What Fiona has to say:
“I am very glad I didn’t know anything about Somatic Movement Therapy, or Shiatsu, before I began, so I know I am not imaging these dramatic results.
When I was 23, I suffered several dreadful bouts of crippling sciatica. When I took up yoga, ten years later, I found that the muscles on the left side were frozen around the lower back, where the sciatica had occurred. And more, there was a strange twist throughtout the whole body, so the left shoulder was higher than the right and the right hip was pulled up and forwards. The yoga teacher had never seen anything like it. The classes helped a lot, but then I hit a wall. The back was frozen and the twist seemed like it might be permanent: maybe from birth? I didn’t know.
But when I began treatment with Anne, one of the earliest things that came up was forgotten memories of doing very heavy newspaper deliveries in my mid-teens, just when the body was developing. I saw how the bags I carried had dragged the spine into this twist. That had weakened the muscles on the left side, making the disc to slide out and causing the sciatica, and when the disc had slid back again, the muscles had frozen around it. Although I tried so hard to release them, they would not let go.
Under the mind-body treatment, I could see how the fear of the agony of sciatica was holding the muscles in their frozen condition. Conscious commands to release would not work, but firstly, the shiastu warmed them up, helping the relaxation to start, and then the Somatic Movement began to unblock the channels, or nerve paths that were tied to the fear in the brain.
And the results were amazing. The first four treatment were slow: after all there were 30 years of damage to deal with, but as the oxygen began to flow into the clenched up muscles, release began all the time. It’s painful! But in a good way, a really pleasurable way.
As the sciatic side started to release, then we could start to tend to the spinal twist. And here, I started to realize how the mind and body work together: as a frozen muscle pinches a nerve in the back, the messages from the brain may be scrambled, causing more clenching and painful freezing, and so causing more effects on the brain. Unexplained anxieties and depression, lack of sleep, general malaise: they can all be due to muscles blocking the flow of energy along the nerves.
When a muscle releases, I could feel the nerves suddenly burning white-hot, may feel flashes in the brain, or see colours behind the eyes, changing up from cold blue through purple, to red. Sometimes there are powerful smells of burning or sawdust. And very often, old forgotten memories come up….
Whatever you experience is stored in the mind. But it is also stored in the body. Bad experiences, especially, leave their traces in clenched and frozen muscles. Look at all the people going around with shoulders hunched, their spines unrelaxed, their teeth clenched. Even the usual stress leaves these small marks, piling up every day. And as the muscles freeze, so the nerves are pinched, so the anxieties are formed, so more muscles freeze and on and on…
The therapy allows these memories to swim up, and then lets you let go of them. You realize you don’t need the pain anymore. On the realization, you feel, somewhere, a release. The pain is gone, and the brain has space to ‘breathe’.
For me, I find this happens all the time. The therapy really gets to work in bed, or when just sitting before the TV. Some long-forgotten thing will suddenly appear in the mind and I think “Here it comes!” and sure enough, a muscle ‘gives’ and the whole spine starts to stretch and release. It’s especially acute on the bus! I think it is the vibration of the motor, working through the water in the body, and shaking loose muscles that are ready to release. I can’t really describe how awesome it feels. It makes you want to say “ahhhh!” out loud.
Some of the realists:
- My posture is amazingly straight and my walk has become relaxed and swinging loose and easy;
- The frozen up pelvis and hips are moving into their rightful place;
- The old pain in the lower back has totally gone;
- I have much more stamina, my lungs can breathe deeper, so oxygen is getting to the muscles;
- I feel very much calmer (I always used to easily fly off the handle);
- My mind feels clearer than it has in years. All these old useless memories are like cobwebs being swept out, leaving space for new ideas;
- I have become constantly aware of the mind-body connection, and I can always work in small ways to improve it;
- Yoga practice has improved astonishingly, surprising the teachers;
And many other things!
I want to thank Anne so much for all her meticulous care. She is always attentive to her clients, and I think she has some great and special gift. I don’t believe that just anyone could do this, and produce results like this. It’s truly a life-changing therapy, worth every penny and every minute.”
English Teacher, HK.
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