Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2013

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technique @work | the science of movement | energy work | Myofascial techniques Moving Energy Through the Body Deep, Cleansing Breathing Can Feed Your Core By Noah Karrasch In my quarter century as a professional bodyworker, I've studied and explored many techniques, and I'm convinced the first and most lasting key to good health is learning to take in and let go of deep, cleansing breath on a regular basis. Too many of us slow down our energy by choosing to hold our breath. I often ponder sayings about breath, or the lack of it: "She took my breath away." "His anger sucked the air out of the room." "That fall knocked the wind out of my sails." "The air was heavy in that place." Each of these sayings denotes a reason or stimulus that 110 massage & bodywork may/june 2013 taught us to hold our breath and not move it. We do, however, find positive phrases: "I heaved a sigh of relief." "She's a breath of fresh air." Which of these phrases make you happy and relaxed? What takes our breath away? We do! Too often we respond to a stimulus from the world outside ourselves by stopping our breath. We seem to believe that holding our breath protects us by blocking the message or stimulus that's coming at us. While holding our breath may seem to keep problems at arm's length, we shorten our life and inhibit our activities by doing so. As we hold our breath, we starve our core. Without breath, we can't deliver oxygen to the lungs; they can't clean blood returning to be oxygenated; and the heart can't pump revitalized blood. We become tired, lethargic, and ill, simply because we don't breathe deeply. How do you react when I suggest you bring breath into one of your physical trouble spots? What if that spot is in the hip or ankle? I find amazing results by encouraging a client to find breath in their shoulders while I work in their stomach, pelvis, or even leg area; releases are much stronger and longer lasting. You may already realize how helpful breath images can be to clients, but how do we make it more real for more of them? I ask clients to imagine their entire body as a balloon, with a smaller balloon—their lungs—inside. If they inflate the inner lung balloon, won't the body balloon have to expand, too? As the lungs expand, if

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