Monday, September 6, 2010

Bodywork Revelation

One of my good friends had a headache this weekend and I did what I always do in that instance. First, I made him drink a glass of water and then refill his glass and begin taking occasional sips over the next hour.

Once he had his big glass, I sat him down and felt his neck and upper back and, just as I suspected (and is most often the case with headaches), he was all knotted up with balls of tension up and down his spine and between his neck and shoulders.

He was an old client of mine from when I was a licensed massage therapist in Seattle, so I just started massaging his back out of old habit. I started working as soon as I felt that his muscles were bound up; my hands couldn’t refuse.

But as I kneaded these muscles, something very interesting became clear to me. Now that I have been studying Body Tuning with Shmuel Tatz, I was aware of a big difference in the way I approached the body. Whereas massage therapy was always muscular based, Body Tuning is movement based. When I did my massage on the muscles this weekend, my friend would groan and tell me it ‘felt great’ and I could feel the tension releasing and the muscles becoming more pliable. But I could feel my attention being drawn to his joints and being curious about how freely they’re moving. This never really seemed to concern me before.

I’ve only been watching Shmuel work for five days now. I am fascinated by both the process of Body Tuning and this method of learning it. Even though I have total faith in the process of simply observing and absorbing by immersion, I have to admit, I was a bit concerned because I didn’t know exactly what I was seeing. I could tell I was watching something I had never seen before, but couldn’t quite discern how it was different than what I have seen in the past.

But yesterday’s opportunity for going back to my old ways, and now having the contrast to compare the modalities, it served to give me a deeper understanding of the practice of Body Tuning.

The question is not necessarily about how tight the muscles are (although that may certainly always be a factor in the end) but the question is really about how well or how freely the body is moving; and if it’s not, what’s preventing it?

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