I love this question, and I love how it’s not a simple answer. I am very mechanically minded, almost like an engineer. I view the body as a complex system of hydraulic pumps, pulleys and levers. So, I am always looking for causes and solutions, not chasing the pain. If one modality doesn’t work, I try another.
With that, I started with learning a pretty solid foundation of anatomy, physiology, and especially from that, muscles. Where they attach, what actions they create, how to stretch them. From there, I learned about Myofascial Therapy, which changed my life. Myofascial Therapy works with the myofascial system, which is an interconnected system of connective tissue in the body. If you were to remove everything from the human body, except for this system, the person would still be recognizable, its that involved. From there, do you remember the song “ the leg bone is connected to the hip bone…”? Yeah, it’s a lot like that. Myofascia works with the idea of tensegrity, if I pull here, it will effect over there. Here is a great video to explain it. Tom Myers is a great practitioner with ideas that I agree with and practice.
So, adding onto where he left off, “where ya think it is, it ain’t.”—Ida Rolf. This is an idea I really work with. Most people who are regular humans in this life, are sitting, hunched forward while driving, at their phone, etc. so the whole front side of the body is in passive contraction. The back side of the body, where everyone feels the pain, is in passive stretch. Something I say regularly to my clients is “you know, it’s never the screaming kid, that’s causing the problem, its the one running away.” The one running away in this case, is the contracted front side of the body. Its like a game of tug of war, and the back side is losing, badly. So using the myofascial system, I help lengthen the front side of the body, so the back side can get some ease. I do address the back side as well, but not as much. Making sense?
There are a few usual patterns that people have that I can address pretty easily. Upper back hurt from hunching over your computer, or driving too much? Open your arms out to the side, tip your hands backwards, look up. Feel that stretch? Feel good? Yeah, that is just the beginning, and something you can do for self care. Low back pain? Sitting too much? The simple act of standing, or using support from a yoga ball, or cobra pose in yoga, or up dog if you’re feeling saucy, are some examples of gentle supported back bends that should help provide relief. In short, whatever you’re doing on a regular basis, do the opposite of it, even if its just for 10-30 seconds. It’s a good way to remind your body, you’re not stuck in this forward position.
While still using the idea of tensegrity, I also practice CrainoSacral Therapy. This is a similar idea of push/pull, but in the cranial bones of the head, as well as the entire spine and spinal cord. Impingements anywhere in this system can directly effect the nervous system, which controls everything. So, I look for tightness or stuck spots, use gentle techniques to help move these, and allow the innate system of the body, to help integrate, and rebalance.
Stepping away from physical connection, I also do energy work. I have studied many modalities in this field and also working with my intuition. I use very gentle pressure, or just resting my hands on the body, to allow whatever is needing to flow through me, into the client, or within the client themselves. Again, it’s working on the idea of stuck spots, but in this case, energetic. Sometimes, these are hard for client to be aware of, as pain often relates to physical issues, not energetic. Physical pain can also have emotional components to it, from past traumas, or the compensatory effect. By addressing these issues, and releasing them, will help resolve issues and integrate the story and somatic experience one has, so they can move forward in their lives. These are all issues that can be addressed and more. I also have clients come to me and use an energy session as a way to go into a deeper meditative state, to look for answers in their own lives, or also to just “reset”. The possibilities are endless.
To end cap this message, what makes me unique, is that I can integrate all of what I just mentioned, into one session, and often times do. There are clients that come to me, and only want the physical addressed, and that’s fine. Others are open to just receiving what ever comes down the pipeline, and those are often very fun sessions, where both myself and the client, end both feeling really great.