Evolving is different from developing.  Developing is moving toward a goal.  Evolving has more of a sense of “This is new, and I don’t know where I am going.”  It doesn’t mean that we don’t do both simultaneously.  It’s important to know that development has its own course.  Some things take 5 minutes while others take years.  The mind of evolution doesn’t look for answers.  It is open to what is now.  At that point the options are many.  What do I want, and am I supported?

I love my work, and a big part of my work is staying present and finding ways to help my clients stay present.  In this, my meditation practice and massage practice dovetail each other.  My meditation practice and faith in the skill of that practice are at the very center of my life.  Because of that I now facilitate two weekly sitting groups at the beautiful serene yoga studio where my office is.

If you have any interest, please go to the tab titled “Meditation Newsletters”.

I am becoming more involved in Thai Massage which involves a lot of stretching.  Sometimes the stretching is passive, while sometimes I might put pressure on a particular muscle and then stretch.  In the second example, a specific tight area is directly contacted and felt specifically.

I have also begun Feldenkrais sessions with a very good practitioner.  I have done numerous workshops in Feldenkrais and enjoy them immensely and get a lot out of them.  Feldenkrais works with movement in sometimes very slow ways, discovering new pathways and patterns, but not usually directly and pointedly putting pressure on a specific tight area.

What I am discovering for me is that I, and many people when experiencing muscular and skeletal discomfort really respond well when you find and isolate the area that is giving them problems.  “Right there, that’s the spot!”.  Sometimes these “spots” are very hard to find buried under and between other muscles/fascia.  Sometimes there are quite a few spots.  The muscles are pretty much basic geometry.  If this one is tight here, and this one is tight there, then the pattern becomes more obvious.  And of course for every tight muscle, there is one somewhere that is “a slacker”.

So I’ll probably find ways to integrate Thai Massage into my work, but still work deeply in the fascia and muscles, and the verdict is still out on my Feldenkrais sessions.  I think the work is profound, but I’m not sure I have the patience and time to get the results I hope to get from my hip-knee issue.  I’d apprecitae any feed back.

Along with being a Massage Therapist for over 17 years, I have also practiced meditation( in which mindfulness is a part). I believe it is so life changing that I am facilitating a sitting group in hopes that others can benefit from this wonderful tool. The link between the three is obvious.  To put it simply, our world revolves around feelings.

There aren’t many Massage Therapists that didn’t enter the profession without the knowledge that probably over 80% of people who receive massage are doing it because it makes them feel so much better and relaxes them.  Most of us therapists find this aspect highly rewarding.

Meditation and mindfulness practice come back to the same thing.  We want to feel good and be happy and can feel enslaved by worry.  Power, money, happiness all have their source in feelings.

The weak link in the chain of our experiences is feelings,and if we can skillfully see them, we can short circuit a process that leads to misery.

“Here’s a little song I wrote—–you can sing it note by note——-don’t worry———be happy” (wish I knew how to insert audio)


And finally, stating the obvious, there is something very visceral about this area. Visceral describes a sort of reaction or feeling about something that goes beyond logic. Maybe 15 years ago I heard a newscaster say thet he felt something at a “visceral level”, and since then, I’ve heard it used more and more.

Yes, there is something visceral and intimate and personal about our tummies. The feeling of dislike when this area is worked is usually more associated with the foreigness of the work than pain. When an experience is new it can almost evoke stress, but repetition and familiarity and trust can change that.

This is so true of many different areas of injury I’ve encountered over the years in different clients. I always honor it when someone tells me (not necessarily verbally) that they don’t like something I am doing, but it is very enriching when they allow me to proceed and it transforms into a healing and satisfying experience.

Many people like to think of the tummy as this hard, six pack solid area that is never touched unless it is a prelude to adult activity.  It can be a tentative area, also because it is foreign territory.

I like to think of the area as soft and rich.  Developmentally(physiologically) our six endpoints meet in the middle here in what is called a starfish pattern.  Right/left, upper/lower, and contralateral patterns —-all merge here.   A lot of  “stuff is here”, and although many schools warn of how this area evokes emotional reactions/releases,  in my experience of working with perhaps 10,000 tummies, it is simply not the case.

