1. How will you work with my child?
We will play with physioballs, tactile balls, stretchy bands, and other active toys. The sessions can include music, rhythm play, creative movement, exercises and games. The focus is on each child’s individual needs, so the sessions are specifically designed for and in partnership with that child.
Much of Body Learning takes place on the floor and is interactive and fun. The child will learn about herself, her body, her movement abilities and her senses. Together with the therapist, the child will learn new ways to move, and with her new body awareness she will expand her movement range in her daily life.
2. What does ‘sensory integration’ mean?
We all have the same set of senses: Visual, Auditory, Taste, Smell, Touch, Movement (Kinesthetic), Balance (Equilibrium or Vestibular), and ‘self-sensing’ (Proprioception.) But each human being processes all this sensory information in unique ways. Some people, whether children or adults, are highly sensitive in one or more of the senses, and some people are under sensitive in one or more of the senses. Some people have trouble filtering sensory input, while others have trouble modulating their responses to sensory input.
Some of the behavioral clues indicating sensory issues include: contrary or resistant behavior, complaints about sensory input, inability to function in noisy or busy environments, excessive activity or excessive sluggishness, or extreme reactions. See Sensory Integration page for more information.
3. Will there be exercises or protocols I can do with my child?
Body Learning can provide valuable insight into what may be happening for your child. The therapist will discuss strategies and approaches with you and together you will come up with realistic things you can try. To address sensory integration needs, the therapist and the parents often need to go through a trial and error process to come up with somatic approaches that are successful. These practices need to continue to be modified as the child grows. The parent can create a physical home environment that supports movement and sensory exploration and can create daily or weekly home practices to support somatic growth. Our best success stories are those with parents who are actively engaged with their child’s somatic learning.
4. What do you mean by ‘somatic’?
Somatic is a word that refers to the body as a whole, intelligent, and integrated thing. Another way to say it is this: the body is the medium through which we have experiences; it is not an object separate from who we are. ‘Somatic’ is a relatively new word (coined in the 1970’s) that is being used by a number of different professionals to acknowledge our bodies in a more comprehensive way. For more information see Somatic Education page.
1. What is a typical bodywork session like?
A typical session begins with a conversation to discuss issues and questions. Then you lie (clothed) on a massage table, and the practitioner uses a gentle, receptive touch with a focus on areas of pain and the body as a balanced whole. Sessions are typically calming and often rejuvenating. The practitioner will guide your awareness, and you can always ask questions and make requests. Some sessions will include movement exploration, and in some sessions you will learn exercises to be practiced at home.
2. Is bodywork like massage?
Body Learning hands-on treatments are different from massage in a couple of ways. Massage often only addresses the muscles, whereas Body Learning works with all the tissues of your body, including bones, muscles, ligaments, organs, nerves, and fluids.
The focus of massage is often relaxation, stress relief, or temporary relief of pain. Body Learning addresses all of these, but also aims toward whole-body integration, deep repatterning, and long lasting pain relief.
Massage is generally a technique applied to the body, and the client is passive. Body Learning involves a conversation between you and the practitioner. You are invited into an awakening of perception and into engaging actively with your own health. This new awareness and engagement is something that you can carry forth in your life.
3. Is Movement Therapy like Physical Therapy?
Body Learning Movement Therapy is distinct from Physical Therapy in two major ways. Physical Therapy is based in biomechanical principals and primarily addresses muscles and bones. Body Learning works with all the tissues of your body and their interrelationships to address the whole picture of movement, including biomechanics, and also including fluid dynamics, neuroendocrine balance, organ support of structure, and cellular consciousness (see # 5 below).
The second difference is that Physical Therapy works externally by assigning fixed exercises toward a predetermined goal. Body Learning sets up a dialog between you and the practitioner and between you and your body. Each person requires unique guidance in repatterning and healing. You will learn to perceive on a tissue level so that movement is informed by internal sensing. It is not just a matter of retraining the body, but of awakening a new awareness so that movement can become a full expression. Both kids and adults can develop not only skills but a deep kinesthetic intelligence.
4. Is Movement Therapy like Occupational Therapy?
Body Learning overlaps with Occupational Therapy in that we work with sensory integration [link]. The main difference is that Body Learning is play-based and expression-oriented. The therapist and the child make up games and strategies together, and the child is encouraged to be creative and expressive. We play with balls and stretchy bands and other toys and tools that are used in OT, but we are likely to invent new games and uses for these toys. The basis of Body Learning is somatic awareness; we teach adults and children to develop their ability to sense and feel and move in ways that are grounded in cellular consciousness (see # 5 below).
5. What is cellular consciousness?
I think of cellular consciousness as inner knowing based in our physiology. In other words, because we are alive and are made up of cells, our intelligence is rooted in cellular processes, and our consciousness also includes this deeper physiologically based consciousness.