Allow the Body to Guide Your Bodywork
When I approach the body, my first step is to look for the restriction, whether it is a restriction in the tissues or a block in energy flow. The restricted area of the body drives weakness, tightness, or postural changes. When the restriction is released the body is able to return to its natural state. This is why the restrictions are my guide to treating the body and healing the client.
This approach is different as I allow the body to inform and guide the bodywork I will do with the client. I don’t focus on a weakened muscle and try to strengthen it or stretch a tight muscle to lengthen it. I don’t ask a client to force themselves into better posture when their body is fighting against it. The manner in which I approach the body and the order in which I work are the differences.
If there is a muscle that isn’t firing, a tightness that won’t let go, or the body is fighting a new posture I explore deeper to discover what is really causing the problem.
What really is causing the problem?
The driving force of all pain, dysfunction and loss of mobility is due to restriction – either physical or energy flow – or both. As physical therapists, we are trained to work with the physical. It is rare to be trained to work with the energy flow of the body.
Here is an example – a case study:
My client: 28 weeks pregnant with her third baby. She was complaining of pelvic and low back pain.
After working on her pelvic bones, the focus was to address her posture. Her ribcage was thrust and lifted upward. By releasing her psoas muscles she was able to return to a more neutral posture. At the end of the session, she reported her back and pelvic pain had greatly decreased and she was able to maintain an improved ribcage position.
A few days after our session I received an email from her. She reported the pelvic and low back pain had returned. Additionally, she commented on how difficult it was to keep her ribs down and stacked and didn’t think she could keep it up. She also shared that she was being triggered by the memories of her first two births. I responded, suggesting she stop working on the rib posture and schedule another session.
In our next session, we focused on the trauma she experienced during the other two births. The trauma of the past births was restricting the psoas muscle, keeping her in a guarded posture. After releasing the trauma held in her body she was able to stand without pain as her ribs naturally fell into place.
There is a reason the body is doing what it is doing. It’s our job as therapists to be the investigators to discover the root cause. Once you deal with the cause, the body is able to return to its natural state. And it does so automatically!