Archive for the ‘Bodywork’ Category

Stack Your Bones

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

I just found this little gem, an embodiment/movement practice in app and book form put together by fellow Guild graduate Ruthie Fraser. I have downloaded the app and am itching to explore!

http://www.stackyourbones.com

Help for the Rotator Cuff

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Awhile back I had a whole rash of people coming in with the same kind of rotator cuff issues. It inspired me to look for something they could do themselves to help with what is clearly a common problem.

These “most famous on the internet” physical therapists have some basic tests for you to see if you are dealing with an Impingement issue here. If you ARE, then you can do these exercises for making space around the impingement, and these for strengthening and stabilizing.

It is my experience that doing nothing and hoping that a persistent rotator cuff issue will just go away on its own is not likely to work. Massage/bodywork can sometimes help get things back on track, but truly doing something about it on the regular– like, really really regular–has a tendency to help. I have a funky shoulder that pretty much needs me to do a set of simple exercises three times a week on an ongoing basis to be happy. It helps! Not doing them makes my shoulder hurt again after not too long.

I recommend that people with sharp pains in their shoulder joints get themselves a good PT and then do what they are told!

Help for the neck

Monday, August 15th, 2016

A client just asked me if there was something he could do to help his chronically stiff and achey neck on his own. Of course! I made a short playlist of YouTube videos to help this goal.

First, my Somatic Experiencing training tells me that orienting is hugely important for the neck, as the desire to point our most-used information-gathering tools at objects and scenes of interest is crucial to our sense of safety, and that desire can help unlock movement potential.

Next, from Mary Bond, a Rolfing Movement teacher, some physical cues to help ease the subtle movements at the top of the spine.

Finally, if you are looking for a slightly longer exploration, a short neck-releasing Awareness Through Movement class by David Zemach-Bersin of the Feldenkrais Institute.

Movement is life! When it comes to the neck, the more subtle the release, the more powerful– if you can get the strong muscular ribbons on all sides of your spine to let go, even just a little bit, the big movers will have more freedom to let go, too.

What is fascia?

Monday, October 5th, 2015

One of the common questions I get about my work is “What is the difference between massage and Structural Integration?” The primary difference is intention and the systems we are working with: massage therapy is great for stress reduction and getting the blood and lymphatic systems moving, Structural Integration is aiming more for engaging long-term patterns in the connective tissue of the body. This connective tissue system is something we call fascia.

For a long time fascia was just the stuff the anatomists cut through to get to what they were studying, but over the past decade or two there has been more interest in the material itself. Several years ago I attended the very first Fascia Research Congress at Harvard University, where researchers and clinicians gathered for the first time to share their findings with one another. The fourth Fascia Research Congress was held just last month. I’m not a research wonk, but I did find the scientific process fascinating– ask a question, create a test, isolate the variables, collect the data, present your conclusions.

Last time I checked in with the wonks, there was no consensus on the exact mechanism of change for fascia– i.e., why does it respond to Structural Integration, what is the physiology, what is the best way to get a response? The answer I got was that they only knew it was not strictly applied pressure. To create connective tissue change with pressure you have to load one spot with a tremendous amount of it, a force so great even the most heavy-handed Rolfers are not capable of doing it.

The search continues, of course, and my curiosity lies with what they might find out about the nerve fibers and contractile tissue in the fascial matrix. There seems to be a place in connective tissue where the person (or the nervous system) is engaged, sometimes over-engaged, and if they can be met there and convinced that the grasp on that tissue can be loosened without dire consequences… well, it’s probably another post entirely to go into that, but let’s just say I’m interested to hear what the researchers find out.

Here is a lovely, graphically detailed and illustrated description of fascia with Robert Schleip, a Rolfer® and researcher in Germany (subtitled in English):

The Allowing Will

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Some time ago the magazine of the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration® published an excerpt from Dr. Jeffrey Maitland’s book Spacious Body: Explorations in Somatic Ontology. It was a dense and chewy read by a philosopher and Rolfer, and though it took me a while to read the whole article, his ideas have resonated in the years since.

Scanning through the article again, I feel like he needed a better editor, but the idea of finding within oneself an “Allowing Will” has been very juicy for me over the years. Can I choose, for instance, to allow support from another being, or allow something deep to happen in my body or experience without trying to control it? What if I just let gravity have that leg for a moment? Will all hell break loose? How about allowing myself to feel that tangle of emotions in the hip? Will the universe implode? Letting go of control can feel very dangerous to someone who has used it to navigate this crazy world. Not that I would know (ahem).

“Fundamentally, allowing is a surrendering of the body-self and its conflicts into a spaciousness greater than itself from which empowered willing and action can manifest.”

From this place the universe seems kinder and gentler and has a little more flow. Terrible things happen, but bracing against terrible things tends to make more terrible things happen, and allowing them to be something that instead once happened and then allowing the future to hold the possibility of quite different experiences… well, it works better for me.

