So I haven’t wrote a blog post in a long time because I’ve been quite consumed with my practice and supporting my clients in their healing process.
I’ve also been dealing with my own healing process from my recent separation from my wife of over 6 years.
Why do I share this personal information with you?
Because I too have used body therapy recently to help me RELEASE MY EMOTIONS and the energetic pressure of my suppressed emotions from my body and nervous system and this helped me heal way faster than I would have if I would continue to suppress my feelings.
Most people have NO IDEA what’s possible with BODY THERAPY.
They know about psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, psychiatry, and the like. But they have no idea that something like body therapy even exists.
Body therapy and specifically the methods of body therapy that I use in my Kinetic Release Therapy (KRT) sessions, can help us RELEASE tremendous energetic tension from our body/mind/spirit complex so that we can HEAL ONCE AND FOR ALL from our mental-emotional disharmonies.
Whether it’s anxiety, depression, ADD or ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or even addiction, we can find TREMENDOUS healing possibilities with body therapy work.
By being super present and mindful with my carefully applied touch and engagement of the fascial system, we’re able restore ease and harmony in our mind/body/spirit so that we can heal from most mental illness conditions.
To work with a psychotherapist/psychoanalyst alone is quite limited in my opinion and from my personal experience of visiting several of them in the past. (I’ve suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, depression and was even diagnosed bipolar when I was 21!!).
The reason why I say that it can be limited to only work with the mind and to ignore our body is because MUCH of our mental disharmonies are CAUSED by UNCONSCIOUS issues that have to do with past traumas and energetic emotional charges that we have in our body and are not even aware that they are keeping us in the sympathetic state or the fight/flight/freeze response of our nervous system.
The ENTIRELY UNCONSCIOUS tensions and toxic energies are STORED IN OUR BODY. In our nervous system. In our cells!!
OUR BODY REMEMBERS EVERYTHING. Our mind, not so much.
So I believe that we can talk to a psychotherapist weekly for up to a year or more and still not get the type of results that we can get in just one or two sessions of body therapy.
Why is that?
Because talking to a psychotherapist/psychoanalyst often ONLY ADDRESSED THE CONSCIOUS ISSUES that we are having. But what about the UNCONSCIOUS issues that are stored IN OUR TISSUES?
What about all that other stuff that we are literally holding onto from our childhood traumas and we HAVE NO IDEA that it’s affecting us?
I can’t tell you how many sessions I’ve had with clients where when asked prior to the session about their emotional state lately they tell me that they are “totally fine” and “pretty stress-free” and then after a few minutes of body therapy work they start crying and releasing emotions that they had NO IDEA that they were even suppressing. They get to FINALLY FEEL their emotions.
Whether it is sadness, anger, or even a milder form of anger which we like to call frustration.
Additionally, I can’t even tell you how many of my clients go into a deep state of relaxation during sessions when we practice fascial release work and they end up having visions of past trauma situations as well as full-body sensations of the past trauma coming to the surface.
I’ve personally tasted the anesthesia in the back of my throat a few times during body therapy sessions which I believe was the trauma from my multiple surgeries in my past.
One client of mine even found herself seeing visions of blood and the ER from her visit to the ER after a severe car accident when she was just a little girl!
All these memories and emotional charges are stored in our body and with body therapy we can actually ACCESS these past memories and charges in our nervous system and let them go once and for all so that we’re SHIFTED and we step into better versions of ourselves.
Our body is essentially a reflection of our unconscious mind.
And through Kinetic Release Therapy (KRT) body therapy, we can access our unconscious mind THROUGH THE BODY in a GENTLE, SAFE, AND EFFICIENT manner.
To learn more about how body therapy can support your healing process in regards to your emotional balance, please schedule a complimentary consultation with me.
Also, to learn more about TRAUMA, EMOTIONS, and how our nervous system contains all of the information of our past, you can pick up one of my favorite books called “Waking The Tiger” by Peter Levine.
I look forward to serving you all soon so we can get you feeling better in not just your body, but also your mind and in your life!
On first look, it appears to look like my AcroKinetic joint mobilization method resembles AcroYoga therapeutic flying work.
But although it may look similar, the intention for the work as well as the actual technique and principles is very different.
Learn more by watching this demo that I recently filmed in the gong room at The Assemblage NoMad, where I have my private practice.
Traditional therapy has viewed pain from two different perspectives. One school of thought was to avoid pain, “mask” the symptoms and teach the patient to cope with his or her problem. This approach did not cause direct trauma, but forced people to be satisfied with limited results. There was the possibility of cumulative trauma since untreated restrictions caused micro trauma to the patient’s system over time. This micro trauma was like a ticking time bomb left in the system, forcing a return of symptoms or a shift to another area. This is rarely a satisfactory solution.
The other school of thought was “no pain, no gain.” Too many times patients were instructed to exercise and force their way through the pain. The result: a lot of strong patients in agony. Or manipulation and other aggressive manual techniques produced force into osseous structures while paying no attention to the tight surrounding myofascial environment. The aggressive force used created the possibility of increased pain, injury or a return of symptoms because the environment of every osseous structure, the myofascial system, had not been released first. Myofascial Release can safely and effectively free the osseous structures and/or create a more open environment to enhance the effectiveness of manipulation, mobilization procedures, muscle energy techniques and exercise and flexibility programs. Is there a possibility of another option for the relief of pain and the restoration of motion? I strongly believe the possibility exists, based on my years of experience and the experience of over 20,000 physical therapists (one-third of the profession) that I have had the opportunity to train in this approach. I would like you to consider the possibility of a third treatment option of relieving pain and restoring motion: therapeutic pain. One aspect of the Myofascial Release Approach is where the therapist applies gentle, sustained pressure into the fascial system, creating what the patient reports as a feeling of good pain or a good stretch. Release of the pressure of the fascial system around the muscles, nerves, blood vessels and the osseous structures creates a free mobile environment of these pain-sensitive structures, producing consistent results in relieving pain and restoring functional mobility. Another aspect of myofascial release is the sophisticated facilitation techniques called Myofascial Unwinding. The fascial system is a piezoelectric tissue, so when the therapist applies gentle sustained pressure into the fascial system through compression, traction or twisting the fascial system or moving a particular body part (taking gravity out of the system), it creates a flow of the body’s bioenergy. This flow triggers the mind/body complex into spontaneous motion. This spontaneous therapeutic motion allows the body to assume positions in space that represent positions of past traumas. These positions of trauma represent one’s subconscious fear, negative memories and/or pain that have created holding or bracing patterns which have impeded progress of the traditional therapeutic approach. It is these positions in space and the re-experiencing of this pain memory which is never injurious, that takes the threat out of the system and allows the mind/body complex to let go of these holding or bracing patterns so that healing can commence.
Working in reverse, Myofascial Release, and Myofascial Unwinding, release the fascial tissue restrictions, thereby altering the habitual muscular response and allowing the positional, reversible amnesia to surface, producing emotions and belief systems that are the cause of holding patterns and ultimately symptoms. Thus it is important for the therapist to quiet his or her mind and feel the inherent motions. Quietly following the tissue or body part three-dimensionally along the direction of ease takes the patient into the significant restrictions or positions. With Myofascial Unwinding, the therapist eliminates gravity from the system. This unloading of the structure allows the body’s righting reflexes and protective responses to temporarily suspend their influence. The body can then move into positions that allow these state or position dependent physiologic or flashback phenomena to reoccur. As this happens within the safe environment of a treatment session, the patient can facilitate the body’s inherent self-correcting mechanism to obtain improvement.
