I’ve been involved in my own independent research with my own body now since the early 90’s. It involves the development of a methodology that perpetually minimises the accumulation of physical stress or tensions in the body. It allows your body to heal and redress functional and structural dysfunctions all through natural processes.
This internal, perpetual re-organisational process has resulted in structural changes not only to my body but with others whom I’ve worked with, both in a manual therapeutic and shamanic context. It enables you to restore your vitality, reduces overall pain and increases freedom of movement.
Over the last few decades I’ve drawn on the work of fascia-informed manual techniques, contemplative practice, yoga, psychology and transpersonal approaches to human wellness to inform this novel piece of research. It was a deep call to understand my body more clearly as one that has been riddled with pain and dysfunction since a young child.
I found that in a particular relaxed state, the body-mind system is sensitive to more subtle movements and processes in the body that normally escapes ones level of perception. By training to utilise the breath with other focal areas of the body, one can track and realise an innate capacity of the body to reorganise itself to reduce tension globally in the system. In other words the body undergoes an ongoing relaxation response.
This perpetual relaxation response is what I’m calling a physical ‘flow state’. This flow state permits the interaction during manual therapy to be acutely precise where, when and how to best affect favourable change in the tissues of a client. This is my developed and unique form of myofascial release. This flow state allows a synchronisation with the universal energy field where information from subtle energy phenomena can be obtained whilst working in a shamanic context. This work is developmental and incorporates the personal, relational and collective dimensions of healing.
The relaxation response or parasympathetic response is well documented in the scientific literature. It can be induced in the body with various approaches such as breathing (Pal et al, 2004) manual therapy (Shleip, 2003) yoga and transcendental meditation (Jevning et al, 1996)
What is different about the Integra Method System is that this relaxation response is experienced as a perpetual felt-sense of the body freeing itself of tension globally in real-time. This implies that any progressive accumulation of allostatic load (wear and tear) on the body is constantly being readjusted such that the system/body does not maintain these stresses in the tissues. This minimises the development of chronic dysfunction from poor postures but also relieves overloaded, overused or over-strained tissues.
The body here is actively re-organising the connective tissue to create favourable environments for optimal health; that is freedom of movement, fluidity, hydration and less tension in the system, along with an orchestration of the other body systems to support these processes.
I had the privilege to be able to share my work on an international platform at the Fascia Research Congress 2015 in Washington and at the British Fascia Symposium, where I was acknowledged for the work and collected 2nd prize for my research. I have the honour of currently working with a practice group who are exploring their bodies using this System and we are all quite excited at what more we all are discovering with this approach.
There are many other topics that this research touches on that I feel have gone by the wayside in a profession that deals with the body as primary subject; such as embodiment, how lived experience (sociocultural factors) influences health and how spirituality in it’s widest sense impacts our perception of well-being. More to say, but let’s pause for now!
Thanks for reading this far.
Jevning, R., Anand, R., Biedebach, M., Fernando, G. (1996) Effects on regional cerebral blood flow of transcendental meditation. Physiological Behaviour, 59 (3), 399-402.
Pal, G., S, Velkumary & Madanmohan (2004) Effect of short-term practice of breathing exercises on autonomic functions in normal human volunteers. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 120 (20), 115-121.
Schleip, R. (2003) Fascial plasticity- A new neurobiological explanation. Part 2. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 7 (2), 104-116.
A different way of approaching shamanism
I refer to my own contemporary approach to shamanism as Shamanic Synthesis. For clarity, I am not working from a lineage of shamanic teachings in the traditional understanding of how this craft is passed on. When I use the word ‘Shamanic’ I’m utilising many tacit ways of knowing through my body, which includes ‘shape shifting’ (embodying the essence of the energetic material encountered) as means to gather information from the subtlest layers of the energetic spectrum; transpersonal energies, entities, animal spirits and forms to support whole-being integration and health.
Using the word ‘Synthesis’ refers to bringing a combination of elements together to form a connected whole. I draw from a variety of spiritual and shamanic traditions in my work that are used in different parts of the world, from the African continent, India and South America. My long-standing meditation and spiritual practice as well as my masters in Transpersonal Psychology and Consciousness Studies have helped tremendously in the theoretical understanding and application of this work. (If you care to read more about how I came to do this work, you can do so here).
I’m fortunate have mentoring support by two wonderful souls and international healers Michel Bourassa and Carole Charron (You can read more about them on their website (which is in French) at Satmarga.)
The physical body is our first ground of experience; the sensations, emotions, feelings and thoughts which constitute the structural basis of our consciousness. The power of this work lies in how to stay as close to what is being experienced in the body; minimising interpretation, projection or judgement to just report as best one can to ‘what is’ as direct experience. At the same time, with great care, all the other senses are employed to also provide information as to what is being gleaned in the subtle energy field. Additional images, feeling tones, thoughts, memories are shared as parallel information that the individual themselves would have experienced.
The body is underutilised as a key repository for a rich, layered and broad spectrum of information which is untapped, as well as being a technological source that can be skilfully trained to elicit subtle information from the world around us; seen and unseen. This is not original thinking, but feels out of place perhaps due to the contemporary lifestyles we lead, alongside the historical and cultural healing practices that have been lost over time. Aboriginal peoples living close to nature have for millennia been in communication with the natural and spirit world, able to discern what choices are right for individuals and the wider collective that promote harmonic living.
Who might this work be suitable for?
There are many reasons why people feel ‘dis-ease’ within themselves and their reasons for seeking a consultation can be many. The following examples are some of the common themes that this work addresses and may resonate with you.
Somatic symptoms experienced in the body (pain, discomfort or unexplained symptoms)
-Obtaining more energy and freedom
-Finding clarity around your inner challenges
-Identifying what is preventing you from recognising your challenges
-Finding your voice
-Relational issues that challenge aspects of yourself
-Navigating your inner direction around purpose
What does it involve?
A sacred space is held where we talk about what your need is and what the issues of concern are. Care is taken to establish what the focus of your intent is, what you wish to understand and what your expectations are. The clarity that is given is important, as it establishes precisely the energetic constellation of the issue as it is envisioned, therefore enabling a more potent intent in the work. Before the work commences you’ll be invited to participate in consciously naming and establishing your own inner resourcing through a short meditation. This adds another safe, supportive structure that you’ll be able to call on at any point during the process.
After a discussion you will be lying on a couch with eyes closed attending to your own inner experience and felt sense throughout. I’ll work around the couch taking in and working with all dimensions of your energy field depending which part of the field is disrupted or blocked.
Time is set aside at the end to process to share what each has both experienced and what information has been ascertained from the work in order to bring these shared insights to consciousness. It is important to process here as with as much clarity as possible, because it is here at the intersection of experience and consciousness that the opportunity for deeper transformation emerges.
Shifts are felt immediately in the body, but they and other changes will continue to have their effect in the body-mind over time and in most cases there will be offered some additional actions to carry out as a means to support the changes experienced. With this approach to working, it is advisable give some time for reflection with a diary, noting your dreams, paying attention to your general outlook and mood which helps further support the integration of the process. This guideline will depend on the nature of the presenting concern and with respect to your own discretion.
Each session is between 90-120 minutes working on a one-to-one basis. I welcome your inquiry if you choose to get in touch to book or discuss how we can work together.
**Be aware that this work is in no way a substitute for seeking professional medical advice from a healthcare professional under any circumstances. If in doubt you should get in contact and discuss what the most appropriate choices for your particular circumstances are.
I think a couple of specific quotes here – one at the beginning, maybe one at the end J