It takes a warrior’s spirit to face people’s pain with little more than your hands. Asked how she approaches a client’s pain Paula explained, “It really depends on the individual, and what they are seeking.” Her approach to a client’s condition reveals the creative process at work in a complementary approach like massage or acupuncture.
What about a headache, for instance? “Headaches are complicated;” she replied, “because all headaches are different. Energetically, I look to see if it is part of a pattern. For instance, it might be due to a hormonal imbalance, or an acute pathogen, or a tendino-muscular disturbance. Depending on the pattern, I’ll choose which channels to work on and which external applications to use.”
What about a direct trauma, like a kick in the shin? Is that more straightforward? When you work energetically, maybe not. “With a direct trauma, I first want to know if it is acute or chronic,” Paula said. “I might start by applying lubricant using general strokes over the leg. Then go into deeper strokes. Then add medicated lubricants, like Dit Dat Jiao (an herbal liniment) or White Flower Oil.
“I might add Luo points, as well as work above and below the injury. The more you know, the more selections you’ll have; it allows you to be more creative in your treatment plan. One thing leads to another, like an unfolding path that takes place between me and the client.”
And where is the path going? “I’m seeking to free up an area so the body can heal itself,” Paula answered. “I want to release constriction so fluids and energy can course thru the muscles. With most injuries we have pain, but it’s not necessarily a negative thing; it’s the body’s way to protect itself from further injury.
“Pain comes from tightness, an inability to move forward. If you’re injured and you’re stressed, the body doesn’t know what’s healthy anymore. It goes from one state of tension to another. What I hope to do as a practitioner is help people restore movement and help them go forward with less fear.”
Paula has been teaching Swedish massage and other classes in the Massage Therapy Program since 1988 and in the Acupuncture Program since its inception in 1996.