Recently, a miracle happened on my massage table. Well, it seemed like a miracle to the client, who at the end was able only to say “Wow” over and over again as she felt how her body had changed in half an hour. Truthfully, even though I’ve seen it countless times, it feels like a miracle to me too because it’s so rare in our modern lives to experience what can happen when we come back home to ourselves.
Did you know that our bodies evolved to need two things for us to stay healthy and happy–two things that we no longer even consider when we seek health care? Two things that we dismiss in our culture as irrelevant or even undesirable? Two missing elements that often aren’t even on the radar for physicians, therapists and alternative practitioners? Let me illustrate with a story.
To maintain confidentiality, I will call my client Mary. She’s a tall, thin professional who stood and sat in a stooped-over posture, looking collapsed around her stomach. During the intake, I found at that she had severe problems with PMS and was currently experiencing pain, nausea and headache. (She often missed work monthly because of such symptoms). When I inquired, she said that yes, she had been to gynecologists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, energy healers (who had helped), but that this was a problem with which she and her whole family suffered.
When she lay on the table, her arms wrapped around her painful abdomen, I had the feeling that she was not aware of her legs. I don’t exactly know how I sense these things, but her legs seemed absent of her. Mary is a very sensitive person and aware of “energy.” When I asked if she felt her legs, her first answer was the one we all give: of course I know I have legs. But immediately she realized that she could not really feel them or know them. So I held her feet, contacted her legs and invited her to occupy them. We both could feel it when she came down into her legs and began to experience them as three-dimensional, alive, strong parts of her. In this way, Mary had an advantage over many of us: she was able to notice that she was not in her body and could get herself back in. It’s a matter of pulling your attention inward and grounding. (In the next blog, I’ll explain the neurobiology behind this.)
Missing element #1: embodied presence. Once Mary achieved having legs under her, she had the grounding and support for her body to do the rest of the healing.
Next, I asked if I could contact her abdominal area. With her permission, I held her between my hands, one supporting her lower back, and one resting on her abdomen. I was shocked to feel the intensity of the contractions and tension I could feel under my upper hand. No wonder she was in pain! And no wonder her curled-over body was organized around this area. “I can feel it,” I told her. “Wow, those are strong contractions.”
As soon as I acknowledged them, I felt a little bit of relaxation under my hand. Next, I said, “I just want this part of you to feel that while it’s in pain, I am simply going to hold you and be with you.” That is all I have to offer–the ability to be open to sensing the other’s experience, and the ability to stay with it. “You don’t have to be alone when you feel this.”
Her diaphragm began to release; her breathing got easier; her contractions subsided. She said, “The pain is gone.”
Missing element #2: Deep presence of another human being.
I continued to stay. She said, “I’m not nauseous any more.” A little bit later, “My headache is gone.”
As gratifying as all this was, the biggest surprise was when she was off the table. When I came back into the room after she dressed, Mary kept repeating, “Wow.” Sitting in a chair, “Wow.” Reaching for her pocketbook, “Wow.” Standing up again, “Wow. I feel taller.”
“You are taller. Go look in the mirror.”
Looking in the mirror, “Wow. Wow.”
Her collapsed posture had straightened without her effort, so she was standing at full height.
It’s hard for us to believe that so much can improve just by being present, so being the way we were meant to be feels like a miracle. How can a tree stand without its roots, or a person without grounding? I wondered if the effects had lasted at all, until I saw Mary again about a week later. Here’s what she has to say:
Walking into working with Anais, I really had no previous knowledge of the Rosen method. I had other forms of work done in the past but to my surprise it was very different. After the session I returned on my feet to find both the pain in my stomach had dissipated and my energy was moving through my entire body. Not only did this get rid if the pain in the moment but started a movement of fully feeling my entire body and it changed my life. I’m forever grateful for Anais and her work! Thank you!!
In case your think it’s some kind of “woo-woo” to need another person for your body to heal itself, in the next blog post or two, I’ll explain the science behind that, too. Meanwhile, this week why don’t you notice if you can really feel your legs? Notice what contact with the ground feels like, what it’s like to have a pelvis that supports your upper body. If possible, get rooted and notice what happens.