What does your body crave?
What does your body need?
What parts of you request your attention?
The body is an intricate web of connectivity – an orchestra of physical, chemical and neurological activity which allow us to access all the gifts that life has to offer. The last few hundred years have facilitated an explosion of information about our miraculous bodies. Yet we find ourselves more disconnected and in pain than ever before. Our muscles ache, our guts hurt, our hearts pine for ease.
As a consequence of this “dis-ease”, healers, physicians doctors, and therapists have emerged to serve the role of allowing us respite – offering memories of connection with ourselves. This may come via medication, herbs or via judicious and skilful application of touch.
Touch is the most ancient form of communication. We know it innately and fundamentally as an intimate offering of our feeling state with another. We touch our children, our parents, our beloveds. We are touched by deep sentiments. We fail to thrive as infants or even die if this primal sense is not met.
Touch may be skilfully offered and it may be clumsily offered – it may cause us to recoil, it may allow us to melt, it may titillate with the electricity embedded in new love. It is and always was medicine. This brings me to the thrust of this article – the spectrum of touch.
Why should touch exist on a spectrum? Because not all touch is useful, appropriate or valuable as a therapy, for example: deep, strong or pain provoking touch has no place in working with someone who is very frail.
When we are receiving bodywork-therapy, we offer something of our fragile humanity to be seen and touched and worked with. This may not be easy and may bring up prior difficult or traumatic experiences which may be rooted in touch ie. physical or sexual abuse. This requires sensitivity, skill and precision.
The tissues we work on whether muscles, bones, fascias, tendons or ligaments influence our perception of the work being done. Our associations, history, previous experiences of touch as well as all the information we have heard and read influence the perception of touch.
The bodywork strategies I employ include:
Neuromuscular therapy – the systematic assessment and treatment of muscle and fascial zones to facilitate improvement in mobility and diminishing pain
Chiropractic (low force approaches ) and Diversified technique which involves the manipulation of the spine and extremity joints (and muscles) to facilitate and improve movement, flexibility and resilience.
Fascial manipulation– a method of manipulating the ubiquitous and miraculous tissue called fascia- which covers every organ, muscle and gland in the body and can have powerful impact on pain states and on normalising disharmonious tissues expressions. Tightness/ weakness.
Craniosacral therapy– a very gentle approach to dealing with pain, stress and trauma. With tiny forces and a deep reverence for the bodies innate capacity for resolution of stress / and trauma states.
Bodywork exists in every culture. Humans have touched, rubbed, massaged and manipulated for time immemorial. And the benefits of touch are manifold. Most research into bodywork has looked at the impact of touch/ bodywork in terms of physiological function. The other domains of touch/ bodywork as psycho emotional regulator is garnering lots of attention. Is it any wonder that the time of our life where we are most easily/readily touched is also the time that we display the most growth in our brain/ body (ie. up to 4 years old)? Is it possible that appropriate touch within safe therapeutic relationship can assist in:
- Healing trauma ?
- Facilitating grief?
- Assisting with change dynamics?
- Facilitating choice?
- Creating a greater sense of self awareness?
- Allowing us to reframe difficult experience within a more grounded (safe ) container.?
The journey of exploring different forms/ expressions of bodywork has opened a world of wonder in me, which feels often to be a creative adventure rather than a cold clinical encounter. The question- “What does this body mind require?”- sits foremost in my mind when meeting a new client. Is the need to simply move through a painful flare up or is the need different?
Bodywork has been a profound gift and blessing and has allowed me to express parts of my nature while fulfilling my desire to offer a significant positive influence in peoples lives.