Many philosophies give the naval area great significance.  I studied Chi Nei Tsung in Sedona years ago which is an Ancient Chinese Taoist practice of massage (in part) and is used in Thai Massage, works with the viscera and abdominal area where the complete map of the organ systems associated with the meridians and their points lie.

The Japanese refer to this area as the hara and many martial art schools refer to the tan tien which is a spot about two inches below the naval as an area of focus and an area to focus from.

To be continued……….

I’m amazed at the number of people who have had low back problems and have had many massages, and have never had a therapist massage into the abdoman to address the hip flexors that lay against the front of the spine. Although for some people this can feel intrusive an unusual, when this muscle is tight it can compress the spine. By stretching and relaxing/lengthening this muscle along with the illiacus muscles, the benefits can be unbelievable.

Another benefit is for anyone who has had abdominal surgery where the possibility of scar tissue building up can cause obstructions. My daughter’s boyfriend is in the hospital following an emergency surgery due to just that. I will encourage him to do self abdominal massage for himself which has many benefits and will help increase circulation in this area and keep this from occurirng in the future.

I personally find viceral and abdominal massage pleasant. I will continue this subject with more information and benefits. There are many different types and intentions that accompany this.

This is a personal sadness. After being a massage therapist for 17 years or so, thinking that when people have suffered from physical and emotional trauma that massage is longed for because it usually feels so healing, it isn’t always the case. I’ve had this client for at least 12 years and they were diagnosed with something “scary”, and in addition are in pain because of a deteriorated joint.

Instead of wanting to come in, they have almost gone out of their way to avoid massage by being very busy. I feel like a failure right now. I feel like if I was a decent massage therapist, this would be when they should appreciate it the most. It almost negates the whole reason why I became a therapist.

Through my career I have taken numerous classes.  After a point although there are always new techniques and theories, being present with my clients needs and staying tuned in is the single most important thing, and the most challenging at times.  Even more important, is noticing my clients presence.

Our Western lifestyle that includes a lot of stress and “non stop thinking” makes it more difficult to allow non productive thinking to stop so that we can turn towards and engage with what is occurring now.

So, as I am working with a client and notice a non productive “thinking or agitated” state, if I have hopes for that state to shift, it is absolutely imperative that I drop into a state of presence in my own body and mind.

Putting my attention on and in my breathe, while focusing on the sensations in my physical body, especially core (which includes organs), really helps me to do that.  Focusing on sensations and noticing where things feel agitated or tight or held instead of focusing on thinking why or trying to figure out with the head what needs to happen is the first step.  “If this is being held, what happens if I just address this spot–maybe I can breathe into it, maybe I notice that I have contracted that whole shoulder area over an unpleasant thought.  Well, now that I am putting my attention on the contracted area away from the thinking and just maybe experiment with allowing my chest to gently expand or softly allow my shoulders to come back to neutral, I begin to feel a lot better.  From here, as a thought arises I can more clearly notice that as I think, I can actually feel the individual physical nuances that occur simultaneously.”

This process is part of an embodiment practice.  It takes awhile to notice and respond to sensations and body patterns that accompany our thinking patterns, but with time and practice it becomes possible to do this and communicate and speak simultaneously.

 

 

Ida Rolf was the pioneer in discovering how effective working deeply with the connective tissue is.  All deep work involving fascia is because of her.    Many years later we have myo-fascial work, and numerous practitioners who are using adhesive tape to help muscles effectively function best in their proper alignment with the skeleton are working with the fascia.

This connective tissue is connected in planes throughout the body.  It takes time for the correction to “hold”, hence the tape, and as Ida taught, numerous consecutive sessions to really integrate the work in an effective way.

I am become more informed about the way the fascia is like a web in the body, and how it wraps around muscles forming planes in the body.  Knowing these planes allows myo-fascial work to be much more effective.