I have a common conversation with people outside the studio about bodywork and it is based around time; “How long will it take to make the pain go away?”
There are so many threads to that question that I am increasingly stuck for an answer. If you have a sore shoulder and want to make the initial pain go away, the massage that I offer can help within four weeks if you see me twice as week. We can ease the muscles, move the joints, calm nerves and allow freedom to increase. On a functional level that is how I start to tackle deep muscle based pain; 8 sessions in one month to 6 weeks and we get on top of it.
But so often I feel that that is simply a band-aid solution. Sure, it does a fantastic job with busting the pain cycle and everyone needs that. But afterwards we need to be serious about getting into the body and helping it along life’s paths in a deeper, more long-lasting way.
Fantastic Bodywork is based on a great relationship between my clients and I; we are serious about going deep into the function of their bodies, making it better long term and seeing the bandaid approach as a starting block, and from these fantastic relationships has flowed Connective Movement.
Touch is where we see the mind picking up the boundaries of our environment. If the skin is touched then we know where we are in space. Repeated touch during movement allows the brain to pick up on the functioning, fluid motion of the joints, that in turn allow us to find restorations that need to be helped and worked on.
Homework is as important as regular sessions with me in the studio. Over the past few years the homework given to my clients has been centred around slow, rhythmic joint movements whilst using bolsters, squishy therapy balls, walls and pillows to not just support the body, but also to allow the sensory pickup of the environment and space that they are working in.
Over time it has been clear that I really should pick up my pen and do a thesis on this as through observation I can see that clients who regularly work through the Connective Movement sequencing, whilst coming for regular massage based Bodywork, (by this I mean every three weeks after their initial 8 sessions), not only does the pain go away long term, but also their awareness of space get better and better.
For example, small things like reaching for something on a top shelf is easier and the whole body is able to facilitate it, rather than just the shoulder or arm. Tripping up on a pavement doesn’t always lead to a fall as the body can right itself quickly. Function is less stressed as the brain seems to be able to process actions in a calmer, softer way leading to a reduction of overall anxiety.
These are all subjective, and I have yet to do a full study, (which needs time and funding), but what I am seeing is clear - Connective Movement in combination with regular Bodywork not only helps with the ease of pain, the freedom of movement and reduction in anxiety, but also the awareness of the environments around us that cause the deep seated problems within the body and mind.
As the body becomes more aware the mind become clearer, and solutions spring to life that would otherwise have been stuck deep down and unable to rise to the surface.
So how long does this all take? We are a society that wants quick solutions - a simple double tap on the screen shows our love for an image, so why do we have to wait and work for so long?
Relationships take a while to form; with clients I see this all the time. I have never had a friend who has instantly known me! It takes time to get to a deep point of knowledge and if you are starting to get to know your body, that relationship is going to take a while too.
Just because you are physically attached to your back doesn’t automatically mean that you have had a communicative relationship with it. It’ll take time to get to know how your body talks to you, the ebbs and flows, the softening and the lengthening, the constrictions and the brittleness. It takes time.
Working with me is all about relationship built on trust and together we take it seriously. Finding new ways to connect you back into your mind and body is what this is all about, and it is delicious fun along the way. The best days in the studio is when a client sits down and cannot wait to eagerly tell me how they have moved into a new space - both in mind and body - by connecting in and moving through.
I love this!!