Can a bodywork treatment help your state of mind?
Yes! The mind and the body are intricately linked. How you feel in your mind will be reflected in your body, and how you feel in your body will be reflected in your state of mind. Somebody who feels depressed, for example, will have a body posture that reflects this. Over time this posture can cause physical changes in the body. Release the tensions in the body and the mind will be given the chance to follow suit.
You feel happy, you feel sad, you feel depressed, you feel elated. You feel your emotions in your body! Working with the body, bodywork, can definitely help your mental health.
But….it is a process, sometimes a long process. Success is strongly dependent on your will to want to change things. Although many people wish and sometimes expect that a major change will happen within one treatment, to be honest, although possible, this is unlikely. Often old traumas need to be unlocked from within the body and old mind sets need time to change. The path of healing is a life-long process but with help to guide us in the right direction, we can achieve peace and harmony in our bodies and our minds.
Below I describe the journey of a client who I treated with orthobionomy over the period of two months. When she first came she stated that she felt worn out, exhausted and had suffered from panic attacks, all of which had been a long-standing development over many years. Her mother had suffered from mental health issues, had had depression and been suicidal. She herself had been abused by her father and her husband had left her two years previously. She was taking anti-depressants.
On starting the treatment, her body felt very tight, as if it was holding, her breathing was shallow and I found it difficult to “get in” to be able to communicate with her body. I focused on the transverse fascial diaphragms as a shock release technique (see previous post: Trauma Release in Orthobionomy) but refrained from making physical contact with the pelvic floor owing to the history of sexual abuse, instead working with energetic techniques in phase 6. The treatment also included work with the adrenals, the kidneys and the solar plexus as well as some chakra work. After the treatment she reported that as I was working with the pelvic floor, she had felt the tension stored in that area releasing as if it had been taken, or drawn, out.
On her next visit, nine days later, she reported that her bowel movements were now a lot softer, “like a release”, and that her emotional state was up and down. This time, as her body was still resistant to communicate with me, I focused on stress relief and tension releases within the body as well as her energy levels. I worked with a pelvic balance, a heel, foot and talus balance as well as a shoulder blade balance; a balance of the acupressure points for Spleen 6 and Stomach 36; a balance of the psoas muscles, the kidneys and the adrenals; the solar plexus, the respiratory diaphragm, the liver and the trapezius muscle, before beginning to balance the Chakra energy. The Chakra energies including and below the solar plexus were almost non-existent to detect, but they reacted well to the orthobionomy treatment.
Seven days later on her return she reported that she was feeling much more energised, but still suffering from a feeling of exhaustion. This time, resting my hand on her shoulders, I felt that her body was willing to let go and work together with me, albeit slowly and cautiously. I followed introductory techniques balancing the pelvic-shoulder diagonals, the ileum and the shoulder blades, also releasing the trapezius. A dynamic phase 5 approach to T2 released the Chapman points for the heart, representing the ability for self-love. The clavicular reacted and responded well to a balance, as did the cervicothoracic transverse fascia. The vagus nerve was highly appreciative of the attention as was the cranium which in a vault hold felt very twisted. Following orthobionomy principles, with no manipulation, this took a while to release with many trauma shakes, until it finally balanced. I completed the treatment with a global pelvic and thorax balance, including the solar plexus to bring her body into a general position of ease.
Two weeks later she reported that she felt much brighter in herself, but was still lacking energy. Interestingly, she now reported some physical pain in her lower back, in her calf muscles and in her left Achilles tendon which I took as a positive sign that her body was now letting go. This would mean that she would now be able to feel her body and also the pain associated with holding it for so long. Her right leg was 1.5cm shorter than her left, indicating a pelvic misalignment. I worked with the ileum, the pubic bones, the sacrum, the sacroiliac joints, the lumbosacral transition, L5, L4 and T12 (the Goodman points for the calf muscles and the link to the Achilles tendon being located paravertebral to T12). I completed the treatment with a craniosacral balance as well as working with the spinal fascia, particularly around T12 and the trapezius muscle.
One week after this she came into the practice stating that she felt exhausted, but that she had been having to work a lot. Her left and her right Achilles were painful, her calves felt drained and her hips were aching. Her pelvis reacted strongly to a balance and on supporting this with a heel balance I was drawn to the Achilles tendons on either side, and then from there to each talus. The talus tends to store emotional energy and feel tight and restricted if this energy is locked up within the body. A balance of the two talus generated a strong reaction, which I then followed up with a energetic phase 6 foot balance, a balance of the acupressure points kidney 1, spleen 6 and stomach 36, and treatment of the adrenals, kidneys and the solar plexus which didn’t seem willing to let go or communicate. The chakra energy levels were very low, and almost non-existent for the solar plexus. I treated the heart and the sacral chakras, creating a bridge from which the solar plexus could draw energy, then worked up the body from the root chakra to the crown chakra. At almost every chakra there were trauma shakes with an opening of the hand inviting the phase 7 energy in. her tummy started to gurgle as I worked with the third eye and with the crown chakra, indicating that the parasympathetic nervous system was now active. A connection from the root to the crown chakra was followed by a shoulder blade and clavicular balance.
A week later she reported that her right Achilles and both hips were pain-free, and importantly that her energy levels had been much better since the last treatment, although they still varied. Her right leg was 5mm shorter than her left so I proceeded to carry out a standard pelvic realignment involving the ileum, pubic bone and sacrum. The right psoas muscle reacted strongly to a release. L4 was painful on the right side and the fascia around T12, initially solid, began to let go. A heel balance, talus balance and foot balance, with the focus on the acupressure point kidney 1, completed the treatment.
One week after this she reported that she felt more energised, and was now able to think about completing a particular job that she had wanted to complete for months. Her left Achilles was still tight but the right was fine. She was also beginning to wean herself off anti-depressants. I refocused on treating all four transverse fascial diaphragms. The craniocervical junction reacted strongly initially, followed by a good reaction of the pelvic floor, the respiratory diaphragm and the cervicothoracic junction. The reaction of the cranium to the vault hold was quite extreme, with it opening up widely on the exhalation before gently coming back to a new cranial rhythm. I followed this with some physical phase 4 work with the left foot and the left Achilles tendon.
Two weeks later she said that she was now completely off the anti-depressants, although she knew she still had them if she needed them. She was able to feel herself again. Her left Achilles still ached and she had started coaching, as opposed to counselling, which had not helped her particularly in the past. She said she felt “good to go” and asked if I could give her a general check-over. She would make another appointment in 6 weeks time to keep her on track. I carried out a pelvic balance and a talus balance, both of which reacted very strongly. During the treatment of the respiratory diaphragm her tummy started gurgling, a good sign! A liver sandwich technique released some tension there and the cervicothoracic junction reacted well. I followed this with a shoulder blade balance, a treatment of the trapezius muscle, a clavicular balance and a balance of the Chapman psychosomatic areas. We had spoken of the Achilles tendon psychosomatically representing the state of stability in life. A vault hold showed a balanced cranial rhythm and the chakra energy levels were also normal. I was happy to let her go and to see her again in a few weeks.
Several things are important to recognise here, I believe: Orthobionomy can help people suffering from mental health issues, as long as that person is willing and able to invest in themselves. This lady came to regular frequent appointments for two months, she was not expecting a quick fix after one or two treatments. She was looking for help but did not expect that the therapist, was going to provide all the solutions. She worked on herself in between treatments and took up coaching to help provide herself with a toolbox of techniques that she could use in mentally difficult situations. The combination of working with the body as well as simultaneously with the mind is key, I believe, to the healing process.