As I sit and reflect on the past 23 years as a therapist I can’t be happier that I stepped away from the traditional care setting. Don’t get me wrong I was a very good therapist and my clients always got better, but I never understood why they returned 3-6 months later with the same symptoms and we would start the same treatments over. Everything changed 18 years ago when I attended a class and started to learn about a system in the body that I was never taught about in school. This system was the fascial system and I knew in that moment that it was the missing link to my treatments, but didn’t realize to the extent how it would change me and my practice.
Immediately, I started utilizing the techniques I learned into my client’s sessions. As my focus shifted from treating just their symptoms and starting to address the entire body, especially the spider-web like fascial tissue, did my clients get long-lasting results. I quickly realized that getting results goes beyond just treating the fascial tissue and has to incorporate mindfulness, awareness and the client being an active participant.
Check out some of the key concepts to get the most out of your sessions:
• Setting goals. By setting a specific goal for a treatment session, we bring our attention to that element of our healing and have something to work towards. Sharing your goals with your therapist makes them more real and likely to happen. What are your treatment goals?
• Focus on breathing. Breathwork during a session brings your awareness into your body and allows releases to occur. Learn more about the Ins and Outs of Breathing.
• Learn to listen and honor. Every day our body is giving us signals, but are you listening? If we continue to push through the pain or even the small signals this will lead to flare-up and injury. Learn more about Listening and Honoring.
• Take the brakes off. When you experience pain or trauma your body automatically puts the brakes on and braces as a way to protect ourselves. As we start to heal and eliminate our pain it is important to learn how to let go. Myofascial Release helps you learn how to Let Go: Taking Off The Brakes.
• Learning to accept change. Many of us are only aware of our area of pain and how far we still have to go — whether in our physical recovery or our emotional or mental growth. While we don’t want to ignore remaining symptoms or challenges, it is important for us to recognize and feel the progress that we have made and how far we have already come in our healing journey. Learn more about Accepting Positive Change.
• Learn myofascial self-care. There is a difference between traditional self-care and myofascial self-care. Never forcing and following the myofascial self-care principles allows you to get on the roller coaster. Amy always wants her clients to ride the roller coaster in order to get long-lasting results. Learn how to Get the Best Results With Self-Care.
• Maintain the benefits. You’re all done with your session and have to get going with your day. Before you know it all the benefits have vanished. Maintaining benefits starts before you even get up off the treatment table. You’re Off the Table: Now What do you do?
Most of these concepts will be new to you and can feel overwhelming as you get started. First, don’t start them all at once and only incorporate one concept with each session. Before you know it you will be utilizing many of these principles.
Start with setting an intention and goal for each and every session. Take five minutes before your session to just sit quietly in your car, setting your intention, and visualizing it happening. Your goal doesn’t have to be overwhelming and can be as simple as I want to improve my connection during the session. Share your goal with your therapist before the session and they can incorporate a breathwork technique or visualization during the session to help you achieve your goal. Look at that, we just brought in two of the concepts, goal setting and breathwork. You are off to a great start.
Other goals that incorporate some of the above concepts may be:
• I want to become aware and feel the difference between a restriction and a release.
• I want to learn one way that I can help myself when I have pain at home.
• I will take time after the session to be mindful of changes and allow myself to really feel them.
One of my favorite quotes from the founder of Myofascial Release, John Barnes, is “without awareness, there is no choice”. Myofascial release helps you bring awareness into your body and life so you can start to let go of and break old patterns in order to truly heal. As we shift through these patterns the pain will start to diminish, we will add activities into our day and start living again. These concepts will help bring the awareness piece into your myofascial healing.
As you begin to incorporate some of these new concepts you may notice struggles or have questions come up. All of the therapists at Natural Balance Therapy are here to help in whatever way they can. Share your struggles, shifts and positive changes with your therapist during your sessions and they will guide you more deeply into the concept. Most importantly, don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to “GET IT”. Let it be easy and fun to bring some of these concepts not only into your sessions, but your life. Myofascial principles are not only used in treatment, but also as life principles.