The Myofascial Release Approach is more than just an assemblage of techniques. Instead, it creates a whole-body awareness allowing the health professional to facilitate change, growth and the possibility for total resolution of restrictions, emotions and belief systems that impede patient progress.
Therapeutic Pain PT/OT Today Vol. 5, No. 40 Mind & Body by John F. Barnes, PT
I put up another FREE self-release exercise from our Body Ease Program up on my YouTube channel!
Check this out... try it... and then PLEASE take a moment to leave a comment below the video on YouTube and let us know how you like it!
And please don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel so you can stay tuned for more!
By Barry Kapke
Originally published in Massage Bodywork magazine, February/March 2000.
Copyright 2000. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.
Ease and harmony -- that's what the body seeks to rediscover with Ortho-Bionomy, a gentle osteopathically-based system for working with the body's self-corrective reflexes. According to Ortho-Bionomy founder Arthur Lincoln Pauls, D.O., ease and harmony are things we already know, and Ortho-Bionomy is one way of remembering. It is an educational tool "of a high order. When we begin to understand why we are ill, then we understand, also, what to do about it, and to prevent it."1 While Ortho-Bionomy is mostly identified as a bodywork modality, it is also very much a way to approach life and can help anyone to function more harmoniously within his body and environment.
As an approach for working with patterns existing within the whole person -- physical, emotional, mental and "auric" -- Ortho-Bionomy is effective in addressing a wide range of disharmonies. Ortho-Bionomy is a comprehensive system that includes positional release, postural re-education, subtle touch and energy work. These techniques are effective for chronic stress, injuries, and pains or problems associated with postural or structural imbalance.
During the 1970s, Pauls developed what he called Phased Reflex Techniques (PRT) -- the first stage in the development of Ortho-Bionomy. "Through the Phased Reflex Techniques, we bring about an understanding to the body via the reflexes and so increase the body's awareness. In so doing, the body functions better at all levels."2Pauls believed there is an innate tendency in all things to move toward its own perfection, and that this self-corrective reflex only needs an occasional nudge, or reminder, to "kick in." The Ortho-Bionomist provides stimulation to activate the self-healing response and then supports the individual in such a way as to not interfere. The term Ortho-Bionomy translates loosely as the correct application of the natural laws of life.
Pauls felt strongly that the role of the practitioner should be indirect, listening and responding to ongoing patterns, rather than using manipulation to impose change. "We only show reminders of what is, the rest is spontaneous," Pauls said. "Would you show water how to run down a hill? It knows how, it only has to be set free. The body of man is the same; it knows, so who are we in our practiced intellect to teach it? It is better it teaches us and we observe the events that follow on."3 Pauls' background as a black belt martial artist and judo instructor had trained him to work with the energy of another, rather than conflicting with it.
Positional Release Techniques
In the structural application of Ortho-Bionomy (also known as Phase Four), positional release techniques are utilized to correct physical imbalances and to restore efficient functioning in muscles, joints and organs. Unlike osteopathy or chiropractic, Ortho-Bionomy does not use forceful manipulations. It is gentle, non-intrusive and safe, even in cases of acute injury and severe pain. The guiding principle in Ortho-Bionomy is to work with the body to activate self-correcting reflexes.
Consider a stuck door. Trying to force it requires a lot of effort and you may end up with a doorknob in your hand instead of an open door. However, simply pushing into the door where it is stuck will often prompt it to release, opening easily. Ortho-Bionomy works in a similar way. Instead of trying to stretch a muscle that is tight, an Ortho-Bionomist will compress into it, giving the body direct feedback that the muscle is "stuck" and allowing the muscle fibers to slide apart. More precisely, through positioning, gentle touch and focused compression, proprioceptive reflexes in the joints and the stretch reflex in the muscles are activated. Our proprioceptive system tells us where we are in space and where the different body parts are in relation to each other; the stretch reflex lets us know what the relative tension in the tissue is. When the "self-picture" arising from these activated reflexes is processed by the nervous system, the body can decide whether the current state is optimum or not. Since our bodies naturally seek balance and most efficient function, the organism will self-correct once it becomes aware of an imbalance. Unless there are additional complications in other parts of the body or in the body-mind-emotion interface, corrections occur spontaneously and the consequent changes are long-lasting and well integrated since they are initiated from within, rather than being imposed from the outside.
Positional release techniques are specific and easily learned. In addition to providing powerful tools for bodywork professionals, Ortho-Bionomy also offers concrete skills for individuals and families to address minor accidents and to practice self-care. Pauls said even children can effectively learn and practice Ortho-Bionomy. He felt this information should be available to all people, not just professionals, and he began teaching Ortho-Bionomy in the 1970s to anyone who was interested.
It is this concrete body of positional release techniques for which Ortho-Bionomy is best known. Working with the body, rather than merely on the body, is one thing that differentiates Ortho-Bionomy from more mechanical positional release approaches. However, Ortho-Bionomy also works on more energetic levels as well. It is often referred to as the homeopathy of bodywork.
"Anything which affects the physical body will affect the etheric field and vice versa," said Pauls. "We prefer to start with the physical body for economic reasons, as it is a saving of the energy potential of the person involved. Anything done to a person, on any level, must be paid for in energy in some way or another. The more we economize, the greater will be the individual's strength in the understanding process," said Pauls.4
In subtle touch work (Phase Five), the practitioner does less and listens more. The experience of blending and flow guide this work. The client is allowed to direct his own self-correction through a process of "unwinding" in which the practitioner supports and follows the client's spontaneous, yet passive, movements. Compensatory patterns which may have been proprioceptively ingrained are "disentangled" in these explorations of movement. This work is a bridge between the purely physical work of Phase Four and the purely energetic work of Phases Six and Seven.
"An awareness of the life and movement present in all of us tends to make Phase Five a more dynamic exchange between client and practitioner," wrote advanced Ortho-Bionomy instructor Luann Overmyer in 1991.5 "Take a Phase Four movement, connect yourself to it and move where you are led, by the client or yourself. Make it a dance, a give-and-take where the lines are blurred between doing and not doing. Let the client experience their own choices in movement and self-exploration with as little interference as possible."
Pauls also discovered that the self-corrective reflex could be stimulated without physical contact. This is the purely energetic phase of Ortho-Bionomy -- Phase Six. Here, the practitioner performs this "following" of energetic patterns with little or no physical contact, or works with mental geometries as in Phase Seven. These applications provide invaluable options where people may be in too much pain, physical or otherwise, to be touched.
"The most important piece to remember about working with the aura is that it is not our ideas, thoughts or agenda that create the movement with our hands or determine the contact we make with our clients' energetic field," said Bettina Seidl, 1997.6 "We are waiting for and listening to the energetic expression of our partners/clients and then mirror/represent those expressions through the movement of our hands, our mood and body posture."
The energy phases of Ortho-Bionomy work at all levels of life. They affect animals and plants, as well as human beings. Overmyer used Phase 6 to remind a beetle to use its damaged leg. Others tell stories of helping birds or other hurt animals.
"[T]hink of Phase Six as speaking to the patient in a different way than with words," said Pauls. "The beauty of this Phase Six language is that it is universal. You can speak to people with it, or to animals and even to plants. In other words you are using the natural energy available to all which is recognized by everything."7
In a world of experts, Ortho-Bionomy offers a refreshingly comprehensive system of healing and self-understanding that is simple, direct and accessible. Ortho-Bionomy honors the instinctive wisdom of the body, facilitating self-healing to occur as the body remembers its natural ability to move away from pain or tension and toward ease.
