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Today on the Health and Wellness Show we're looking into the topic of body work. Massage, rolfing, yoga, pilates, lomi lomi, fascia release, chiropractic - there are many different methods and modalities for physically working on our bodies and we'll be discussing many of these. We'll explore the concepts behind the work of Peter Levine, Alexander Lowen and others who look into the connection between emotions and trauma being "stored" in the tissues, how one's posture reflects one's internal state and how working on the body can benefit us physically, psychologically and emotionally.

Join us Fridays at 10am EST for SOTT Talk Radio's Health and Wellness Show. We'll also be featuring Zoya's Pet Health Segment.

Running Time: 01:57:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome everybody. Today is December 11, 2015. My name is Jonathan. I'll be your host for today and joining me in our virtual studio from all across the planet we have a full compliment of hosts today, which is awesome; Doug, Tiffany, Erica, Gaby and Elliott. Welcome everybody.

All: Hello's.

Jonathan: Awesome. So today we're going to be looking into the topic of body work - massage, Rolfing, yoga, Pilates, lomi lomi, fascia release, chiropractic. There are many different methods and modalities for physically working on our bodies. So, we'll be discussing many of these. We'll also talk about the concepts behind the work of Peter Levine, Alexander Lowen and a few others who talk about this connection between emotions and trauma being stored in your body tissues. We'll be talking about posture, how your posture affects your internal state and how working on the body can benefit, not only physically but psychologically and emotionally. There's a lot of interesting things on this topic.

And we did want to do something a little bit lighter after our show last week about radiation. So today's a bit of a lighter topic but important nonetheless, I think; posture and general body work, some of these subtle things we don't think about very often. I know for myself I work at a computer and I use a standing desk but it's a struggle to maintain good posture and just remember it. You really have to train yourself to sit and move in different ways than you're used to. If you look across the western world especially, it's a huge problem, especially with the prevalence of office jobs and sitting jobs. Everybody's hunched and tense and we really don't get as much activity as we should so there's a lot of tensions built up in these tissues in our body.

So today we're going to talk about the issues in your tissues. Erica, do you want to get us started with the article that you had and that'll get us into the topic for today.

Erica: Yeah. This month in Yoga Journal Magazine there was an excellent article published called; Fascia: Fascinating Connective Tissue. It was written by Laci Mosier & Charles MacInerney. He's a specialist in the yoga world on fascia. I wanted to start off with this because it's really interesting, the issues in your tissues and how we store stress and tension and how we can all feel it when you wake up in the morning stiff. So a basic definition of fascia is your connective tissue and he uses the analogy that it's kind of like a pomegranate. Your skin is the outer shell while your organs, muscles and bones are the juicy seeds and then all the white parts and pockets are what fascia is in your body.

He talks about what healthy fascia looks like. It should be well-hydrated and have a gel-like consistency. Its fluid state allows it to move and glide without resistance. Unhealthy fascia is tight and hardened and crystallized and when the fascia tightens down, the fluid can't move through it. So again, if you ever notice when you wake up in the morning you're stiff, that's because little adhesions build up on your fascia overnight. What fascia likes is movement, variety. It's constantly reworking itself. They say you can tell what someone does for a living by their fascia, so like what Jonathan was saying, if you spend a lot of time sitting, you're hunched over, you have tightness in various parts of your body.

So the greater variety of movement the better, even if you sit a lot - and we've talked about this in previous shows - to get up and move around every 20 minutes. He also says if you lift weights or you're a runner or a walker, to change things up a little bit because too much repetitive action will also cause tightness in the fascia. (inaudible)... carpal tunnel and such, so highly repetitive movements are the absolute worst thing you can do for your fascia. It causes the fascia to grip and start laying down supporting cables to help the muscles. Even a sport can be highly repetitive. The trick is to change things up.

Then he talks a little bit about how bad posture impacts your fascia. There's a saying by Thomas Myers that movement becomes habit, habit becomes posture, posture becomes structure. So when you have bad posture it causes a muscle to hold for a long period of time, the body starts laying down fascia like the metal cables to take the load off the muscles and what started as a movement quickly becomes a habit which then becomes your posture, which eventually becomes your structure. And by the time it's a structure there's not a lot you can do.
Then he goes into how stress and trauma affect fascia and that's kind of what we're going to talk about in our show today. It's really a fascinating topic. They find that fascia responds dynamically to stress. It can change to be more crystalline and rigid or it can be more fluid and gel-like and it happens surprisingly quickly. When you're relaxed it turns into more of a gel-like structure and you become flexible and then when you're stressed or under fear or trauma it tightens up under pressure to protect you.

One other thing he talks about the latest fascia discovery or theory. They're finding now that fascia is highly integrated with the nerves. No one realized this before. They just thought it was connective tissue and they never really took a closer look at it. But now they believe that fascia runs through the nerves as well as the muscle. It's everywhere. They believe there's a higher density of nerves and nerve receptors in the fascia than there are in the retina of the eye. So this means that your entire body is conscious and taking in information and processing it. This led to a theory that the feedback from the fascial system is the key to balance, so practicing balancing with the eyes closed can really help increase our consciousness of the whole body and the dialogue between the fascia and the nerves.

One thing that he does say that's really important is to remember that fascia is fluid and it needs to be hydrated. So they talk about hydration being essential to fascia but not necessarily chugging a litre of water to do the job. The fluid has to work its way through the fascia. In the heart for example there's nothing pumping it through the body. So it's the types of movements and the stretches you do that get fluid moving through the fascia. The best thing in the world is any type of rhythmic contraction and relaxing exercises, stretching, turning upside down, and doing handstands or headstands or inversion table. So we'll touch more on this idea of fascia, but again, what fascia doesn't like is too much static. It's immobilizing and inactivity can cross-bound with the fascia sheath so when you don't stretch, instead of gliding inside this nice smooth fascial sheath, you get oxidation and the nerves get attached to the sheath and you can't move freely.

Gaby: Amazing.

Erica: Anyone interested, Charles MacInerney has written books and he gives lectures. He's actually been teaching yoga for 11 years and continually updates his information on Fascinating Fascia.

Gaby: That's fascinating but I wonder how much is like when you wake up feeling like a shell or all your fascia feels tight, if it's not as much about lack of hydration and like you said, lack of movement, but also a lot of inflammatory symptoms. I can really feel it when I eat something inflammatory. I feel like I'm all tightened like a shell, hard to move. It's harder to move.

Tiffany: Talking about fascia makes me think about Rolfing or structural integration because that's all about loosening up the fascia. I had some sciatica pain. I think it was due to sitting down for too long, not being used to sitting for too long and then immediately jumping into lifting weights without giving myself time to acclimate. So I got some really bad sciatica pain and I tried chiropractic and it didn't work. But what Erica said is interesting about the fascia being connected to the nerves because I got rolfed a couple of times and probably by the second Rolfing session all my pain was gone.

Doug: Wow!

Tiffany: So that was really great.

Gaby: I also tried Rolfing a few years ago and while I used to be very active when I was a teenager, later on with university and all that, I didn't do any type of physical exercise at all. I got Rolfed. I got 10 sessions and it was interesting that my Rolfer told me, "Okay, so the change that you're going to get is probably within six months or one year." And I didn't know what he referred to but he said that maybe I was going to pick up an injury through a new sport or be more physical or be more conscious about my body and I thought that was interesting because that is what happened. Later on I began physical exercise and I felt freer in my own body, in my own movements. It was a great experience.

Doug: I had a similar experience with Rolfing actually. I went for Rolfing as well and it completely changed my posture and how I actually stand. People commented on it. I think I might have even gotten a little bit taller because I used to be quite hunched over. I think that's still not 100% better. If people don't know what Rolfing is it's a method where the practitioner does hard massage, really gets in there working those tissues, the idea being to break up the fascia that may have become in this chronic position that isn't beneficial. So they get in there and really work it...

Tiffany: They really work it!

Doug: Yeah, it can be quite painful but if you have a good practitioner they'll be in constant communication with you and make sure they're not hurting you too much. But the experience that I had was I came out of going through the 10 Rolfing sessions - they have these 10 sessions where they work through the body in different areas - and after the 10 sessions I felt like a new person. I really felt structurally, at the very base that I was more loser, I was able to move a lot better. I wasn't as stiff in the morning. A lot actually changed. I didn't have any kind of chronic condition I was working on but just overall it just seemed like a beneficial thing. It's almost like you have this habit of movement or of posture over however many years you've been on this planet, you're stuck in this same kind of habit. And Rolfing or I imagine other types of fascial release therapies as well, will alter that. I think we're going to get into this a bit later but I think that really does also free up your mind and your thinking patterns because you think they're reflected in each other.

