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Adverse Childhood Experiences, commonly referred to as ACEs, are defined as any traumatic experience a child has gone through that directly harms the development of his or her brain. This directly affects how they respond to stress and can even go as far as damaging their immune systems, so much so that these side effects last well into their adult lives. Mental health issues, chronic illness, and behavioral disorders can frequently trace their roots back to ACEs.

Examples of adverse childhood experiences include physical, sexual, or verbal abuse, neglect, witnessing abuse firsthand, a death in the family, divorce, or even having a family member suffering from mental illness or addiction. The ways in which a child could be exposed to such traumatic events are vast, and these are just a few of the many. Depending on how a child’s stress management skills have developed, other ACEs can include racism, gender discrimination, poor foster care, or living in an unsafe neighborhood.

Given the plethora of reasons one can go through an adverse childhood experience, it should come as no surprise that nearly 64% of adults today have gone through at least one. During these years, older individuals are at risk of serious health problems due to ACEs. This includes an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, mental illnesses, and violence. 

Behavioral issues are not exclusive to children who have gone through these events either. Adults often develop smoking habits, alcoholism, drug use, and experience significantly more relationship problems than the average person, all of which can contribute to what is known as “toxic stress.”

Toxic stress is an extreme form of stress that causes someone to live every day in fight or flight mode. This can be severely detrimental to the body, as the constant release of adrenaline and cortisol prevents blood pressure from lowering, which can damage the heart and circulatory system as a whole. An increase in cortisol can also cause osteoporosis, arthritis, and weaken the immune system. Constantly being in a state of stress or panic can even result in one’s immune system attacking parts of their own body.

Since emotions are chemical residues of the past that evoke more thoughts to justify the feelings we have, people often get stuck in a vicious and never-ending cycle of blame. This blame brings us into a state of biochemical toxicity. Getting stuck in this loop is a massive waste of our precious energy. Learning to think above and beyond your emotional state is imperative.

With all of these negative side effects coming as a result of adverse childhood experiences, it might seem impossible for anyone to overcome all of these. However, there is hope. The human brain is designed to change based on its environment. Should those harmful stressors be replaced with positive practices, those years of damage can slowly be undone over time. For example, mindful meditation, yoga, NAC and professional therapy have all been found to reverse the effects of ACEs and help those experiencing these traumatic feelings get back to a happier, healthier way of life. 

In addition to these traditional approaches, body-based energy practices can also provide powerful relief and permanent repatterning of neural and biochemical habits. In order to maximize healthy function and make lasting changes, you need to activate and align your energy body and energy centers. The ANS – Autonomic Nervous System can be accessed through the energy centers or “chakras.” Based on my 16 years of experience working with the nexus between the physical and energetic body, I have developed a process to align the subtle energy field that sits at the foundation of our life experience. These Lifeforce Energetic Alignment Protocol, or LEAP sessions, are another way to mitigate the challenge of adverse childhood experiences. 

To learn more about Tj Bartel and how he helps men and couples create more harmonious, deeply intimate relationships, visit