Whole Body Well Being

Exploring Wellness with Zero Balancing

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Inspiration for Well Beings

Self massage with breath.

I find myself noticing all the little tensions in my body. Especially when I slow down enough to drop out of busy mind. One of the techniques I’ve been sharing with my clients is a simple self massage using only your breath.

Imagine your ribs. They move in numerous ways but not very far in any direction individually. As a coordinated team they can make a grand motion that stretches your entire torso to it’s maximum potential. Every organ, every muscle and every bit of connective tissue is going along with your full inhale stretch, smoothing out and releasing the wrinkled compression we get from sitting too much, scrunching our necks to see screens or distant objects, and cringing from the hourly news.

Try it now.

Take one long full breath and sniff a wee bit more air in until you feel like you’re going to burst with air. Hold your breath at this peak to a count of 3 – 10.  (Build up to a comfortable number so it’s a fun challenge- not painful!) During the hold consciously let your arms and shoulders drop and your low belly, hips & face soften a bit.

Then release the breath with control through your nose. At the bottom of this breath use your abdominal muscles to squeeze a bit more air out through your nose with a quick snort. Now hold your breath out to a count of 3 – 10 so it’s a gentle challenge.

Let your next inhale come in naturally and feel the inspiration both physically and energetically! Repeat 3 at a time many times through out your day. Your whole body is refreshed with oxygen, you’ve expelled additional toxins from your lungs AND many muscles have been given a self massage!

Try it when you can lie on the ground and look up at a brilliant summer sky!

clouds above view 036Bliss for all and all for bliss!


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Magnificence of Bones

knitted skeleton

Spinal column and torso from  bencuevas.com/knit-skeleton
As archived on Facebook for Anatomy in Motion

I recently joined forces to help with a short presentation to parents about the Waldorf school 8th grade anatomy study. My son’s teacher is a seasoned educator and has taught many subjects over his tenure as a Waldorf teacher. But this was just a 40 minute coffee hour chat so I added in a couple of practical exercises and answered a few questions about range of motion and spoke about transference of forces from the different regions of the vertebral column. Mr. Wright though, blew me away with his illustration on the chalk board of a foot, sole to the sky, and illustrating how the ankle joint is a lever with the pivot point, a fulcrum, in the center of the 3 intersecting arches of the foot through the tarsals beneath the medial malleolus of the tibia. He used that image because in 7th grade he had them working with simple machines and thestudents fully understood all the aspects of levers.

So I sat there pondering the mechanical forces at play in our body noticing the ease and fluidity our bodies maintain in most areas despite the injuries and compromises we have because of our primarily sedentary lifestyles with devices always at our fingertips. And I was and am thankful because I’ve been given this gift of helping others regain some of the fluidity and ease that is natural to us through movement and rest. It’s always so lovely for me to gain another layer of understanding of why Zero Balancing works. In this case, the way I nestle my fingers into the multitude of joints on the feet can help that fulcrum point soften as if I were applying grease onto the lever, through the ligaments and tendons getting gently stretched and/or compressed so that excess tension is released. When the ankle joint moves more freely then the pressure on the knee can lessen and a cascade of relaxing and re-balancing occurs through the adjacent tissues and joints. Thus we have Zero Balancing! It is physics and the body’s own magnificent healing potential at it’s best.

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Spring tuning

I have been reveling in morning spring walks along Meadow Creek. It is so amazing to see the energy flowing up through the soil and into the plants. One day the sprout structure transforms into a leafy plant and in just a few more days buds form and then our come the blossoms.

The same processes are occurring in our bodies. As we take in the plants, (I love to graze on chickweed or taste a pine needle with a raindrop still on it as I meander back up the hill to my backyard!) the nutrients spread out into our cells that are being replenished, repaired or replaced. And so the earth energy can flow into us as well. In Traditional Chinese Medicine and other ancient healing traditions the understanding of how foods nourished us was by the ways the energetic qualities affected our bodies. As a very simplified explanation we all know how a spicy salsa or Thai curry can bring a sweat to the brow. So we say the energy of chili peppers is warming. In much the same way we get  warm from an electric heat pump as energy is transferred from one form to another in our cells from the skin inward rather than food warming us from our internal organs out to the skin.