Gaby: I did have some weird experiences when I got Rolfed, like the release or emotions, actually the fourth session and also with his guided visualizations. I had a very good Rolfer. Overall it was a very holistic experience. You think they will only be bodywork and physical therapy but I found out that it really worked at all levels.

Doug: Yeah, I think that's a really interesting thing about it. Usually people think about bodywork as being something that's only in the physical. We always tend to separate the physical from the mental and the emotional. Usually the only time you would go for bodywork is if you're having some sort of physical issue, like, "I've got this knee pain that I have to deal with" or "lower back pain" or something along those lines. But one thing that really seems to be coming out, especially now, is this connection between the physical and the mental/emotional and this idea that these chronic patterns of thought or chronic emotional responses to things can actually manifest themselves in the body. There are practitioners out there who will look at a physical issue and connect it more to a chronic emotional pattern. I find that to be extremely interesting.

Jonathan: One of our chat participants here mentioned that one of the inhibiting factors to Rolfing can be simply finding someone as well as the cost. I've never had Rolfing done. Can you guys speak to how hard it is to find a Rolfer and if you don't mind saying, maybe not the exact number, but what was the cost? Was it really expensive or was it affordable?

Tiffany: Well when I found a Rolfer I'd just moved to the area and I just looked on the internet and found Rolfers in the area and then I looked up what school they may have come from and our Rolfer that we used wasn't very expensive. I think he had a special, the first session was $60 and then after that it was $90 which, from what I hear, is a pretty good rate.

Doug: Yeah, that's cheap!

Tiffany: For an hour-and-a-half.

Jonathan: Yeah, it seems reasonable.

Doug: My sessions were more like $130 per session, so it wasn't cheap. And finding a Rolfer - I'm in a fairly big city so I definitely have a few choices, but it's not nearly as popular as something like massage or even Shiatsu or something along those lines so it can be a bit of a challenge to find somebody. But I think internet searching and asking around is the best way to do it.

Gaby: In Europe, if I remember correctly, my sessions were €40 per session. I just looked up locally for a Rolfer and there was only one for the whole country and he happened to work in the same city where I was living. He was German and he got his experience in the United States and I thought, "Okay, it was meant to be." {Laughter} He explained to me that pretty much everybody from the Rolfing schools should have pretty much the same formation and to charge pretty much the same. I had experience with two Rolfers. With the first one he was really my friend. He did a couple of sessions and then I went away from that country and had to find another one. I think they were both pretty good. They each had different styles but I think they did a pretty good job, it was just different.

Doug: There are alternatives. You don't necessarily have to go with Rolfing. That's one particular modality, but it all falls under this heading of myofascial release. So I know there are people out there called myofascial release therapists and there are a few other ones, even a lot of massage therapists are getting more into this idea of fascia and learning techniques and things. So if you can't find somebody who's specifically a Rolfer I don't think that should necessarily inhibit you from exploring it. You do your research obviously and look into these things, but I think there are other alternatives.

Tiffany: And I think it should be mentioned too that a lot of people have body issues or maybe there was some abuse in their background and that might inhibit them from seeking out bodywork but I think that massage or any kind of myofascial release or anything like that, is probably one of the few instances where people are touched in a therapeutic way and not in a sexual way and a lot of people are missing that. Once you get over the initial shock of standing there in your undies while your Rolfer looks you up and down to kind of evaluate your posture and your structure, after the first couple of times it's really no big deal and I wouldn't even wait until he left the room to get my clothes off and jump on the table. {Laughter} Yeah, I think that should be brought up.

Erica: And I also think in any sort of body work - and I've never personally had Rolfing but I have had what's called lomi lomi massage and basically it means loving hands in Hawaiian and it's a similar type of deep fascial work. I have had it for several years and one of the things that the practitioner said is the importance of breathing during the process. So when they're working on areas of tension and tightness, whether it's in your shoulders or it's your sciatic, your low back, they talk about the importance of not holding your breath. That seems to be a really big issue with a lot of people and I've seen it a lot in teaching yoga. When you have pain stored in the body it's almost like a human reaction, when you start to feel sensations in that area, to hold your breath, like it's going to stop the pain.

With the E.E. practice, the pipe breathing, I noticed as soon as I would get on the table I would start practicing breathing and when the therapist would get into those really tight areas - for me it was the neck and shoulders, this idea of carrying the world around on your shoulders - I would start really breathing. So she'd go, "Okay, I'm going to push here and big inhale and on the exhale just let all that go". And she did say several times for both me and my husband that it was such a joy to work on us because we were working with her, in addition to her working on us. She said you can't believe the tightness and the tension that people carry in their body and as the therapist it may be an hour of just working on steel, really trying to work through that. And then you have people who, if they can get into the breathing exercises, they can really start to soften up and it actually makes the massage therapist's job easier in a sense because you're working together in tandem, if that makes sense.

Gaby: Yeah, that makes sense. For me the highest tension part when I got Rolfed was my temporomandibular joint. It had so much tension that I managed to dislocate it at least partially. What Rolfers do, they release all the tension in that joint and I remember the day he was putting gloves on and saying, "Okay, we're going to do a little mouth massage" and I was like, "What?" I couldn't believe it! It was after that session it was the first time I could feel my face when I was walking, my cheekbones up and down. It was like, "Wow! I feel great!"

Jonathan: That's interesting. I had a friend who had a similar thing done with the mandibular joints and it was with a chiropractor. He put the rubber gloves on and actually went into his mouth and was manipulating the joint and apparently it had quite a significant effect.

Doug: I was talking to a friend of mine about Rolfing and she was saying that she had a friend and she said that after the session on the face where they put on the rubber gloves and they go into your mouth and are working in all these different areas, she said that this person's entire facial structure seemed to have changed. She actually looked like a different person coming out of there. It's pretty amazing.

Tiffany: And even though it can be painful some times, it's extremely relaxing. I know Peter Levine talks a lot about how fear causes immobility but immobility without fear can be extremely blissful and there are times when I was on the table when I was just a limp rag and I could have laid there all day. {Laughter}

Jonathan: Erica, you had mentioned...

Tiffany: And it also makes you pee because it releases that trapped water in your fascia I guess.

Jonathan: That's interesting. Erica since you had mentioned yoga and the fact that you taught, would you mind just talking for a few minutes about your experience with that? I know that when we were prepping for this show we came across a couple of articles where people were down-talking yoga and I think while it's been quite commercialized and has also gotten really popular, there are still a lot of people who think that you have to be a contortionist to do yoga. I wonder if you could speak to that for a minute and just talk about the benefits to your average Joe. I've done it a few times myself, never on a regular basis, but it was always really beneficial for me.

Erica: Yeah, and you're right. It's funny, there's a few interesting articles on SOTT and one of them is called Yoga's Dark Side and it was carried in the Huffington Post and it was talking about this clique, narcissistic aspect to it and we've talked about this on a previous show when we talked about exercise. Going into it, I never had any intention of being a yoga teacher. I was trained in E.E. and I was looking for studios to teach the Éiriú Eolas breathing and stress reduction program it was kind of like getting a yoga certification would get me in the door so to speak. So I will say I was really pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. To get a certification you have to do over 200 hours of practice in addition to reading up about the body and fascia and structure, anatomy and physiology.

What I found was that the powerhouse kind of power yoga or exercise yoga is really not for your average lay person and I really don't recommend it at all unless you have some sort of gymnastics background. I really recommend this idea that I started the fascia article with, this idea of stretching with breathing. Really it's like a self-massage and I used to teach this in class and I've moved away from teaching power yoga and more into what we call gentle flow or restorative. Basically it's really just getting people to start breathing first, land in their body and then very slowly start to open up those areas of tension. So just something like a forward bend that everybody can do at home, finding your breath will help you unwind and loosen tension, and not resisting against your body, but going with where you're at, at that moment. So every day is different. Some days the body hurts more than others. Other days you're more flexible and really coming to where you're at, at that moment.

