Giving and receiving Zero Balancing bodywork sessions

I’m currently running a special in my bodywork/changework practice in Austin, Texas, for Zero Balancing: The first session is pay-what-you-wish ($25-40 range suggested), and follow-up sessions are only $45, down from $60, through June 15, 2016. If you’re interested in benefitting, go to my website and book a 45-minute session.

Come in, receive the session, and pay afterwards, deciding if you want to buy a package of three ZB sessions for $135 or just do the one session. You can buy as many packages as you want at this price, but only through June 15. You can rebook single sessions for $45 each any time before then as well.

I recommend getting three sessions 7-10 days apart to help train your body to retain the changes, and then come in as needed for maintenance (monthly or when you feel you need it). But if one session is all you can do, I invite you to come experience it!


When I was taking my first workshop on Zero Balancing, in 2015 in the Lauterstein-Conway Massage School’s Advanced Program, it made quite an impression on me. I’d been doing bodywork for several years and over that time, I was feeling more and more strain in my body – tension patterns, fatigue, muscle soreness – not to mention having had scoliosis and pelvic tilt.

Zero Balancing gave me some relief. I got hooked, taking every opportunity to practice, attend study groups, volunteer, and take more classes when I could.

You might be wondering what Zero Balancing is, since the name doesn’t tell you that much. Zero Balancing (ZB for short) is a form of bodywork developed by Dr. Fritz Smith, who combined his training and experience in osteopathic treatment and traditional Chinese medicine (also influenced by Ida Rolf) to develop something new and unique.

He’s written a couple of books: Inner Bridges: A Guide to Energy Movement and Body Structure and, most recently, The Alchemy of Touch: Moving Toward Mastery Through the Lens of Zero Balancing.

Zero Balancing works on both the body’s structure and energy. What makes it unusual among types of bodywork is that it addresses the skeleton and relationships between the bones, the deepest form of qi. Once after receiving a session, someone said she felt zero balanced, and the name stuck.

How a ZB session goes

Since I both give and receive ZB, let me share an overview of what happens when I’m giving a session.

First of all, the recipient stays clothed, minus shoes, belts, glasses, and jewelry that could get in the way. She/he sits on the massage table, legs dangling, and I evaluate her shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle.

Then she lies on her back. I work on her lower body, starting with the lower ribs, lumbar vertebrae, and sacrum. I am reaching underneath her body to evaluate and apply fulcrums (compressions) to her ribs and sacrum.

Then I work on the hip joints and finally the feet.

I come to the head of the table and work my way up her spine, again working from underneath, going on to the shoulders, neck, head, and arms.

At that point, since we’re nearly done, I ask if any place needs to be revisited. This is the recipient’s opportunity to check in with her body and notice if any area is not quite feeling right yet. If any area does need revisiting, I work on that area and ask the question again. When there is no place that needs revisiting, I move onto the closing fulcrums.

When I’ve finished, I ask the recipient to roll onto her side and push up to seated position when she’s ready, and from there, to stand and walk, sharing what she is noticing in her body.

After a session

I love asking people what they notice after a session, because it is so different from most types of bodywork.

One recipient had received Deep Massage followed by ZB. I left the room so she could get dressed. When she came out into the waiting room, she said when she bent over to pick her clothes up off the chair, her brain told her that she should be falling over…but she wasn’t. ZB (and Deep Massage, a related modality that works on the muscles and fascia) had improved her balance, flexibility, and range of motion.

Another recipient of multiple ZB sessions routinely gets so relaxed on the table, he falls asleep.

It is typical for people to say they feel taller, lighter (but still grounded), more spacious, more balanced, more relaxed, unwound after a session.

One recipient said although it was hard to describe, she felt somehow like her body had been reorganized.

I’m trying ZB for various issues that people seek bodywork for. I’ve worked on two people with low back pain, and ZB helped them both. It also loosens up tight shoulders and helps with tight necks (but sometimes people need a bit of manual work if they have knots).

I’ve received dozens of partial (during training) and complete ZB sessions, and here’s what I notice:

  • ZB lengthens my body, undoing the constant compression of gravity.
  • I feel taller (always welcome for a short person like me).
  • I feel more spacious in my joints, including the entire length of my spine.
  • Movement takes less effort, and indeed, it’s like I am perfectly balanced even when moving.
  • There is definitely a centering effect.
  • The arm work makes my arms and shoulders (which can be overworked) feel more integrated and connected with the rest of my body.
  • I also notice that my body feels like it’s humming with feel-good energy. Rather than fatigue, aches, strains, and heaviness, ZB removes all that and turns up the volume on the pleasurable feelings of being alert, present, at ease, comfortable with myself and my body. There’s a joy and confidence that come with that.

I’m not an expert in Chinese medicine, but my hunch is that ZB, through lengthening the body longitudinally and also latitudinally through the arms and shoulders, actually has the effect of opening the meridians, easing the flow of energy throughout the body.

What’s Next?

My goal is to get many people to try ZB and fall in love with it! I doubt that it will replace massage, because many people seem to like being oiled up and squished around. But ZB definitely has advantages:

  • when you don’t have time for a massage
  • when you don’t want to get oiled up
  • when you don’t want to remove your clothes
  • when you don’t have an hour
  • when you can’t afford an hour
  • when you want to feel energized
  • when you want to improve your posture
  • when you want to feel freedom in your body

I find that ZB works well with Deep Massage and with craniosacral therapy, and I offer a two-hour session that combines those three modalities that people have raved about.


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