New Massage Techniques Engage Mind, Body & Spirit
More than a few of Janelle Forbes’ clients have broken into tears or laughter on the massage table.
Forbes owns Cardiff Therapy in Glenwood Springs and the business has been open for eight years. But recently, she has learned some techniques that open a new bag of tricks and new possibilities for her clients.
In massage, emotional release occurs because tissues have memory. Feelings can be stored in tissue. The term “muscle memory” is used by athletes and dancers who rehearse movement; the phrase refers to the fact that the body remembers actions. You’re probably less familiar with the idea that the body remembers feelings. But consider this: emotional stress creates physical tension. The phrase “pain in the neck” refers to the way that irritation results in physical stress. Usually the cross-traffic between emotions and bodily sensations is fleeting, but not always, because stress can be stored; just remembering how you felt before giving a speech will probably call up renewed anxiety and butterflies in the stomach.
Forbes, whose background is medical massage, comments, “Life creates all kinds of different emotional responses. When I’m working with clients, we are having a non-verbal conversation. I extemporize and draw on many different things to find what each client requires. There are so many variables that play into creating change in bodies; there’s the emotional and the physical muscle memory. What’s really fun is finding the sweet spot where the emotional and physical meet. More than crying or laughing, clients go into ‘ahas’ on the table as the physical release unlocks emotions and memories that have been buried.”
From her practice, Forbes knows that addressing physical discomfort can often lead to opportunities for change in other areas of life. So around the holidays, she applied that insight to her business. “On a personal level, I’ve used the idea of being ‘comfortable’ to limit almost every area of my life. If I’m uncomfortable, I must be out of control and that must be bad, right?”
“I decided that I would venture into being uncomfortable by learning a whole new treatment approach and set some ambitious targets for myself and my business,” she says.
Wanting more tools to address soft tissue, Forbes found a set of techniques called the Access Bars®; it defines 32 points on the head. She explains that when gently touched, these points can “open one up to greater receiving and allowance in their body and their life. By holding these points, all of the thoughts, feeling, and emotions quiet and a calmness in the body and mind is created. In this space of allowance, change can occur with total ease.”
“I use a variety of techniques, and this one happens to create dynamic shift in a short period of time, so it’s a great compliment to traditional soft tissue work,” she says. “The really cool thing about the Bars® is that it’s so dynamic and potent that most people actually feel the energy moving. Some people zonk out and snore. They know that they’re snoring, but they don’t care because you can just be—without chatter and torment and worry.”
On a return visit after experiencing Bars®, one client suggested to Forbes, “Maybe we can do that head thing again where you touch my head and my worries melt away?”
Forbers observes, “Sometimes, massage is viewed as a bandage. It’s a means to be able to stand the pain but this can allow us to actually change it. If we are able to clear our conclusions—conclusions that say ‘this is what this injury is and this is how it limits me and this is as good as it’s going to get’—you can overcome those limits.”
“Staying comfortable and stuck is so last year! Here’s to change, choice and the evolution of you, of me, of our world.”