Body Sense

SPRING | 2017

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14 Body Sense session. Whether it is a client's very first official wellness session or one in a long line of self-care experiences, safe, interpersonal touch can offer a breakthrough and shift survivors toward trusting themselves and others again. 4. Empowering Voice Very often, subordination is a large piece of the puzzle for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. In order to save their lives, clients might have needed to keep quiet and been unable to speak up during the trauma. What happens when clients ask for their needs to be met in a safe, loving space? In healing bodywork sessions, clients are the authority of their bodies and their experiences. A bodywork session is a safe platform to reclaim their voice and express their needs. It is in this safe space where silence can be broken. 5. Self-Love, Self-Compassion Finally, it is empowering for survivors to connect the dots between ways in which their bodies and nervous systems might be stuck, versus thinking their bodies are failing them or being unsafe. This shift in perspective made by understanding the body's physiology and its potentially incomplete response to a past experience can be a huge piece of self-compassion for the body and gratitude for all that it might have endured. Jenny Lorant Grouf is a licensed massage therapist, certified perinatal bodywork practitioner, infant massage instructor, and biodynamic craniosacral practitioner in Santa Monica, California. For more information about the Joyful Heart Foundation's work, visit their website at Self-care practices such as massage, stretching, and breath work are vehicles for trauma survivors to connect internally and appreciate the messaging that their bodies might be communicating. These self- care practices offer ways in which clients can listen to, and respond to, their bodies' needs with love. THE UTMOST HONOR Massage and bodywork not only offer innumerable physical benefits for survivors of trauma, but they also allow survivors a way to reconnect with their bodies and begin to heal the wounds hidden deep within. For some, experiencing a bodywork session might be their edge—their healthy risk-taking, a reawakening of body memory, and the very first time they are receiving intentional, loving touch solely for their self-care and healing process. Witnessing clients returning to, and reclaiming, their bodies is the utmost honor for me as a massage therapist. B S Notes 1. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, "National Statistics," accessed March 2017, 2. Childhood Domestic Violence Association, "10 Startling Statistics About Children of Domestic Violence," accessed March 2017, 3. RAINN, "Statistics," accessed March 2017, In healing bodywork sessions, clients are the authority of their bodies and their experiences.

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