Okay, so I used to smoke cannabis daily in my teens and early 20's before my manic episode..
And now, I burn sage daily and I drink CBD Oil in my water.
Sure, there are absolutely no psychoactive components in either white sage bundles which I use for smudging, OR in the yummy CBD Oil that my friends Larry and Oksana now supply me with each month.
The difference? Smoking cannabis did not work well for me, personally.
Everyone is different and for me smoking didn’t work with my biochemistry. Plus the THC aggravated my manic tendencies. Understanding that there are numerous benefits, I discovered that I can get the benefits of cannabis without the high by using hemp derived CBD… It has all the components of cannabis minus the THC....
I love that I can still enhance my overall health and wellness with the medicine of cannabis, just like drinking daily cold-pressed juice, another one of my daily habits.
CBD Oil is known for being able to do a lot of good to our body.
I can't legally make any claims so I won't.
But I can tell you that I'm loving how it helps me feel healthier, balanced, and how it supports all my other anti-anxiety practices such as staying away from all stimulants such as caffeine, as well as my daily vedic meditation practice and consumption of Phosphorous as my homeopathic remedy (prescribed by my master homeopathic doctor who is one of the best in NYC).
So why am I obsessed with CBD Oil?
Because it FEELS good to me.
So if you want to try some, reach out to me when you're in the NYC area and you can swing by my office to have glassful.
Or, you can just trust me and order yourself a bottle to try it out.
Just click HERE and start with a bottle of this...
It's by far one of the most highest quality CBD Oils on the market right now.
And, it has a money back guarantee, so if you don't like it, send it back!
Good luck and be sure to join the private Sol CBD facebook group to hear some amazing stories of everyone who is just as obsessed as I am with this stuff.
It's the goods. I promise.
Till next time, my sweet lovelies.
So I just got back from doing a live radio show with Adam Jeffrey Weinberg for www.TalkRadioNYC.com and the topic of our discussion was "Why Foam Rolling Is Bullshit."
This video from Dr. Andreo Spina is a perfect representation of why I chose to discuss this topic.
While I foam roll regularly and love the way it feels, I think it's important that everyone in the fitness world understands that foam rolling is basically no different than massage therapy. It is NOT myofascial release and it CANNOT create lasting release and change the the fascial system.
By Joni Edmunds, DPT, of Perth Myofascial Release
All myofascial release is the same, right? If this were true, finding a myofascial release therapist would be easy! However, the myriad of classes and certifications offered to therapists all under the name of ‘myofascial release’ means there can be differences between practitioners’ treatments.
With any topic, I like to find the original source, assuming that this leads me to the purest version available. A search for the source of modern-day myofascial release leads us straight to John F. Barnes, American physical therapist (physiotherapist). Finding John may take a bit of sifting through other styles and versions of myofascial release, but a thorough search pays off. Here’s what we discover: Real myofascial release, as taught by John since the 1960’s, incorporates three major myofascial techniques in conjunction with one another – structural release, rebounding, and unwinding. Understanding each component will help you to know if you are getting ‘real’ myofascial release treatment from your therapist.
1. Myofascial Structural Release – waiting for the melt!
Structural release involves applying gentle, sustained pressure into areas of tightness, restriction, or pain and waiting for your body to release. Never forceful, pressures are applied to gently reach the barrier of the tissue restriction. At first, you will feel an elastic or springy give and this is fool’s gold. It feels like a release. It feels like a bit of change. However, the tissue will just spring back once the pressure is disengaged. Why? This ‘fool’s gold’ is the elastic component of the tissue giving way. The only way to experience a lasting change in the tissue is to wait. Additional time spent holding the pressure (beyond 3-5 minutes for each restriction!) enables your connective tissue to fully ‘melt’ and lengthen. Science is telling us that there is yet another benefit to waiting long enough to allow for a phase change in the tissue. Beyond 5 minutes, your body will begin producing interleukin, which is a natural anti-inflammatory! This response is only elicited when pressure is sustained and uninterrupted – no rubbing, poking, manipulating, or bouncing!
It is critical to note that structural myofascial release can only be performed on dry skin. Using oils or creams during treatment means the therapist is sliding on your skin and therefore unable to properly sustain pressures that release and melt restrictions in your body.
2. Myofascial Unwinding – untangling knots!
Everyone has an innate ability to self-correct tension, postural imbalances, and tissue restrictions through natural, intuitive movement! When you first wake up in the morning and have that urge to yawn and roll and stretch a bit before hopping out of bed, you are experiencing a snippet of your body’s self-correction mechanism. Similarly, when you’ve been sitting at the computer for too long and feel the urge to reach your arms up over your head and arch your upper back over the back of the chair getting a nice stretch through your arms, chest and shoulders, you are unwinding. With the help of a therapist to support your body and minimise the effect of gravity, your body can stretch and move for more than a quick snippet which takes the unwinding to a deeper level to thoroughly clear your body of stress, holding patterns, and tension!
3. Myofascial Rebounding – waves of release!
Remember getting rocked by mom or grandma as an infant or young child? What about the gentle wave that moves through your body when you’re floating on a raft in the water? Doesn’t it feel soothing and luxurious? Our grandparents intuitively followed the patterns of nature to offer a therapeutic experience to us as infants. We are approximately 75% fluid, and when rocked, an internal wave of motion and energy begins to form and move through the fluid inside our bodies. If the rocking is gently sustained and continued over time, as with rebounding, this fluid motion perpetuates and begins to reach and affect the solidified areas of our bodies. This wave gently starts to invade those tight, restricted areas giving opportunity for softening just as waves at the beach gently erode away the shoreline. With rebounding, every cell of your body can be reached, even the denser structures such as your bones, by this profound fluid wave. Rebounding is also helpful for accessing and clearing out those habitual holding and bracing patterns which hang out in our bodies due to a buildup of stress and trauma. Feel like you’re in a cycle of feeling better after treatment but the tension and tightness just comes back? Rebounding may be the missing piece that can eradicate bracing and holding patterns to eliminate the cycle of chasing symptoms!
Real myofascial release incorporates these three skills during treatment to offer a whole-body approach and effective results with changes that last! Feeling like your body is being forced? Is your practitioner using oils or creams? Have you experienced the gentle rocking of rebounding during treatment? Ready to take your healing journey to a whole new level?
So lately I've been treating lots of my clients and supporting them as they resolve their trauma with Barnes Myofascial Release.
Yes, but what is Trauma?
Watch the following short video to learn more and stay tuned to my blog for more on this extremely relevant topic that has been showing up for me quite often lately in my KRT sessions with my clients.
So a new patient comes into my practice today and she was looking to get some relief from her lower back pain which she thought was the cause of her two disc herniations.
This situation is much more common than you think.
Her doctor had her get an MRI and the results showed two herniations at L4-L5 and L5-S1. This is the most common part of our spine that is susceptible to herniation.
So thankfully, he decided not to operate on her and they are unsure what to do about her pain.
Surprisingly, he did not give her any Cortisone shots or painkillers, which is good in my opinion.
So we sat down and talked about her condition during her intake and one of the first questions I had for her was: "When did you start to feel your pain and what was going on in your life during that time?"
She answered that it was only after BOTH her parents had died that she began to suffer from this lower back pain. It didn't occur to her that there was a connection between the two.
In fact, not one health care practitioners of the numerous ones she visited before me ever asked her about her personal life, her emotions, stress-levels, or anything else besides her 'physical' issues and condition.
