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’.
If you are interested in more, please go to the home page of universalmedicine.com.au and click on articles.