Energy constantly moves and changes forms and that principle of nature is what we take advantage of in Zero Balancing. When we put even light pressure on the body by lifting or tractioning we encourage the energy that is already present to move and flow through nearby cells and tissues. Physiologists refer to this pressure initiated energy as piezo-electricity which is a property of the collagen in our skin, muscles, ligaments and bones. So while we have a standard protocol for Zero Balancing sessions what happens in an individual is unique each time.

The touch each client receives is based on the practitioner’s evaluations of the body and awareness of the change that is occurring under our fingers. We say we follow the energy of the client and then hold our position stationary until the place we are touching changes in quality. The change may be felt as warmth or a softening and sometimes we don’t notice anything for a few seconds and then we just continue with the protocol until the next pause at an area that may feel knotty or too dense or tight. The protocol addresses all the joints, so by the end of a 35-45 minute period on your back on a massage table you have been touched head to toe. Upon sitting up clients faces are much more relaxed and oftentimes they remark how different they feel. Relaxed, peaceful, lighter, more grounded, connected, or energized in a refreshing way are regular comments on how people feel the energy change after the session and for quite sometime in many instances. With regular sessions those changes last for longer and longer, stress and many physical complaints lessen and sometimes go away completely.

To experience a session with me in Charlottesville, VA you can book an appointment at my scheduling site https://www.timecenter.com/wbwb/ If you are outside of Central Virginia you can go to www.zerobalancing.com and click on the find a practitioner menu. By entering your zip code you can locate certified practitioners.

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A clearing gift

I’d like to share a timely and pertinent gift I received today. I hope you will find it helpful too!

After 10 years of the multi-tasking roles of wife, parent of an active young child, carpool driver, country dweller with pets and large animals, devoted daughter caregiver, home renovation manager, small business owner, student and spiritual seeker, my living spaces have become over filled with materials and memories that were once much needed and still have potential value. I have always been a fan of spring cleaning and joyfully tackle whole rooms, garages, garden sheds and closets with gusto 2 or 3 times a year. But after becoming a parent and shortly thereafter a caregiver to my mother more possessions were added. The major daily distractions, most of them completely enjoyable, reduced my time to thoroughly clear out to a few minutes or maybe a few hours per month- usually when not sleeping well very early in the morning.

After completing my required course of study for massage therapy (part time for 3 years) I found I had some time & space at last. But how to go about dispersing the build up of stuff? It was hard to know where and how to start. Because I have inherited my grandparents and parents thriftiness caused by living through the Dust Bowl in the Great Depression I am programed to save useful and valuable things which I thoroughly organized and plan how to use or share. BUT now I don’t need half of it or know exactly to whom I could give it! So a web search turned up A Year to Clear What is Holding You Back! by Stephanie Bennett Vogt distributed through DailyOM.com.

 She calls her method of clearing clutter, the slow drip method. She uses all the major tools that most home organizers use but she weaves in looking for underlying emotional attachments and habitual patterns that may underpin our gathering instinct/logic borrowed from others. So I enrolled for a daily “lesson” for a year for a very reasonable cost. Often a lesson consists of a couple of sentences and a moment of contemplation building up to an exercise or video for 10-30 minutes once a week. (You can go back to the ones you’ve completed too.) It is totally doable and yet very empowering.

Today’s lesson was spot on for me, something that surprises me when I catch on to the fact that it is happening. Negative self-judgement or the poor “pitiful me” inner whisperings. Who doesn’t occasionally have it? Her post took it further into the underlying negative feedback loop “Things are against me to do well today.” There is a very subtle self-victimization that I want to STOP and clear out the mental clutter. Since I usually think of myself as a very positive person, I want to focus a laser beam to catch myself when I move into this space. Here is Stephanie’s personal experience of how she reframes the conversation. If you like this look further. She has several youtube videos. Try this one and go from there! https://youtu.be/By2IHlqxhC0

Happy clearing

A Year to Clear What is Holding You Back!  by Stephanie Bennett Vogt
Lesson 136: Zip It, Zap It