To ignore the other aspects/dimensions of ourself other than our physical structure is like looking at the body as simply a sculpture and nothing else. Sure, as my osteopathic teachers say, 'Structure governs function,' but there's much more to us than our structure.
What about our mind? Our subconscious mind? Our mental/emotional psychosomatic dimension of ourselves?
I believe that as health care practitioners it is our duty to work holistically and to pay attention to all aspects of ourselves and that only looking at the structure is doing a disservice to our patients.
So what's causing her pain? How could it not be the disc herniations if we can plainly see from her MRI that these herniations are compressing on her spinal cord which 'may' cause pain?
Well, this may sound strange and you may not believe me when I tell you that there are a ton of people walking around and living their lives without any pain yet they have herniations and other disc problems. Some even have severe cases of spinal stenosis, yet they have NO PAIN!
How can we explain this?
Well, pain science is quite complex. In fact, it's more complex than we think.
Our herniations may be a trigger for the pain, but they are not the cause of the pain. Just as our symptoms may be pain, but the actual 'cause' of the pain is something entirely different that most likely you had no idea was the cause!
Our shoulder pain may be coming from fascial restrictions in our quad region of our upper leg! Our lower back pain may be coming from a tight psoas muscle which includes tight fascia in that region and beyond. Or, it may be coming from an emotional repression of some kind. Or, there may be other actual 'causes' for the pain which are really not so evident and clear.
Once again, I'll reiterate that pain is a good thing and always bears a lesson for us to learn.
So the next time you suffer from pain, let's open our minds a bit and think about what could be the 'cause' of it and then let's TREAT THE CAUSE, NOT THE SYMPTOMS.
(Recommended reading: Healing Back Pain by Dr. Sarno)
Okay, I admit it. I'm obsessed with Barnes Myofascial Release, lately.
Watch this video to learn more:
By Dionisia Hatzis
As a writer, I spend my days hunched over a tiny MacBook Air, carrying a flurry of bags between various coffee shops around the city for meetings and in search of quiet workspace. Last month, this lifestyle took its toll on my back and neck, which were both twitching in pain, leaving me bedridden from intense headaches that prevented me from working. Desperate for immediate relief, I considered seeing a chiropractor or visiting my cheap corner massage parlor, but then I remembered Edan whom I had met through mutual friends several years ago. I had always been intrigued by his work, but didn’t have a need for it at the time. Now that I was in severe pain, I did. I was curious to see how Kinetic Release Therapy (KRT), could help me during these dire times.
Edan Harari is the Founder of KRT which incorporates several modalities including Ortho-Bionomy®, AcroYoga therapeutics, and corrective exercises. KRT is a principle-based approach to healing, differing from other approaches because it does not adhere to outdated protocols. By supporting the body's natural healing mechanisms, working with the body rather than against the body, no unnecessary force is needed for deep healing to occur. A trained osteopathic manual therapist and structural educator, he graduated from the Swedish Institute and holds an Associates of Occupational Health Sciences degree. In addition, he is a licensed massage therapist and an associate of Ortho-Bionomy. To put it in laymen’s terms, the man knows his way around the body.
Never heard of Ortho-Bionomy? You’re not alone. It is a rare manual therapy that most people are not aware of, and Edan is intent on changing that. Developed by an osteopath and judo instructor in the 1970s, Ortho-Bionomy is a system that looks at the entire physical structure - the energy body, the organs, fluids, lymphatic system, muscles, bones, joints - in an all-inclusive holistic way. By placing the body in a place of ease and comfort, it will naturally release its own tension.
With this type of bodywork, your body immediately feels safe and in a state of ease and comfort throughout the session. With no pain, and zero exertion of brute force, the body is encouraged to safely heal itself. Essentially, the therapist works smarter, not harder, on the body. When our tissues contract, we can either force them to release by applying force or deep pressure - OR - we can heal from within by allowing the sensors of the nervous system to release the tension in the muscles and fascia.
With traditional massage modalities like acupressure or deep tissue massage, therapists put pressure into the knots and pressure points in an attempt to release the pain. According to Harari, this is the reason clients will return time and again complaining of the same pain. With KRT, contractions release instantly, and oftentimes, forever.
A regular on the dancefloors of New York City, Harari hurt his foot dancing in 2007, keeping him away from one of his favorite pastimes and in an enormous amount of pain. Many attempts at healing with massage and acupuncture led nowhere. When he approached his massage teacher - an Ortho-Bionomist - everything changed. “The bones in my foot had shifted. He held my foot in the position that it wanted to be in, and exaggerated the position of ease and comfort. He didn’t place any force on the bones like a chiropractor would have done, he just held the foot, exaggerated the pattern, and then the body simply let go.” Edan was amazed that with gentle manipulation, his body had the capacity to release its own tension. Within 30 seconds, his pain was gone, forever. He committed at that very moment to dedicate his life to this practice, and hasn’t looked back since.
Harari calls himself a therapeutic artist, a term that illustrates the true artistry of working with the healing forces of the physical body. Much like a chef in a 5-star restaurant creates culinary magic without a recipe, or a musician freestyles her way to a genre-bending masterpiece, Harari does not follow instructions step by step. Each client is in a different place, has a completely different body, and has varying needs. By staying present with the person and being in tune with what is happening individually, he is able to forge a true, unique connection with each of his clients. “When the body is in balance, you have harmony. All systems work well together and that’s when you have optimal health. Typically, other methods compartmentalize the body and focus solely on the muscles. The key is listening to the body as a whole, treating all the systems and the fascia, and simultaneously being present with it.”
My session with Edan began with some relaxing chest and back-expanding acro poses. I immediately felt at ease being supported by his body and his knowledge of the physical structure. Just five minutes in, and it was evident that my neck had already released some of the compression from the prior two weeks. Walking over to the massage table, I felt fluid and relaxed, and eager to feel the release from KRT. As he gently guided my arm into comfortable positions, he asked me, “ How are you more likely to heal from your pain? By receiving more pain that you’ll have to breathe through, or when you are in a relaxed state of comfort and you feel safe and able to surrender?” Words of wisdom.
During the therapy, Edan informed me that my first rib was elevated, putting pressure against my upper trapezius muscles. ‘No wonder my backpack straps keep slipping off my left shoulder,’ I thought to myself. Most other practitioners would approach this knot with brutal force, digging in a futile attempt to release the pain. But not Edan. He said that it was pushing up against the tissue, so by dropping it down, my upper back would release and soften. He held my body into the tense position, and asked me to gently push towards him as he held my elbow. Together, we released.
“Massage and stretching are great, but they’re not the best method for releasing tissues. It feels great, it gets the blood circulating, it softens the tissues, but it’s not the best tool for release. This is not massage. When it comes to true healing of pain, it’s all about working with the body versus against it. Working from the inside out versus outside in.” It turns out that Harari is extremely intuitive. His practice follows the mantra of “Less is more” and he encourages the body to heal itself by gently guiding it in the direction it desires. “The body will know what to do if you just guide it. The body does not want to be in pain. It has its own wisdom.” I melted off the table, but before leaving his office, he placed a room-temperature glass of Tensui water on the table. Parched from the release, I gulped it down in one fell swoop. How’d he know how thirsty I was? Intuition. The same intuition that guided his hands across my upper body and released the tension in my shoulder.
Walking out into the crisp Spring NYC air, I felt something different. Yes, I was significantly relieved of pain. Yes, I was walking a tad bit taller in my lengthened spine. But what stood out the most? My backpack was resting evenly across both of my shoulders for the first time.
