Saturday, November 17, 2012

Active Release Technique. OMG.

Bodywork update:

I stopped doing the Rosen Method treatment a couple of months ago. I had some very interesting experiences with it and it certainly did seem to help on an unexpectedly cognitive level. I'd recommend it to anyone who has tried many other things without success, and I strongly recommend it only in conjunction with talk therapy, to help you work through the things it brings up.

However: as I am someone whose body is pretty jacked up and needs something a lot less subtle, I'm moving on to greener pastures.

Well, to meaner pastures, at any rate. Enough with the quiet, peaceful laying of hands. I'd like to be man-handled now, please.

Enter Dr. John Beall, D.C., C.S.C.S., A.R.T., at Rise Bodyworks here in Alameda.


First of all, Dr. Beall is hilarious. We chatted about my history throughout my first appointment (last Thursday), so naturally the accident and my current PTSR treatment came up, and he was very interested in that since he works with a lot of people who have experienced trauma.

I told him about the EMDR, and he found the whole eye-movement, trauma-is-trapped-in-the-body thing very interesting and resonant. Later, when I told him about this blog and that I hoped to turn it into a book, he asked, "Are you going to call it Wiggle Your Eyes to Freedom? Because I think that's a winner. People would see that title and go, What the hell, and then they'd pick it up and end up buying it, because they would just have to know."

"I'll put that on the prospective title list," I said. "I like the way you think."

"I won't even charge you for that," he told me. "You can have that one for free."

So that happened. The fact that it happened while this dude was giving me an extremely satisfying deep-tissue massage around my left shoulder blade that was making my migraine recede might have contributed to the hilarity, but then again, I was hardly in the mood to be entertained, so I think he gets extra props.

What he was doing is called Active Release Technique. It's sort of a combination of chiropractic and massage and physical therapy, with a little trigger point work thrown in for good measure. My appointment was relatively short, but it included some hardcore, semi-terrifying, bone-crunching adjustments in my back and neck and, as I said, not only didn't trigger a migraine but actually helped the one I was already having to calm down. 

It was not painful, like rolfing, although it was a good bit more forceful than regular massage, which always causes me more problems than it solves. It was more immediate in its effects than physical therapy. It was exactly the kind of muscle work I was hoping for, with chiropractic adjustments to boot...

In other words, friends, I believe I may have found The Promised Land.

The other awesome thing about this place is that 20 visits per year are covered by my medical insurance (and also payable through an FSA for any additional visits), so I am going to use up all 20 of 2012's visits in the next month and a half. I am going to get myself seriously crunched. OMG.

For my non-believer self, this is about as close to a religious experience as I get. 

If you're interested, you can look for an A.R.T. provider in your area (anywhere in the world! Non-US citizens, just zoom out on the map!) here

I am also adding it to my resources page (see tab at the top of this blog), along with all the other things I experiment with along the way, so you'll be able to find it easily if you ever need it.

I will keep you updated on my progress with this treatment. I am still feeling the effects of my first appointment, two days later. Next appointment on Monday, and 2-3 per week for the rest of the year. This has all the harbingers of being the bodywork of my dreams. 

It is totally the droid I'm looking for.

This week, Dr. Oz introduced me to a new technique, as well, and I'm having enough trouble trying to figure out how to explain it that I'm going to stop here and think about it over the next week, and I'll tell you about it in my next post.

I'll leave you with this little teaser, though: Dr. Oz and I both think that this new technique might be the key to all my future progress with this therapy. It's a big thing.

Right on cue, the new work has presented itself. I shall never doubt again. 

Or not for long, anyway. Apparently. ;>

Hat tip to my dear friend Megan for turning me on to Rise Body Works and Dr. John Beall. Awe. Some. 


  1. "Wiggle Your Eyes to Freedom" is definitely a winner.  I'd buy that in a heartbeat.  And make you autograph it.  

    Bodywork that helps diffuse a migraine?  Amazing.  

    Your blog is so educational.  Thanks for including the location finder for similar practitioners.  I'm glad you've found a promising therapy.  As a puritanical New Englander, I've never so much as bought myself a massage, but your blog makes me question that.  

  2. KateTheGirlWhoLived24 November, 2012 12:14

    OMG, Mirith! Not even a massage?! Well, I can understand that to some extent-- I've only lived in the Bay Area for 17 years and it took me a few more years after that to get sucked into the bodywork cult, but I am here now, and the koolaid is delicious!

    I only qualify for JV status here, though. I don't have a regular yoga practice or really put all that much stock into chakras or auras, so I'll never make varsity living this close to Berkeley.

    I don't think all methods of body work are for everyone-- the most subtle ones usually require a spiritual component that is definitely not everyone's bag, and the most extreme require their own sort of belief-- that all that pain will be worth it on the other side.

    I've tried both of the above, as well as many other points along the spectrum, and have learned that I much prefer painful to peaceful.

    Go figure. ;>

    But a massage is probably the best entry point for just about anybody, when it comes to letting other people handle your goods. Especially if the massage is paired with something else nice, like a spa treatment. And/or a cocktail. (I will refrain from any "happy ending" jokes here. Or do they even make those sorts of jokes in New England? ;>)

    And (hypocrite alert) I think yoga is also a good warm-up for this kind of stuff. Body awareness and stretching go hand in hand with getting your bones crunched by a pro.

    Also, that trigger point book you got is the perfect DIY guide to what bodywork is really all about. It's jumping in a bit deep for someone who hasn't even had a massage, I'll grant you, but it's the best, most accessible resource for this stuff that I have ever seen or heard of. That book is RAD.

    I can't believe I have this much to say about bodywork. My husband will be so proud. He's really the one who fully initiated me-- he's tried even more varieties than I have. 

    Speaking of bodywork, I'm about to start some supervised Pilates. I need help getting myself into good enough shape that I can start getting into actual shape without hurting myself. Car accident + back trouble + PTSR + twin pregnancy + c-section = abs? What abs? Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!