I mentioned this in a previous show, but Iyengar who brought hatha yoga to the west, called it a moving meditation. So even if you just do five forward bends in a day, just really getting in touch with your body, noticing where you're holding tension and addressing that in the moment. So basic things that you can do Jonathan, even like sitting at a desk or standing at the desk is rolling the head and noticing where all that tension and tightness is in your neck and breathing. And as you roll the head you start to feel more mobility in the neck. I always used to tease that people wear their shoulders as earrings. So when a student would walk in the door; almost instantly I could tell where the tension was in their body, and usually it was in the shoulders. So sometimes I would spend the entire class just reminding people, "relax your shoulders, relax your shoulders, relax your jaw" because as Gaby said, so many people have this tension in their jaw and you can see them clenching their teeth and then when you try and do a more challenging posture, the first thing the body does is tighten up. "I've never done this before".

So I would constantly remind people it's a fluid motion, don't overdo it and then when you get into a warrior one, which is where you've got your knee bent and your leg extended in the back, to soften everything up and then start breathing. It really shifts the whole practice so it doesn't become this competition. I hated studios that had mirrors in the room because everyone's looking at themselves. So if I was teaching in a studio where there was a mirror I would make everyone turn their back to the mirror because that's even more pressure. Some teachers have people close their eyes. There's mixed philosophies on that, but I think if you're seated and you're just forward bending or twisting, the eyes closed really gives you an opportunity to go within and feel where this is happening.

I hadn't done Rolfing but I'd had some lomi lomi massage but I can say from my own experience, the practice and doing the training literally changed my body. It changed my stress levels. I find now that when I'm feeling tense or stressed, if I can just get to my mat and even lay there just in what they call corpse pose or savasana and start breathing, I can do a little body scan of where I'm holding tension and then it's almost like my body says, "okay move this way. Roll your head to one side, breathe in that area" and so it becomes a very personal practice. I hope that answers your question Jonathan. I say all the time 10 minutes is better than nothing. People are like, "I can't afford to go to classes" because it is expensive. It's $16 to $25 to take a yoga class. There are so many videos on YouTube. There are books.

Just start somewhere and start cuing into what the body is saying. And for those of us who sit at a computer a lot or drive a lot, the low body, the hips, the sciatic, with just laying flat on your back or with a pillow under your knees, you're going to start to tune in to how you can work through that, just bending the knee, rolling the hip around. It's really life changing, I can say for myself and for a lot of my students. I've had quite a few men that were like, "I'll never do it. It's for girls. It's for chick. It's not a guy thing." {Laughter} If you can't afford a massage, you can do self massages, again just addressing those areas of tension.

Elliott: That's fascinating.

Jonathan: Totally.

Elliott: I thought it was really interesting how you said that people come into the yoga class and you can see the tension in their shoulders because in my own experience, when I actually take the time to observe my body and posture, it's really quite shocking how often there is tension in my shoulders or in my jaw, especially my shoulders. And I find myself many times in the day just reminding myself to let go, to relax. Yeah, it's interesting to see how often the body morphs into the highly tense positions and how often that actually happens.

Erica: Well it's like they talked about in the fascia article. Years and years of that become a laid foundation. So it's almost like a protective coating. Maybe when you're at home your shoulders can be more relaxed, your jaw can be more relaxed, then you go out in the world and you know you have to commute or deal with the bank or whatever it is in your daily life and you almost start to notice the shoulders rising towards the ears. You start to notice the clenching of the jaw. For me the jaw was a huge issue. A little self reminder for me is I stick my tongue between my teeth sometimes when I start to feel myself clenching, as a reminder because if you bite your tongue, "Oh okay, I'm clenching." And that self-reminder, "soften your jaw, soften your jaw" smile. It takes more muscles in the face to frown than it does to smile, so if you can have those little reminders.
And I also notice when people are getting on my nerves because my jaw starts to tense up {laughing} but having that dialogue helps.

Jonathan: For sure. I definitely notice that with myself, say if I'm at the computer and I'm working on a deadline, every once in a while I'll have this moment of awareness where I realize my shoulders are in full 100% tension, I'm clenching my teeth, I'm not moving, I'm just typing. But the shoulders are up by the ears and I'm in a really stressed position. And every time it's like this moment of clarity like, "Oh, I need to stop doing that. It's really bad." And of course if I end up doing that for a long time, say for a period of one or two hours, then it's really noticeable, then I'm tight and sore and it takes some time to work it out.

Erica: Well we've mentioned in previous shows too, that idea of pain in the neck.

Elliott: I think one of the things that we recommended, I think it might have been in the Fascinating Fascia article that we spoke about before, I think it was recommended that every 15 minutes or so, if you can just stretch out your limbs, stretch out your neck, role your head around and then you can fall back into the same position, because fascia doesn't like to stay static. It immobilizes and that's when it becomes a problem whereas if you can remind yourself to do these brief exercises, it doesn't have to be for very long, just a simple stretch or something, then it gives your body a chance to deal with the posture that you're sitting with.

Doug: Yeah. I think one of the benefits of yoga is getting out of those habitual postures that we're always in. If you think about it, pretty much 24 hours a day there are only a certain number of postures that we take on regularly so by going into something like yoga or it could even be other modalities as well, just taking on unfamiliar postures, getting your body into a position that it's not in habitually, all the time, I think can be really beneficial. There was an interesting article posted on SOTT by Amy Lansky that was posted in Waking Times. She's actually a homeopath and has written a couple of really good books. She says here, "Have you ever considered that body posture pertains not only to our bodies but also to our psyches, our feeling, our thoughts, even our energy bodies." I thought that was very interesting.

You think about the fact that we tend to have these habitual thought processes. Our thoughts always go into the same direction and that this might actually be reflected in our body posture. She quotes G.I. Gurdjieff as well talking about the relationship between the posture and the self. He said, "Every race, every nation, every epic, every country, every class, every profession has its own definite number of postures and movements. A man is unable to change the form of his thinking or his feeling until he has changed his repertory of postures and movements."

So I thought that was really interesting and apparently Gurdjieff used to have his students take on these unusual postures and hold them in order to feel the effects on their minds and their feelings. Anyway, I just thought that that was pretty fascinating. He used to refer to them as different gymnastics movements but it may be that he was getting them from more yoga type traditions. So to just use these modalities; as a way of getting outside of yourself, to a certain extent, getting out of your habits, getting out of your rigid thinking in a lot of ways.

Erica: Yeah, I agree. It's like pushing that comfort zone. I always used to tease in class, "I don't expect to tie yourself into a pretzel." That's unrealistic, but moving in ways that, just as you said Doug, are different, and then finding that shape and holding it there and then breathing, I've had profound emotional releases just doing something like a twist where you're letting go of things. I wouldn't say all of a sudden I broke down crying in the posture, but definitely almost like what happens in massage, where you feel electricity move through your body or all of a sudden that area of tension just goes away. When I was doing my training I would have these weird pockets of pain in very strange spots, like in my middle back or in my big toe and they would move. As I continued to do my practice those pockets of energy would move to different parts of the body and then they would disappear. So I definitely think there is something to it.

Again, I think it's important to come to where people are at and not expect to do these crazy things. And it's a lifetime practice. It's like the diet or anything else. Every day you come do it or twice a week and you just come to where you are and then you just practice. That's all you do.

Jonathan: That's a difficult thing for me. It's not difficult in the sense that many other things are, but for whatever reason it's hard to remember to do that on a regular basis so it helps to set some kind of reminder, like tape up a note for yourself like, "10 minutes today" or have a designated space, like in the corner of your bedroom or maybe in the corner of the living room where you have a mat on the floor. I think it's important to have reminders around to do that, otherwise, in my own experience, I'll go for many weeks without even thinking about it.

Erica: And having friends or family there to remind you as well helps. I know I taught my husband yoga and for several years he was very resistant and then a friend of his came to me and said, "Oh, I'm having this back pain and I just gave him a few little exercises to do on his back to help with hip issues" and my husband was like, "Oh, I think I'll try that now" and now I've got him on a regular routine, just as maintenance more than anything because as you get older, you have those postures that are stuck in your body and like I said, you start to see people carrying that in certain places. It's usually the shoulders but also the hip. You can see in the hips where people tend to carry those pockets of tension.

