SOME OF THE CONDITIONS I WORK WITH
While I most often recommend the Hellerwork Series because it gets to the root cause of many issues, I also do individual sessions with clients to address specific issues. Whatever your needs are, we can design a treatment for specific concerns. Some of the conditions I help my clients with include:
- Rotator Cuff Injury
- Back Pain, Lordosis, Kyphosis
- SI Joint Dysfunction
- Pelvic Pain
- TMJ Dysfunction
- Decreased mobility after surgery, or cancer treatment
- Rib Injuries
- "Tennis" or "Golfer's" Elbow
- Chronic pain and Fibromyalgia
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Bunions and Foot Issues
- Symptoms of PTSD
- Ankle and Knee Pain
- Whiplash and Neck Pain
- Frozen Shoulder
- Shoulder Immobility
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Relearning more efficient movement patterns
What results are most people looking for?
In the normal process of living, stresses of different kinds including injury and trauma will eventually shorten and tighten the body. Much of the is tightening occurs in the connective tissue, the medium which surrounds all of our muscles, bones and organs. With hands-on manipulation, SI reverses this process and restores alignment, flexibility, and comfort in the body. People who suffer from chronic pain will seek out SI for relief. Athletes and performers of all kinds use this work to improve the balance, efficiency and expressiveness of their performance.
How does it work?
On the physical level, the SI practitioner slowly uses his hands to release adhesions, and strains in the connective tissue. The muscles become freer as they connective tissue around the muscles becomes more flexible. On the nervous system level, this work helps the body become more aware of itself and much less prone to injury. If you are under a lot of stress or have multiple injuries your body will most likely be compensating for multiple bracing patterns. It is a little bit like having 20 TVs on in a room while trying to watch one channel. By turning off the static from bracing patterns your body, and your nervous system will function with less effort and more ease.
How is it set up? What will my first appointment be like?
The basic Structural Integration session consists of 11 sessions. We will begin with a 30-45 minute complementary intake visit where I will take time to listen to your description of what you are experiencing physically and what your goals are for the work. Subsequent sessions will be 75 minutes. Sometimes we may run over by 10 or 15 minutes, so please leave additional time after your session just in case. Most people like to come once a week although scheduling is flexible.
What should I wear?
For Structural Integration most clients wear either underwear, loose fitting shorts and a jog top, or a two piece bathing suit for women while they are receiving the work, whichever is more comfortable. I will need to work around your shoulders and hips so clothes that fit tightly around the hips and shoulders or cover the arms and legs may not be appropriate. Clients coming in for Cranial Sacral sessions may remain fully clothed, but I may ask you to remove your belt.
How does Structural Integration improve posture, alignment or structure?
Structural Integration practitioners look at someone and ask themselves, “How can I make this person more comfortable in the field of gravity?” By restoring length and flexibility to the body, Structural Integration works to take the effort out of standing upright, sitting, walking or doing any moving activity by helping the body rest comfortably in relationship with gravity.
I have heard that people will use Structural Integration to open or release emotions that may be held in the body.
Any emotion that we experience is actually a physical event which includes changes in the tone, length, position and even temperature of our muscles. Over time, chronic emotional states like stress, fear or sadness get recorded in the muscles and connective tissue. Sometimes a specific trauma or event will be held or recorded in a particular part of the body. Sometimes clients remember the incident, trauma, or event when that part of the body is worked on. In your sessions I will work to carefully modulate these releases so that you are strengthened and liberated both physically and emotionally by this process. Often these releases can happen days or even weeks after the session is over as your body adjusts to the work. After a session you may be more aware of patterns in your life that are holding you back and emotions can become more intense. This is a good time to be gentle with yourself, being as aware as possible to what come up. Any new awareness of these stuck patterns is an opportunity to transform them.
The payoff is that when this happens, my clients report feeling more physical openness, enhanced flexibility both physically and emotionally, and increased resilience to deal with past and present stresses.
Does it hurt? I’ve heard rumors.
I’ll be honest, most people will tell you it can hurt at times. But if you ask them what kind of hurt, they’ll usually say something like, “It’s a good hurt.”, and other times they’ll report that it feels great! You could liken the painful parts of the work to the breakup after a bad relationship. The breakup is sometimes unpleasant, but the feeling of freedom afterwards is exhilarating.
Pain is rich and one word isn’t really enough to describe such a wide range of emotion. The pain of the best workout you’ve ever had, a good cry, or the pain of laughing so hard your belly aches are all “painful”, but they also make life rich. Your ability to feel deep joy is proportional to your ability to feel other strong emotions. So would you choose numbness over deep feeling? If you’d rather be numb, this work is not for you.
That being said, the intensity of the bodywork shouldn’t be overwhelming. I do my best in every session to keep the pressure I use within manageable limits. I also put a lot of effort into coaching my clients on how to best receive the bodywork. Learning how to create your own boundaries with another human being is something that will not only improve every bodywork experience you have after your series, it often helps my clients to develop a keen sense of their boundaries with other people outside of the session room. For some of my clients this is the first time that they’ve had a chance to create their own boundaries while still being in relationship with another person. This work can have a profound impact on your physical sense of self as well as your relationships.
