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Healing Through the Body: Rosen Method Bodywork with Trauma Therapy

Touch is perhaps the most overlooked innate resource we humans have for health and healing. Though we analyze, reflect and make meaning, fundamentally we are mammals who are wired to work, play, protect, relax, create, and heal through touch with each other.

This level of social engagement is “our most sophisticated pathway to alleviating distress and moving toward healing. The neocortex is engaged and biochemicals release that make bonding and relaxation possible,” says Ivy Green, psychotherapist and Rosen Method Bodywork Senior Instructor.

Attuned touch, at the right time in a person’s recovery from trauma, can help significantly reorganize a nervous system that has been stuck in dysregulation, strengthen emotional stability and build resilience.

A Bodyworker’s Perspective

Clients often seek bodyworkers to address chronic pain and stress-related illness, get recovery support after surgery or oncology treatments, or to manage stress. Though most people are not aware of it, their suffering can be the result of unresolved trauma. Practicing bodywork for 25 years, I have explored ways to heal these syndromes through the body, not only for my clients but for me personally. Rosen Method, a form of somatic bodywork, taught me that healing begins with how we relate to ourselves inside, and that humans are wired to experience touch as a primary asset for health and recovery.

Two hallmarks of Rosen Method, inner awareness and non-directive listening touch, helped me address a chronic pain pattern I’d long-suffered due to trauma. Gentle bodywork sessions helped me explore the implicit meaning of my body sensations and to rebuild a relationship with myself through befriending my body. The chronic muscle tension and migraine headaches I’d had were a protective response needed until other ways of advocating for myself were in place. Eventually I could relax the core tension that had kept me in pain for decades.

Rosen Method Bodywork allowed me to access and value my own emotional vulnerability, and to connect deeply with others. Key to my ability to have compassion for others has been my willingness to develop intimacy with all things within me. Though I do not always like what is within me, or the situations of my life that I must face, I meet them with a new foundation of awareness, gentleness and support.

I now live without chronic pain, my relationships are more authentic with healthier boundaries, and I am more comfortable with my emotions and physical being. My life reflects more alignment with my heart’s purpose.

Rosen Method is different than massage and other directive therapies. There is no manipulation of the body or mind to distract from meeting what is true in that moment. When muscles do not relax even as a person rests, a Rosen Practitioner becomes curious about why those muscles still need to contract. The body-subconscious has good reasons for why it holds tension. Rosen Method Bodywork contacts the holding and waits to see what is there underneath consciousness in relation to the tension.

When a body feels supported this way, new awareness can arise, and release can happen allowing shifts toward the healing state where the body rebalances and restores itself. The client’s perspective changes, and new ways of dealing with entrenched patterns are possible. Simply stated, when the body feels safe, relaxed and acknowledged, it can heal. Rosen Method listens closely to the language of the body… and the being within… to meet and support what is ready to heal.