Jonathan: I wonder if we could talk a little bit about massage too. It's something that strikes me as kind of funny - and this is again from my own experience - for example when your partner gives you a massage and you're like, "Oh my god! This is amazing!" It's seen as kind of a luxury in a way. I know for myself sometimes I'll think, "Oh, I should go get a massage somewhere" because we have a few places around here that do them professionally. And it always comes up as a luxury item when in reality I don't think it should be. This is just another basic life treatment, something that we should be getting to maintain looseness, to maintain our relaxation. Do you guys have any experience with getting regular massages or anything like that?

Elliott: Well recently, in September, my girlfriend actually started a massage course and bodywork so she's training to be a massage therapist. She also started learning something called myofascial release which also works with the fascia, the connective tissue. I can't say that I've ever had a proper massage up until she started that course. She has to find a number of different clients to get her experience and hours up so she can pass the course and I'm always there {Laughter}.

Erica: Lucky you!

Elliott: I get a massage on a regular basis and I can say that I think I underestimated the sheer effects that a massage can actually have, like I wasn't aware of how tense my body was until she actually told me about it. And sometimes after the massage, I just feel like I'm melting into the bed and I don't even want to move. It's really amazing. She's warned me about this in the past that sometimes when someone has bodywork done on them it can release undealt-with emotional issues or emotional trauma that has been buried so far down but I personally haven't experienced anything like that. All I can say is it feels really amazing. It's great relaxation. And to finish that off with something like E.E. is a whole other world for me. But it's really, really great.

Doug: One interesting thing. I've had a bit of experience with massage, not quite as much as I should because I know it is very important and shouldn't be considered a luxury item. Actually one little point on that, I think people should look into whether or not they've got benefits at work. A lot of times that will include some amount for massage. At least I know in North America that's the case.

Tiffany: You can also try looking into whether or not they have massage schools in your area, that way you can get massages at a discounted price because a lot of people don't think much about spending money on a gym membership, but they don't consider massage either.

Doug: Yeah, that's true. There are lots of community places. There are community yoga classes as well, things you can look into where it's at a discounted rate or even sometimes it's free. So I think it's definitely a way that you can get access to these things. But just to talk a little bit about the whole emotional release thing, I think in a lot of cases people don't necessarily notice. They're not sitting there on the table having a massage and suddenly they have this overwhelming emotion. It sometimes comes out in very different ways. I think that in a lot of cases - and I've found this with myself - it's not necessarily that I'll feel this intense emotional release or something, but it's like suddenly things start to come up in my life that weren't coming up before, or patterns that maybe I had just buried instead of dealing with them, will suddenly come to the fore. And I think that a lot of times you have this body work done and what it's doing is changing the way in which you relate to your life. You have this emotional release that you might not notice, but it's more like it's reflected in your experience in your daily life.

I don't know if that's getting a little bit too woo-woo here, but I noticed when I was going through Rolfing, experiences would come up that I hadn't dealt with before and if I thought about it, it was like, "Well this is similar to this thing that happened in my past". So I think a lot of times people are looking for this kind of charge, major emotional release that they're having but I think that these things can come up in very subtle ways.

Gaby: I agree.

Jonathan: I don't think that that's woo-woo at all. I think everyone here and a lot of our listeners are aware that everything is connected and certainly our bodies are one, if not the major interface that we have with reality. So they're our vehicle. They're our tool, all of these kinds of things. So it's important to realize those connections between the state of the mind and the state of the body and that it's not one way either way, it's both ways. If you're mind and your emotions are out of whack, your body will reflect it and vice versa. If your body is out of whack, then your emotional state will also reflect that.

Doug: Definitely.

Erica: I also know too, and for those listeners who may be interested, when you get a massage it releases the lymph nodes. There was an article on SOTT called; The Lymphatic System: the Secret to Staying Healthy. They talk about how there's three times more lymph in your body than blood and how when you get a deep tissue massage or even practicing yoga, you release toxins from your lymph nodes. So I know in having the lomi lomi massage, I've had lymphatic drainage, where they work on certain lymph nodes, like under your armpits. If you've ever had a massage and they've worked in that area it's very sensitive. But I was always told afterwards to drink plenty of water because you're starting to really emphasize the detoxification pathways in the body. They call this the lymphatic system the sewer system of the body. So when you get that work done - and you may notice this Elliott too - as you get more massages that you start sweating or you feel almost nauseous. I've had nauseous sensations after a pretty intensive massage experience because all the toxins are coming out into your bloodstream. You're flushing your lymphatic system. You may feel like you got hit by a bus the rest of the day. {Laughter} So I think that's an important aspect to getting a massage too, is that lymphatic drain, working on that lymphatic system and getting healthy blood flow into those lymph nodes.

Elliott: I find that really interesting. Go ahead Gaby.

Gaby: Oh no, go ahead.

Elliott: I was going to say it interesting because the lymphatic system doesn't have a pump per se. It relies purely on your muscles and your bodily movement to push it around your body. So it's very easy for the lymph to get almost stuck and so I can imagine if you have a lymphatic drainage massage, then that's potentially increasing the flow of everything, isn't it? And then allows you to detox it.

Gaby: I was just going to say that it is important to keep in mind because people who have a lot of toxicity, which is pretty much everybody, and with a very relaxing massage various people will have a detox reaction after a massage therapy, so that's important to keep in mind, it can have some side effects.

Jonathan: Speaking of the mind-body connection, Doug would you mind sharing some points with us from that article that we had talked about before the show? It was, "If Tears Could Talk".

Doug: It's an interesting article. I don't think we have it up on SOTT. It was posted to the forum by one of our forum members. It is talking about the physical structure of fascia and what's actually going on there, what's being discovered about fascia. I'll just give a run down of it here. The idea is that this fascia isn't just static connective tissue. It's much more fluid than that and it allows for a fluid to travel through it. They call this viscous gel ground substance and that this stuff surrounds all the cells. And the fascia is the way that this can travel through the body to the cells and there's this structure, like a network of microtubules in the cells that are specifically for transporting this ground substance.

They actually equate it to the means by which information can travel throughout the body from cell-to-cell. They are equating this information with actual consciousness, that the body is like this whole conscious unit that's unified. It's not these separate segments and that there's this whole network of communication going on here throughout the body.

So they're talking about how when fascia gets in these stuck states through habitual posture or through emotional trauma, the fascia will tighten up and that that fluid no longer flows through it properly. It's kind of interesting because when you talk about things like people holding emotions or traumatic experiences in the body, it sounds a little bit woo-woo, right? You're kind of like, "that doesn't sound quite right. It's a little bit out there." But here they've actually shown that there is a real biological reason behind this, that this is actually a real thing and that when you have these traumatic experiences, that can reflect in some kind of tension in the fascia, that that communication is no longer going there. So it's almost a way of the body segregating that traumatic experience so that it doesn't inhibit you in some way.

Of course it does inhibit you in other ways because suddenly you're not moving as well as you should be. You have these tensions that become chronic and releasing those things with proper bodywork obviously, is a good idea, just to get your body functioning in a proper way.

It was a really fascinating article. It's called If Your Tears Could Talk, What Would They Say? I'm not seeing the author's name here. If you Google that title you'll find the article. It's just a short article, but very interesting.

Jonathan: I think it's a fascinating topic and kind of like we've been talking about on this show and we've talked about in the past too, that the body reflects the emotional state. It's just something that we don't really think about very often and especially - I hate to say it, but you almost have to be a little bit esoterically minded to think of this on a regular basis. I think your average Joe who goes to work, does work, comes home, has dinner, watches some TV, goes to bed, this kind of regular cycle of modern life I suppose, there's not a lot of awareness of that connection. And becoming aware of that connection can really have huge benefits. It can also be kind of frightening too because you realize you have a whole new feedback system that you weren't even thinking about.

Erica: I always like liken it to a car. You need to get around in this world and you want to drive something that doesn't have the tires falling off and a cracked windshield. Your body is a means of mobility and so it's good having options to keep it in functional running motion so you can continue throughout your day and do your job. The idea of massage and as y'all were saying things like yoga or stretching or tai chi or whatever it is is becoming more popular. A few years ago the US military was given almost a million dollars to start studying alternative modalities to treat soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. So you know if the military's looking at it, there's something to be said about it. In ancient Chinese medicine and Ayurveda and stuff, they've known these things for years and that's why it's part of their medical repertoire, if you will, to have all these different things to keep that vehicle in working order so you can function in daily life.

