Whole Body Well Being

Body Ease • Serene Mind • Joyful Heart

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Taking precautions and lots of self-care

scenery at ZB Benefit
Fresh air and sunshine

The info below from the Virginia Department of Health is enough to convince me to pester my family and housemates to wash their faces and hands as soon as they get back from essential outings and to give everyone separate hand towels. As a precaution, I spray and wipe down bathrooms at least 2 or 3 times per day, more if someone is actively sneezing or coughing of course. All clothes get washed after one wearing and I’ll throw the blankets and pillows in the dryer every couple of days. Clotheslines are awesome!

If your weather is nice enough, eat outside then wipe down the chairs and tables out there before sitting them in the sunshine. Better yet sit on a patio or grass before the bugs get too hungry! Do anything else you can think of to reduce a viral load that might put you at risk for a more serious illness. Our immune systems are amazing but do things to keep it from working too hard during allergy season.

From the Virginia Department of Health

To get COVID-19 you need to have had close contact with a person ill with COVID-19. Close contact includes:

  • Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19,
  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19,
  • Being within 6 feet (or 2 meters) of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 15 minutes, or
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

If you live in the same household as someone sick with COVID-19,

1) the person who is sick must stay home until their fever has been gone for 3 full days without using any fever-reducing medicine,
2) the other symptoms have improved,
3) at least 7 days have passed since the first symptoms appeared.

After this time, the person can stop home isolation and is no longer considered infectious.

You, as the household contact,
1) should stay home while the person is sick,
2) while the person is recovering,
3) for 14 days after their home isolation ended.

View the VDH When to End Home Isolation and Quarantine Infographic (3/27/20) for more.

Check out future blog posts via my website


Above all stay positive by doing normal preventative self-care.

  • Stay hydrated
  • eat fresh foods with lots of colors; leafy greens, peppers, and berries yum yum!
  • Exercise enough to get your heart pumping
  • take some deep breaths for a few minutes (dance, walk stairs or do jumping jacks- your pick)
  • touch base with nature every single day.

Be well, my fellow travelers!

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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.

Trust in Touch

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.


Who likes Zero Balancing?

child seated ZBSo far I haven’t met anyone who dislikes Zero Balancing. Occasionally I’ll share a session with someone who doesn’t feel any changes from their session but usually that is because of reduced sensitivity to bodily sensations caused by medications or being so intellectual that the person doesn’t have much awareness of the sense of touch.

I recently attended a Zero Balancing Refinement Day held in Charlottesville, VA at Studio ZB in my office building. My faculty colleagues, Elliot Abhau and Judith Sullivan, facilitated the great day of exploring a very succinct Zero Balancing protocol that can be done almost anywhere in just a couple of minutes. In an earlier post I describe a typical ZB session that is done on a massage table. This one is done with the client seated and begins with the practitioner standing on one side and ending at the client’s feet kneeling in front as pictured. The beauty of this is that many people who can’t or don’t want to lie down can feel relaxed and grounded in a couple of minutes. So far I’ve offered it to my son’s classmates sitting on a garden bench waiting for their parents to pick them up in the midst of a noisy group of middle schoolers. Each child I balanced  paused, relaxed into my hands and returned to their assigned waiting area much more quiet than before. I also have used it for a couple of elder clients who get stiff from being prone too long. I can see the potential for helping people confined to wheel chairs and for young children when they are sitting on their parent’s lap.

Elliot developed the basic seated form out of a desire to provide people quick care and refined it while offering sessions to massage practitioners at a convention. Judith added some of her flavor to it and along with Roxanne Broadbent shares it during volunteer days with The Haven, an organization supporting the homeless in Charlottesville. When our Refinement Day was over we all felt very refreshed from having given or received the seated session three or more times. That’s why I love ZB!

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What happens during a Zero Balancing session?

Zero Balancing (ZB) is based on a standard protocol that uses evaluation of specific joints to guide the practitioner through balancing the whole skeleton system. Yes, I said the whole skeletal system and it only lasts 35-45 minutes!  In a session of ZB you remained fully clothed and are resting on your back on a massage table so our hands can slide easily under the body. We use fulcrums, lifting motions that create a point of support, to create a just right pressure into bone. We also use gentle traction and rotations to remove the looseness from feet, hips, ankles, shoulders and the neck.

The session begins with a health history. We perform a seated evaluation of the range of motion of the shoulders and sacroiliac joints. Then you lie down for the rest of the session. First the lower torso is addressed along the spine. Whenever our evaluation indicates held tension we place a fulcrum at that point holding the appropriate angle for the client in stillness as the body reorients. We then evaluate the hips rotating internally and externally then gently traction to balance them before moving to the feet. I have to point out here that ZB has the most complete foot protocol I’ve experienced and it has helped me tremendously! Our bones in the ankle and heel region of the foot can not be consciously moved so attention to those bones that help decompress the complex arches can really give you a feeling of a spring in your step.

At your the head your practitioner applies comfortable pressure into the trapezius muscle at the top of your shoulders.  She evaluates and balances the upper back by lifting into ribs, shoulder blades and shoulder joints. The neck is evaluated by holding the base of your skull to lift, side bend and rotate in a comfortable range for you. The neck fulcrums combine rotation and fingers sliding through muscle tissue. We carefully traction the shoulder and address any hand and finger issues before offering a few motions into the skull and integrating the entire session through body in a series of 5 curving tractions from the head to the feet. In the last movement while the whole body is in a fulcrum we can assess the greater connection you have to yourself. You then have a few minutes to be still before sitting to have a short seated evaluation and returning to a slow walk around the office.

When a person stands up after a session their eyes are more clear, the mouth is softer and lines of forehead tension are erased. Clients regularly report feeling taller and that their feet feel more firmly on the earth. Practitioners see more even shoulder height, relaxed hands and upright but relaxed torsos. Many clients say they sleep better and feel more like themselves again.

When I left your office I looked up into the sky and just said, "thank you." DC mother and teacher

When I left your office I looked up into the sky and just said, “thank you.” DC mother and teacher

In my last post I talked about ZB incorporating the energetic anatomy as understood in Eastern healing systems. By utilizing the feel of energy flow through the body’s structure each Zero Balancing becomes customized and can accomplish a lot on multiple dimensions of a person. There are common phrases that let us know tissue held memories are true and impact us on a long standing basis. ” I was cut to the quick. The accident was gut-wrenching. Leaving the family home made my heart ache. They were bone-tired.” Zero Balancers are taught to use their fingers to look and feel for density, too much or too little range of motion in a joint, a lack of resiliency or feeling of dullness in a bone as well as how the energy is able flow from one bone to the next. It is our understanding that when releases occur the energy is freed to be recycled into the client. There are times that a client feels a sensitivity in one place for no apparent reason and the practitioner feels it too. My favorite sensation of energy release is when I feel the bone soften much like I’m cutting through a soft stick of butter. Other times I feel like I’m holding a 4th of July sparkler. My client may say, “I felt that in my left toe,” when I have my finger on a rib.

So really what happens in a Zero Balancing session is up to you. What you want, what you need and what your body is prepared to do. Zero Balancers believe in the body’s self-healing capacities no matter whether they are trained in physical therapy, acupuncture, nursing, massage therapy, chiropractic or other healing methods. Our full body protocol is a whole Being support system that can be used in many contexts for people of all ages.