Practitioner Insight: More than One Session?

We all want to feel instantly better. That’s definitely possible. The relief that comes from a massage, the gentle touch of craniosacral therapy, or an adjustment. Ah.

The thing is most of us don’t seek treatment until we are in pain, when our systems are quite out of balance. This is not something that’s happened overnight. Years of poor diet, incomplete digestion, suppression of emotion, or self-sabotage brought us to the point of calling for help.

By the time we are sitting in a therapist’s chair or on the massage table, we may be in unbearable pain, frustrated, angry even. Vulnerable. So when a practitioner prescribes us a series of sessions, we may be skeptical.

For the most part, practitioners do what they do because they truly believe they can help others feel better, healthier, happier. From experience they may know approximately how many sessions it may take for a major shift. Maybe they have a protocol.


In April we are welcoming back to Gallery Helios Pla Neuman. She offers Chi Nei Tsang, Biodynamical Craniosacral Therapy, and Lymphatic Drainage. Mostly, her sessions are customized, according to what comes up for the client. She starts with either Chi Nei Tsang or Lymphatic Drainage to address the symptoms. Then she goes deeper to access the client’s system with Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. The body then shows her other areas that require attention.

Pla’s found over the years that the body unwinds and balances much easier this way. This is not an instant event; rather, an unfolding.

Somatic Therapy Practitioner Richard Neuman explains to Siewfan Wong with an example how a series of sessions is often necessary. This is one of Pla’s clients.

This gentleman had an early history as a teen and young adult of stomach ulceration and repeated problems that led to a lifetime of digestive challenges. He came to Pla as a Chi Nei Tsang resource. As she worked with him, she was telling him that the scar tissue itself was in layers, interwoven and to work on it required a gentle repeated action. You can’t begin to go through all the various layers and the inappropriately linked fibre structures in one session. You want to work it gently, one layer at a time.

A series of sessions helps resolve a client’s health challenge because there are different layers – physical, emotional, and even spiritual – to address.

What kind of health challenges has Pla worked on?

Many of her clients have emotional struggles. These can result in blockages in the lower abdomen, which can feel hard to the touch. Other parts of the body can also be affected. This may be the sacrum, the sacroiliac joint, or the hips. Poor circulation is not uncommon.

Other issues her female clients have include fibroids. The fascia around the abdomen becomes so tight, resulting in poor digestion, bloating, compromised circulation of blood and chi.

I work on the skin layer. Someone with a lot of toxicity and poor circulation means the toxin is not moving anywhere and the area becomes stagnated. The tissues become bumpy. I work on that just to move it around, to get it into the bloodstream so that the body can detoxify itself. Also I work on the gut. There is a lot of stuff in the gut. It will help to improve the bowel movements.

Many of her male clients come for detoxification. They may have issues with digestion, with a bloated stomach. It can be from so many factors, such as inappropriate food and emotion. They also have a lot of tension, likely from stress and emotional issues.

Pla shares that Chi Nei Tsang is one of the key treatments for detox.

When you work on a person, you don’t only work on the physical layer, you also go deeper into the emotional and spiritual levels. For me, treating the person as a whole unit gives great results. That’s why I combine it with other modalities, to get into the deeper layers.

Both Pla and Ricardo Neuman will be at Gallery Helios from 19 to 29 April. Book online via the QR Code. For questions please contact Siewfan at Siewfan.Wong@GalleryHelios.com or text/Whatsapp +65 9459-8262.

Full details about Pla’s work

Full details about Ricardo’s work

In Conversation with Ho Kah Keh

Ho Kah Keh is a certified coach and Trauma Release Exercises® Practitioner, a trained vocalist, musician, professional stage performer, and one of the founding partners of Gallery Helios.

He is passionate about working with people to make meaningful changes through coaching. Kah Keh is also excited about offering TRE to people as a tool for stress release, resilience building, and strengthening mental health. In this interview, Kah Keh shares with us what TRE is and what his personal journey has been.


WHAT IS TRAUMA RELEASE EXERCISES?