I'm sure many of you are thinking: "Heck no!"
But just think about this for a second. If we didn't have symptoms or signals that something is wrong, then how would we know that something is wrong?
Anytime we 'suffer' from symptoms, we should think about how our body may be trying to heal itself and this is how it's showing up.
So why the hell do we so often interrupt this mechanism and don't allow nature to take its course?
When we have a cough, our body is trying to expel whatever is not serving it (germs) and heal itself. So why do we take cough suppressants?
When our nose is runny, our body is also trying to release what's not serving us through our mucus. So why do we take Sudafed or other mucus-drying medicines?
So what is the purpose of pain?
Before I get to that, why don't we also ask ourselves this: "What are we doing exactly when take a pain medication (Tylenol, Advil, etc.) to 'cease' the pain?
You're probably wondering what we should do when we're suffering from pain?
How about we 'LISTEN' in and figure out what our body is trying to tell us and what it's trying to do.
Usually, pain is our body's way of telling us something is wrong (in our lives) and we need to do something about it.
There are multiple reasons why we suffer from pain.
Either our body:
1. Is physically tense due to muscular or fascial (soft tissue) restrictions and needs to be manually released and our structural alignment needs to be restored.
2. Needs some rest from overuse (exercise and such).
3. Needs some movement and hydration from underuse (working at a computer and such).
4. Is crying for help because we're suppressing your emotions of anger or anxiety (Google TMS and Dr. Sarno.)
5. Is having totally normal reactions to a fever, cold, flu, or other virus.
6. Is having totally normal effects (a.k.a. "side effects") to some sort of medication or drug.
So what should we do next time we're in pain?
How can we change the way we view our 'symptoms' and TREAT THE CAUSE of the issue?
Simply trying to get rid of the pain 'signal' by temporarily popping a pill or getting a massage is a waste of our time and it most likely won't last. In fact, it only makes things worse because it's just another way of COMPLETELY IGNORING your body's messages which may cause you to continue causing more damage!
So what do I suggest?
Well, first off, I think you should change the way you see pain. It's NOT THE PROBLEM!
And is NOT something that needs to be 'fixed'!
Pain isn’t normally an isolated incident but is connected to other life circumstances. Fixing the pain and restoring ourself to the way we were before may feel like a safe option, but if nothing else changes in our life then the pain is more likely to return again and again.
What if the pain or symptom has a good purpose?
What if it is asking us to stop, take an inventory of our life, and look at what needs to be done differently to achieve the life we really want?
The next time we're in pain, let's take a moment and take a deep breath in.
And then maybe we can ask ourselves the following questions:
- "What is my body trying to tell me?"
- "How can I take better care of myself?"
- "Where am I holding onto tension and where is this tension coming from?"
- "Where in my life am I not in alignment with my purpose?"
Then we should listen for the answer within. What's our intuition telling us?
And is what the doctor telling us completely accurate? Is it possible that the root cause of our situation is being overlooked?
Still can't figure it out?
Maybe I can help.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's get a conversation started!
- That's what I'm here for!
Something has happened that is incredibly important! The Quantum Shift that
I have been talking about has occurred and will have a massive impact on you
and healthcare that will be so vast it will be beyond your wildest
First, allow me to step back so any therapist or physician that has yet to
take my Myofascial Release seminars or any patient that may be considering
Myofascial Release can better understand our Myofascial Release perspective.
Myofascial Release is Therapeutic Artistry. In school, I was told that
therapy was a combination of science and art. Then all that was talked about
was the scientific aspect, but no art.
Newtonian physics, the paradigm of traditional therapy, claimed things have
energy. Unfortunately, traditional therapy ignored the discoveries by
Einstein that things are energy! This is the paradigm that Myofascial
Release utilizes so successfully.
Traditional science views people as objects. The fundamental premise of the
"old" science is objectivity. A rudimentary understanding of Quantum Physics
clearly demonstrates that there is NO OBJECTIVITY. Yet, researchers continue
to look for an objective cause for an objective disease or dysfunction.
Therefore you and I as therapists were trained to do the impossible. The
foundation of science was built on quicksand. This is also why traditional
therapy only produces limited and temporary results. My serious back injury
and resultant struggle to regain my strength and health opened my eyes to
the limitations of traditional therapy. My Myofascial Release philosophy,
principles and techniques were developed years ago through my experiences,
trial and error, intuitive guidance and feedback from my patients, despite
the fact that it didn't jive with what science said I should be thinking or
doing. Traditional scientist's obsolete view of the human as a bag of
chemicals has eroded healthcare into the biochemistry of disease.
My confusion in the early part of my development of my Myofascial Release
Approach was compounded by all the research on the fascial system did not
match my experience with my patients and myself. I eventually realized that
all of the scientific research on the fascial system was done on cadavers
(dead people). This led traditional scientists to a very erroneous view of
the fascial system and its importance in the physiological functioning of
all of the systems of our body in life.
How could science omit something so important? This error probably occurred
due to the fact that Myofascial restrictions do not show up in any of the
standard tests such as x-rays, MRI's, myelograms, CAT scans,
electromyography, etc. This was compounded by the flawed view of the
traditional paradigm which was logical, but terribly incomplete.
The medical paradigm fragmented the human over 300 years ago and taught us
that we are mindless machines. In other words, consciousness does not
matter and was not important or to be included in healthcare. However, this
refutes our moment-by-moment experience. My personal experience was that
consciousness was the most important aspect of life and healing. I found
that my patient's fascial system was full of life, memories, emotions and
Albert Einstein has said that most scientists are mere technicians, since
all they do is memorize facts written by someone else. He believed a true
scientist was one that utilized his or her creative genius coupled with the
rational mind. He said that all of his incredible ideas came in an intuitive
visual flash. He "saw" the total picture and then used the logical/linear
side of the brain to write down the concepts that described his
Some interesting thoughts from Arthur Koestler's book "The Ghost in the
Machine" may be relevant here. He states that science is based on monumental
superstitions and argues that the pillars of science are cracked and
revealing themselves as hollow. And that science considers terms like
consciousness, mind, imagination and purpose to be unscientific, treated as
dirty words, and banned from the vocabulary. Koestler goes on to state that
at first the intention was to exclude consciousness as objects of study, but
later on this came to imply that the excluded phenomenon did not exist.
It is a paradox for conscious humans to deny consciousness. Yet generations
of scientists influenced by behaviorism claim to study human nature while
doing so. They claim to study perception without consciousness, attention
without consciousness, learning, brain physiology, animal behavior, sleep,
language, and healing without consciousness, the whole list goes on, all the
while explicitly evading the common sense of 26 centuries of written human
thought. Naturally, they were unable to deal with subconscious events
either; you can't have a subconscious without consciousness. Yet they've
experienced every waking moment consciously.
Albert Einstein has speculated that rational science reveals only the
external appearances of some deeper reality. I believe that Myofascial
Release allows us now to deal with that deeper reality. Traditional therapy
missed a key component for effectiveness, the treatment of the Myofascial
system, the conduit of consciousness.
Myofascial restrictions occur from trauma, surgery, and inflammatory
processes. Trauma and inflammatory responses create myofascial restrictions
that can produce pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on
pain sensitive structures that do not show up in any of the standard tests
(x-rays, MRI's, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.). This
enormous pressure acts like a "straightjacket" on muscles, nerves, blood
vessels and osseous structures producing the symptoms of pain, headaches,
and restriction of motion, and disease.