Doug: It's interesting the way the body does these workarounds too. For example, if you have some sort of traumatic experience and your fascia tightens up in one place and that become habitual, then your body has to work around that and you might be doing something that's not ideal in the way that you're moving or holding yourself in your posture because your body suddenly has to work around that tension, that area.
I find it really interesting, relating that back to what Gurdjieff was talking about, how every epic, every era, every class, every country, has these habitual postures. It's almost like this is reflective of things that people are collectively avoiding or collectively having to deal with in their current society. So I found connecting all those kind of dots pretty fascinating.

Gaby: Yeah, it was Gurdjieff who said that work starts with the body. You cannot be free if you have tension in your body or something along those lines.

Jonathan: This is speculative, but Doug what you said made me think that reflects our modern society, the fact that a lot of us sitting in chairs, hunched over, whether we're hunched over a computer or whether we're hunched over our video game console, that that causes a lot of neck and shoulder pain and that neck being the connection between the brain and the rest of the body might be emblematic of our modern society and the fact that our brains are becoming disconnected from our bodies, that we're not holding that connection. We're taking it for granted so that we get a lot of resultant pain from that area.

Elliott: On top of that, it's the same when you look down at your phone screen. It says here that "when your head is tilted down at a 60 degree angle, it puts 60 pounds of weight on the neck and shoulders. Just that alone is enough to be causing a lot of the troubles that we have.

Erica: Yeah, what do they call that, Text neck? {Laughter}

Elliott: It's a relatively new phenomenon. It's relatively recent. Children from such a young age now all pretty much have mobile phones. It's going to be really interesting to see what happens over the next 10, 20, 30 years in terms of the problems that we're going to be having as a society and our posture, things like osteoarthritis and all these different types of issues.

Gaby: There was an article on SOTT the other day, in the last two months teenagers are having these postures just from doing text messages or using their smart phones so much. It's a shock!

Tiffany: Yeah, we're just going to have a society of brain-dead hunchbacks. {Laughter} There was an article on SOTT called; Lost Posture: Why Some Indigenous Cultures May Not Have Back Pain. A lady injured her back and had one back surgery and then she re-injured it again and she said no, no. So she went all around the world and studied all these different culture, indigenous cultures mostly. A lot of them didn't have any kind of back pain, even up into old age, even if they spent a lot of time doing a lot of physical work or bent over in the fields all day, they still didn't have any back pain. She said that the real structure of the spine should be more like a J shape instead of an S shape and when you're standing your butt should be pushed out a little bit, like a lot of indigenous peoples. That's what their form looks like if you look at them from the side. That can probably account for why they don't have a lot of back pain.

But she also says in western cultures the people are a lot heavier and that can contribute to it and also western SAD diets and things like that, but life without back pain is possible.

Doug: She was saying it should be more of a J shape rather than an S shape? In the western cultures we tend to have an S shape to our spine, where the neck and shoulders are it curves over and these indigenous cultures don't have that. They're very upright and the spine doesn't stick out until it gets down to the buttocks. Her name was Esther Gokhale. I don't know if I'm pronouncing that right.

Jonathan: Pronounces "Goklay".

Doug: Oh, Goklay. Okay.

Jonathan: It's "Goklay".

Doug: Goklay!

Jonathan: It's not an intuitive pronunciation but its pronounced Goklay.

Doug: And there is something called the Gokhale Method that you can look up and look into. I know she's done a lot of work on that and helping people.

Tiffany: Yeah, she mentioned how a lot of these indigenous cultures, when they walk they kind of squeeze their gluteal muscles and that strengthens them and gives support to the back. So that could be another reason why they don't have a lot of back pain.

Elliott: And also to try and keep your abdominal muscles taut, if you know what I mean. So try to hold your chest up high rather than slouching. I guess it all comes back to your posture, but if you tighten your gluteal muscles, like on your backside, and also pull your abdominal muscles up towards your chest, something like that.

Jonathan: This reminds me too of something I heard once and I wish I could remember where I heard this; people who have poor posture and mostly computer users, gamers, heavy phone users, from being hunched over, as they walk, their palms are facing backwards, almost like an ape, a weird allusion to the term "knuckle draggers". {Laughter} But when you have correct posture your palms should face inward toward your hips while you're walking and that you can notice while you're walking that if your arms rotate and your palms are facing backwards then you have excessive rotation in your upper spine and in your shoulders and that needs to be corrected so that your arms rotate back with the palms facing inwards. It's actually hard to do. I've tried to do it on occasion while I'm walking and I'll notice I try to keep my palms facing to the inside and it doesn't feel natural but I think that's only because I've negatively trained my body in the other direction.

Doug: It's another example of the body compensating for some kind of tension in the fascia, maybe in the upper back.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Erica: In yoga, one of the first things that they taught us was to get rid of your chairs, to sit on the floor. Even a lot of times if you have problems sitting on the floor because a lot of people have problems with their knees, to have a pillow or two and then use a wall to lean against to practice good posture. So a lot of times you'll notice if you sit on the floor cross-legged you tend to hunch forward. I used to call that the teenage posture because you'd see a lot of teenagers doing that. But to practice sitting on the floor with a pillow or even several pillows and then rolling the shoulders back several times so you can almost feel the shoulder blades on the wall, or you can even use a pillow on the wall, exercises like that will strengthen, like Elliott was saying, your core muscle, your belly muscles, and it will also remind you to roll the shoulders down and back instead of hunching and rolling forward, if that makes sense. Even in a chair you can do it, but on the floor it's a little grounding exercise as well.

Doug: I don't know about you guys, but I keep on adjusting my posture as I'm sitting here and correcting things. {Laughter} Like oh yeah, right. Good reminders.

Erica: Well I call myself the shoulder police in yoga. I'm just going to come around and police you on your shoulders, "Soften your shoulders. Soften your jaw. Roll back. Relax. Relax."

Doug: I need a shoulder police guide and a coach maybe in my life, constantly telling me, "Roll your shoulders back."

Jonathan: I think this might be a good time to play a clip from Peter Levine "How the body releases trauma and restores goodness". This is a seven minute clip from a DVD seminar that Peter Levine did. And he is a somatic therapist, so his speciality is the physiological origins of trauma and how to correct those kinds of things. So let's listen to this for a little bit and then we can talk about the work of Peter Levine. So we will be right back after this.

The way I discovered, my epiphany in developing somatic experiencing was in 1969. I was asked to see a woman who had been referred from doctor to doctor to doctor with a panoply of different symptoms. She has migraines, she had what we would call fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel, interstitial cystitis, difficulty urinating. Name it and she had it. Again, there weren't names for those at that time.
And so she had gone from specialist to specialist and had invasive procedures. So finally she was referred to my friend, my colleague the psychiatrist. And at that time I think Miltown was the tranquiliser and there was one antitricyclic and he tried those with her and it made a little bit of difference but the symptoms were still there.

I was developing a mind/body - body/mind practice around that time. I was experimenting with different kinds of relaxation through the body, body awareness and body movement and so forth. And she also had severe panic attacks and agoraphobia. She was too frightened to even leave the house. She came in with her husband and you could see he was tremendously uncomfortable. He was uncomfortable and she was of course terrified. Her heartbeat was about 110 beats a minute, just boom-boom-boom-boom-boom.

So I got her to relax her neck and her heart rate went down and I was thinking, "Oh wow! That's terrific! Now I've got my career!" {Laughter} No really, because at that time otherwise I was going to be a research scientist. So the heart rate went down and then it shot up and went even higher. (Makes noise of shooting sound) And what do you think the stupidest thing that anybody could say at a time like that?
(Audience): Calm down.

Calm down. Just relax Nancy, just relax. Okay. Ridiculously, coincidentally, her heart started going down. Okay, I had my career back again. But it went down and down and down to about 50 beats a minute and she turned white and strangulated her voice and she said, "I'm dying. I'm dying doctor. I'm dying. Don't let me die." And as I tell the story, also I'm getting that funny feeling in my chest, the constriction. That happened - but I don't get stuck with it.

