Relaxation and stress relief are certainly two main goals of bodywork. But there is an important addition to your clients’ somatic well-being that more directly addresses the patterns of muscular habituation, posture, compensations due to injury and the restoring of freedom of movement and freedom from pain: the re-education of the overall sensory motor patterns that have accumulated over time. The work that will be presented in this workshop is an innovative approach developed by Deane Juhan, based upon the rehabilitative techniques of Dr. Milton Trager.
Functionally, we are really one muscle that is divided up by the connective tissue structures into different compartments in order to provide specific vectors of motion and coordinated groups of muscles. We are not robots with hinges, cables and pulleys, but shape-changers, and any gesture involves the participation of wide-spread muscular supports and motivators.
It is difficult for individuals to free up and re-coordinate restricted movement patterns without actively engaging the muscle groups that have become stuck in habituated patterns and that are causing discomforts and limitations. This engagement is not simply a matter of “relaxing,” but of lengthening some muscle cells, contracting others, more effectively recruiting motor nerves and their motor units for coordinated action, and establishing both increased strength and ease. Resistance/Release is a process of providing traction and/or compression to muscle groups, asking the client to pull or push against the resistance applied, and guiding them through the process of refining the coordination of their efforts. The resulting reorganization provides a more evenly distributed action throughout extensive muscle groups and an immediate experience of less effortful and more effective movement. Restrictions of movement and the discomforts of the resulting strain disappear, and both ranges of motion and the minimization of over-all effort are dramatically enhanced.
Resistance/Release work is designed to re-coordinate our musculature as a whole and to train more efficient and effective recruitments of muscular contractions and lengthenings involved in any position or movement, from feet to head and from sleeve to core. The result is dramatically improved muscular coordination, adding both ease and strength to all physical activities.
The work also bridges the gap, felt by many practitioners and clients, between the active giver and the passive receiver, the “expert” and the “problem.” It establishes a dynamic relationship in which both parties are participating and learning together. No two repetitions of resistance and movement, and no two sessions are ever alike, opening the door to a fertile and creative exchange and an ever-evolving mutual growth for both parties involved. It is the end to repetitive protocols and routines for the practitioner, and an opening of never-ending possibilities of exploration and self-development for the client.
Copyright by Deane Juhan, January 7, 2011