Your body is composed of layers. Each one has a relatively soft, connective tissue associated with it. Generally called “fascia”, these connective tissue layers act somewhat like a series of living saran wrappings around all the tissues in the body.
The layers overall are:
- The skin with its associated superficial fascia
- The organs and muscles with deeper fascia around and within them
- The joints, connected by the fascial ligaments
- The bones with a fascial skin on them called the periosteum
Healthy movement requires that all these layers move in a coordinated fashion with each other. If the superficial muscles move, but the deeper don’t, that sows the seeds for too much tension becoming chronic in the deeper muscles. If the muscles are freely moving, but the bones and joints aren’t, that may sow the seeds for ligament damage, resulting muscle spasm, and ultimately osteoarthritis.
Therefore, a massage therapist, to fully help clients, needs to facilitate freedom within and between all of these layers. If even one layer is under-addressed, then the body’s health, balance and movement will be compromised. Ultimately this imbalance can begin to affect organ function and can lead to disease.
The superficial layers of the muscles and fascia just under the skin are well addressed by Swedish massage, hydrotherapy and various spa therapies that concentrate on the body’s surface.
The middle layers respond to Deep Massage: Lauterstein Method (which combines structural and energetically integrative work) and other therapies that systematically free and organize the muscles and the fascia that lie nearer our body’s core.
In the deepest structural layer are the bone and joints. These are best freed through Zero Balancing or other therapies that systematically facilitate balance and healthy function at that level. Ultimately I will say with deep massage we eventually feel that we are releasing the bones and joints as well as the associated deep soft tissues.
A good case can be made for systematic balance in the body needing to be created from inside out.
Finally there yet another “layer” that we are communicating with as we help balance these various structures. That is the nervous system, particularly the brain and the more widely distributed intelligence including the whole body that can be considered as the “mind” within the body. This nervous system is conjoined by the endocrine as well – giving us both an electrical and chemical source for deep organization of function and structure.
In Deep Massage and Zero Balancing we recognize that this neuro-endocrine mind, the intelligence embodied in each part and layer of us, is most accessible through a systematic touch that honors in turn each of the body’s layers. This awareness – that every touch to some extent affects many layers of mind as well as body – makes this a very special and exciting modality to practice.
When we have a good idea how to touch mind as well as body, then we can usefully integrate concepts from Asian medicine that have long recognized the unity of these two – often using “energy” as a synonym for mind.
With Deep Massage and Zero Balancing we want to balance the fascial layers and facilitate coordinated movement through enhanced proprioception and awareness, through overall a balance between and within our structure and energy. This is in some sense the Holy Grail of bodywork – because when we release only one part or aspect of the self, we have in effect created only a new kind of imbalance. The word and fact of health derives from the word and the experience of mind and body’s unity and harmonious function.
Therefore, the study of Deep Massage and Zero Balancing is ultimately at the very core of what we need to know to fully help our clients integrate their structure and energy.