And at that moment I had a vision, a waking vision, a waking dream, of a tiger getting ready to leap and I said, "Nancy, Nancy, there's a tiger. Run! Climb those rocks and escape!" And to both of our amazements, her legs started moving as though she were running and she would have these waves of trembling and shaping, spontaneous breaths. Her hands would turn icy cold and then warm. And this went on for 40 minutes, these cycles. And they started to become softer and softer.

And then at the end she opened her eyes and she said, "Do you want to know what happened?" So I'm thinking, "Of course I know what happened. This is my method here." And I said "Yes." And she said, "When you said there was a tiger I imagined myself running. I could feel myself running. I could feel" - that's important, and that's important with the child - he's running but he's not feeling the running. "I could feel the running. I could feel my legs shaking and trembling. I could feel my breath. And when I was looking down from the rocks I saw myself when I was four years old and I had a tonsillectomy and at that time they used ether. And they held me down." And of course, for decades, for 20 years, her body was primed and wanting to run, wanting to escape. And when she was able to do that completion, that was the last panic attack that she had, and we did a few more sessions afterwards and most of her symptoms, if they didn't resolve, they tremendously abated and I would imagine would continue.

So, every now again; I'll use that example actually in a couple of my books. In my first book, Waking the Tiger it was a little bit like I'm thinking, "Oh-oh. I think I made a mistake because everybody's going to think they do this therapy and then in one session all these symptoms go away." It does happen! It does happen, but again most of the people that you see its much more of a complex thing. They've had different degrees of neglect. Also the people that were supposed to love them and protect them often were the people who hurt them and violated them so it has a tremendous amount of confusion built in.

But still, in my experience and I think in most of my students, these same somatic methods work, but you have to do it in a different context at a different pace and in a different way.

Jonathan: Well that's pretty fascinating. Looking into some of the work that Peter Levine does, that's kind of his origin story, that experience that he talks about there. A lot of the work that he does is with victims of trauma, with PTSD, things like that where our body has this automatic response but it's unconscious but we don't understand it and then it takes advantage of us. And so his work is to reorient the mind with that subconscious, physical response so that you can understand it more and anticipate it coming. I don't know if you guys have a different or a better understanding of his work than I do.

Doug: I guess I've always thought of it as an alternative to doing the bodywork as a means of releasing these stored traumas. He goes in from a more psychological angle. It's not necessarily revisiting the actual traumatic experience itself but looking at the psychological effect. It's like the body's natural response in those kinds of panic situations is to move and if that is suppressed it stores in the body. In the example he gave she's been spending all her life waiting to run from that situation and that's been suppressed and it leads to all these compensation techniques that are dysfunctional in a lot of ways.

I guess I kind of see it as a way of accessing this same thing that we've been talking about, where these traumatic experiences are stored in the tissues and it's a way of accessing that.

Tiffany: Well he talks a lot about the animal kingdom and how animals in the wild or not so wild will have this immobility response, in response to being chased by a predator. They'll just lay there and play dead and a lot of predators need that chase and the fear and fighting back and all that in order to activate their predator response. So if an animal in the wild just lays there and plays dead the predator will lose interest and just run away and at that time the animal can come out of the immobility response and run away, escape. He says that a lot of things that happen with humans who are in traumatic experiences, they have this immobility response even though they might not necessarily be sitting still. This can play out in their everyday lives but they have this sense that they can't get away, they can't escape and the fear and immobility feeds on each other and it's very frightening and if that doesn't get resolved, the cycle just continues and feeds on each other. So, one of his things was to get his clients or his patients to get to know and to befriend their bodily sensations. He likes to get people to recognize the signs that they're in some kind of immobility response or they're experiencing fear or trauma-like stiffness, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, feeling like you're freezing or feeling helpless and get people to recognize when those things are coming on and do something like breathe through them and get through it.

Jonathan: Indeed. And I'm sure that that's really beneficial for a lot of people. Most people don't have that connection and I don't claim to have a really strong connection there either. We're trained away from it. It looks like we have a caller. Doug, is that correct?

Doug: Yeah, we've actually got two coming through right now. The first one is Lynne from North Carolina and she had a comment or a question. Go ahead Lynne.

Lynne: Hi. I just wanted to say it was really fascinating to listen to what you had to say and as an experiencer of a lot of different bodywork modalities and having been athletic when I was younger, I can really testify to just the physical benefits of rolfing specifically, and massage afterwards. I've also done some Alexander, tons of yoga. It is brilliant for keeping you healthy. But I really like the way you're tying the two together, the emotional health versus the physical health. The thing that's encouraging is kind of like the science alternative, world view thing, there's been this split that I can see that you would have emotional releases.

I remember early on, because I was kind of into rolfing early on, you'd be getting bodywork, could be emotional work, and if you were lucky the person would say, "Okay, I've got someone you can see for this emotional thing" because there was this big split of, "If you're a body-worker, you do bodywork; if you're a brainworker, you do brain work". But there wasn't so much communication. I think it was kind of a shock all the way around about how you elicit physical symptoms by working with emotions and you could elicit emotional symptoms by working with the physical and everybody was kind of standing around going, "Wow! Okay!"

But now either, if you're really lucky you get somebody who's got training on both sides and you have people who formed a network to say, "Okay, we kicked out this emotion. Here's where you can go. They understand what I'm doing and they will help you work through the emotion" and there's more of this back and forth of dealing with your issue, which is a totality of an issue. It is maybe an emotional issue but it is affecting your body. Sometimes you can have a physical issue that is creating emotional issues, but this recognition of this unity of ourselves as a being is really encouraging.

Some people do better one way or the other. I had to deal with a lot of my issues through the body. That was just the easiest, fastest way to get to them. And as I said, I was involved early on. So the fact that there were emotional components to my physical issues was a huge, huge shock. It totally took me off-guard. But once I thought about it for a while it made sense and got some mental health work, it was a really good thing.
Some people are not on good terms with their body so-to-speak. Through the mind, through the emotions you get openings and opportunities to improve the body's health. It's really marvellous. So there you go.

Elliott: Thank you.

Lynne: Oh you're welcome, great show. Love to hear it. Take care.

Doug: Great. Thanks Lynne.

Gaby: Thank you.

Jonathan: Thank you. That was a great commentary. Does Nancy have a comment as well?

Doug: Yeah, this is Nancy. Go ahead Nancy.

Nancy: Hi. I just wanted to make a comment about massage and just the healing aspects. I had an accident where I had a tear in my rotator cuff and my shoulder was frozen. I opted for the deep tissue massage and it totally healed a lot of the emotional issues and my shoulder. I had a frozen shoulder, very little range of motion. But once she got to the point where I felt a pop in my shoulder, there was a dry pocket, I guess you would call it that was the turning point. I was going every week for two years, but that was the turning point. Once the fluid was able to enter that area I was starting to get range of motion back and also using the rubber bands to stretch the muscles and keep them stretched. I think that was important because my posture at that time was really bad and it helped to keep that muscle stretched out.

But I just want to say how massage can be a very healing modality and I would recommend it to everyone. And I just want to thank you for your show. You're doing a great job. That's it. Thanks.

Gaby: Thank you.

Doug: Great. Thanks Nancy.

Nancy: You're welcome. Bye-bye.

Doug: Yeah, it's great to hear all these people having such beneficial experiences with this sort of thing. Sorry Tiff, go ahead.

Tiffany: That's a good example of not just emotional trauma like childhood issues or anything, unresolved issues that can manifest in your tissues; even car accidents or things like that, operations, the stress surrounding those things can manifest in your tissues too. My cousin was in a really, really bad car accident a couple of years ago and they had to actually cut him out of the car and he ended up with some back injuries and some neck injuries. He had to go to therapy. It could have been a lot, lot worse. He had to wear a neck and a back brace for a while. But speaking of stored trauma and stress and being in shock, we were all in the hospital. His mother lived out of town and she came down and as soon as he saw her he just broke down weeping and saw him lying on the bed and his whole body was just shaking, just letting go of that trauma because for most people mother is safety. So when she showed up that gave him a safe zone to let that stuff out.

Doug: It makes me wonder about how much of these injuries that you have in these accidents is actually emotional, how much is not actually a physical where there's been some kind of impact on the body itself, but how much of that is actually just storing that trauma.

