by Jill Gerber.
I decided a long time ago that I was a continuing education junkie when it comes to bodywork, although during the decade or so I had small children it was pretty hard to get my fix. Now that my kids are older and need me less, I have been making up for lost time. It’s clear, however, that traveling to do workshops is still too much strain for my family, so I started inviting teachers I wanted to study with to come to Santa Fe. It’s been a fabulous experience, with the unexpected benefit of creating a community here in town of people who have taken these workshops. Study groups arising out of these classes have become a joyful part of my life, as the learning and camaraderie continues in between the workshops.
Over the last few years I have become passionate about being able to work across a spectrum of touch with my clients. This means not automatically assuming that deep work is what will be most effective, or that light work is needed. It means always asking, “where is the strain coming from? what level of tissues will I be most effective working upon? how can I be of most service?” I want to perceive a variety of different requests from my clients’ bodies, most of which are non-verbal. If a nerve is stuck and unable to move with its associated muscles, it may put that muscle into a spasm. I want to feel that, and help the nerve to get unstuck so the muscle can move freely again. Helping a nerve requires a gentle touch, more on the surface. Same with stuck cranial bones. But if a tight gluteus maximus wants an elbow in it, I want to notice that, and lean into it. Same with all the joints, and the head, and the organs. I love the sessions where my hands glide seamlessly, and, dare I hope, gracefully, between the subtle touch needed to help a kidney move more feely and the deeper touch required to help a trapezius muscle release, then feeling the deep pulse of life in the cranial rhythm, and back again to an elbow somewhere. This deep passionate inquiry has led me to take classes in all the above…neural (nerve) manipulation, cranial sacral therapy, visceral (organ) manipulation, as well as classes with an osteopath. As I learn to “hear” the needs of nerves, and joints, and organs, and craniums, in addition to the muscles I’ve been hearing and touching for 27 years, my work has gotten more effective and my love of it keeps increasing. I am so happy to be alive in this time of great innovation and exploration in the field of bodywork and to have all these great classes available in New Mexico.