counselors are discovering that close collaboration with body
workers (massage therapists, acupuncturists, etc.) enhances
their clients’ personal growth.
This synergetic combination of bodywork and
psychotherapy helps clients access long buried unconscious
patterns. The value added of focusing on the body just prior
to therapy leads to increased balance between body and mind,
to the release of somatic tensions, and to an embodied sense
of wellbeing and radiance.
Bodywork is therefore an important tool for
helping people to acknowledge what they are truly feeling
and to become healthy, authentic and grounded individuals.
Nurturing touch offered by a trained body
worker can calm the nervous system, which integrates the mind-body
pattern. This calming effect leads to enhanced self-awareness,
giving freedom for feelings to come forth and be released
in a safe environment.
In addition, skilled bodywork
practitioners, who understand body psychology and physiology,
are trained to notice where emotions are held in the body.
Their attention goes to the issues in the tissues. If left
unaddressed, these long-term emotional blockages often result
in muscular tension, changes in posture, chronic pain. When
certain emotional release points on the body are stimulated,
or when pressure is applied skillfully to chronically tense
areas, long suppressed memories, buried in old structural
patterns are released.
As in psychotherapy,
emotional releases can take many forms. Sadness, grief, anger,
fear may come to the surface during a session. Some emotional
releases are associated with specific traumatic events while
others reveal more chronic thought patterns. What's important
to know is that freeing the body is creating an opportunity
for positive change in both body and mind.
The value of touch as an integral part of
the healing process is age old, and valued in every culture.
The current proscription against touch within the therapeutic
environment, while understandable, also has its downside.
The re-integration of these two healing
modalities is long overdue. No different than the thorough
preparation of soil before planting, bodywork before therapy
yields better results. In today’s fast paced life, our
ability to slow down, listen to, and care for our bodies,
conjoined with our willingness to work on ourselves in therapy,
will lead to unexpected healings.
To find an acupuncturist near you, check out the NCCAOM
website or if you are one of the lucky people who live
in Santa Barbara, you can browse the Santa
Barbara Wellness Directory.
Ward, L.Ac, Dipl. C.H., CAS
a Licensed Acupuncturist
and Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist in Santa Barbara,
She specializes in nutrition based on the principles
of Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Western medical
research. Her treatments focus on Ayurvedic
women's health, and chronic
combines acupuncture, therapeutic massage, cupping,
essential oils, and herbal recommendations in her