There is No Such Things as a Disease!
A massive amount of research is emerging that validates the principles of my
Myofascial Release approach. I am going to paraphrase some important
information from a new book "Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human
Performance" written by James L. Oschman, Ph.D.
"A dramatic discovery reveals that there is actually no such thing as a
disease. Medicine's disease model has simply run its course. Like horseshoes
and the bustle, it is a paradigm soon to be replaced."
Traditional medicine looks at symptoms, gives it a label and only treats
symptoms. Symptoms are only the tip of the iceberg! The medical approach is
to drug patients so they temporarily are free from pain, but it does nothing
about the "straightjacket" of pressure that is causing the pain. Traditional
physical, occupational, and massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and
other forms of therapy only treat the symptoms caused by the
"straightjacket" of pressure that causes and perpetuates the symptoms. This
is why so many patients have only temporary results never seeming to get
better with traditional therapy.
Science has now discovered what I have been teaching for over 30 years,
i.e., symptoms, diagnostic labels, and diseases are a blockage of our
bio-energy caused by a prolonged inflammatory response. Trauma and the
resultant inflammation response create Myofascial restrictions that
ultimately create the symptoms of pain and disease processes.
"The results of inflammatory responses that have outlived their usefulness
are labeled: chronic pain, headaches, restriction of motion, fibromyalgia,
chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, bowel and
menstrual disorders, cancer and the list goes on and on. There is no such
thing as disease!"
Myofascial Release allows the chronic inflammatory response to resolve and
eradicates the enormous pressure exerted on pain sensitive structures by
myofascial restrictions to alleviate symptoms and to allow the body's
natural healing capacity to function properly.
Myofascial Release views symptoms as only the "tip of the iceberg" In other
words, symptoms are effects of a much deeper cause. Traditional physicians
and therapists only treat effects. The Myofascial therapist treats the
entire cause and effect relationship.
Are You Ready to Move Out of the Dark Ages of Healthcare?
Traditional science considers the fascia and the proteins of the body to be
an insulator that is incapable of conducting energy, information and
consciousness. When a traditional biologist wants to study tissue, they
crush it, pulp it, and put it into a centrifuge. The tissue is then spun at
high velocity to separate the solid from the fluid. The solid material is
then thrown away and the fluid is studied. However back in 1941 Professor
Szent-Gyorgyi said this was an erroneous way of doing research on living
tissue. He proved that by dehydrating the proteins that the removal of
water converted the proteins from conductors of energy into insulators.
Water is essential for life! Dr. Szent-Gyorgyi then stated that by taking
away the water, you are studying non-life! Keep the proteins hydrated, and
they are semiconductors of energy. He went on to demonstrate that all
substances are semiconductors. He states our communication system of the
body relies on water. A 10% change in water content can trigger a million
fold change in charge transportation along a protein. Of course, the
scientists of the time then ignored this important discovery because it did
not fit the model of reality that they had memorized. This is bias! It is
considered to be unscientific to be biased. I believe it goes beyond this;
the scientific community has become entangled into what is intellectual
This false and obsolete information (that the soft tissue of our body is an
insulator), is still being taught in all medical, dental and therapeutic
schools in the country. For more detailed information please read pages
72-74 in Dr. James Oshmann's new book "Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and
Remember that trauma and inflammatory processes dehydrate the fluid
component of the fascial system. These fascial restrictions then exert
enormous pressure on pain sensitive structures and inhibit the vital
communication that flows through the liquidity of the fascial system and
every cell of our body that ultimately produces symptoms of pain, headaches,
restriction of motion and disease.
The following information is paraphrased from Dr. Ervin Laszlo's new book
"Science and the Akashic Field". Dr. Laszlo is considered to be one of the
most profound thinkers alive today. In "Science and the Akashic Field"
philosopher and systems theorist Irvin Laszlo shows how the discovery in
physics of the zero point energy field (zpe) which the Myofascial
perspective experiences as being centered or channel 3, is also the
discovery of the universal "information" field that is the source for all of
physical reality. The following is some scattered observations from his
book. Dr Laszlo considers the impoverished discourse of science has had a
negative impact on society and that the worldview most consider scientific
is an antiquated and obsolete view.
"For years scientists and philosophers have stated that the physical brain
is the source of consciousness, yet there is no evidence of this!"
Dr. Laszlo believes that the primary reality is the quantum field or zero
point energy field or what he calls the akashic field. The akashic field,
which underlies physical reality, is a vast sea of energy and information
that flows through us and the universe as a hologram. We were taught that
nothing travels faster than the speed of light, however; Russian physicists
have discovered "torsion waves" that travel as energy and information at the
speed at the order of 10 to the 9th power that means one billion times the
speed of light!
Remember being centered is the timeless, spaceless dimension accessed
through the subconscious via our intuition that allows us to access the
holographic field that is the memory of the universe i.e. the akashic field
or universal wisdom.
In discussing how the akashic field or zero point energy field performs in
the living organism, Dr. Laszlo states that the living organism is not a
mere biomechanical machine, the traditional paradigm. A living organism is
dynamic and fluid with all components in instant and continuous
communication. This kind of instant, system wide communication cannot be
produced by the traditional view of solely physical and chemical
interactions among molecules, genes, cells and organs. The speed with which
activating processes spread throughout the body makes reliance on
biochemistry alone insufficient.
"The conduction of signals through the nervous system cannot proceed faster
than about 20 meters per second and cannot carry a large number of diverse
signals at the same time. Yet there is evidence that the entire organism
acts as one". This instantaneous communication flows through the fluid of
the body in and around the microtubules of the fascial system. "It has been
found that this instantaneous communication is at 20,000 times the speed of
light, relativity theory's supposedly unbreakable speed barrier". To
summarize the fluid within and around the microtubules of the fascial system
(the container of our mind) carries almost instantaneous energy and
information throughout so we can function as a coordinated, balanced whole.
The fascial system is the primary communication system with the much slower
neural system, a secondary system of conduction. Our innate intelligence
flows through the fascial matrix carrying vast amounts of information,
instantly capable of storing far more information than the brain.
Traditional science still clings to the erroneous view that the connective
tissue is just an insulator even though it was proven wrong back in 1941;
instead the fascial system is a structural 3 dimensional web that holds and
conducts liquid, energy, and information. Wet connective tissue is a liquid
crystal acting as a semiconductor that is capable of potentially giving our
patients and ourselves access to the wisdom of the universe!
Fear, anger, hate, anxiety, alienation and hopelessness are not just
feelings. Neither are love, serenity and optimism. All are physiological
states that profoundly affect our health. However, as our experience has
shown us, trauma, inflammation, or unresolved emotional holding patterns,
dehydrates and tightens the fascial system. This loss of fluid and the
resultant solidification of the ground substance of the fascial system block
this important communication that eventually produces the symptoms of pain,
headaches, anxiety, restriction of motion and dis-ease.
I would like to quote from the book "The Field" by Lynne McTaggart, which
states that "In the near future the idea of using drugs or surgery to cure
anybody will seem barbaric. It has been discovered that humans emit highly
coherent photons (the tiniest particles of light.) Our DNA uses wave
frequencies of this light to drive all of the physiological processes of the
mind/body. New evidence shows the brains conversation with the body are
waves and frequencies rather than with chemical or electrical impulses
alone. Our brains are simply the retrieval and readout mechanism, of the
ultimate storage medium, the force field that surrounds us and infuses with
every cell of our body."
