Report on WELL COMMUNITY GATHERING & HEALTH FORUM, OCT. 17, 2010
WELL’s October 17th Health forum demonstrated some powerful techniques that can “re-awaken” the mind/body connections and promote healing.
The forum was led by Pat Norris, a Doctor of Psychology, who worked in the Menninger Clinic for 20 years and in private practice for 12, where she practiced some of the techniques presented. Pat began by showing a brief film demonstrating the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an approach that uses major acupuncture points located on the meridians, each of which is connected to a body organ or system, to bring the body’s energy system back into balance by tapping firmly and briskly on the points. This technique can be applied to any physical or emotional problem. Many practitioners contend that every physical problem has an emotional basis; Gary Craig, the founder of EFT states “The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.” The film demonstrates treatment after emotional traumas and dealing with unhealthy behavior. The practitioner in the film applied the technique, which involves tapping on those key acupuncture points, to a person with an acute phobia (fear of rats and mice), a woman who was subjected to severe parental sexual abuse, a patient who was addicted to cigarette smoking, and a person with pain and tightness in her jaw muscles from clenching, worst when she was having a rough day. All were successfully treated. Pat emphasized the importance of the patients “deeply and profoundly accepting themselves” throughout the therapeutic process. She also noted that the technique often doesn’t reduce a patient’s symptoms in one session but is something that an individual can learn and apply to themselves once they are familiar with the entire procedure.
Lisa Mace, a certified practitioner of the Anat Baniel Method, had the audience enthralled with a film about Elizabeth, a child born with one third of her cerebellum missing. While conventional doctors dismissed the child as developmentally hopeless, her parents pursued alternative avenues. This led them to the Feldenkrais Method as practiced by Anat Baniel where touch and movement are used to forge new connections between the body and mind. This approach accesses the brain by way of the body. The results on Elizabeth were extraordinary. Through years of transformational movement lessons she is able to lead a normal life and is studying at a university when the film concludes. This method, where the body teaches the brain, can rehabilitate and improve physical and emotional performance. Lisa teaches the Anat Baniel method to people of all ages and all physical conditions. With her background of exercise physiology and physical therapy, as well as her training by Anat, she finds the most appropriate movements for each person she treats, and she teaches exercises that people can do for themselves.
Pat pointed out that these two demonstrations both show the tight connection between mind and body. “Every change in the physiological state is accompanied by an appropriate change in the mental - emotional state, conscious or unconscious, and conversely every change in the mental-emotional state, conscious or unconscious, is accompanied by an appropriate change in the physiological state.” This plus volition is the basis of self regulation. Pat discussed several other methods of self-regulation. She taught attendees the sensory feedback technique of Temperature Training which is easy to practice any time, any place and can help manage stress, reduce anxiety and cravings, eliminate migraines, and restore circulation to any parts of the body. It can also promote healthy heart, digestion, blood pressure, and immune system.