We are all familiar with the saying “no pain, no gain.” This does not apply in bodywork.
Some people believe that bodywork must be painful to be effective. Perhaps they believe that by having that by having that sore back kneaded forcefully that they are getting help. Or they are used to experiencing pain in their sessions and so they think it is normal. This is not always true or necessary.
There are of course different kinds and degrees of pain. Everyone also has their own pain threshold. Generally if you cannot breathe comfortably and your whole body tenses, then this protective mode can block the session’s potential benefits. Pain is a signal of blocked energy and energy is needed for healing. Inform the practitioner if you are experiencing this level of pain. Feedback will enhance the therapist’s ability to help you.
Pain during the session can be due to various reasons, including re-experiencing former pains or from loaded emotional content around your situation. It is easy for a therapist to feel from an ego standpoint that they know what is best for the client. Bodyworker Ricardo Neuman says, “Feeling it is okay to cause pain is not something a therapist should ever be comfortable with.” Some therapists may even justify the soreness, and even bruising, by the end results. To Ricardo “this doesn’t seem like the most skillful way to work.”
While soreness will go away, destabilizing a client’s equilibrium can have a more serious and long term negative consequence. Equilibrium here doesn’t refer to physical balance, it is about your system getting to a stable place in terms of resiliency and potency. Helping a person reach an improved equilibrium in their overall system is a major goal of advanced bodywork. While structural bodywork does change physical balance, it should always be towards an easier and more functional result. If physical balance gets worse in the short term it may also make it worse in the long term, so that needs to be remedied and addressed during the session.
After a bodywork session, it is recommended that the client drink plenty of water and rest to replenish themselves and to integrate changes in their system.
Ricardo Neuman is an expert bodyworker and therapist of 30 years. He is skilled in a range of mind-body therapies including structural bodywork, myofascial release and biodynamic cranial sacral therapy. Ricardo is visiting Gallery Helios from 22 to 29 September 2018 and is available for somatic therapy and biodynamic cranial sacral therapy sessions. A session is 60 minutes ($180) or 90 minutes ($240). Check here for availability.