I have been working with people recovering from accidents and injuries for the last twenty five years. This experience has taught me a great deal beyond my early training in massage and the Alexander Technique. A much clearer understanding of how injuries affect movement and function has come through my experience in helping my clients gain greater freedom and function of movement from a variety of injuries, surgeries and patterns of stress from athletic, artistic and work related performance.
Looking at the relationship of structural holding patterns and movement, has clarified that in freeing the body from long standing restrictive patterns, it is most effective to use a combined approach of hands-on re-direction of movement habits and light touch myofascial release work. I have found that my training in Craniosacral has enabled me to use an integrative approach to bodywork which is based in “unwinding” and following the body’s way of release whole body fascial holding patterns. At the same time I am teaching my clients to sense release of tension and holding in order to regain fluid movement of muscles and fascia and the ability to sense a new ease of movement. Without the step of learning to sense of ease in movement, the client is more passive and less of an active participant in the process of changing body patterns. This active participation, links the body and mind in a conscious way in order to more full engage a freer, coordinated and balanced way of moving.
I never cease to be surprised at how immediate the relief from long standing pain can come with the Alexander Technique, with gaining greater freedom of movement. Experiencing how to release the underlying patterns of holding that arise from injuries and learning to move with a ease and freedom is at the core of the healing. I had to go through the same process myself when I severed my anterior cruciate ligament skiing. I had a great deal of pain in my neck for sometime, from the new compensatory patterns I developed from my injury. I had to relearn how to move with ease, carefully watching how I moved with length and freedom in my body. The patterns of compensation that I had developed from my injury were subtle, so I had to make sure I was using the Alexander principles in my moving even more consciously. The result was living pain free again even when other therapies had failed to give me the same results.
Last year, I worked with one of my students who broke her hip and within four months after her hip replacement she was walking without a limp. Alexander work along with the myofascial work I do with clients, greatly assisted her progress through physical therapy. Recently I worked with a woman who has had chronic sacroiliac pain to the point of not being able to stand or sit for any extended period. It was really beautiful to see her walking with ease and standing with a smile during her first two hour workshop. She said she had not been able to stand with such a sense of support, balance and comfort for years. I continue to marvel at the power of the Alexander Technique to get at the root of the pain and holding that comes from long standing injuries. I have learned that the holding patterns necessary for healing have to be facilitated to be released from the fascia in gentle ways and then the move re-education can begin.