The Body’s True Intelligence

by Kate Greenaway BAppSc(PT), Physiotherapist, Australia

In the early days of my work in Physiotherapy, I had a sense that the human body had its own natural intelligence. It was sensitive and responded clearly to any internal or external strain. I experimented a lot with my own body: I tested all the physio modes of treatment on myself first before I ever touched a client. I learned that if any technique was done in a pushing, forceful way, my body tightened in protection. It seemed like my body had its own sensor system to any sensation that was not gentle.

Through my practice, it became apparent to me that the accepted forms of protocol driven treatments were not always gentle and supportive to a body that was in need of healing.  Even with my work on tour with rugby and hockey teams, I was using techniques that helped in the short term but just did not feel right to do on someone’s body. I knew that there was a large missing component for the person with chronic physical and emotional pain. Treating a body part in isolation to the whole body and person was only giving temporary relief.

In 1994, during the course of a working holiday in the United States, I was introduced to Craniosacral Therapy and Myofascial Release work through the Upledger Institute, a teaching organisation established in 1985 and based in Florida. Craniosacral Therapy has received international recognition for its approach to releasing tensions deep in the body to allow the body’s systems to self correct. This presented to me a far softer way of releasing any tension in the connective tissue in the body and particularly the nervous system. Through studying this work, I became more aware of the connective tissue in my own body and how it was a vital tissue system not often treated fully by many physiotherapists, osteopaths and body workers. However, although Craniosacral Therapy was a softer approach to the body, it still came from a basis of telling the body what to do and how the bones, connective tissue and muscles should be in relation to each other.

I still felt there had to be a gentler way to help the body restore itself to its natural balance without imposing on it. My approach to the body became more holistic and softer. As I continued my work I realised, more and more, that if I completely supported the joints, muscles and connective tissue, the body had its own sense of how to restore itself to that natural balance. I knew that the connective tissue was vitally important as a continuous river system of tissue that protected and supported the body. The greater my insights into the body, the more I realised that there was so much more about the body to feel and know.

In 1999 I met Serge Benhayon, the founder of Universal Medicine. I was intrigued by his approach to healing from his sports and biomechanics background. I constantly asked him questions from my own scientific and factual background aimed at trying to understand more about the energetics of the body. Serge’s answers consistently made sense, and I could feel that he had a far deeper understanding of the body’s energetics than anyone I had met in my learning up until then. I experienced hands on healing sessions with him and gradually, through these, I began to feel and learn from my own body. This affected my work profoundly as my understanding and feeling for the human body’s connective tissue increased. Arising out of this, I developed my work in Connective Tissue Therapy, a gentle non-imposing modality inspired by Serge and Universal Medicine.

Essentially, the connective tissue is like a bridge between the body’s physical nature and its energetic nature. In its ideal fluid state, the connective tissue allows the body to move in a rhythmical and pain free, balanced way. I found in many clients’ bodies (as well as my own) that the connective tissue hardens with sudden harsh or forceful movements. When we are stressed emotionally or physically it hardens, which tends to compress or contract the area that is affected. It also has a major role in allowing the organs to work in harmony with each other to enhance the body’s vitality.

As I continued working and learning with Universal Medicine, I looked at what I was bringing to my clients if my body was hard from physical or emotional strain. I started living more of what Universal Medicine was presenting – that being gentle and more self-loving in the way we move and in everything that we do enhances our bodies’ natural vitality, and it is that which we bring to our family, friends, colleagues and clients. As my own body itself became more gentle, and my own awareness of how it felt to be gentle increased, there was a significant change in the sessions with my clients. I could feel my clients’ bodies more deeply, where their holding and tension patterns were, and whether they were able to let go or not. I realised more and more, the responsibility that we hold as practitioners. Through being more harmonious in my body, I was able to support my clients to a much greater degree, and observe the gentle connection of our bodies with Connective Tissue Therapy.

Connective Tissue Therapy is unlike any other therapy I have experienced. It supports the body to deeply relax and let go of any tension and holding with a gentle rhythmical motion. You can feel this from your feet up through your body, or from your head down through your body, depending on where it is on the body that the practitioner is working. It works deeply to assist and support the body’s own true intelligence to restore the body’s natural balance and harmony. The false intelligence is what the head pushes the body to do – ignoring how the body is feeling. It is also when the practitioner’s head directs the client’s treatment to “fix the problem”, rather than feeling from the client’s body what is needed.