If I get the Series, will the changes last?
Changes from Structural Integration not only last far longer than most massage, they can even continue to improve, deepen and mature after the series is over. How long or how much it lasts depends on how you maintain your awareness of the work after your series is over.
In the same way that imbalanced movements will distort or wear down the body’s alignment and condition, balanced and efficient movements build the body back up. This is why I work with my clients to develop the most efficient and easeful movement possible in their bodies. Everyday movements that are naturally more balanced and aligned will maintain and enhance the body’s structural alignment.
What about my bad habits? Won’t they pull my body back out of alignment?
The increase in body awareness that comes from Structural Integration makes the body more sensitive to the effects of “bad habits” or inefficient movement patterns. The body will naturally want to do what is more balanced and efficient because it will be more comfortable. If you continue to follow this new impulse in your body towards comfort, your body will continue to move towards alignment.
Can I come to see you after my series is over?
After the basic Hellerwork series is completed, the body evolves and changes, and in time deeper, more subtle work becomes possible. Post series work can be extremely helpful after an injury, in times of higher stress or to help manage or resolve deeper patterns that may take more time to resolve. I usually recommend a break after the first series and a check up session after 6 months.
Why is this type of bodywork sometimes specifically used to treat the effects of shock and /or trauma?
The effects of shock and trauma often affect the nervous system as well as the physical structure and metabolic function of the body. At times a physical symptom or imbalance is part of a cluster of symptoms created by energy trapped in a disorganized way in the body by a traumatic event. Often chronic symptoms can be the result of our bodies attempting to manage this energy trapped from a traumatic event. Bodywork is often one of the best ways to work with trauma symptoms, because trauma happens in the body!
"Trauma is in the body, not in the event" -Peter Levine
Over the last 10 years I have deepened my understanding of trauma and its treatment by studying Somatic Experiencing, a technique developed by Dr. Peter Levine, one of the leading authors and researchers on the clinical treatment of PTSD today. Integrating your physical, emotional and cognitive experience can have a profoundly positive effect on the benefit you get from psychotherapy.
Often my clients choose to do this work to support their work with a psychotherapist. While Structural Integration can be fantastic for working with trauma, I may suggest other, more appropriate ways to work together in conjunction with or separate from your series, such as Cranial Sacral Therapy or Somatic Experiencing. I am also work with several psychotherapists and would be happy to connect you to someone for ongoing support during our sessions.
How is your treatment different from clinical massage therapy or other modalities?
Structural Integration is NOT massage therapy. Full stop. Structural Integration is a safe holistic and effective treatment designed to create structural balance in the body and bring the client into alignment with gravity. This is not the primary goal of massage or of any other bodywork modality. Not Chiropractic or Osteopathy. Some of the techniques used may seem similar to massage, however the way we approach our work and the techniques we use are quite different.
Primarily, treatment focuses on the connective tissue matrix (tissue that hold your body together) and the nervous system. Connective tissue permeates every part of your body. It is the organ of structure. You may come in for a shoulder issue but to resolve it, we may have to work on your hips or your feet. Our approach is to look at the body as a whole. By focusing on the whole person, the imbalances causing painful symptoms are resolved at the source. This leads to long term change.
How many sessions does it take before I feel better?
Some pain patterns that people live with are old some are new. Older patterns of pain may take more time to alleviate. I recommend coming in for a session before I can provide you with a rehabilitative assessment. Describing this work is difficult if you haven’t experienced it. In a first session we’ll get a chance to meet and you can get a sense of whether this work is right for you.
Most of my clients discover other postural issues that have been previously overlooked as a possible contributor to imbalance and pain and a first session can be a great opportunity to learn more about your body and how to move towards greater health.
What is your typical client like?
My clients come to me with diverse histories and intentions for what they would like to get out of their work with me.
Many of my clients have tried seemingly every available conventional medical treatment (including non-effective surgery). They have been going around in circles from one health professional to another. They are generally still in pain, still frustrated and they want to regain the ability to regulate their own body. They are tired of living with lack of energy, due to nagging symptoms.
Others have a specific injury they’d like to resolve or just want to feel younger or healthier. Postural improvements and increased energy are the major deciding factor for some of my clients. I’ve worked with many athletes who’ve had significant improvements in their race times or their athletic ability as a result of doing the series.
Many of my clients come to do the series when they’re having difficulty in their psychotherapy and find that by deepening their connection to their bodies, they are able deepen their connection to themselves and their relationships begin improving as a result.
Some of my clients are healthy, take extremely good care of themselves, and come looking for a transformative experience. Some folks begin a series because they are interested in their own personal growth.
Whatever the reason I’d be happy to talk more about how I can help you in your own personal process towards greater health.