Biodynamic Massage for Health
Biodynamic massage takes as its starting point the relationship between repressed emotions/energy and physical health.
The key difference between biodynamic massage and other massage therapies is, I think, attunement. Biodynamic massage is very much contact-led and therapists, although they have a number of techniques at the ready, will aim to meet you through touch, to contact the person, not just the body. In a sense you could experience biodynamic massage as a half-way house between psychotherapy and massage, although it can also be used as a restorative and energising form of complementary therapy.
Biodynamic massage is very responsive if you feel there might be an emotional component or trigger to your condition: Menstrual, menopausal symptoms respond well. Muscular problems, digestive problems, IBS, migraines, auto-immune conditions, post-operative recovery, cancer, end-of-life all require a personalised and attuned response. Psychologically-based conditions such as anxiety and depression, grief, insomnia and constant tiredness, are also its natural territory.
Of course you don’t have to be ill to benefit from biodynamic massage! Needing a boost, a return to energy and health, are excellent reasons for coming for a massage.
How else can it help?
As well as responding to particular physical symptoms, biodynamic massage can help people feel more like themselves, to deepen and enliven the sense of self we make contact with within our own bodies. So much of the time we lose our sense of embodiment – just how it feels to really be in contact with our legs, for example, and when we do we really do feel ‘reached’ in these places through therapeutic touch, we are surprised how fundamentally differently we come to ‘know’ ourselves.
What is happening?
Biodynamic massage works with the autonomic nervous system – the part of the nervous system that affects functioning such as heart-rate, breathing, hormonal activity and digestion. It has two branches: the sympathetic branch which comes into play when we are with an upward charge of activity, and the parasympathetic branch, for when we are in a relaxing, winding down phase. We have a tendency to override these natural mechanisms with stress-induced adaptations in order to cope with daily pressures. These autonomic responses can become fixed but through massage a client can start to ‘feel’ how to do things differently: to slow down, to pause and to allow the body to recharge at its own pace. Gradually new neural pathways can be created, the body learns healthier responses and the older defensive coping mechanisms can start to lose their grip.
In biodynamic massage we often use a stethoscope, placed on the client’s abdomen, in order to tune into the autonomic nervous system through the sounds of the peristaltic movements in the gut.
What benefits will I feel?
Many people report a release of tension, worry or blocked feelings as a result of a session, or a series of massage sessions. Relief from chronic physical symptoms such as headaches, pain and stiffness can be another outcome. Over the longer term, we hope you may become more balanced emotionally, discover a greater ability to ‘go with the flow’, have more capacity to value and trust your own body as well as an increased energy and zest for life.