10 Amazing Lessons My Clients Have Taught Me

1. Listen to your client. They are telling you their truth and in it is how to help them. 2. If a client cannot tell me what makes them better or what makes them worse, we will not make a very good team. 3. Pain is a the body’s indicator. It doesn’t necessarily tell us where or what. More like a check engine light. Get to the shop now. 4. Structure and symmetry are important, if not more than I thought in the beginning. 5. If you find something that works- stick with it. 6. If something doesn’t work, throw it out for now. But remember to add it back into your life as soon as you can. 7. Function for each person means something completely different. That is ultimately the goal- to move freely doing the things you love. 8. It takes a village. We need lots of good practitioners in our life to keep us moving at our best. 9. I still love an eclectic approach. Sometimes a solution really needs a different tool. 10. Find what you need to heal and put it in place. As we reflect on this past year, I extend my gratitude to all of my clients and mentors for their teachings.  Remember to celebrate your own body daily! And listen to it’s messages.

So You Have an Injury, Who Do You Call?

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Choose your injury care team wisely

If you have an injury or a pain that isn’t going away, one of your most important decisions is choosing your ‘healthcare’ team. It is actually critical in your healing to pick people you trust and feel comfortable with. So before you choose, think carefully about what that means to you. Is it their treatment approach? Your out of pocket expense? Do you have something in common? Is it a recommendation from a trusted source?

Making that call

People don’t call me because they feel good, so I always do a phone interview. First, I want to make sure that bodywork is appropriate at this stage of your healing. Sometimes I feel you could be better served by a good medical work up first. But ultimately, I want you to be heard. It’s good to have a safe outlet to tell your story and share the natural feelings of frustration, fear, and anxiety that accompany an injury.

Remember that an injury is a very challenging experience!

Sports psychologists tell us that hurting from an injury may not be purely physical; it can leave you mentally depleted. One of my clients’ biggest concerns is when will they be well again. Unfortunately, I know no one out there who has a crystal ball to foretell your particular journey of recovery.

Specializing in harmony for your body

I feel strongly that I am part of my clients’ healthcare team. My main goal is to improve their quality of life. I want to help take the swelling out of their tissues, the pain out of their scars, and put balance back into their bodies, so they can do whatever means the most to them without pain. Finish an ironman, do a handstand, whatever they wish, it’s their life!

What can you expect from a session with me?

Each person and their injuries are unique, so in my practice everyone gets a session designed to meet their specific needs. What could that look like for you? Say you have knee pain, I will first look to pinpoint where the problem is coming from. I often find that knee pain can come from the hip or the foot, so it wouldn’t make sense to focus solely on your knee unless the symptoms were from there. Next I pull from over my 20+ years experience in manual therapy, and offer my best solution.

You are a part of the team, too!

I think being a well informed team member is one of the biggest assets of your own healing. I have seen it help fuel a positive approach to healing vs. an unknowing self-sabotage. Your recovery is really all about your choices. Is that knee really ready to run a marathon when it still hurts to run a 5K? So gather a good team and stay focused on your recovery plan. If you veer off, your team will get you back on track.

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” – Old Chinese proverb

A Double-Edged Sword

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Double Edged Sword by musogato

 

One of the more delicate parts of my job is discussing radiological findings with my clients. These tests have become the gold standard to rule out serious medical conditions. They are also used to figure out why someone has pain. This can bring great comfort to people as they now have a clear cause, and yet great distress to others because their tests are normal and they still hurt.

So in truth, how much weight should a scan hold in the overall picture of your pain? Here is the case that really challenged my own outlook. On his first visit, this client came into my office with his written MRI report in hand. Luckily the medical terminology wasn’t written in layman’s terms, so he wasn’t able to judge the severity. He was comfortable with his doctors’ assurance that it was arthritis, and at 60 years of age he personally felt like that was to be expected. At that time, I had fifteen years experience under my belt and was pretty sure I had never read a scan so daunting. It could have taken the prize for ‘the worst stiff neck imaginable’, if awards for this were actually given out. I remember thinking can a neck like this ever move normally again.

What began with so many doubts, turned into an incredible journey. It broke down barriers in my belief system that needed to be challenged. I had a big aha moment when I came to realize that an image is one thing and the body’s own ability to heal is quite another. Had I relied solely on what the scan said, with major arthritic changes at each and every level of his neck, I would have feared moving forward. The beauty was that his body was ready for relief from a year of headaches and an inability to look over either shoulder. It became clear very quickly, that his neck just needed a little guidance.