Stopping a mind that thrives on drama and is stuck on a default setting of doom and gloom, takes awareness, and lots of practice. If you took some of the stringy stuff I’ve been known to chew on over the years (with sound-effects included), here’s what detaching might look like (on paper):

  • [Aghhh] The traffic is terrible, we’re going to be late to the airport, we’re going to miss our plane, our vacation is shot. Strike that.
  • [Ugh] This task is taking forever. I don’t think I’ll ever finish clearing my piles. It’s time to check my emails. Strike that.
  • [Groan] I have no time, there’s no food in the fridge, the house feels cold, I’m fried, this day has gone from bad to worse. Strike that.

What you don’t see, but is the key to the success of this practice, is me acknowledging and feeling the tightness around my shoulders; me noticing that my breathing is halting and shallow; me feeling out of control, afraid to make a mistake, hungry and running on vapors because I haven’t eaten all day and didn’t get much sleep the night before.

What unsupportive thoughts can you zap (nip, lance, strike) today? Right this second?

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Discount extended for January

One Day Introduction to Zero Balancing

Saturday 9am-5pm

Fulton Hill Studios, Richmond, VA  January 16, 2016
Saybrook Ave, Silver Spring, MD      February 20, 2016
Medical Arts Raleigh, NC                     March 5, 2016

Interested in what Zero Balancing might provide your clients? Just need a few CE’s for re-certification? Want to help friends and family but don’t have a health care practice yet? This class  gives you a great day of hands on learning and enough theory to familiarize yourself with the basic principles of Zero Balancing. You go home with a short protocol that  can be used alone or easily integrated into any client treatment.

Cost: $100 If paid 1 month in advance-or when signing up with a friend.
If less than 1 month $150.


The Case for Touch

I really thought you all might enjoy this post from my colleague and fellow ZB instructor, Amanda King. We have shared many transformative experiences together during Teacher Training and in other courses with Dr. Smith, founder of ZB.

Amanda's Blog

Hand of Grace 2014My sense, as a bodyworker, that healing possibilities through touch are infinite. Professional touch, while geared to provide a consistency of experience to the client, also allows for that person’s individual response to a multitude of factors, including pain sensitivity, pressure, etc. In approaching a new client, for example, I ask her if she is used to touch, therapeutic or otherwise. If not, I approach such a client with greater awareness so as to provide an experience of the potentials of touch.

In massage, for example, my goal is to recede and to allow the client to feel himself on a multitude of physical levels – skin, muscle, fascia, nervous system, fluids, and, for me, most importantly, bone. Bone is the primary focus of my touch in the work I do known as Zero Balancing. Bone, being the densest tissue in the body, and the deepest, is believed and…

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Time and space

I’ve been slowly reading A Year to Live by Stephen Levine.

In it he is describing his journey of really looking at his life as if he only had one year to live. In it he offers many poignant insights into the experiences of people he has personally worked with in the dying process. I’m reading it along with a lovely group of women and we talk a bit about what shifts we have in our perceptions of our daily lives as we read along.

The most interesting bubble up for me has been how I often perceive myself at “war” with time. I want more or want to do more activities in a fixed length of a day. So as I’ve been reading just the first 40 pages or so I keep finding myself doing less. Just being with my sensations and even feeling fine as I accomplish less. I’ve been wondering when I will start feeling guilty for stretching out on the couch a few hours each week and watching my son play or even indulging in solitaire. Often I just contemplate  my current state of mind and body.  So far all the things that must be done are getting done and I’m definitely less often in a stress mode of action. I have had more positive interactions with my family and have been staying well fed and hydrated.

The concept of what would  I let go of if I only had one year to live has been pervading many of my contemplative moments. Needless to say I’m disposing of quite a few things that no longer bring me joy and get in the way of me enjoying other aspects of my life. As  my space is clearing, time seems be more of a friend and as I let go of controlling time, I seem to find more internal space. So as I read along further I hope to share more insights I receive with you. In the meantime if you are curious I can highly recommend this book as a clear, concise and profoundly loving way to review how we live our lives.