Click the quote above to access the book, the Allowing Will is chapter 4.

Straighten Up and Fly Right!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Vintage Stranger Ad, unfinished
Vintage Stranger Ad, unfinished
It’s Summer in Seattle! The best time of year, and you should be feeling your very best. To help keep you flying through these long and lovely days, I’m offering a mini-series of Structural Integration for a reduced rate: Three sessions for $300. (That’s a savings of $75 for the set!)

If you have never received Dr. Rolf’s Structural Integration work, three sessions is a perfect intro, and should leave you feeling light on your feet, longer in your spine, and either completely satisfied or aware that you need more.
If you have done a series in the past, three is a great tune-up set.

To take advantage of this offer, book three appointments here and use promotion code SUMMER!. Offer ends August 31, 2016.

Liberation is Possible!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Twig Wheeler has done some lovely descriptive work with the ideas of Somatic Experiencing over the years. He did a one-man theater piece that demonstrates viscerally what many words of explanation would still struggle to convey. Here is an excerpt wherein slowing down and feeling/listening to his body yields a feeling of completion and illumination.

There is something about a supported yielding to the programs and preferences of the subconscious mind (or autonomic nervous system) that potentiates deep reorganization for us in a way that striving for understanding through language does not.

Settling in

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

The big move is behind me. I have been working in the new space for a week, every day adding a little more of this and adjusting that. I have a couple more things to take care of, but it’s almost home.

I like it more than I thought I would. I’ve traded seagulls for train whistles, and crazy afterthought bathrooms for easy listening in the elevators.

Entry
Entry
Afternoon light.
Afternoon light.
Small but cozy.
Small but cozy.
Night view.
Night view.

My hope is that as I settle into the space, it will become more and more restful and welcoming for you.

Moving

Friday, September 5th, 2014

August 15, 2014 marked 21 years in the Maud building for me. I was 22 when I signed that lease, fresh out of massage school and super tired of being a bike messenger. My brother had asked me if I wanted to fill up some space on the back of the Stranger (where he was one of two ad reps) with a free ad, and I needed a place to practice when people started calling. I remember the first client I had in my new space– a friend of a friend.

It was never my intention to end up in Pioneer Square, but the spaces I was looking at in the Capitol Hill and Belltown areas felt cramped and ugly, and this little room had a tall ceiling, an exposed brick wall, and a lovely big window. I paid $110/month for the tiny room I have been using as my office, enough room for a massage table, a cabinet for my sheets, and that was about it. When I got my Structural Integration certification in 1997, I expanded into the spacious suite I’ve been using ever since.

Pioneer Square has historically been a sketchy neighborhood–like, right from the start– and yet I have never felt unsafe here. I have watched the Square struggle to balance high rent retail with a high percentage of homeless services, suffer the blows of the Nisqually earthquake and the big Recession, endure a reputation of violence and stink, and see it now emerging into the new “Foodie Heaven” advertised on the buses, a place with more people living in it and working in it and more development on the way.

When my landlords told me last month that it was time for them to occupy the whole building, I immediately began looking for my new space. As I walked around Pioneer Square, my gut sat low and sluggish, sad and heavy. The rents were predictably much higher than what I have been paying (a fact I have always appreciated), and the spaces were uninspiring, despite being in beautiful old buildings. I went to check out a new building in SODO and my gut sat up a bit, got lighter, more curious, despite the awkwardness of the location and the smaller size of the room. How strange.

So, I am leaving Pioneer Square. My gut told me to, and we are tight like that. I don’t know what is in store for me, and I doubt that my new space in SODO will be mine for more than a couple of years, but I have a feeling that this move is the beginning of something good, the “next thing”, potentially amazing.

I have one more week here as I write, and I am enjoying the creaking floors, the terrible noise bleed, the comfort and familiarity of it all. I have grown up here, and I will always be grateful for the opportunities that the Maud Building has provided.

Onward!

Improv/e Yourself!

Monday, September 16th, 2013
This is from a friend whose heart is good and ability to be silly is even better:
Have you ever wanted to take an improv class but have no desire to be a comedian? Come to this improv class for non-performers!

The class is designed to help you:

– connect fully to the immense creativity in your unconscious

– reduce negative internal self-talk
– get out of your head
– speak more confidently with other people
– tap into your intuition

The class will take place in a comfortable environment with up to 15 people help you let loose.

One time only reduced rate, just $15. Pay at the door.

7pm – 8:30pm Thursday 9/26/13
University Heights Center
Room #108

Confirm by emailing: UnlockedCreativeWorkshops@gmail.com

or call Ben Lidgus at:
206 462 0654

Please pass this email along to anyone you think might be interested.
Ben Lidgus has been performing improv since 1998 with many different groups.  He has been teaching improv since 2007.  He holds a Master’s degree in teaching and taught at Garfield High School for 2 years.