I help people have a different experience of their bodies by introducing them to their own anatomy; helping them change how they sit, stand, and move; and teaching them how to care for their bodies with exercise, stretching, and self-massage regimens.
I work with a broad variety of clients and utilize several approaches, and so it is quite difficult to describe what I do succinctly. The typical prospective client falls into one or more of the following groups:
• Those who have chronic or recurring pain and tightness from anything such as postural habits, previous injuries, occupational stresses, etc. (basically, from anything that may have happened to one’s body, and how one has been using it).
• Those who have limiting tightness, pain, or weakness that keeps them pursuing their activities of choice, such as a hobby, leisure time activity, working with children, or favorite form of exercise.
• Those who are concerned about their posture and physical independence as they age; many in this group are afraid that they may end up looking like one of their aging family members, and wish to maintain ideal posture and physical independence and age gracefully.
• Those who are interested in learning how to care for themselves with exercise, stretching, and self-massage - especially if they also have one of the above concerns.
Every session begins with a dedicated period of time spent sitting and listening to the client, regardless of how long I have been working with them, or how simple their troubles may seem. We then move into a combination of corrective bodywork and exercise instruction that may contain one or more of the following:
• Instruction in concepts and practical application of ideal body-use. Often, the most important work that I do with a client is helping them learn, through guided experimentation, the wisest ways to sit, stand, and move in their daily lives – that is, the body-use patterns that are the most economical, the least stressful, and the most comfortable. This typically involves exploring new or modified body-use in commuting postures and movements, work postures and activities, leisure time postures and activities, and exercise and self-care routines. The client and I try out different ways of sitting, standing, moving, and exercising in my office and then they try them out for a designated period of time and report back to me on their whether or not they worked, on their effectiveness, and ask any questions or seek modifications. Then we would then decide whether to keep or modify the new patterns of body-use, and move on to other patterns if needed.
• Development of requisite Physical Skills. Some clients benefit greatly from developing greater body awareness, coordination, and balance. Much of these skills are gained through thorough, deep myofascial massage, mindful movement exercises, and mindful tension-regulating exercises. The myofascial massage work is akin to Rolfing, though I am told that I am much gentler than a Rolfer. The mindful movement exercises will look more like Rolfing Movement, Alexander Technique, neuromuscular rehabilitation, physical therapy, or Feldenkrais work. The tension-regulating exercises are very much Alexander Technique inspired, and seem to be immediately beneficial for all chronic and recurring pain.
• Development of Requisite Flexibility. If new postures and movement patterns are not physically possible, or possible but only when consciously holding oneself in them (because they don’t feel natural) then the client and I may need to work on their flexibility, so that the new, experimental strategies of body-use are accessible, comfortable, and natural-feeling. The thorough, deep myofascial massage and some yoga-esque and kenisiotherapy based stretching movements are often all that is needed.
• Development of Functional Strength – Many chronic or recurring pains (and tightnesses, also) can be attributed the insufficient muscular strength. If a muscular region of the body is not as strong as it needs to be to do it’s postural or movement “job” then no amount of careful body-use experimentation or stretching or massage will resolve this issue. Instead, the client will typically experience compensatory changes in posture, usually looking like a lean, a limp, or a compressed posture. Carefully selected, gentle exercises are sometimes what is needed so that a person can go through their day without having to move around a weak region that aches and tightens up whenever it is exposed to working its job.
• Development of Requisite Muscular Stamina – Closely linking to strength, insufficient stamina of muscular regions will also lead to typical compensatory changes in posture and movement. Think of muscular stamina as a well. Various body-use activities draw from this well throughout a day. If the well is not deep enough, then it will run dry early in an activity, or before the end of the day, and the client will begin to experience pain, burning, achiness, and then tightness and compensations.
• Necessary Soft Tissue Integrity – Assessing and developing the requisite soft tissue load-tolerance of tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, and the body-wide fascial net as a whole, is sometimes the last-considered but most fundamentally important thing to do with a client. I use orthopedic manual tests to determine which tissues are painful, what types of compressions and tensions cause and prolong their injured state, and then I use a combination of body-use modification and special exercises to first give them a break, and then strengthen them. (Yes, soft tissue responds to exercise as well!)
If you’ve made it this far: congratulations! And if you have any questions about whether my work might be helpful for you, please feel free to contact me at Jason (at) TheBipedsDilemma (dot) com, or call me at 860-543-9491. Cheers!