Our body is always truthful if we listen to it, and it is our own unit of science. Over a two year case study project, I conducted a six week program of Connective Tissue Therapy on 50 subjects with chronic pain and collated the responses. This was in collaboration with Danielle Loveless, a colleague of exercise physiology and a PhD graduate in research. The research sample included 60% of subjects who were people having general treatment for their problems, but were not students of Universal Medicine (as has been incorrectly reported in the press recently). The results clearly demonstrated a 50% reduction in pain levels from the Connective Tissue Therapy that was maintained over a six month period.

There is a lot of truth to the old saying, ‘the body speaks louder than words’.

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465 thoughts on “The Body’s True Intelligence

  1. Recently I was given a back massage voucher so went along to receive this treatment. I could feel a lot of hardness in my upper shoulders and put this down to tense shoulder muscles. The lady finished the treatment which wasn’t very long and said that my connective tissue had hardened and it was not my muscles as I had thought. Now reading this blog I can understand how I just expect my body to work for me without any consideration that I am being harsh or forceful. My understanding from what Kate is presenting is how hard we treat our bodies and so therefore ourselves. I feel this has something to do with how if we are living life from our minds, how easy it is to discount our bodies.

  2. It’s really interesting what you are saying Kate, that by being and moving more harmoniously in your body how that had an effect on others, that you could feel if your patients were able to relax and deepen into their bodies or not. Our bodies speak volumes there is far more communication in our movements than in what we say.

  3. Kate, I whole heartedly agree, Connective Tissue Therapy does more for the body than fix people. It is a therapy like no other that I personally have experienced.
    It releases tension from deep within our bodies, without stretching, pulling or becoming a pretzel.
    I feel more research needs to be conducted to say there is more to this modality than meets the eye.

    1. I have been supported to gently move my body using Connective Tissue Therapy and I have been completely blown away by how such very gentle movements, I’m talking about ‘cm’ movements, can make such a difference to my body as I can feel a release in the muscles that just deepens the more consistent I am with my movements. This is bringing to my awareness that our bodies are very delicate but powerful at the same time. Because I can feel the subtle changes in my body I am encouraged to continue the exercises because I can feel such a huge benefit within my body.

  4. The body has a wisdom and intelligence and a propensity towards harmony that our minds cannot fathom or match. So healing for me is really more about listening and responding to the body rather than dictating or imposing on it from the intellectual mindset.

    1. Totally agree Andrew, the body has more wisdom and harmony than we realise and also scientists haven’t quite got to the bottom of it, yet.

  5. “Connective Tissue Therapy is unlike any other therapy I have experienced. It supports the body to deeply relax and let go of any tension and holding with a gentle rhythmical motion.” I can feel my body saying ‘Yeeeesss’ during an Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy session, whether I am offering the session or receiving a session.

  6. ‘the connective tissue hardens with sudden harsh or forceful movements’, a lovely reminder to be gentle with my body, and how when I make any harsh movements how I am affecting the fluid flow of connective tissue in my body.

  7. I love to receive connective tissue therapy. I was on the course last week-end, so had many sessions treating most of my limbs. When I left to return home, I felt a different quality of energy or vibration in my body which felt gorgeous, super open and harmonic.

  8. “Through being more harmonious in my body, I was able to support my clients to a much greater degree, and observe the gentle connection of our bodies” – this makes so much sense. We might like to think that we can be in parts and pick & choose which part we want to front, but we do know that is not true. It is all one.

  9. The quality in the energetic field of a practitioner is a huge support in the clients recovery. The way the practitioner speaks, moves and the way he or she holds and handles the body of the client is foundational in the healing process and when we allow ourselves to be inspired, humbled and empowered either as practitioner or client we are well on the way to deeper healing.

  10. This is beautiful because most modalities do not take into account that the body is already intelligent and it just needs assistance in healing itself, most modalities place the practitoner as the one who is responsible for fixing someone, whereas what I love about Universal Medicine therapies (well just one thing I love!) is that the practitioner is not there to mend or fix the person but as a facilitator to their own healing.