"In healthy individuals, the quantum light is highly organized. In people
that are ill, cancer patients for instance, have lost the organization of
this internal energy so the subatomic communication between the various
parts of the body has broken down. In effect, their light is going out. It
may be that all illness is a kind of scrambling of the frequency of this
Myofascial Release structurally and energetically opens and re-hydrates the
human fascial system of liquid light for the coherent flow of frequency,
vibration, information and organization necessary for the health and quality
of life. I'll ask you again, are you ready to move out of the dark ages of
Myofascial Release is a logical expansion of the very roots of the health
professions. It incorporates quantum theory and systems theory into
practice, but is does not necessitate the dismantling of traditional
healthcare. Rather, Myofascial Release represents a powerfully effective
addition of a series of concepts and techniques that enhance and mesh with
our traditional medical, dental, and therapeutic training. Myofascial
Release is not traditional therapy, nor is it alternative therapy.
Myofascial Release is authentic therapy due to the important, substantial
and tangible results it provides on all levels of human existence.
This exciting period of transition poses an important opportunity for us to
grow, as human beings while providing the quality of care our patients
deserve, allowing us all to move into authentic living and healing.
John F. Barnes, PT
About The Author:
John F. Barnes, PT, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania as a
Physical Therapist in 1960 and he holds physical therapy licenses in
Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Jersey, Delaware, Colorado, and Hawaii. John is
on the Counsel of Advisors of the American Back Society; is an Editorial
Advisor of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies; and is a member
of the American Physical Therapy Association.
John lectures internationally presenting the "John F. Barnes Myofascial
Release Approach" seminar series and "Advances in Spinal Diagnosis and
Treatment for the 21st Century," for the American Back Society.
He wrote the definitive book "Myofascial Release: the Search for Excellence"
in 1990. He has also been a columnist for the Physical Therapy Forum's,
"Therapeutic Insight" column; he has contributed to Physical Therapy Today
writing articles for his "Mind & Body" column; and has written several
articles for the Advance for Physical Therapists publication. John also
wrote a second book, "Healing Ancient Wounds: the Renegades Wisdom", which
was published in 2000.
John F. Barnes, PT, was named one of the most influential persons in the
therapeutic professions in the last century, in the national Massage
Magazine's featured article "Stars of the Century." John was also the
featured speaker presenting his "Myofascial Release Approach" at the
American Back Society's meeting whose theme that year was, the most
important advances in healthcare in the last century!
For the past 7 years I’ve been primarily taking classes in Ortho-Bionomy in order to complete my 500-hour certification. I chose to delve into this magnificent healing system and ‘go all the way’ with it because out of all the healing and therapeutic modalities I’ve tried and practiced, I found Ortho-Bionomy to be the most effective and efficient. I’ve also found it to be the most holistic, well-rounded and potent. I’m able to get real and lasting results with this system as compared to many other methods.
One of my favorite aspects of this tremendous work is that it takes on a multi-system approach to healing. It works with just about every system of the body and NOT just the musculoskeletal. Even fluids and organs are treated, not just muscles and bones. And I just LOVE how gentle, safe, non-invasive, and intuitive it is.
I’ve heard about this form of Myofascial Release by a physical therapist named John F. Barnes and I was naturally drawn to learn more about it. John is an interesting man. He’s from Sedona, Arizona, and that should tell you a lot about him. He’s very spiritually connected. I’ve heard great things about his approach to fascial release and so I started to read about it.
I then decided to go to his Facebook page and see if I can ask him some questions to learn more about his methods and whether or not he has heard about Ortho-Bionomy, so as to see if it's in alignment with the same philosophy or not.
I also just had to know if he thought that the actual fascial ‘release’ that happens in an OB session was similar to the fascial release that occurred using his method.
So I asked the question on his page and one of his colleagues responded saying that he used to take OB classes and how the release is indeed different. He said that with the MFR releases taught by Barnes, our body is able to release deeply held traumas that are held in the fascia…
He told me that I should read a few books to learn more and he recommended two books for me. I ordered those books right away, read them, and started to try some of the work in my sessions with clients to see if I could feel the release happening.
I was intrigued with this work, because so much of it is in alignment with the principles of OB, where we let the body heal itself and we don’t use excessive force to try to fix the problem. John’s words spoke to me on a deep level, and I quickly realized that I’m ready to learn more from him and take his classes.
In early September, I took my first MFR seminar and I was truly blown away by it.
I went ahead and signed up for two more in Dec and Jan and I’m finding that these techniques work amazingly well in tandem with my OB practice in my KRT sessions.
My clients are seeing some tremendous results and are loving the new methods I’m using. I look forward to learning more and bringing more of John’s wisdo into my practice.
Sometimes clients come to see me for back pain and we work together for a course of treatment and we get to a point where they just don't get any better. They still have this nagging pain that's uncomfortable and frustrating.
What makes it worse is that they read all my reviews and hear stories of miracles happening on my treatment table. Clients/patients coming in with chronic pain and then healing within just a few sessions. People trying many modalities and practitioners to no avail and then they come into my office for a session and their pain is lifted.
For those clients who didn't get any results from our work together, what could be the cause of their pain/discomfort and why is it not responding to the 'physical' and 'energetic' work that we did in session?
Could it be a mental or emotional issue or blockage?
Or possibly some sort of suppressed anger that they are holding onto?
I once read somewhere that anger, sadness, and other negative emotions stem from fear. Fear is extremely powerful and can debilitate us. Fear of speaking our minds. Fear of being our authentic selves. Fear of not being liked if we do say what we mean to say. Fear of hurting others. Fear of expressing our deepest self.
So what happens when we aren't able to express ourselves fully?
What happens physically to us? Intuitively, I see this as some sort of blockage. An energetic blockage that has physical ramifications. Lack of flow of energy through our body. The same type of energy that acupuncturists address. Call it 'Chi', 'life-force', 'Prana' or whatever you want. I feel as though withholding our emotions holds back the fluids from flowing freely in our body and it limits the body to heal itself.
It's sort of like crying. Did it ever occur to you that crying is an emotional release that is just as important as letting out a sneeze or cough? It cleanses us. Clears out our emotions and releases tension in our entire body. It can and often softens the space around our eyes and temples, reduces pressure around that region, reduces headaches and creates an ease within our entire being. Did you ever pay attention to what happens right after a baby cries? It becomes calm and it may even fall asleep. This is a biological release. Similar to an orgasm. It's a healthy and restorative natural part of being a human. A physiological response that I consider a part of being-well.
So let's get back to your back pain... What's possible if you stopped thinking only in terms of your 'physical' body and started to have a look deep inside your mental, emotional and spiritual self?
Yes, I said it. Spiritual. At the risk of losing many of you by using this term, I'm going to say it. But the way I speak of spirit in this instance is this:
Are you in alignment with your spirit at this present moment in your life?
Are you true to your 'self'?
In conclusion, we can't just focus on healing the 'physical' dimension of our 'self', for true and lasting healing, it would tremendously serve us to look at the mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual planes of our existence.
Have you ever been asked a question about a topic you know a lot about but you didn't know the answer? How does that make you feel?
Often, when a student/client asks me a question and I'm unsure what the answer is, I get this feeling that perhaps I should know the answer.
Almost as if not knowing the answer makes me less smart than I am. Like when I was in elementary school and the teacher called out on me and asked me a question about the study material and I would make something up and she would angrily yell: "Incorrect!"
I'll never forget that one day when I was in an Ortho-Bionomy seminar and one of my teachers was asked a question and he responded with the words: "I don't know."
