Body Sense

SPRING | 2018

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How much do you participate in your own healing? Making that massage appointment was a great step, and sometimes blissing out is exactly the level of healing participation you need in that moment. But sometimes, fully participating in the therapeutic experience can change the outcome. After 18 years of practicing massage, I'm of the mind-set that in order to receive a complete therapeutic experience, clients must participate in their treatment. One of my favorite ways to include my clients in their healing process is to educate them using imagery—first teaching what is happening inside their body, then giving them a take-home visual meditation to practice daily. LOOK INSIDE THE BODY After a severe fall when mountain climbing, I participated in the healing process as I recovered from my own injuries. And, while bodywork, nutrition, and exercise all played a significant part in addressing my chronic pain, nothing advanced my healing process like using imagery. First, however, I had to understand how the compromised body part worked when it was healthy. Even though I had been trained in anatomy and physiology, after my injury, I still pulled out my anatomy books and studied the area that was causing pain. I memorized as much detail as I could from pictures. At the time, I was also seeing a pain-management specialist, so when I was in his office, I studied the chart on the wall detailing the spine (one of my primary concerns was a bulging disk in my lumbar region). I also noticed he had a model of a spine, so I touched the vertebrae so that my mind could absorb the shape of the bones and how the disks lay between them using not just my sense of sight, but also my sense of touch. Engaging as many senses as possible helps embed the information into memory.

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