TRE is learning to release stress built up in our bodies. For most people, it’s a lifetime of accumulation. Most of our stress has been relegated to our unconscious and forgotten in our consciousness. We are often habitually numbed to it. While we may not be aware of it, our bodies remember – that’s where the memories and stress are stored. It shows up, for example, as stubborn tight muscles with limited flexibility.

With TRE we learn to release these stresses gradually. Through this letting go process, we begin to reconnect with ourselves and start to be more aware of our physical bodies and sensations.

What drew you to become a certified practitioner?

The funny thing is that I was initially put off by TRE. It seemed so trivial and I failed to be convinced of its effectiveness. In hindsight I was probably too caught up in my cerebral reasoning, that the implausibility of something so simple being effective.

However, when it was introduced to me again some years later, it clicked. I found it fascinating this notion of tempering the nervous system independent of cognition.  By that time I had been exposed to and was accepting of the idea that deeper work was not dependent on the conscious brain.

I had also become more physically aware of myself and so the experience had changed for me and I started to notice its effects on my nervous system.

What was the most surprising thing for you during the training?

I started with the mindset that the more we shake or the bigger the shake, the better. I also found that each person has a unique signature. We all have a pulse as an organism and we are allowing that to return to our bodies. How we shake can also change. We can even overdo it!

It was also humbling to see how much nervous energy can be jammed in the body.

And for yourself personally?

How much tension I was holding as a result of being my parents’ caretaker. The attitude of expecting the unexpected had my body in chronic flight-or-flight. I had thought it was a good thing, always being ready. Now I know otherwise.

In the TRE training I was still quite cerebral about it whether my body was moving me or was I moving my body. The answer is that it doesn’t matter because sooner or later it will move itself. We are working with a neurogenic response; that is, movement coming from the nervous system. I also found how some parts of my body, like the abdomen, were like a block of wood refusing to budge.  It took a while for my body to go into full abandonment, a process that is still evolving.

How has your personal practice evolved?

From thinking too much to just letting go. Mental analysis tightens my body and constricts my breathing. Now it’s just letting go and letting the shake happen, for it to take whatever form or way it wants. I particularly look forward to the big sigh that creates a big sense of release in the body. This letting go is becoming more enjoyable and calming

Shaking it out sounds so simple. How often do we have to do that?

We suggest three times a week for starters, with a duration of no more than twenty minutes. It can be counterproductive to do it continuously.  

The aim of TRE is to build resilience in the nervous system through opening up and discharging in stages the years of stored tensions. Resilience also helps us deal with stresses from just normal daily living and bigger challenges in a healthier way.

The important thing is to inculcate a practice and listen to your body. The effects of TRE are cumulative. There is no instant fix.

How do you approach TRE with your clients? You are also a coach. Do you incorporate that?

My own feeling is that TRE needs to be practiced regularly over a period of time. This allows the body to settle into some kind of habit. From there, the uncovering process begins.

After the introduction workshop, I like to work with the person one-on-one or in a group at least three or four more times over a period of six to eight weeks. Coaching is part and parcel of the process to support the person’s increased awareness of the physical and emotive states.

Because it is so simple to do, what are some common misconceptions about TRE?

Like so many things that we perceive in our environment, because of its simplicity, we may think that it can’t be any good. Or that its depth of effect is limited. People may then think that because the effects seem small, they want to do TRE all the time.

On the other end of the scale, there is a tendency not to practice on your own. Some may not feel expert enough to trust themselves. That it will not be effective without supervision. They may therefore just want to trust the “experts”. 

I would say that with TRE we must do our homework. In doing so, we are also slowly weaning off our dependence on others all the time while developing our competency in tuning into our own physical self. After all, it is we who inhabit our bodies.

How does TRE help in this stressful world and support fragile mental health?

With greater awareness and calming of the nervous system, resilience is built over time. This allows us to manage what life throws at us more effectively and with increased objectivity and calmness. 

Kah Keh offers one-on-one and group TRE sessions. His TRE Intro & Practice sessions are a great way to learn more about how our nervous system works and how TRE helps to release built up stress and to build resilience over time. For more information or to sign up a private or group session, please email Kah Keh at KahKeh.Ho@GalleryHelios.com or text/Whatsapp +65 9679 3706.