Gaby: It's like Peter Levine said, for example, when a person is in a car accident their first reaction can be trembling and a lot of trembling. And of course the first line of treatment is bad. It's to stop the trembling with drugs. He explains that it's the worst possible thing you can do because that is like releasing the energy, the shock, the post-traumatic shock. And I've seen it even in the emergency room. There was this teenager who was on his motorcycle and he had an accident and he told me that he was going 50 kph, which is very slow, but he had this huge trembling. It was really impressive, like "I cannot believe this". And he was asking over and over again, "Why am I trembling? Why am I trembling?" And he was very nervous about it. I just held his hand and reassured him, "You're going to be okay. You're just releasing some energy." And afterwards I and my colleagues didn't believe him. We thought that he was going much, much faster just because of the way he looked and the injuries he'd had. And he turned out later to have a ruptured spleen, so he was probably going much, much faster. So just to be able to pay attention to all these little signs of how much a person is affected emotionally, but also trembling, can give you a very idea of the shock of just one person. I thought I would share that.

Doug: I can't help but think that it's a good thing that you were there Gaby because if it had been a different practitioner, they might have actually tried to suppress this; "Oh my god! It's trembling! We've gotta suppress that in some way!" so, the fact that you were knowledgeable enough, to just let him work it through.

Gaby: There were several of us and I just started explaining, "Let's not stop his trembling. He's going to be okay. Everybody get used to it. He's fine."

Elliott: It's like Peter Levine says in his book, when he talked about the accident he had when he was hit by a car and he said that when he was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital the paramedic was trying to strap his arms down and feed him with these drugs that essentially would stop that reaction. What he told her was that he was a doctor, which wasn't technically a lie because he had a PhD; he just wasn't a medical doctor.
Anyway he told her that he was a doctor and he said that he just had this strong urge to lift up either his left arm or his right arm, just to lift it above his head and wave it around. He said that was the reaction that his body was telling him that he needed to do. And he said the told her that he was a doctor and so she unstrapped him, which was not what she was meant to do. So he essentially went along with his body and he said that he feels that is one of the things that allowed him to recover from the accident so quickly, because he had a relatively smooth recovery.
But that if he didn't go with the response of his body then that could have got stuck and turned into PTSD or whatever.

Gaby: And taken years to get over it, or to realize what it was.

Elliott: Exactly.

Jonathan: Yeah, it's absolutely fascinating. I've been in a number of accidents and it's always been an instinctual response with that shaking, to try to stop it, to try to calm it down right away.

Erica: Well he says in his book too that the body is a map of the mind and so you can see that when a traumatic event happens, whether it's being hit by a car or even an emotional traumatic event, that to suppress the shaking or any sort of physical manifestation of the trauma is why he believes people develop PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. In one of his videos he talks about how for 40 years he's done this clinical work and creating a map about what goes on inside the brain and the body when people are overwhelmed by trauma or traumatic events. He began his work before there was a definition in the DSMV for PTSD so at the time he didn't know that PTSD was considered an incurable disorder. Mainly it was managed by medication. But he got a different perspective and he says that trauma is an injury not a disorder and there are ways to heal an injury. For him the work with trauma is about seeing what the injury is and finding the solution that helps support the innate healing that all human beings exhibit and have access to. And I think that's why he's written so many excellent books about it.

I really recommend his, In An Unspoken Voice-How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness because there are so many stories, like even our caller Nancy shared and other stories of people who had immobility in parts of their body and they didn't even know why. He talks about a fire-fighter who got a locked up shoulder and the man didn't even know why. His whole life he had been rescuing people and saving people and it was one specific event where he saw something extremely traumatic and had to reach his arm into a car with a woman who had been in there who had been decapitated and turn the car off. This had happened 10 years earlier and all of a sudden he can't move his shoulder. He could not for the life of him figure out what it was that caused that and through this somatic experiencing, after a few sessions it came up that that particular incident, even though he had seen so many graphic, shocking accidents, that this thing had stuck in his muscle tissue and not necessarily in his conscious mind.

Elliott: The book is just absolutely fascinating.

Gaby: I would recommend reading it.

Doug: For sure.

Elliott: So I guess what we could say to listeners is that even if you just fall over and bang your knee or something, if you pay attention to your body and do what it wants to do, then that will probably help you out.

Doug: Yeah, it seems that way.

Jonathan: It's so good that at least a moderate understanding of this kind of thing is being had now, even through the general public. People are aware of PTSD. Just through some random reading the other day to read about soldiers in World War II who had what they called shell shock, which we now understand as PTSD, but they were actually labelled as cowards and in some cases were actually executed for cowardice, which is just awful, it's just so awful, but in a lot of cases, were either dishonourably discharged or were shunned by their friends and family because they were thought of as being cowards when they just had this incredible trauma.

Erica: I'd like to share a quote out of this book that he opened with. It's on the first page, chapter 1, the Power of an Unspoken Voice. I picked this quote because it really sums up a lot of what we're talking about. And this is from the I-Ching, hexagram 51, circa 2,500 B.C.
"When a man has learned within his heart what fear and trembling mean he is safeguarded against any terror produced by outside influences."

Jonathan: Nice.

Gaby: That's very true.

Tiffany: So definitely bodywork can be a way of staying sane in an insane world.

Erica: And relieving the issues in your tissues.

Gaby: And Éiriú Eolas.

Jonathan: Well that's a good place to bring it to a close, not the entire show of course. We have the pet health segment for today. So let's listen to Zoya. She has a segment for us about massage for animals and this is about 10 minutes and then when we come back we will wrap it up. So here's Zoya.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. My name is Zoya and today I would like to talk to you about the benefits of massage for pets. But first a couple of news items about cats. If you have an account on one of the social networks or you like watching funny cat videos, it's possible that you saw various videos where people scare their cats with cucumbers. The poor animals jump in the air and run away. Sure, it's funny, but it's certainly not so for the felines.

So, various animal behaviourist experts say; that with the startle response, a cat will often try to get out of there as quickly as possible and then reassess from a distance. But the problem is that the cucumber trauma could cause long-term problems for cats. They could be long-term psychological problems because some cats are quite delicate. Veterinarians say that these pet owners are terrifying their cats and cats are reacting like this because they are worried that something is going to hurt them and people are doing this in the house where pets need to be safe and secure. Not cool!

Another theory is that felines jumped that high because they mistake the cucumber for a snake that has a similar shape. It's an instinctual thing. It doesn't matter that they wouldn't try to hunt it afterwards or would try to hunt it afterwards because are cats are known sometimes to hunt snakes. But the first instinct would be to avoid being bitten. And this was actually my favourite theory until I had a chance to stumble upon a Russian version of this experiment. Apparently Russians decided to do their own cats and cucumbers flashmob but except for one cat, the rest of the Russian felines displayed a rather interesting reaction. Instead of jumping and being scared of the vegetable the moment they saw it they just turned around slowly with a very perplexed expression and then displayed the curious attitude. They wanted to know what this strange thing is laying on the floor. Some even sniffed it or tried to play with it, not sure if we should or could make some sort of conclusion based on this observation, but it is indeed interesting. But let's move on.

Another interesting news item that I stumbled upon was about the research regarding why cats are fussy eaters but dogs will consume almost anything. Anyone who has watched a cat throwing up after munching on grass knows that our feline friends aren't natural plant eaters. So you might be surprised to discover that these carnivorous animals share some important genes that are more typically associated with herbivores and this might help explain why cats aren't always easy to please when it comes to food. New research suggests that cats possess genes that protect vegetarian animals from ingesting poisonous plants by giving them the ability to taste bitter. Animals use their sense of taste to detect whether a potential food is nutritious or harmful. A sweet taste signals the presence of sugars, an important source of energy. A bitter taste on the other hand, evolves a defence mechanism against harmful toxins commonly found in plants and unripe fruits. Evolution has repeatedly tweaked animals' taste buds to suit various dietary needs. Changes in an animal's diet can eliminate the need to sense certain chemicals in food and so receptor genes mutate, destroying the ability to make a working protein.

One example of this comes from strictly meat-eating cats who no longer taste sweetness but if bitter detection evolved to warn of plant toxins, then it stands to reason that cats shouldn't be able to taste bitter either. Humans and other vegetable-munching animals can taste bitter because we possess bitter taste receptor genes. If cats have lost the ability to taste bitterness we should find the receptor genes rebuilt with mutations. Geneticists at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia tested the genome of cats and other carnivores, like dogs, ferrets and polar bears to see if our carnivorous cousins have bitter genes and they were surprised to find that cats have 12 different genes for bitter taste. Dogs, ferrets and polar bears are equally well endowed.

