5 Steps to Successful Bodywork

I'm in the middle of a wonderful workshop on body reading with Tom Myers. He gave us his 5-step approach to any form of bodywork, be it on a client, or on yourself:

1. Energy


How much energy does you or your client have? Match the energy of the solution to the energy of client. If the approach requires a lot of effort and vitality to maintain beyond the session and you or the client doesn't have it, the effects won't last for long. 108 suns salutations every day are not going to do you much good if you don't do them. If all you can realistically manage is something simple or restorative, then that should be the approach taken.

2. Adaptability/Differentiation


If you're working with a body part that is poorly differentiated--a part of the body that has little awareness or sensitivity, or two vertebrae that are locked together--focus on creating differentiation in that part of the body first. Free up and/or awaken that part of the body before trying to restructure it.

3. Alignment/Support


Once the area has been awakened and differentiated and thus has the capability to adapt to structural changes, then you can work to change the alignment. If you attempt to change the structure before increasing adaptability, you run the risk of damaging the soft tissues (muscle, ligament, fascia) involved.

4. Release


The next step is to encourage and wait for the whole outmoded body pattern to let go. This is going to happen on the body's timetable and not necessarily your own. You may have to keep repeating the work for a certain amount of time before the desired release will happen.

5. Integrate


When that release has taken place, then you can start to integrate a new, optimal pattern.