NLP in Action: Feedback vs Failure

The way you give meaning to an experience will determine the way you respond in the future.

In the process of moving towards your outcome you will invariably experience results that are not moving you towards what you expect. When you experienced this result and begin to label it as failure then your next response will likely to be negative towards your outcome. It will literally stop you on your tracks!

On the hand, you can also label the experience as feedback. The results let you know you are not doing something right. It is a feedback for you to change the way you are doing it.

Jane is an entrepreneur. Lately, she has been feeling demoralized because her business is not doing well. On top of it she feels she is losing interest in it. When coached on the business challenges she begins to share her failures. She mentioned that she is losing customers to her competitors despite the excellent service she has been known for and gotten results in the past. She does not know what to do. These negative experiences have taken away the sparkle that she had when the business was doing well.

To help Jane, I got her to firstly hold the frame that there is “No Failure, Only Feedback”. With this frame in her mind she starts to look at possibilities of building her business. The exercise gave her some very good ideas to work on. More importantly, this frame provided her with hope and positive feelings.

In Conversation with Antoinette Biehlmeier – Singing Bowls

In conversation with Antoinette Biehlmeier on her growing collection of Singing Bowls and Inner Tune Therapy.


 

A little bird tells me that you bought 2 Singing Bowls at the recent Heart, Mind and Body Festival. What drew you to them?

I am usually drawn to a bowl either because of its magical sound or the vibration that it creates in my body. One of the bowls had such an amazing deep soothing sound that I couldn’t resist and the other one immediately had an effect on my solar plexus…. they had to come home with me.

 

How many bowls are there now in your collection? Honestly.

I think about 30 plus right now.

Shree Krishna Shah and Santa Ratna Sakya, my teachers from Kathmandu who performed at the Gallery Helios Himalayan Singing Bowl Charity Concert, brought me a really big one on their recent visit- you can stand in there and then play it. Absolutely stunning!

Then there are the ones that I offer for sale… so quite a good collection. My husband luckily lost count of them.

 

How did you first discover the Singing Bowls?

The first time I visited the Holistic Fair at Fort Canning, I passed by Shree’s and Santa’s booth thinking “oh never mind, just another item that needs dusting “. It was only a few years later, when I had my own booth at the fair, which happened to be right opposite theirs (no coincidence, of course), that I became a bit more curious, and at the end of those two days, I came home with my first three bowls. I was really hooked – the effects of the bowls are simply amazing and I truly appreciate their magic. For me the outside world simply ceases to exist when I play them; it is so meditative and creates inner stillness so quickly.

 

Tell us a little bit more about Singing Bowls.

Traditionally, Singing Bowls are made from an alloy of seven metals- copper, tin, iron, lead, mercury, gold and silver. This combination produces the unique tones that enable the bowls to be used for therapy and rituals, as well as for meditation purposes. The bowls can be plain or have religious or spiritual depictions, prayers, or mantras carved on them.

These days, the more commonly found Singing Bowls are usually from Tibet, China, or India. They can be made from copper or a variety of other metals or alloys and are less likely to include precious metals. While Singing Bowls have for centuries been handmade, giving rise to the beautiful hand-beaten burnish, with the older bowls polished smoothen from years of quiet meditative play, these days there are plenty of machine-manufactured, mass-produced pieces. They just don’t have the same timbre.

 

How did you train to become a Singing Bowl / Inner Tune Practitioner?

I had to beg Shree and Santa for more than 2 years before they finally found the time to arrive a few days earlier in Singapore to give a workshop. I was really lucky to be taught by two very skilful teachers on how to use different bowls for healing work and also how to play the bowls for a concert. However to be honest, it takes years of practice before I can play the bowls like they do.

I love the Inner Tune Therapy sessions, where a client lies on the floor and I position 7 bowls around according to the chakras. Sometimes I add the smaller ones to bring in more harmonies. It doesn’t take long before the client drifts off into a very deep relaxed state and by which time I can hear which bowl doesn’t sound harmonious and needs to be played more often to release the corresponding area of tension in the client’s body.

Meanwhile I am confident enough to teach myself and just last year I received a little touch up by Shree to play the bowls more softly. It makes a really big difference how a bowl is stroked.