So if meat-eating animal are unlikely to encounter any bitter foods, why have cats retained their ability to detect bitter taste? Domestic cat owners know how unpredictable cat's dietary choices can be. Some of the presents cats bring to their owners include frogs, toads and other animals which can contain bitter and toxic compounds in the skin and bodies. And so the research results show that bitter receptors empower cats to detect these potential toxins, giving them the ability to reject noxious foods and avoid poisoning. The discovery of feline bitter receptors might explain why cats have got a reputation as picky eaters but their unfussy canine counterparts have a similar number of bitter taste receptors, so why are cats to finicky?

One answer might lie in how the cat receptors detect bitter-tasting compounds. Research published earlier this year by another team of researchers showed that some of the cats' taste receptors are especially sensitive to bitter compounds and even more sensitive to denatonium than the same receptor in humans. Perhaps cats are also more sensitive to bitter chemicals than dogs or they may detect a greater number of bitter compounds in their everyday diet. Food that tastes bland to us or to a dog could be an unpleasant gastronomic experience for cats.
So rather than blaming cats as picky perhaps we should think of them as discerning feline foodies.

And now let's talk about the benefits of massage for animals. We all love massage and animals surely love massage too; not only dogs, also cats - though you should be careful about that with them - and even rats and other furry creatures. Massage can help your pets' physical and mental health by increasing their circulation and helping eliminate toxins and waste from their bodies, improving their joints with stability and muscle tone which can be very beneficial to older animals, improving the condition of the skin, coat, gums and teeth, improving attitude and ability to focus, which can affect behaviour.

Massage for animals indeed can help with behaviour and temperament problems by gaining their trust through the act of being touched, calming down a nervous or hyper pet, helping shy or submissive pets feel more secure, relaxing an aggressive or dominant pet. Massage can help pets that are recovering from injuries or have chronic conditions by enabling atrophying muscles to work the way they're supposed to or by reducing the recovery time from soft tissue injuries or providing relief from muscle soreness and spasms or relieving pain and discomfort associated with conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.

But there are some precautions with massage therapy for animals. If your animal is acting injured or ill you should consult with a vet for a proper diagnosis to make sure massage is appropriate. In some types of inflammation, massage is actually counter-indicated. If your animal has been diagnosed with a serious illness or injury, you should consult with a vet prior to having a massage, to make sure it will be beneficial and not detrimental. Never massage an animal that has low blood pressure, fever, poisoning, severe trauma, severe debilitation, in shock, heat stroke, a leg where there may be circulatory problems due to thrombosis, or an injury or illness not diagnosed by a vet.

The best way of administering massage is a preventive or fun measure and it also facilitates a greater closeness and bond between you and your animal and they are also cute when enjoying it.

Well, this is it for today. I hope this segment was interesting and have a nice day. {Bleating goats}

Jonathan: Such an infectious noise. {Laughter} Every time when we end this show on Fridays I find myself doing that goat noise, just kind of randomly. Well thank you Zoya. That was really fascinating and weird about the bitter receptors for cats. I know my cat is a super picky eater but like Zoya said, maybe I should refer to him as a, "discerning foodie" instead.

So I must admit my guilt here. I did not have a recipe for us today. However, Doug is going to enlighten us a little bit on some experimenting that he has done with chocolate. I know this is not a one-for-one recipe, but Doug, do you mind filling us in on that a little bit?

Tiffany: I think Doug stepped away.

Doug: Yeah. Sorry.

Tiffany: Oh, there he is.

Doug: I'm back. I had somebody at the door delivering a package. Sorry about that.

Jonathan: No problem.

Doug: Yeah, that's the bentonite chocolate I'm assuming we're going to right now?

All: Yes.

Doug: So after the show last week we were talking about radiation and I got inspired after Jonathan was talking about how after the Chernobyl disaster that the Russian government was handing out chocolate that had bentonite clay in it, as a way of getting the clay into people to detox them of the radioactive particle. So I was like, "Alright. I'll give this a try. I like experimenting with chocolate sometimes."

I don't have a proper recipe or anything because I was just kind of winging it, but I took about a cup of cocoa butter and a cup of cocoa. I set up a double boiler, so I put a pot on the stove with the simmering water in it and put a stainless steel bowl on top of that. I melted the cocoa butter in there, added in the cocoa powder. Give that a good stir. Put in a little pinch of salt. I've had some issues with sweeteners in the past when trying to make chocolate. I wanted to try and use xylitol and xylitol does not incorporate well with cocoa butter. For whatever reason it doesn't seem to actually melt at all. It will stay in a crystallized form. I know you can get around that by using some percentage of butter with your cocoa butter or making your chocolate entirely out of butter, instead of using cocoa butter but I'm more of a purist when it comes to chocolate and I try to do it with just the cocoa butter.

So I used a sweetener that you can get here in North America. I don't know how available it is in other parts of the world. It's called Swerve and it's a combination of erythritol and oligosaccharides which are a fibre that have a naturally sweet taste to them. So I used probably two teaspoons of that and stirred that up. It seemed to incorporate better than xylitol does but still not 100% perfect. And then I added some teaspoons of bentonite clay, mixed that up really good then poured it into moulds. You can just put it onto a cookie sheet with some wax paper on it and break that up afterwards, but I have been experimenting, as I said, so I actually have chocolate moulds. Then I just put it into the fridge for probably a good hour just to make sure that it hardened.

Oh, before that actually I did sprinkle some xylitol onto the top of the chocolate. It did stay crystallized but it added a little bit of sweetness to it. I can see somebody in the chat room here has said to put the xylitol in a grind to powderize it. I've tried that. It still seems to recrystalize once you put it in with the cocoa butter. So that actually didn't work either.

But anyway, what I ended up with was these chocolate bars that had bentonite clay in them. It's quite delicious. It did turn out pretty sweet. It has a bit of a gritty texture to it, not necessarily in a bad way. It just has some toothiness to it. My roommates seemed to like it and it seemed to work out pretty well.

Erica: And you killed radiation in the process.

Doug: Exactly.

Gaby: And heavy metals.

Doug: And heavy metals. {Laughter}

Gaby: You would put some potassium iodide tablets as decoration on your chocolate. {Laughter}

Doug: The best radiation detox protocol.

Jonathan: That's awesome. Thanks Doug. I am definitely going to be trying that straight away. Have you ever tried stevia with the chocolate?

Doug: I forgot to mention that actually. I did add a couple of drops of stevia to it as well and I usually do. I don't like using it as the primary sweetener just because it has what you might describe as a bitter taste, but it just has this sharp sweetness to it. I don't like it as the main sweetener. I find it's okay if you round it out with another sweetener but stevia on its own I'm not a big fan of.

Erica: I'm not either.

Tiffany: Me neither.

Elliott: Yeah, it works well with xylitol. If you can balance it out, then it can work really well. You just have to get the balance with the stevia.

Jonathan: Yeah. I noticed that when I use stevia with the fat bomb custard. It actually has almost a metallic flavour if I use too much.

Elliott: I find if you balance it out with salt, if you don't have any other sweetener, then in a fat bomb, if you add loads of salt, then if you get it just right, it can turn out really good. But if you get it wrong, then it's just extremely bitter. Not pleasant.

Gaby: It has to be the perfect chemistry.

Elliott: Alchemy.

Jonathan: Well thanks again Doug. That was great. I guess I'm definitely going to be trying that. I hope our listeners give it a shot.

Erica: It can be a Christmas gift.

Jonathan: Oh yes, there you go, that's a great idea! Well that's our show for today. We will be back next week on the 18th but then on the 25th that Friday is going to be the holidays so we're right now tentative planning to NOT have a show two weeks from today. So we will keep you posted on what we're doing there. But we will be back next week and we'd like to thank all of our listeners and our chat participants - we had a nice, busy chat today - and to our callers Lynne and Nancy, thank you for calling in. That was awesome. So be sure to tune in to the other two SOTT radio shows on Blogtalk Radio, The Truth Perspective tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. eastern and Behind the Headlines on Sunday also at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. There will be some good topics being covered there. Those guys always do a great job. So thanks again and we will see you guys next week.

All: Good-byes.