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Case StudySSPAutonomic Nervous SystemLong COVIDPhysical ChallengesPolyvagal TheoryTestimonial

Case Study: Finding nervous system regulation after long COVID

🕑 2 minutes read
Posted March 16, 2022

About the Provider

Name: Christa Hines
Discipline/Credentials: LCSW, CADC-II
Modalities: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP); Tension, Stress and Trauma Release
(TRE); Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR); Internal Family Systems (IFS)


Client Background

Name: Teresa (pseudonym)
Age and Gender: 52-year-old woman
Diagnoses and Conditions: Symptoms associated with long COVID
Program Delivered: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

Teresa is a healthy and active woman. In March 2020, however, she caught acute COVID-19. Since then, Teresa has been experiencing symptoms of long COVID, including becoming incapacitated with severe fatigue, joint pain, cognitive challenges with brain fog, and impaired proprioception.


Implementation of the SSP

Teresa sought help for her symptoms of long COVID. The goal of treatment was to deliver the SSP’s version of vagal nerve stimulation to add in more parasympathetic calm to her nervous system, which was stuck in survival mode with post-viral dysautonomia symptoms (affecting the autonomic nervous system).

The SSP was delivered remotely to Teresa (Hours 1 through 5). There was initial co-listening, with the client later feeling regulation and comfort with independent listening. Other regulating offerings included psychoeducation, a rating with a self-regulation scale, and breathing interventions.


Direct access to the vagal nerve that is impacted and compromised in individuals with long COVID meant that direct shifts were available in her nervous system.

As a result of long COVID, the dysautonomia she experienced led to a frozen face without expression. Following SSP delivery, however, Teresa noticed that her face was “thawing out.” Not only was she pleased to see that this allowed for smiling and facial movement, she reported feeling more regulated in her nervous system, plus a decrease in her tachycardia, and that she was able to breathe with more ease.

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Teresa’s family members were pleasantly surprised that she became more available and socially engaged. Provider Christa Hines also shares, “I have anecdotal evidence [that the SSP supports a reduction in long COVID symptoms] from myself and my son, who are also long haulers, and I am working with more people with long COVID all the time. More evidence to follow, I am certain!”

“Many people with long COVID will have an accessible way to find ease with their symptoms,” Christa adds.


It’s important to note that the SSP is not a cure or treatment for COVID-19. However, better autonomic regulation and resiliency that can be provided by the SSP may be supportive of a client’s overall healing and recovery.

This information is regarding general health and wellness, and is not intended to provide medical advice. The SSP is not an FDA-approved therapy or treatment. The FDA has not reviewed these statements or claims. We encourage you to consult with your medical provider regarding recovery from COVID-19 or other health conditions.

Continue your learning

An auditory intervention developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the SSP restores the nervous system, and is designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. Learn more.

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