- Pandiculations according to Professor Thomas Hanna
By using the sensomotoric feedback loop between the brain and the body, it is possible to learn – with the help of a therapist – to no longer tense muscles that are unconsciously perpetually tensed (muscles that are not consciously felt and that cannot be relaxed, cf. also “sensomotoric amnesia“) in a first step. These muscles can be relaxed ever more consciously and with more control, little by little. The patient learns in this way to retract the superfluous muscle tension in a controlled way. In the course of the therapy the muscle tonus of individual muscles and body parts and the entire body is reduced during therapy.
If the pandiculations according to Professor Hanna do not suffice for relaxing the muscular tensions and the restrictions in perception (“sensomotoric amnesia“), in many cases some specific tensions can still be found in the musculature:
- Active trigger point or myogelosis treatments of the musculature
With this form of treatment, the therapists work selectively with the affected, hardened, mostly aching muscles. This method can also be applied for treating indurations of the connective tissue (fascias or subcutaneous tissue). With that, most of the pain points quickly dissolve. Typically, the pain syndromes cease to exist as well. Such a selective approach can be useful also for problems with the inner organs, if the pain points (or the tensed muscles) block nerve tracks, so that the nerves supplying the organ do not work properly or are unable to transmit electric impulses, respectively.
- Kinetic mirroring according to Feldenkrais
Some muscles are so strongly tensed that the loosening of the tensions is not even possible with methods such as the trigger point treatment or pandiculation. In these cases, it is possible to discharge the central nervous system (brain) producing the tension in the musculature by means of kinetic mirroring. Once the brain understood that for keeping up the protection patterns there is now “help from outside” it helps relieving the muscular tension at least a little bit. Thereafter, other methods can be used in the treatment.
By means of the three aforementioned methods, as a rule it is possible to selectively (by working directly at the tensed body parts) achieve improvements very quickly, so that the pain is quickly alleviated or even vanishes. However, in order to prevent that the pain does not even occur in the stress and strain phases, it additionally required an improvement of the body awareness in a change of the movement organisation:
- Sensomotoric learning according to Feldenkrais and body awareness training
If it is achieved that the tension in the musculature is selectively relieved, it is of course important for the patient to experience a sustainable success, and not to fall back in his or her old pain cycle due to the next stressful situation or old habits. With sensomotoric learning according to Feldenkrais and body awareness training the patent gradually understands how he or she contributes to maintaining dysfunctional (movement) patterns and what he can do so that the pain occurs less frequently even in stressful situations or does not occur at all.
- Integrative respiratory therapy – ideal for treating mental diseases and very pronounced protective patterns
When working with pain patients, selectively relieving tensions often causes greater relief. When working with patients with mental disorders (or with strong protective patterns, such as whiplash, for instance), I rather prefer the use of the integrative respiratory therapy. In fact, with respect to all mental disorders it can be observed that unconsciously tensed muscles obstruct one’s breath: They thus prevent that the diaphragm (the main respiratory muscle) shortens the inhalation and opens the lung, or – when exhaling – is relaxed again to reach the normal tension level.
In integrative breathing therapy, jointly with the patient I try to find out by means of soft touches and small, cautious movements where these muscles blocking breathing actually are. If the patient feels again where he/she unconsciously creates tension and learns how this tension is related to his/her breathing, these protective patterns are opening up little by little. Therapy here acts as exploratory, playful process. All patients with whom I have worked so far, really enjoyed the process. Actually, it addresses our innate childish curiosity and is not “educational”.
This procedure largely also corresponds to my philosophy as a therapist: The patient does not need to subordinate to my patterns, but instead I put my whole self in his or her issues. We then jointly elaborate on solutions for the patient’s problem.