 

What is a typical Inner Tune Therapy session like?

The client lies fully-clothed on a mat on the floor and the Singing Bowls are placed around him, aligned with the seven major chakra points (energy centres) of the body. Each bowl has a tone which corresponds to a specific chakra. At the beginning, the bowls, or sometimes tuning forks, are struck and sung in a particular rhythmic pattern, and as I tune into the client’s energetic imbalances, intuition gradually takes over.

Sound and vibration have been used to alter brainwave states to promote deep relaxation by inviting the brain to move into the more relaxing frequencies of lower Alpha and Theta.
Besides being deeply relaxing, the sound energy harmonises the chakras, thereby balancing the person’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing on many levels.

Clients report energy shifts during the session, altered states of awareness, sensations of a deep inner peace and tranquillity, as well as a letting go of old frozen energies and blockages. Some take the opportunity to do a little astral travel. The effects of a single Inner Tune Therapy session can last for several days.

Inner Tune Therapy can break pain reflexes, deepen breath, reduce stress, harmonise the left and right hemispheres of the brain, aid sleep and much much more.

 

As a therapist, how do you feel after the session?

It is always a very rewarding experience for me. As I mentioned, I lose track of time and the outside world and am totally in tune with the client, the resonance and the bowls themselves. I feel more peaceful and grounded after a session, very relaxed and much more aligned.

So if you ask me I would be more than happy to give Inner Tune sessions all day.

 

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to organize a workshop towards the end of the year so that we will have a few more therapists around – then perhaps I am lucky and get a Singing Bowl therapy session more often!

My aim is to visit Shree and Santa in Kathmandu next year, not only to see how the bowls are crafted, but also to learn more from them. It just came to my mind to perhaps organize a Singing Bowl Retreat with them. What an intriguing idea. If anyone reading this is interested, please get in touch with me by email, Antoinette.Biehlmeier@GalleryHelios.com.

Language – Prisoner or Liberator?

“It is inherent in our intellectual activity that we seek to imprison reality in our description of it. Soon, long before we realize it, it is we who become the prisoners of the description. From that point on, our ideas degenerate into a kind of folklore that we pass on to each other, fondly thinking we are still talking of the reality around us.” ~ Aneurin Bevan, British statesman.

John (not his real name) is a childhood friend. We grew up together in a small little town in Malaysia. When he was in his early adults he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He went through periods of trauma and ?nally stabilized with the help of medication. He has been stable for more than twenty years now. He is physically healthy and mentally ?t. However, every time I see him he will says he wish he can have a normal life with family and children of his own. “Who will want to marry me? I have no hope”. On the hand, I have a neighbor living upstairs and also suffering from Schizophrenia. He will occasionally show physical symptoms like shouting and singing out loud. So I thought, “who will marry him?” Lo and behold, suddenly I notice he got married. He even has a kid!

We give meaning to events that happen in our life and represent it through language. As Bevan says, language can imprison us and stops us from doing things. In NLP, there is a category of linguistic patterns called Generalization that can be particularly limiting or empowering. Statements such as “He is always late?” “This country is not safe?” “She is always nagging?” are some examples of generalization. A person who holds this generalization and responds to the world in this manner can sometimes limit the potential for choices of actions. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to notice successful people saying to themselves “there is no failure, only feedback”. This is a generalization that empowers people to continue to progress. Simply replacing the word failure with feedback allows the person to continue with the process of pursuing goals or outcome. As soon as the process is labelled as failure, it becomes an event with a label of ?nality. The process is implicitly stopped. The word feedback turns the event to process again and therefore there is hope for achievement. Is like magic!

In the context of coaching, language becomes a tool that opens possibilities for the client. In the hands of an expert, it can unveil the cloak of darkness with just a word or a question. Sigmund Freud, musing on the origins of language in his introductory lecture in psychoanalysis in 1915, wrote, “Words were originally magic and to this day words have retained much of their ancient magical power.” Beware of what you say to yourself. Slow down your thoughts and notice the language you use in your head. You may catch the culprit that has imprisoned you for a long time. Change the language and change your life. We all deserve a great life!

Simon Wong, NLP Trainer and Coach