Lessons: There Is a Place for Stillness in Bodywork

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My clients not only teach me how to be a better person, they also teach me to be a better massage therapist. One thing I didn’t understand for several years of my practice was the effectiveness of “stillwork.” Acupressure, Craniosacral Therapy, fascial work – all of these types of massage work with the massage therapist holding  tissue in one place for an extended period of time.

If you’d asked me as a student if I would ever use stillwork, or even if I found it effective on myself, my answer would have been a resounding, “No!” But eight years later, I rely on this same stillwork on some of my most bodywork-savvy clients.

Why would lighter, sustained holding be more effective than a well-placed elbow? I’m not sure I have a good answer, but I do know that for people with extensive experience with massage and a strong mind-body connection, this type of lighter, less-active massage usually succeeds where deeper or more invasive techniques fail.

It’s almost as if instead of pushing change into the body, stillwork requests a change in the body, coercing it and shaping it with tiny, soft movements. It often brings intense moments of meditation and relaxation to clients when I use it, and generates an enormous amount of energy in the body.

You’ve taught me to use these techniques to calm clients down when emotional issues arise, or when the mind seems to keep racing ahead. You’ve shown me the body craves stillness and connection, and the patience of a few minutes lingering on a spot that needs tending to.

Photo credit: flickr.com CCL – user: pink sherbet

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