It surprised me that his facial expression was left unchanged while he said this. I think this is because he was just fine not knowing the answer. Also, keep in mind that the question was not one that he needed to know in order for us to get what he was teaching at that moment.
I then realized that there's something so liberating about no knowing everything.
I mean really, how could we know it all?
This reminds me of the Zen Buddhism concept of "Shoshin" or "beginners mind."
According to Wikipedia, Shoshin "refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would."
Isn't this such a supreme way of being? Doesn't this just further open us up to the limitlessness of our education?
Also, it can get annoying to be around someone who is a "know-it-all."
When it comes to anatomy, healing, and the health of the bodymind, there's just so much to learn and so much we still don't know.
It's not possible for me or anyone else to know it all, and I have to admit that I used to forget that.
No matter how many books, articles, and journals I read. No matter how many audios, videos and podcasts I listen to or how many seminars, workshops and classes I attend, I'll never everything there is to know about the topics I study. While I do consider myself an expert when it comes to soft tissue health in comparison to the everyday person, when I compare myself to some of my peers and mentors, I consider myself just average. I simply still have so much more to learn. I love it when I spend time with other expert practitioners and I'm humbled by their intelligence, knowledge and experience. It's such a good reminder that I should spend even more time learning and that I still don't know sh*t!
And that's just okay. In fact, it's not entirely accurate. I do know a lot, but it's not even close to what I'd like to know and I'm never going to stop learning.
Heck, in my opinion, the day you stop learning should be the day you die.
Unfortunately, the problem with most healthcare practitioners is that they finish school and they cease learning. They complete their education and then they lose themselves in their work, making money and paying the bills. They get into the habit of what they do and don't make the time to continue their studies.
I get it, and I don't judge them. But it's not the way I choose to practice my skill and live my life.
I think it has a lot to do with the fact that when you're passionate about something, spending time learning it is not a task but instead it's fun and extremely rewarding.
What's possible if we would all embrace this concept of the the beginners mind and be okay with not knowing everything?
Recently, during a visit to Israel for a cousin’s wedding, I visited the Ido Portal Method Israel movement clinic/gym.
Just past the entrance where the logo of the monkey hangs on the wall, the following quote was painted on the white wall:
“Move. Find little excuses to do so. Play games with yourself.
Squat to wait for someone instead of sitting.
Climb the stairs two by two and don’t take the elevator.
See that bus you’re about to miss? Sprint to it.
Even if you know you are going to miss it…
Stretch – all the time. Like a cat does.
Carry some 8 packs of 1.5 liter water bottles back to your place.
Hold your breath under water in your hot tub and time yourself.
Hang from stuff that you can hang from – wherever that is.
If you can – pull up or brachiate.
Got a pet? Got the the park. MOVE. Got a partner?
Loved one? Child? MOVE!
Because you can. If you won’t – tomorrow you might not be able to. MOVE.”
- Ido Portal.
Ido is a guy from my native country of Israel with a background in traditional martial arts, strength training and capoeira, who is literally revolutionizing the way we think about fitness.
For the past several years, I’ve been practicing his movement techniques by just watching his YouTube videos and ‘attempting’ to perform his specific set of movements which not only challenge your strength and flexibility, but also balance, stability, agility and endurance. The interesting thing about working out is that I’ve always felt that I was missing something when I was following all the traditional and contemporary fitness programs. I couldn’t connect to any of the programs and I also found that while I took many different movement classes such as dance, yoga, and various forms of martial arts such as capoeira and tae kwon doe, I would start each practice or take a class and then just move on to the next thing that interested me. Never being able to stick to any one movement practice because intuitively, it just felt as though something was missing.
Each practice on it’s own was great, but still limited. I wanted to move in other ways as well and no one practice was enough for me to feel whole when it comes to challenging my body and allowing me to move in the ways that I’d like to move.
Then I ended up seeing a video of Ido Portal some years ago online and it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone understood me and shared my same philosophies about movement and fitness.
So you can imagine how psyched I was to finally visit one of his very few movement gyms in the world.
My experience was just as expected; super interesting, challenging, fun, exciting, and simply humbling. Just when you thought you could move well enough, you realize that you can move even better. What do I mean by move better? I speak about moving with more grace, flow and mindfulness. More precision. Connecting various movements together. Remembering that movement is an art form.
Yes, but what about strength? Ido reminds us that we’re really not strong at all. Lifting a heavy barbell in one plane of movement does NOT mean that you’re strong, it just means that you’re strong in that one plane of movement. But what about all the other planes/directions?
If you’re into fitness, you probably have big muscles but you’re immobile and inflexible. And if you’re a yogi than you most probably lack some strength and are hypermobile and flexible. The question is, how can we find a balance? Ido’s “movement culture” as us students or movers call it, is as balanced as it gets.
How can you move more?
And if you’re already moving, how can you move better?
I can't tell you how many people tell me that Ortho-Bionomy is like magic.
(Ortho-what? Ortho-Bionomy, the healing modality that I use in my KRT (Kinetic Release Therapy) sessions..)
So I've had people call me a magician, wizard, and even guy who does "that voodoo magic stuff."
It's usually after they have one of their contractions disappear in seconds and they simply have no idea how I made that happen.
Well, I guess I could see that it feels like magic, especially since I don't have to "dig" into people's bodies to release the tension as they are used to in acupressure, trigger point and other deep tissue therapies. (yes, really....)
It also feels like magic because not only does it happen so fast and WITHOUT PAIN, but it also happens in a subtle way and people who are not tuned into their body don't even feel it happen as the tissue releases. They just know that when I pressed into their body at first on a certain spot it hurt, but then after about 5-15 seconds, I press on the same spot again and the person is simply amazed at the fact the there's not more pain but also the tissue has "juicified" and softened.
The thing is, it's NOT magic. It's science.
That's right, it's entirely based in science and it was developed by British-trained Osteopath by the name of Arthur Pauls. Arthur had a deep understanding of the body and it's functions and he discovered that we could work with the body's self-corrective mechanisms to provide it with release and re-organization.
According to the British School of Osteopathy, "Osteopathy is a primary health care system, complementary to other medical practices. It is suitable for almost anyone and can contribute to the treatment and management of a wide range of conditions. Osteopaths primarily work through the neuro-musculo-skeletal system, mostly on muscles and joints, using holistic and patient-centred approaches.
A core principle behind osteopathy is the idea that the body is an integrated and indivisible whole, and contains self-healing mechanisms that can be utilised as part of the treatment. No part of the body works, or can be considered, in isolation."
So where does the magic come in? Hold on, I'll get to that in a second.
Dr. Pauls - the genius who discovered Ortho-Bionomy - defined the term then as "the correct appplication of the laws of life."
Ortho = Correct, Bio = Life, Nomy = A system of laws about a body of a particular field.
And this method simply works "with" the human body and it's natural processes which include it's natural corrective reflexes. And in my opinion, our body IS MAGICAL!
So it's not the method itself that's magic, it's that that this method taps us into the magic spontaneous healing powers of our body! Yes, our body CAN heal ITSELF in many cases immediately.
The more we learn about anatomy and physiology, the more we become astonished at just how magical we are and how brilliant our creator must have been. Each and every time I study anatomy on a deep level, it's almost as though it's religious experience.
So before I end this blog post, I will leave you with this:
The next time someone asks you what I do, instead of telling them that I'm a magician, you can tell them what I really do - He's an osteopathic manual therapist who treats people with science-based body therapy. :-)