Chronic pain can be transformed. I know firsthand, having recovered from significant illness and injury. Chronic pain can be all consuming, taking up our attention, energy and emotional well being and leaving little left over for participating in life. Happily, there are practices you can learn that give you ways to cope as well as heal.
I have developed a unique approach to transforming chronic pain through my studies of multiple somatic disciplines, including Chinese Medicine, Acupressure and various forms of Massage and Bodywork. It is important that I be mindful when working with clients but it is equally important for the client to be mindful and present both during treatment and in their daily lives as they heal.
In addition to offering classes, I love to work with people individually and in small groups to unravel the layers that create chronic pain and somatic dysfunction. Our work together is not limited to me working “on you” but also includes building a “toolbox” of exercises and techniques that you can use to help yourself anytime, anywhere.
The distinction I would like to make about exercising in this way is that you will work from the inside out…that is, you are not merely exercising big muscles but putting your full attention into what you are doing. In this way you gradually build capacity regardless of the limitations of your starting point.
Healing is not a quick fix but a process that is incorporated into your daily life. Even after you are “better” you will be living and moving in a new way. Recovering and discovering your healthy self can be a joyful process.
Please contact me to explore the possibility of working together. You can call me at (510) 842.6140 or email me at email@example.com
The Agile Back
Over a lifetime we develop habitual ways of holding and moving that shape our daily experience in profound ways. Sometimes these patterns have developed as a part of our personality or character which may or may not serve us. Think for example of how a feminine woman or masculine man is “supposed“ to stand and move. These patterns may be so dysfunctional that they cause chronic pain and limitations to living fully.
One of the most common areas affected by habitual gripping and holding patterns is the back, which means the entire spine from the base of the skull to the bottom of the coccyx. For example notice when you are working at the computer how your head and jaw may extend forward. This way of working places considerable stress on the neck which often produces pain in the neck, arms, elbows, wrists and hands.
Our posture also reflects unconscious holding patterns. Some people hyperextend their chests and may become frozen in their ribcages which limits breathing and creates tension in the mid and lower back. Some people lead from their bellies when they stand or walk which creates a swayback which can lead to low back pain and potentially sciatica.
Most traditional Western medical therapies emphasize strengthening and stretching our big muscles, such as thighs, glutes, chest, arms and abdomen/core. While this is helpful, without changing your habitual patterns you will most likely return to dysfunction.
My work focuses on helping you to reorganize the way you live and move in your body from the inside out. Rather than exercising to strengthen a particular muscle group you will learn how to use your entire body as a unit. Through practice and attention you will experience your body in a new and deeper way. By reorganizing your neuromuscular patterns you will increase balance, flexibility and resilience. I will help you develop a personal “toolbox” that you can use to break your pain cycle and respond effectively to pain when it arises.
Recovering and discovering your healthy self can be a joyful process. For some people resistance to “exercise” can get in the way of recovery. There is a difference between the idea of exercise and the experience of moving in a connected way, like a panther, sleek and poised and ready for action. I can help you reframe your exercises from drudgery to time spent caring for yourself, like spending an hour getting a massage.
For others who love to move, the limitations of injury can be frustrating and discouraging. It can be difficult to recognize incremental progress when healing from an injury. By learning how to work in a more subtle way there is a growing satisfaction as your somatic awareness increases.
A key benefit of reframing and deepening your practice is to incorporate mindful movement into your daily life even after you have recovered. The goal isn’t just to get better but to stay better, laying the groundwork for health and vitality as you age. Even after you have recovered you will be living and moving in a new way.
While Tai Chi and Qigong classes are helpful to learn and reinforce new ways of moving, private sessions allow me to individualize and tailor a program specially addressing your personal challenges and needs. Often people who are injured or recovering from illness are not ready to participate in classes. Our work together will integrate my expertise in Somatic practices, Acupressure and Health Exercises based in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Our partnership focuses on building a platform that you will use for the rest of your life.
Please contact me for more information regarding private sessions.
Acupressure is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine which focuses on the movement or stagnation of Qi, also know as life force. Acupressure utilizes the meridians, which are a system of energetic pathways in the body. An imbalance of too much or too little Qi in an area can create pain, tension or illness. An example of accumulation or stagnation of Qi can be neck and shoulder pain or feeling anger, while a deficiency of Qi can be experienced as feeling cold and weak or depressed.
Acupressure involves using finger pressure on Acupuncture points to balance out the flow of energy throughout the body. It can stimulate and promote the natural ability of the body to heal itself. Like Acupuncture, Acupressure has the positive effects of improving overall health, reducing the effects of stress and enhancing your overall sense of well being.
Two distinctions between Acupuncture and Acupressure are that Acupressure does not use needles and Acupressure can also have a self-care component. When I work with people individually, I particularly enjoy teaching you how to use Acupressure points to enhance and maintain your health.
I also offer classes and workshops on building your own wellness self-care toolkit. We learn and practice how to use simple health exercises and acupressure techniques on ourselves and others to address common complaints such as headaches, congestion, neck and shoulder pain, nausea, stomach upsets, insomnia, depression and anxiety.
Please refer to the Calendar for upcoming classes and workshops, or contact me for individual sessions.