  11. Thank you Kate, there is such a great amount of information here about our bodies and how to care for them by understanding how the Connective Tissue responds to rough or jarring movement by hardening to protect itself, and how it’s natural vitality is enhanced with gentleness.

  12. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself and does not need to be imposed on by another but instead supported to release any contraction and open up and connect with itself and others.

  13. I wonder where the idea came from that all our intelligence is in our heads and therefore by implication our bodies are without intelligence other than what is in the scull? It actually makes very little sense to adopt such a view and ignores more evidence to the contrary than could fill the pages of many volumes.

    1. There is also the idea that the mind is the only way to access God and renouncing, neglecting and in some cases abusing (flagellation) the body is part of the way to get to God. The body is not just considered unintelligent but that it gets in the way of union with the divine – nothing could be further from the truth on both counts.

  14. I am slowly coming to understand that “connective tissue is like a bridge between the body’s physical nature and its energetic nature.” From the very gentle Connective Tissue Therapy exercises I have been doing over the last few years this understanding has been growing as when I do them not only can I feel the subtle physical changes in my body but also changes in the way I am feeling; the energy within me and around definitely begins to change as well.

  15. Our body is a great teacher and a practitioner who works in partnership with the body and not in dominance of the body is an incredible gift because it brings to the table a deeper awareness of the body they are working with. You shared that as you deepened the awareness of your level of tension and brought more ease and flow in to your body and life, you were able to feel the clients tension more acutely. Just hearing that inspires me to deepen my relationship with my body and bring that into a livingness because that, to me, is bringing responsibility to life and offers greater respect to those I live and work with.

  16. “Through being more harmonious in my body, I was able to support my clients to a much greater degree, and observe the gentle connection of our bodies with Connective Tissue Therapy.” This is such an important point that needs to be understood by anyone who works as a bodywork practitioner. We cannot help someone else to heal if we are not committed to doing this for ourselves and living and moving in a way that is gentle and harmonious.

  17. A great reminder of how amazing the body is when it is capable of healing itself, and how Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy allows the body to work in its own rhythm and harmony together, and the more aware we become of each other through our greater awareness.

  18. Restoring harmony to replace disharmony without dictating a corrective maneuvering – it is just amazing how this impossible-sounding task is made a possibility through energetic symbiosis between the practitioner and the receiver.

  19. It makes sense how our connective tissue hardens in response to harsh or forceful movements as it tries to protect the body from moving in contra to its natural and harmonious state. All our movements become hard as the body is functioning against its true rhythm, like swimming against the tide, we experience resistance in pushing against the natural flow.

  20. “Our body is always truthful if we listen to it, and it is our own unit of science.” So true Kate. It has always seemed strange to me that my own experience – and that of countless others – can be discounted when a ‘controlled trial’ – which has to be funded (usually by big pharma or big food corps which have no interest in cheap affordable therapies) is recognised as being the gold standard. Recently however it is being found that many research studies are not all they are cracked up to be, with fraud and corruption occurring in many cases.

  21. Findings like this most certainly get my attention and surely warrant further study as the world still has a very long way to go to address our illness and disease in many forms. The things you say here about the bodies inmate intelligence and how these subtle systems work make a whole lot of sense to me too.

  22. While reading your blog I could feel how I compromised my body in the way I was sitting, so I gently streched my spine, felt my shoulder blades and my ribs open up while breathing, such small gentle movements done in connection with my body but a real ease and fluidness came back in my whole body.

    1. Thank you I too realise how often I still compromise my body when I am sitting and how little it takes for the connective tissue to be activated to bring about true change.

  23. “Treating a body part in isolation to the whole body and person was only giving temporary relief.” I agree Kate, this makes sense, our connective tissue and organs all work together to maintain the different systems within our whole body so if we only look at one in isolation instead of how this corresponds to other areas we will not experience the true and complete harmony and balance that our body is naturally designed to be and express with.

  24. Having had many connective tissue therapy sessions with Kate, I can attest to how powerful and deeply healing this modality is for the body.

