pain

Bodywork x Guarantees

When it comes to bodywork, I don’t make results-based promises. Clients often tell me about their symptoms, then ask if working with me will ‘fix’ it or make it go away; and, the truth is, I can’t say for sure!

It’s natural to want to know what we’re getting, especially when it comes to how we’re spending our money. And guaranteeing that I can fix your specific body complaints is probably more appealing, from a marketing perspective, than saying “I’m not sure.”

But I’ve been doing bodywork for long enough to know that, when it comes to living bodies, we can’t truly know. Every person is unique. There are so many variables — genetic traits, past experiences, habits, learning preferences, thoughts & beliefs — that affect how our bodies process bodywork and what is possible in the span of one session (or ten!)

What I can offer is this: an experience. I am here, not to fix you, but to help you experience your body in a different way.

In the process of learning to experience your body in a different way, a lot can happen:

  • Unprocessed sensations might come to the surface; some of them might be uncomfortable

  • You might struggle, or feel challenged or frustrated

  • Your body complaint might persist for longer than you think it should

  • You might learn a posture or movement pattern that resolves your body complaint, but you don’t like the way it looks

  • You might be self-conscious or feel unfamiliar to yourself for awhile

You also might:

  • Awaken to new sensations in your body that feel good & supportive

  • Learn new ways of moving & carrying yourself that help you feel strong, adaptable, & resilient

  • Resolve your pain & discomfort

  • Become more self-aware, realized & confident

I think it’s important to be honest with folx about what they’re entering into. Because, while I wholeheartedly believe in the life-changing power of this work, it’s ultimately up to you to decide if the potential benefits are worth the potential challenges.

Posture x Habit

Posture is not fixed — it’s a dynamic expression of who we are, what we’ve been through, and what we’re thinking / feeling / doing in a given moment. If you find yourself ‘stuck’ in the same posture all the time, the problem isn’t that you ‘have bad posture’... it’s that you’ve created a habit of thinking, feeling, sitting, standing, & moving in the same ol’ way.

Posture-related pain isn’t the result of any ‘wrong’ position you’re putting yourself in. It’s that you’re not exploring a wide-enough range of your body’s capabilities and, as a result, you’re not developing the adaptability & resilience that your body needs to feel alive & strong.

Varying our movement is the answer to so many of our body’s problems, and it’s the advice I give most to my clients. Take a wiggle break at your desk. Learn a new skill. Try a new movement class. Practice consciously relaxing all the muscles in your body before bed (stillness is a point on the spectrum of movement, so don’t forget to practice that too!)

And if you want help fine-tuning your movement & posture, click here to see what it might look like for us to work together.

Pain x Thoughts & Beliefs

I meet a lot of people who suffer from chronic pain. Most of them have been to chiropractors & PTs & other bodyworkers, and have been told the root of their pain is biomechanical — it’s a slipped disc, or a tight psoas, or ‘bad’ posture.

But here’s the truth about pain: all pain is in the brain. Even when the cause of the pain is obvious, like a burn on your skin, it’s still your brain that is producing the experience, not your skin (or even the nerves in your skin).

Because pain comes from the brain, there are a lot of factors that influence our experience of pain, like our thoughts & beliefs and our overall sense of safety. Some things we do with our mind that that make pain worse are:

  • Obsessing over it • Every time we think the same thought about our pain, repeat the same movement that makes it hurt, or focus exclusively on the part of our body that hurts & ignore what feels neutral or good, we are deepening the habitual groove for that pain experience, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Believing we’re broken • When we believe that our pain is incurable or unavoidable (i.e. “my back hurts because I have a slipped disc” or “my knees hurt because I’m getting too old/fat”) it can elicit feelings of fear or hopelessness, which shuts down our ability to be curious, creative & resourceful about resolving the issue.

  • Fearing it • Feeling fearful about how ‘damaged’ we are activates our stress response, which can make pain worse (or, at least, reduce our ability to cope with it.) Also, when we protect or ‘baby’ the spot that hurts because we’re afraid to move it, we rob ourselves of one of the best pain medicines — movement!

  • Ignoring it • When the stress & discomfort of pain becomes overwhelming, our reflex might be to dissociate, numb, or distract ourselves from it. This can provide temporary relief when we need to focus our attention elsewhere, and it’s sometimes necessary if we’re to avoid obsessing. But ultimately, whether there’s tissue damage or not, pain is a message that something in our body needs our attention.

Rather than obsessing, fearing, or ignoring our pain, we can resolve it by staying present, open / non-judgmental, & curious, and by trusting our body’s inherent wisdom.