By Frank Merillat LMT
As I sit here writing this I am reminded of how lucky we are at FSM to have access to such wonderful continuing education opportunities at our school. Benny Vaughn, a leading figure in sports and athletic massage was just here at the end of October. Giorgia Milne will be here in November, another leading figure in the Biodynamic Craniosacral world. Deane Juhan, a noted figure in the Trager community and author of Job’s Body, a guide to anatomy, physiology and how touch affects the body will be here in January. I have had the opportunity and pleasure to study with these three in my educational process along with other noted names in our profession and find it is always worth my time, energy and finances to do so. There is something about working with folks who have been doing this work for so long and who themselves studied with the pioneers in bodywork.
I became interested in Deane Juhan when I started my training in the Trager Approach. Deane is a direct student of Dr. Milton Trager and has been part of that instructional team for years spending much of it in direct contact with Dr. Trager until his death. He is currently presenting his approach to the communication between the nervous system and the contractile system of muscle and fascia. This approach was originally called Reflex/Response work by Dr. Trager and was responsible for many of the dramatic results he was able to obtain when working with many types of disability including MS, Parkinsons, stroke and polio recovery.
Deane met Dr. Trager while he was working at Esalen on the Big Sur coast of California. He became interested in Dr. Trager’s approach to movement as a way of educating the body and began studying with him. He then became an instructor of the Trager Approach and continues to practice this form of work.
He is calling what he is teaching Resistance/Release work. The technique focuses on the engagement of the nervous system and muscle contraction to educate the system and get more efficient movement. We develop patterns in the way we engage our muscular system. As a result of injury, emotion or other factors we may lose range of motion or develop pain in our movement patterns. Through the use of appropriate resistance engaged through a full range of motion a client can experience how to move more fully without discomfort and thus reeducate the connection between nervous system and contractile system. Throughout the treatment, the resistance is balanced by gentle and relaxing movement thus the name Resistance/Release. Remember that a muscle must be able to shorten and lengthen to its full range of motion and also be able to release. We often end up in a state of some contraction and do not get the feeling of release. This can result in less than optimal movement and sensation.
I have been working with this approach since 2011 and have found it to be very useful in my practice. One of the things I particularly enjoy is how it fits well with almost all of the modalities I practice. I also really appreciate that it is done without discomfort to the client as well as it can be done clothing on or off, thus it really does fit with almost all the approaches that I offer to my clients.
If this sounds like something you would like to learn more about, I would encourage you to check out Deane’s website, jobsbody.com. He has posted a long article about this work and also has several videos of him working with clients. This would give you an idea of what actually takes place during a session and what you might expect from the workshop. I do hope you will check out Deane’s work and hopefully take advantage of this fine instructor’s visit to our school. I know I have found my time with this quality of instructor to be essential in my development as a bodywork practitioner.
This workshop is listed on the FSM website where cost and CEUs are listed. If you wish to register or want more information, you would contact me directly either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 352 371-0743.