I have an important event coming up. It’s a day on which I need to feel confident, have my wits about me and most definitely NOT let my emotions take over. I go to see Annie at Heaven Scent Bliss. She’s promised me that a havening treatment will sort me out and I’m interested to know what’s involved and how it will help.

Annie greets me at the gate, as bubbly as ever and with the usual welcome hug. Little am I to know that there’s lots more physical contact to come. In fact, havening is all about touch.

After a cold drink, during which Annie explains what havening is all about, we go into the treatment room. I sit on the edge of the treatment couch and Annie says that first we’re going to use havening to help me cope better with a recent trauma that is related to the forthcoming event. She asks me to recall the trauma “in all its technicolour detail” and rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. The incident knocked me for 6 at the time and called into question everything I had held true. I relive how the incident caused my heart to plummet and how every time I’ve thought about it since, I get the same adrenalin rush followed by a sinking feeling. I score it a 9.
Hevening_TherapyAnnie asks me to close my eyes and she strokes the length of my arms, from my shoulders downwards to the palms of my hands. She does this three or four times and then strokes my forehead, sweeping round to my cheeks. As she later explains, this sweeping motion generates Delta waves, which bring about electro-chemical changes in the neurons in the amygdala where the traumatic event is stored. Annie continues to alternately stroke my arms and my face, and then she asks me to perform a variety of tasks.

First she asks me to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I sing the nursery rhyme and am pleased to find I still remember the words. Annie then asks me to imagine that she has spilt a box of Lego bricks all over the floor of her lounge and asks me to imagine picking the yellow ones up, counting them as I go. I count to 20. My next ‘mission’ is to imagine going out into the The Priory Garden Centre where Heaven Scent Bliss is located, and counting the Red Admiral butterflies that are all around the plants, statues and shrubs. I like this game. It’s relaxing and I’m quite absorbed in my task. Finally, Annie asks me to imagine walking down her stairs from top to bottom and counting each of the 13 stairs as I descend. Once convinced that I can count (!), Annie raises her hand in front of my eyes and asks me to watch it moving slowly first to the left and then to the right. Her hand stops and she asks me to rate the trauma again on a scale of 1 to 10. I struggle to remember what the trauma even was. I locate it in my brain under the pile of butterflies and Lego bricks, but unlike before, my stomach doesn’t lurch when I think about it. I’m pleasantly surprised and rate it a 3.

Annie and I then tackle my forthcoming event. It’s vital that I have a positive attitude on the day and I’m keen to get going. I move to a chair in the corner of a treatment room and Annie sits in front of me. She restarts the sweeping motions across my face and down my arms. It’s very relaxing and I notice the comforting feeling it creates too. Annie tells me that the stroking helps bring about a feeling of security, like when we are hugged as a baby. Being stroked while talking about an event, helps to associate positive emotions and good feelings with it.

This time Annie asks me to keep my eyes open. She asks me to imagine how events will unfold on the day and describe them. I talk about what I will have for breakfast and where I will park my car. I talk about the people I will interact with and how I will react. I examine it all step by step in a way that makes me feel like I’ve done it all already and am simply looking back on it. I see myself as being calm, confident and reassured and imagine a successful conclusion to the day. The more I talk, the more I find I’m convincing myself that the day will go well, so that by the time I finish speaking, I’m actually even looking forward to it. Amazing!

So havening isn’t just about lessening anxiety associated with previous traumas, it’s also about creating a positive state of mind for events in the future. By decoding the negative messages and emotional responses to events held in the brain and by embedding positive messages in their place, havening can literally change the way you view things.

P.S. In case you were wondering, the event in question went brilliantly! I sailed through it and the outcome was even better than I could have expected. I know there’s a science to havening, but I can’t help thinking I’ve been blessed, once again, with the special kind of magic only Heaven Scent Bliss can provide. Thank you Annie!

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