The Science Behind Havening

Imagine a therapy that could help you erase the emotional impact of traumatic memories, simply by using gentle touch and the power of visualisation. As a certified Havening practitioner, I have witnessed firsthand the profound effects this technique can have on people’s lives.

Havening, a psychosensory therapy, has been gaining popularity for its ability to help people heal from trauma, anxiety, and other emotional challenges that they’ve been dealing with for years. In this blog, we’ll explore the science behind Havening, taking a closer look at how it works, its benefits, and the fascinating neuroscience behind the Havening techniques.



What is Havening?

Havening is a form of psychosensory therapy designed to help individuals cope with and heal from trauma and emotional distress. Developed by Dr. Ronald Ruden, this approach integrates sensory input with psychological techniques to alter the brain’s response to traumatic memories. Dr. Ruden, a doctor and neuroscientist, created Havening based on his extensive research into the brain’s mechanisms for processing trauma and subjective distress.


The Science of Havening

Havening is based on research in neuroscience, leveraging our understanding of brain chemistry and neuroplasticity to help people on their healing journey. The process involves stimulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which play crucial roles in regulating mood and emotional responses. Additionally, Havening exploits the brain’s inherent ability for neuroplasticity, the process by which neural pathways are reconfigured. This reconfiguration allows the brain to ‘recode’ traumatic memories, reducing their emotional impact.

The mechanisms of action in Havening involve specific electrochemical reactions within the brain. During a Havening session, gentle touch and other techniques induce changes in the brain’s electrochemical state, facilitating the release of calming neurotransmitters. Havening also stimulates delta brain waves, which are associated with deep relaxation and the brain’s healing processes; these delta waves help the brain to enter a state where it can effectively process and diminish the impact of traumatic memories.

How Havening Works

The process of Havening is simple involving a combination of touch techniques, eye movements, and visualisations. The tactile stimulation of the Havening touch, often in the form of gentle stroking on the arms, face, and hands, activates sensory pathways that send soothing signals to the brain. These signals help to downregulate the emotional response associated with traumatic memories.

Eye movements and visualisations are also integral components of Havening. By guiding the client to move their eyes in specific patterns and engage in calming visualisations, the practitioner helps to further disrupt the connection between the traumatic memory and its emotional charge. These techniques work together to create a state of relaxed alertness, allowing the brain to reprocess and reduce the impact of distressing memories.

Psychological Principles

Havening leverages fundamental psychological principles related to trauma and memory to facilitate healing from severe trauma. Central to this process are AMPA receptors, which are involved in the storage of traumatic memories. These receptors strengthen the synaptic connections that encode traumatic experiences, making them more vivid and persistent. Havening helps to induce a process called depotentiation, which reduces the strength of these synaptic connections, thereby diminishing the intensity and emotional impact of the traumatic memories.

The emotional response to trauma is largely governed by the amygdala, the brain’s fear centre. During a session of Havening, the techniques used help to calm the amygdala, reducing its activity and thereby mitigating the fear response associated with traumatic memories. Additionally, the Havening technique has been shown to lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone that is often elevated in individuals experiencing anxiety and trauma. By reducing cortisol levels, Havening promotes a state of relaxation and emotional balance. I offer Havening therapy in London, Tunbridge Wells and online.

Benefits of Havening Techniques

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of Havening:

Anxiety Reduction

One of the primary emotional health benefits is anxiety reduction. By reprocessing traumatic memories and calming the brain’s fear response, Havening helps to alleviate anxiety, allowing individuals to feel more at ease in their daily lives. This is one of the primary reasons why Havening is now used as an alternative therapy to CBT and counselling, as it can help to improve mental health symptoms much more quickly.

Managing Symptoms of Depression

Havening has been found to be effective in managing symptoms of depression. The release of serotonin and dopamine during Havening sessions helps to improve mood and combat depressive symptoms. As mentioned above, Havening can help to treat disorders arising from traumatic stress and anxiety, which can help with improving depression symptoms.

Relief for Chronic Pain

In terms of physical and psychological health, Havening can provide significant relief for chronic pain. By addressing the emotional stress and trauma that often underlie chronic pain conditions, Havening helps to reduce pain perception and improve overall physical comfort.

Improved Sleep

Many individuals report improved sleep following Havening sessions, as the reduction in anxiety and blood pressure and stress promotes better sleep quality and duration.


Havening represents a revolutionary approach to healing emotional and physical distress, rooted in the fascinating balance of touch, visualisation, and neuroscience. As a certified Havening practitioner, I have seen how this powerful technique can transform lives by reducing anxiety, managing depression, helping people to move on from trauma.

The science behind Havening reveals its potential to rewire the brain, leveraging neuroplasticity to diminish the emotional impact of traumatic memories. By calming the amygdala and reducing cortisol levels, Havening promotes a state of relaxation and emotional balance, offering a holistic and effective path to well-being.

Whether you are struggling with the aftereffects of trauma or seeking a method to enhance your overall emotional resilience, Havening provides a compassionate and scientifically grounded solution to mental health issues. If you’re interested in experiencing the power of Havening for yourself, please get in touch with me today.

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Chris has extensive experience in helping men and women overcome the symptoms of Anxiety, Panic Attacks, PTSD and so much more. You are not alone; help is available.