with that process and do things that work really well. Every day I have patients tell me how much the processing is helping them. We call it “processing” because you’re helping your body process.

What you want to do is move some of that accumulated energy information out of the body. So what individuals can do with their own hands is put one hand across the low back to access the ureters, which are the tubes that go from the kidneys to the bladder. The job of the ureter is to drain. So when you put a hand across your low back, and you can use the back of your hand, you’re “cueing.” You’re saying to the ureters, come on, we need you to work. So the ureters will drain whatever you tell them to drain. The other hand will go on different organ systems or parts of your body that are having a hard time. I know this sounds cuckoo bananas, but it works. It works.

Rebekah Kelley: That’s actually logical. Touch does so much for you. But what you’re saying is that where you touch is going to make a difference.

Lisa Klein: Yes, and it’s intelligent touch that helps even more. So this is what we give our patients to do from home.

You put a hand across the back to access the ureters. Again, you can use the back of your hand if you want to. You’re basically above your butt, in the small of your back. The other hand will go to the areas that are having a hard time. You hold those connections for about 20 minutes at a time. You don’t have to do them all one after the other, because that would be a lot. For example, if you’re finding yourself in a fight or flight situation, you have one hand across the low back on the ureters; the other hand goes on the adrenals, which love to be touched. The adrenals love attention. You put a hand across your mid-back around bra-strap level, so, above the kidneys – one hand on the adrenals, one hand across the low back, and you’d hold that for about 20 minutes. It can be a little bit hard on your shoulders, so you can take breaks. When you do that, you should start to feel your body relax a little bit. If you’re having a lot of stomach issues and digestion, you would…

Rebekah Kelley: Can I do it right now?

Lisa Klein: You can do it right now! I’m holding my phone so I can’t do it with you, but yeah, go for it.

Another thing, if it’s affecting your stomach, you put a hand on your stomach, which is under your left, lower ribs, and then the other hand goes across your low back. You can hold that for 20 minutes. If you’re super cranky, you would put a hand across your forehead, and then across the low back, that’s a really, really nice one.

It’s fabulous; very relaxing. You may want to get the vagal nerve, which is one of the main controlling nerves of the body. We often get that at the stomach, but also at the back of the neck is a great way to access the vagal nerve because that’s where it comes out of the brainstem, out of the brain, out of the head. So, across the neck.

Our bodies are very malleable. They respond to information. If your body’s being overwhelmed by what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing, what you’re feeling, what we do is we use the hands to override that information, to cue all that stuff to get out of you. Our bodies are neurological; they stay trained. So the more you are experiencing, seeing, hearing and feeling stress, your body – it’s called “kindling” – your body will kindle to that level of stress.

The goal is to get it out of that paradigm; the hands are very good for that. There is acupuncture and many other things that are also helpful. But you have your hands with you all the time; you have your tools with you. I had someone tell me this morning – we’re working with him on a dizziness situation – that it is phenomenally helpful. We do targeting processing depending on what a patient is dealing with. But we found over time that with stress and trauma, because so much is information – what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing, what you’re feeling – that is so easy to process out of you.

Rebekah Kelley: Does it make a difference, whether it’s you or me doing it?

Lisa Klein: So I have, hopefully at this point, very intelligent hands, since I’ve been doing this for 30 years. It’s a little different when I do it, because I’m also going to be doing some fascial work. But anybody who has hands can do it.

It’s just the touch; it’s the contact. There’s no pressure. It’s human contact. And how many people are missing that right now in their houses, home alone? The power of touch is so important. It is so, so, so important. I think half of my patients come in just so that we touch them. I mean, you need it for your life; you need it to live. You need human touch to be an alive person. Again, if you’re home alone, if you’re on your own, doing the processing is a great way to give yourself the benefits of touch.

Rebekah Kelley: It sounds like I should make this a regular part of my life. Just doing those touches that you shared with us felt good.

Klein: Right. I do it every night before I go to sleep. I’m processing. I tell my patients, it’s your official excuse. You can watch TV without feeling guilty because you’re processing; you’re doing your homework. It’s one of the simplest things and so effective. And the more you do it, the more it works because your body starts to be like, “Oh, she’s back.” So you’re giving attention to yourself. You’re giving awareness to what’s going on. Our bodies are neurologically programmed to respond to touch. And American medicine has moved so far away from touch. And again, we touch all day and that’s what we do. There are so many ways that manual medicine is helpful, that we’re trying to swing things back towards touch, because we’ve grown so far away from it, unfortunately.

Rebekah Kelley: Especially now with social distancing and not being able to shake someone’s hand, even minimal interactions are cut down. So I would think that touching ourselves in these ways that you’re sharing would be so beneficial. If I set a goal for myself, how much time should I dedicate to this?

Lisa Klein: It depends on how you’re feeling. They like about 20 minutes at a time. If you want to process adrenal, or some other area, choose one area – adrenal, stomach, forehead, back of the neck – and just see. What I tell my patients is try them all out 20 minutes each. Whichever one you feel the most from, do more of that one. So if you feel the most when you go across your forehead, then do that one a lot. You may feel heat. You may feel buzzing. You may get very relaxed. You may fall asleep. You can feel heart rate changes. You may start getting hungry. So you go with the one that produces more of a physiological response.

Rebekah Kelley: You’ve given us these great tools. When do I actually need a professional to help me with my stress-related issues?

Lisa Klein: If you’re really feeling like you’re having a hard time. We have a lot of people kicking into depression right now. Anxiety. If you feel like the processing isn’t helping. If you’re crying a lot. If you really feel like you’re not yourself, then that’s the time to seek out some professional care. We are flooded with patients right now because people are tanking. The existing problems that people had are worse and they are having new issues because their bodies are under so much stress. So we’re just scrambling.

And it’s really a difficult time because again, our bodies are so not used to not leaving the house for a year. Who’s used to that? Not going to the gym, all that kind of stuff.

Rebekah Kelley: Yeah. It’s unprecedented.

Lisa Klein: It is absolutely.

Rebekah Kelley: And it’s been a long time. So it’s been building up, we’re like lobsters and pots that have been cooking slowly.

Lisa Klein: A great way of saying it.

In summary, what we’d like you to know from this talk is that the hands are powerful tools for helping our bodies deal with stress and trauma. Very, very powerful. And organs that are under stress love to be touched. They love, love, love the attention, and it will help them a lot. The symptoms that you’re having may be because of prolonged stress and trauma on your body, and manual medicine is a very effective tool for helping process some of that out, to help you be more comfortable. Especially in a time of a prolonged pandemic, you want to stay on it. You want to find a tool that works for you and keep doing it until we’re out of this mess.

Rebekah Kelley: Thanks, Lisa. Those are really valuable insights. To find Lisa Klein, please go to

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