Tuning My First Bodies

For the past three weeks I’ve been watching Shmuel Tatz do his Body Tuning for about three hours each day. The premise is that I’m learning by immersion and osmosis. He has given me very little direct instruction. The other day, he suggested that if I brought in some of my clients that I’d be able to see what he would do to Tune their bodies. He’d show me, by example, what to do on them and then I could practice on them.

I thought it was a great idea, so I contacted my clientele seeking four people who were interested in helping me. I got a lot of response and now the program is off and running.

One client came in with a complaint in her feet. Shmuel showed me how to work to reduce her ankle swelling and to restore free movement in her ankles and toes. And since Body Tuning always addresses the whole being, he also showed me how to teach her to walk properly and how to hold herself more efficiently. After her session with Shmuel, she said she felt much lighter and freer and wanted to keep doing the work. She made another appointment with him and also made an appointment with me so I could practice on her.

She came to see me a few days later. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to remember what Shmuel did. But then I caught myself and ended that way of thinking. I realized that even if I did remember what Shmuel did last time, that would not be the way to do Body Tuning. Thanks to the experience of watching him work, and the lesson I got from my own session of Body Tuning, when Shmuel reminded me that he “touched first and THEN moved” I knew I had to first touch her body and listen with my hands. I knew I had to completely surrender to not knowing and to be alert to her body’s signals.

As of today, I have worked on three clients and the biggest thing that I notice is my tendency to go back to my old ways. I was trained in Swedish massage and I practiced for eight years. The gist of that technique is to work on the muscles. My understanding was that since the muscles are the most pliable part of the body, and they are responsible for the movements of the body, that addressing them was the most logical way to allow the body to adjust itself and find balance. But Body Tuning focuses on movement rather than tissues. It seems to use ease over force. Natural, free movement is the goal.

But I kept catching myself being drawn to the old ways. The experience helped solidify my understanding of what Body Tuning is and what it isn’t. In the past, as I was working on a body, if I felt that a muscle was in spasm or restricted, I would have worked ON the muscle. Kneading it and pressing on it, basically forcing it into submission. It was a lot of work and sometimes it got results. But that was the old way.

So now, as I’m working on my practice bodies, I stop myself and remember that Shmuel wouldn’t be doing that; he’d be mobilizing the joint and using a lot less force. It felt more like co-operating with the body than bullying it. The mobilizations felt more in rapport; like I was re-educating the body, or reminding it of it’s natural, healthy state. I was in communication rather than being manipulative.

Most of the movement of my hands on the tissues were now exploring and looking for answers rather than kneading and manipulating the tissues. On occasion, I’d get the feeling that the tissue was asking to be kneaded and then, I’d knead. But some tissues ask to be gently tapped on and some request a stretch. If the tissue seemed lost or confused I found that asking the client to perform a certain movement as I offered gentle resistance would clarify that.

Much to my delighted surprise, the three clients that came in to allow me to practice on them, all left with reduced pain. One even went so far as to say I had ‘magic hands.’ I shouldn’t have been surprised. I’m used to witnessing this experience because every time someone gets up off of Shmuel’s table they report that they feel better. This is the joy of Body Tuning.

Although my observations here and my experiences so far feel very adolescent to me, I do feel like I am doing the work of Body Tuning. It feels much different than massage. I am looking forward to growing and maturing and I know that this work is going to help me to make a big difference in many people’s lives. I’m eager to share it.

I will continue to update as I get more insights and understandings of this work.
Thanks for reading.


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