Associative Awareness Technique (AAT)

» Occupational Therapy : Associative Awareness Technique (AAT)

Associative Awareness Technique (AAT)

Associative awareness technique is an artful, healing approach to physical, emotional, or perceived trauma, based on years of neuro, and cognitive behavior sciences. With any trauma, the body bears the burden. AAT allows us assist the nervous system in discharging trauma, and restoring homeostasis in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This reduces the physical manifestations of trauma, such as pain, muscle tension, fatigue, headaches, or trigger points.

The ANS is an innate part of the nervous system that is either in a Sympathetic (fight/flight) or Parasympathetic (rest/digest) phase. It cannot function in both phases simultaneously. In a typical, healthy nervous system, there are small swings in regulation from the ANS to the PNS. Talking in front of a large group may shift you toward the ANS, where relaxing in front of the fireplace would shift you toward the PNS. However, following trauma or a traumatic event, the nervous system continues to cycle back into the ANS/ fight or flight response, with large, intense shifts in nervous system regulation.

AAT Treatment

During treatment, a vibro-acoustic chair is part of the process, prepping the nervous system to relax. The AAT certified physical therapist then provides a series of specific sensory inputs, called the “parasympathetic flood”, or “sensory flow” that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for triggering the “rest and digest” phase of the autonomic nervous system, thus overriding the fight or flight response in the body. The goal of treatment is to assist the nervous system to discharge trauma and restore homeostatis.

AAT is proven effective in treating chronic pain, fibromyalgia, PTSD, whiplash, hypertonicity and more. For more information, Contact Us Today at Oswego & Watertown, NC Centers.