Whole Body Well Being

Exploring Wellness with Zero Balancing

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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.


What is Zero Balancing?

It’s a question I get asked all the time. And truthfully, it’s not that easy to explain. I do know that the first time I experienced it I wanted to learn how to do it and knew I could.

I was sitting in the cozy wood fire warmed kitchen of my friend, Ida Smith, while my husband received his session. She didn’t even touch me or tell me anything about what she was doing. What I felt in the room was what hooked me. Yes it felt peaceful and relaxing but a very, very, deep grounded presence was what spoke to my inner being.

During my first class, six months later, in 1994, Ida helped me to understand that the depth of what I felt was partially because Zero Balancing focuses on touching the bone. Dr. Fritz Smith, the founder of Zero Balancing, grew up with his chiropractor father touching his bones regularly and went on to become an osteopath as an adult. Dr. Smith had a thriving practice for patients with back pain in California in the early 1960’s.

I learned the rest of the reason that I felt the deep presence was that Zero Balancers connect with the natural energy flows through the body tissues as understood in Eastern medical traditions such as acupuncture, ayurveda and yoga. Most people are now familiar with healing practices that come out of these traditions. Chi gong uses slow fluid body positions to move chi in the meridians, MBSR, mindfulness based stress reduction, uses the breath to support quieting the mind both support the body’s natural movement toward homeostasis and health. The internal energy flows Dr. Smith incorporated in Zero Balancing came from his training as an acupuncturist with Dr. J.R. Worsley and studying meditative techniques that use the breath energy.

So when I give a Zero Balancing session my touch attention is focused on bone, the core of the body, in areas where the energy should flow clear and strong. The spine is a prime example of where structure and energy meet. If you look at a profile view of a healthy child you can see the natural curves moving forward and back from the base of the skull to the pelvis. You can compare the spine with the flow of a meandering stream. The water (energy) moves easily and fastest around a bend yet when debris or stones build up the flow is impeded and an area of stagnated water pools behind the debris. As I move my fingers along the ribs and sacrum I lift gently and feel for differences from side to side and for the pliability of the bone and connective tissues. If I get the sensation of density (debris) or stickiness in movement (stagnation) I can use my touch to share that information with the bone and let my client’s body reorient and make changes as appropriate. Unlike some techniques we don’t force any changes. The session continues and I feel for any other or related structural or energetic imbalances.

Since Zero Balancing touch is clear and very attentive our clients take that attention in as being listened too deeply even though they don’t often talk much during a session. That in itself can be very healing in stressful times of constant requests for our attention from the outer world. So a short answer to, “What is Zero Balancing?” is “It is a gentle system of touch that connects with the deep energy flow of the full skeletal system and the whole person.”

Experience Zero Balancing for yourself and develop your own definition! Many clients that find it relieves chronic and occasional stress, helps them sleep well, significantly reduces pain and helps untangle mis-alignments in joints that they’ve had for many years. Almost everyone leaves feeling their feet on the ground and with a smile on their face.

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Snowy cape
Cedar in a snowy cape ©2014

Equilibrium, equivalent. So many descriptions of balance lead us to believe that it is a state to achieve and then stay there. Yet that isn’t really desirable as we need a bit of imbalance to encourage us to move forward for growth and change. It is also nice to step back at times and re-group, make course adjustments or to contemplate how where we’ve been can lead us to where we want to go.

I encourage you to play with a little meander in the spring woods getting off the beaten track before coming back to the comfort of the familiar trail or to try leaning side to side and forward to back and finding that most comfortable balance on your sitz bones or your feet. What other ways can you find to stretch a little past your comfort zone? Remember to review what it feels like when you move back to your everyday routines. Here’s to the ability to find equilibrium and equanimity in ever changing experiences. And when you can’t, give me a call for a Zero Balancing session to help you move forward with ease to your next opportunity to grow.

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A Letter to the Men in the Lives of Zero Balancing Recipients

ImageLet’s face it tough guys don’t need help. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Those messages are everywhere in our culture. Are you being a responsible do it yourselfer with a work ethic?

These messages can be very damaging if you are talking about your primary mode of transportation in this life. Mogul kings revered their elephants, Arabs and cowboys their horses, teenagers their first car. These vehicles got the best that could be offered. What about your body? Do you go back and forth using it like it’s always going to stand up to excessive pressure and then cratering when it finally seizes up or breaks down?

Most of us go out and immediately polish up the first scratch on our new car.  And make sure the first oil changes get done on time. Just as a car isn’t built to withstand continued ignoring of lubrication, worn tires and shock absorbers the human body needs a certain amount of high quality maintenance. Routine preventative care is better than living with limiting disabilities or having major surgery.

Zero Balancing practitioners use tools chosen by Fritz Smith, M.D. who is fully trained in osteopathy and acupuncture.  He found that combining the best of Western anatomy with Eastern views of healing led to the greatest recovery of his patients in his busy general practice clinic. Zero Balancing is effective at both preventative maintenance and can assist in trauma recovery particularly when traditional care doesn’t get you back to full normal.

One of the hallmarks of Zero Balancing is that it uses fundamental principles of nature to effect deep long term healing at the pace each body is comfortable with. When a person feels deeply relaxed at the bone level all the biomechanical processes can move toward better health. Forty minutes of aware touch, lifting and tractioning bones and joints, is a booster (higher octane) to your hard working body. As the current tensions are released you feel more energetic and begin to find the limiting patterns that you’ve been holding and are holding you back from living the life you deserve. A full life with those you love.

You don’t have to live with your aches and pains limiting you. Zero Balancers world-wide are standing ready to support you in your journey to well being.

www.zerobalancing.com  Find a practitioner.

© Cindy Allred-Jackson January 2014




You know that little spark you get when someone touches you just right? Dr. Smith built that into a Zero Balancing session. Through awareness of the rhythm and tension in the skeletal system many of the places that Zero Balancing practitioners fingers lift into have a little zing. At other times you may feel deeply quiet and spacious. These are just two ends of the scale of your body’s harmony. I like to call them the “Feel Fabulous” sensations. When you feel energized and relaxed at the same time your body is in wellness mode. Stop by Tabor Presbyterian in Crozet this Saturday 10-2 for a chance to feel your Whole Body Well Being.  See my previous post for more details.