I used to play two games with myself when I was a little girl. One I called “calm water”. I would sit in the bathtub at night and stir the water up into a frenzy with my hands and then lay may hands on top of the water and murmur “calm water calm” over and over until the water calmed down. I felt like it was my energy that was calming the water and I would do it over and over until my bath water was cold and I had to get out. The second game was more of a “coping” mechanism for the heat of the summer…or was it? I would lay in my bed at night (mostly in the summer) in front of the open window and slowly brush my fingers up and down my sides until I got chill bumps. I would do this over and over as well and usually put myself to sleep.
Two silly kids games that were just fun memories, until I went to the RockBlades course last week taught by RockTape. I am going to be honest, I didn’t think this course would be much more than just learning to do massage with tools. I thought I would be fun and educational but I had no idea how much it would sync up with all of the other modalities of bodywork we have been learning. Nor, was I aware that it, like Be Activated, would also address stored trauma and the release of trauma from body tissues.
When using the RockBlade tools there are four basic categories of body work that they focus on. The first, is to address pain of any type. This technique uses a very light touch called feathering where you just gently touch the skin at certain rate and speed. The light touch is pleasing to the body and brain and it makes the brain start to realign with the area of the body experiencing pain. So back to my story about the two little games. Doesn’t this light touch massage technique remind you of one of those games? Here is another piece of the puzzle that I didn’t give you. In 3rd grade my parents got divorced. I don’t remember much about that year but I am quite sure there was some pain and sadness involved. I wonder now if those two “games” helped me stay in touch with my body and not disassociate with the pain of the divorce. Is that a stretch? Could be, but I don’t think so.
The next movement is for what they call Up Regulation. In my brain Up Regulation is synonymous with the principles of Be Activated or RPR (Reflexive Performance Reset). With these strokes, which are also on the light side but are a bit more vigorous, you are working to “wake up” parts of your body that have become desensitized. We did some testing to see if you used the Be Activated sites on the body but used this technique, could you get similar results and at least on Marc and myself you could. This is short duration work of an area and then a re-test to see if any improvements have been made. The improvements are not permanent but once you get the area to respond you can add stretching and movement to solidify the corrected movement patter.
The third movement they call Down Regulation, but in my brain this is just basic massage techniques. Increased pressure over the muscle area for full, broad strokes to release tight muscles or other bound tissue. This movement works to increase mobility in an area to restore correct movement patterns. The fourth movement is for decreasing fluid retention. It is similar to Down Regulation but you start out and push in towards the heart, where as with regular Down Regulation you don’t have to worry in what direction you go.
As we were sitting in class the first day, Dr. Danny the instructor did a quick reference to Gray Cook and his FMS course that was taught through the RKC program. Marc and I were lucky enough to attend one of these weekend certifications many years ago and I didn’t know then, but that course was the first stone in this journey of learning how to manipulate the body out of improper movement patterns and back into the correct patterns. FMS focuses on assessment and corrective movements and it is intended for personal trainers or other athletic trainers who are in the trenches working with the movements that will make their clients and athletes stronger and less prone to injury. The rest of our study has been mostly on the bodywork end of things, getting that person ready to even attempt a screening and exercise. But they are all tied so closely together that it rocked my world.
Around the same time, I listened to a podcast from the Tim Ferris show with Dr. Gabor Mate a doctor who works with addicts and has a COMPLETELY different mindset on how to treat addiction. He referenced a book called The Drama of the Talented Child by Alice Miller which discusses how to release childhood trauma to become your best, most authentic self. I got her book and had just finished listening to it and digesting all of the information she gave the weekend before the RockBlades course. In those two days of class I took a time machine back to when I was 9 years old, another one back to 2008 and the FMS course, another back to my two Be Activated courses, plus the individual sessions that we have gotten with Be Activated practitioners. It all came together, one big ball of learning and understanding and I am so excited to find more paths to go down to help myself, my husband and all of my friends that I love so dearly.