  25. The connective tissue is superbly sensitive and I have noticed that, when moving in a certain direction, just changing my mind, stopping abruptly and turning the other way creates a palpable stress in my whole body; it loves rhythm and flow rather than knocks, bumps and sharp 180 degree turns.

  26. “It supports the body to deeply relax and let go of any tension and holding with a gentle rhythmical motion.” What I love about receiving a Connective Tissue Therapy treatment is exactly that, it allows me to truly relax and let go. It is as if the body is allowed to settle back in into its natural place.

  27. ‘There is a lot of truth to the old saying, ‘the body speaks louder than words’.’ Absolutely we know what it’s like to pull a muscle and we automatically rest, there is so much more the body is telling us on a daily basis too, that when we build a closer connection with our body we hear much more of what the body is telling us.

  28. After reading this article I have a greater understanding of my body, not in a theoretical but lived sense. It has allowed me to connect deeper with my body and realise how important the connective tissue is. By stopping myself and feeling it I have a greater sense of delicacy and unity that goes beyond the body although it comes from it; when connecting to it I’m nore aware and careful with my movements, so it helps me to make more loving choices and something expands in everything I do. Thanks Kate for your sharing

  29. Your commitment to integrity and finding the truth again is inspiring Kate. To not rest until we have come to what is true.

  30. It is amazing the communication with the body possible, I have found in stretching that telling my body it can relax sees it relax, that tension that I didn’t even know was there suddenly releases. I like the description of the connective tissue being like a merger between the physical and the energetic, that makes a lot of sense, as it does to consider the body is more than just physical matter but connected to an energetic quality that pulsates through our every movement, and that our quality of movement in respect of this energetic factor determines the ease we are able to feel within our body.

  31. I find your deepening process extremely humbling and inspiring. Thank you, Kate. Reading your sharing, I get a sense of how a practitioner could get in a way of a modality if they are not living from the same principles upon which the modality is based on.

  32. There are so many great points highlighted in your blog Kate, I agree that our body is extremely sensitive and the more we understand that and deepen our connection and listen to our body, the more we will choose to live in a way that naturally allows our body to restore itself back to its natural balance and true harmony.

  33. Being gentle with ourselves brings our focus back to our body and can put us in touch with how we feel from inside, and lets us appreciate our fragility and preciousness and the quality that we bring to our movements. Connective tissue does all this and can also bring up realisations of past behaviours or incidents that are waiting to be healed, the reconfiguring of energy in the body allows for a new start, a new life, a new way of living.

  34. Going to see someone to support you with your body and well being is so awesome but it is really felt when that Practitioner truly cares for themselves because this naturally shapes the way their room is configured. It shows in the way they treat you, the way the room is set up, the way they move and if it is a physical treatment like Physiotherapy, the way they touch you. The connective tissue modality respects all detail in-between our body, it honours the fact that what holds us together is fluid. It is a known fact that the human body is made up of 80 to 90 percent water and it is also being discovered in experiments all around the world that how we talk, and feel and move has a profound and physical effect on water. Having a modality and practitioner that understands this and treats your body with the tenderness and sensitivity it deserves is a gift in itself.

  35. I love that Connective Tissue Therapy works ‘to assist and support the body’s own intelligence to restore a natural balance and harmony’… this is a deeply beautiful and powerful modality that should be global in light of what it can offer a client in letting go of not holding the physical and emotional strain that can lead to the contortions and contractions they do. It is a truly stunning support in removing tension and enhancing connection and well being.

  36. Our body definitely speaks louder than words and the more we listen to it and understand it, the more we will learn and appreciate the wisdom of it.

  37. The Universal Medicine Connective Tissue Therapies bring a flow to the body that enlivens all aspects of life.

  38. This really supports the fact that the body has an intelligence of its own, and an amazing capacity to heal itself, our greatest support is to be gentle with it, as it gets to work on what needs to be done.

    1. Yes, the respect we offer our body when we stop imposing on it is worth deepening because it encourages a conversation that makes us accountable and responsible for our health and wellbeing.

  39. Being gentle and self-loving in everything we do and in how we move and express enables us to access our inner wisdom that naturally knows how to move with a true quality and harmony and with consistency restores our natural vitality.

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