For First Time Visitors

If you are a first time visitor to this blog, I invite you to start from the beginning, especially if you are unfamiliar with the potential emotional impact of long-term child abuse.

Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!

Understanding the Incomprehensible

Children of incest or long-term sexual abuse grow up to be wounded adults with complicated emotional issues. Unfortunately, some symptoms are misinterpreted or often dismissed as "crazy", only serving to maintain a tormented victim status. We, as a society, have the power to change this dynamic. Each of us can make a difference.

Oct 17, 2010

Healing Body Work

Often I see or *hear* a cringe when I mention various work I've had over the years that I believe have been an integral part of my overall healing. One of my recommended resources is The Body Remembers which explains how the body stores trauma memories just as the mind does.

More and more somatic (body) therapies are being used to help heal trauma including PTSD in war veterans. I had the privilege of attending a workshop by Pat Ogden who is one of the leaders in the field.  She coaches the client to move the body (on their own) to release where the body feels locked or tight or sore.

Peter A. Levine's book Waking the Tiger addresses the need for humans to "shake off" (engage the body in releasing trauma) much the way animals do in the wild to survive.

Ogden and Levine's methods are client initiated and do not involve touching on the part of the therapist except possibly as a target or to provide resistance for pushing.

Where the greatest resistance seems to be is in massage...another person touching the body. I know through my own massage therapist there are techniques such an Indian Head Massage where the client is fully clothed and sits in a chair. It could be a gentle way to become familiar with the healing benefits of massage.

I don't know why I had no aversion to massage. I used to have some relaxation massage before known trauma. Perhaps that is why. Throughout healing, I've had Reiki, a bit of acupuncture, deep tissue work, hot stone massage, cranial sacral massage, and today I was introduced to a technique called cupping.

I learned of cranial sacral through another survivor in the late 90s. The masseuse must have special training. It sounds like it is only the head but it encompasses the whole body. Cranial sacral fluid flows throughout the body and the therapist feels for blockages and uses a light touch around those areas for release. I always felt better afterwards but it didn't have the feel of the deep tissue or hot rock which I like...a harder touch that feels like it's really getting to the tight muscles.

It's been a long time since I've had so many knots in my head and neck and upper back, which I thought related solely to my two week cold. Internally I sensed there might be tension and should have some work done. I just needed from shoulders up worked on but I love the warmed massage table. A masseuse will work with your comfort level so you just need to communicate where you are uncomfortable with touches and/or be able to ask the person to stop if something feels uncomfortable.

The cupping was a gentle suction sensation created by cups (adapted to area of body being worked on) attached to a machine. Very comfortable. It released tension through suction instead of compression.

You can also do your own body work to some extent, especially hand and foot massage. Those appendages carry nerves to every area of the body. So if you work out a hard knot between your toes, for example, it may well be alleviating a headache. Charts are online if you want to know what is what. I just tend to feel around and massage sore spots.

I also have a massager that can reach behind me to get behind my shoulders and slightly under shoulder blades where tension can hide for a long time. A Shiatsu pillow is my favorite for lower or mid back pain.

I encourage all the listen to their bodies. For those with DID, you probably know that alters can "live" in different parts of the body. I used to have parts sometimes heal as they were released from the knot they were in. If you haven't tried body work as a healing modality, maybe it's worth looking into.


Patricia Singleton said...

Thanks for sharing this post. I feel encouraged to do more body work. I am blessed with a friend who is a massage therapist that I trust to do massages for me. I was using Cranio-Sacral work until my transportation disappears a few months ago and I haven't been able to return. I felt that I was beginning to see results.

Anonymous said...

This site is the cure for porn addicts.

Grace said...

@Anonymous, Am hoping you mean that porn addicts might read the blog and think twice. Unfortunately, porn addicts are porn addicts and those into child porn know very well they are viewing victims. It's a nice thought though, thank you.

@Patricia Am sorry I didn't respond to your October reply. I hope you have returned because I still strongly believe in the benefit of massage and practice what I preach ;-O