Laurentine and I know the importance of body work to restore balance in the body. Every month or two we make an effort to visit with a chiropractor, osteopath or craniosacral therapist.
Baby Hugo even had a visit with a craniosacral therapist within his first 24 hours of life! (you can read the full birth story here)
Why do we do it? Because we find it a great way to "tune our instrument", as our close friend Kris Carr puts it. There really is something magical about the positive effect it can have on your body and life.
When we were researching for Food Matters we came across lots of information on how energy meridian systems within the body can have a huge impact on health. Thousands of years of traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicine systems have perfected this understanding, and now it's up to us on how we now use it in our daily lives.
Here's the story of our local osteopath we visit when we're in Australia and how body work might help you.
Meet our Osteopath Hans Wilde (a.k.a. Wild Hands!)
Now he may not appear blind in the photo but trust me when I say that he is. He studied osteopathy and acupuncture in the United Kingdom and has gradually lost his sight over time, rendering him blind. In my opinion this makes him an even more powerful intuitive healer!
The realm he works in, is with the energy meridians within the body.
You can't see these meridians so it seems that he does not need his sight in order to perfect his craft.
When you visit with him (as with most osteopaths and chiropractors I have seen) they feel your body with their hands to identify areas which might be holding tension. This tension can lead to problems throughout the body's skeletal, muscular, nervous and energy systems.
Then he goes to work.
Massage First Please!
When I'm on the table I really love getting a good old fashioned massage to help warm up the muscles and work out any knots.
Hans tells me that it's important to work on the muscles first to make sure the blood flow and energy flow between the healthy and blocked areas is a free as possible.
Sometimes this can hurt a little but it's nice that he is freeing up any tension.
This tension he says can come from working on a computer, incorrect posture and other physical issues. It can also come from emotional stress including financial, work and family issues. These stressors can get stored as tension within the body and need to be free in order for balance and health to be restored.
Once he's warmed up my muscular system he then gets ready to align my body through manual adjustments.
I'm actually scared of getting my neck and back cracked!
…if this also freaks you out don't worry, you're not the only one!
I can honestly say that I am a little scared when someone adjusts my neck but when I'm in Hans' hands (no pun intended), I feel completely at ease. The warmth, massage and preparation he takes my body through in order to get to the alignment part of the treatment makes me feel relaxed and ready for anything.
But the excitement and liberation of energy that you feel after the adjustment is simply divine.
Hans normally starts with a twisting adjustment where you're on your back and your legs go one way and your arms the other. This frees up the lower back and hips and feels great! Often after this adjustment I'll start laughing for no reason. I put it down to all the energy coming out!!!
Then he moves to my neck and off he goes. Sometimes it sounds like a machine gun firing off!
After the neck he moves onto one of my personal favorites. The "upright sitting, pillow in the back, arms crossed in front, lift" - sorry I don't know the technical term. This helps my back extend and stretch and I normally get an adjustment in my middle upper back. I swear I feel a few inches taller when I leave!
He also specializes in blind acupuncture (are you game?)
I'm not joking :)
One of my girlfriends was having trouble conceiving and visited Hans for some acupuncture after a recommendation from a family friend. She fell pregnant shortly after his treatments and attributes it to the acupuncture.
I love these types of stories. I understand that we need more clinical trials and double blind placebo tests with nutrition and natural therapies, however I equally love how traditional forms of body work are working wonders the world over, each and every day, with no need for such scientific validation.
So how can I keep my spine aligned?
I believe that healthy rituals make healthy individuals. Here are some simple alignment rituals I love (try one a day):
- Yoga. It's the ultimate body alignment exercise and also the perfect preparation for meditation. Don't think that you have to do an hour long session with tricky poses, breaking a sweat and lots of hard to pronounce chants. Just hit the mat for 5 quick sun salutations to start with, it's that easy.
- Rolling on your back on a rug or carpet with your knees to your chest and arms crossed over your knees. This rocking and rolling motion back and forth along your spine helps to smooth everything out and you might even get a crack.
- Cat cow exercise. This is a yoga special and is super easy to do. Get on all fours on the ground and arch your back upwards facing the sky while breathing in then starting at your sacrum (behind), start rolling your back the other direction into a arched position while breathing out.
- Walking barefoot on the ground. If you can walk barefoot on sand or grass this is a great way to calibrate your body. We spend so much time supported by shoes and chairs that I believe it's important to be out in nature unsupported (this also has a great effect on grounding your body to the earth).
- In-chair stretches (a quick google and you'll see lots of ideas).
What practitioners or therapies do I recommend?
All you have to do is google the following in your local area and you should see some listings you can try out. It also helps asking friends and family if they have any recommendations.
- Craniosacral therapists &
- Thai massage (it's a little bit like lazy yoga)
I would love to hear in the comments below if body work has made a difference in your life.
In good health,