What is SNS pain discharge?
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is the autonomic nervous system's stress response (“fight or flight”) division, which is responsible for sudden, involuntary events in the body. SNS events include sneezing, sobbing, urination, and the like. SNS discharge is a function of the SNS that relieves emotional pressure, e.g. screaming to relieve fear or sobbing to relieve sadness. Body organs contract involuntarily, especially muscles, literally squeezing the emotion out of the area where it was contained, such as the head, chest, or abdomen. Also, SNS discharge neutralizes trauma by permanently relaxing the stress response attached to the memory. For this reason, discharge is sought in psychotherapeutic methods for trauma resolution.
With SNS pain discharge, the feeling is physical pain, which can be contained indefinitely in the body, just like painful emotions. However, pain resulting from traumatic injury can be contained anywhere in the musculoskeletal system—including joints—whereas emotions are held mostly in the head and trunk muscles. In both cases, contact with the feeling triggers SNS discharge, which 1) relieves the feeling, 2) relaxes chronic tissue contraction (stress response), and 3) neutralizes the memory of trauma. With traumatic injuries, the "memory of trauma" is held in the nervous system—in the injury site—as opposed to the mental memory produced by emotional trauma. Since it permanently relaxes the injury site’s chronic stress response, pain discharge permanently stops chronic pain, years or decades after the injury. It's our natural, built-in healing mechanism designed specifically for this purpose.
While the concept is logical and based on established neurologic theory, SNS pain discharge does not reveal itself unless conditions are exactly right. For this reason, pain discharge was not discovered until the Arneson Method began to explore the detailed mechanics of relaxation, from 1991. At a certain depth of comfort and relaxation, the body automatically deploys the discharge mechanism to finish healing the injury site. The client must actually try to feel the pain because contact with the feeling triggers discharge. In contrast, people avoid feeling pain whenever possible. Established pain relief therapies enable pain avoidance via symptomatic relief. The idea of trying to feel pain—to engage the body's own healing mechanism—is quite foreign.
“SNS Pain Discharge Therapy” is simply the Arneson Method applied when pain discharge is expected—for chronic or intermittent pain caused by traumatic injury.