If I was a betting woman, I would have lost, as I didn’t hold faith in his full recovery. Thankfully he proved me wrong and this one man’s success has completely changed my outlook. I no longer judge a client by their imaging; instead it is just one small piece of the amazing puzzle called the human body. With this said, I recommend that you don’t judge yourself by your scans, and see if a brighter outlook doesn’t appear.

Turning Points

road-to-success11-150x150As a bodyworker, I come into people’s lives when something is amiss in their body. Over the years, I have been blessed with assisting a lot of incredible people on their path toward wellness.

Recently, I was reminded how important this can be when I received an enormous hug and the gracious words, “You were my turning point. After our session, I knew I had the tools to get well.” These rewarding moments are why I am so committed and passionate about my work.

But it also stirred up even more questions for me. How many people recognize when they are at a turning point? How many people stop there and are fooled into believing this is the end point, and ultimately get re-injured? How many people never find their turning point, and continue to stay in a vicious cycle that ultimately doesn’t bring wellness.

Ah, always more too ponder! It’s a great reminder to pay closer attention to your body, so that you can feel this change. I sure appreciate my clients’ for the lessons they share with me every day.

The Power of Looking Deeper

One of my favorite teachings reminds us that we already have everything we need to heal within us. This is not to say that modern or alternative medicine isn’t necessary. However, just hold this thought, tangibly in your hands, for a moment and think about how powerful it really is.

As a body worker, I would be out of a job if we were always capable of figuring out exactly what it is we need. My observation, over the years, is that many people need a clearly definable and fixable injury or illness for them to move forward in their recovery.

But what about the thing that just hurts sometimes, or despite a diagnosis and sound treatment plan, it remains present and quite annoying in your life. What if that tension you hold is deeper than your annoying boss, your daily grind or a past physical trauma?

We start our patterning really early. Some believe from the day that we take our first breath. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember how easy it was or wasn’t to breathe, or to crawl, or to walk. But all of those skills initiate our internal wiring. It is completely subconscious, but still there never the less. Based on our life experiences, we learn to keep certain muscles chronically tight, and our joints compensate around this imbalance. Luckily, given the right attention to detail, this can be restored.

“Life is the sum of all your choices.” ~Albert Camus

It’s your Choice, Mountain or Molehill?

Lately I feel a need to remind folks that hate is a very strong word, especially when used in reference toward your own body. Just like people, I think your body is sensitive to this dialogue and has a difficult time not taking it personally. This self judgment of ill will can only safeguard a very personal sense of deficiency. So rather than becoming quick to anger at your body’s communication style, try instead to have a little compassion for yourself, even in times when it feels like ‘not this again.’

Just remember when your body hurts, it is only trying to tell you something is amiss. Your body gives you information as an early warning signal, so that you won’t end up in a mountain of discomfort when a mole hill will do. It wants desperately to put the ball in your court so that you can be proactive and figure out an appropriate solution.

So seriously, the next time you feel a minor ache or pain, don’t just ignore it. Ask yourself what you could do to make a difference today. Does your body want ice, heat, rest, movement…? If you stop for a moment and really listen, your body will tell you what it needs. And if the interpretation isn’t loud and clear, pick up the phone and call someone for advice. Now, instead of hating the body part that hurts, you can start the healing process, and get back to doing all the things you love.

‘Don’t wait for your mood to change; take action despite it.’ ~ Terri Trespicio

Do you have the Power to Heal?

Have you ever wondered why a huge injury can heal and a minor injury can hang on?

So after 20 years in the bodywork business, I am still inspired and amazed each and every day by the puzzle of the human body. I began my bodywork practice as a physical therapist, and got initiated very quickly helping folks with all kinds of injuries, surgeries, and pain that just seemed to creep up on them from no where and for no apparent reason. Some of these injuries were so extreme that I wondered how I would make a difference in their healing. But time after time the most complex cases showed me the power of the human spirit and healing. And some of the most benign injuries showed me how things can fester, take root and be made of the most resilient armor against healing that I have ever come up against.

Do you believe you can get well?

So what that means to me is that the key element isn’t what I can do for my client but instead what my client does for themselves. Though I know my work does make a difference in the healing process, I can’t make people believe they can heal. This comes from somewhere within and though it is always accessible, for some it is found as easily as a child finds a coin under their pillow after an anticipated visit from the tooth fairy and yet for others it seems buried under many heavy layers of concrete slab. If your injury isn’t healing, you may have to look at how you feel about your injury. The most important thing to healing is to be absolutely ‘without a doubt’ certain that you will heal.

‘They are able, because they think they are able.’ ~ Virgil