Working with forward head posture: Zero Balancing and more

Note from MaryAnn: This is a guest post by someone I’ve known for nearly a decade. Years have gone by without us seeing each other, and then we reconnect, and it’s a happy occasion. She is a wonderful writer with a fascinating and fascinated mind, a perceptive presence, and a wicked sense of humor.

We initially did a 90-minute craniosacral therapy session with Zero Balancing. Then we did a 30-minute Zero Balancing session that she writes about here. This is the first in a series of posts about her experience receiving bodywork from me to help relieve her forward head posture (and the pain and tension that accompany it) and work with anything else that arises.

Forward head posture is becoming more common with our sedentary, screen-gazing habits. Several of the modalities which I’ve trained in and practiced are very effective at relieving forward head posture, including Zero Balancing, myofascial release/Deep Massage, and craniosacral therapy. And Cate will have homework to do as well.

I hope you enjoy reading these posts as we progress. The bottom of the post contains a link to the following post if you wish to read them consecutively.

by Cate Radebaugh

Over the years, I’ve developed forward head posture. Some of it comes from many hours in front of a computer screen, and obesity and self-image issues haven’t helped any. I recently became aware, though, that carrying my head out so far in front of my body is exhausting, and my neck, shoulders, and upper back are so constricted from the constant weight that they never really relax or rest, even in sleep.

So … I went to see my friend MaryAnn Reynolds to find out if she might be able to help. I’ve already said a little about my first visit* and my second was just as interesting. It was a Zero Balancing session. I think Zero Balancing is a really funny name and an even funnier intent, because I already experience moments of what I think of as zero balance and would just as soon not. MaryAnn’s Zero Balancing is different from that. In fact, it seems to be something of antidote.

*I added her quote to the Happy Clients page on my website, after her first visit: C.R., 8/18/16, after 90 minutes of Zero Balancing followed by the craniosacral 10-step protocol for posture and pain: “I had such a feeling of lightness, like I was full of little holes with air blowing through them. It was wonderful.”

MaryAnn doesn’t analyze anything, which is nice. She describes what she’s doing and wonders with me at my reports of my body’s responses to it, but she doesn’t tell me what I’m experiencing or set me up with expectations.

She is profoundly respectful of my ability to know and own my experience. It’s my body, after all. At the same time, she knows things about human bodies in general that open doors and windows in my individual body that I didn’t know were there.

Apparently, this has just about everything to do with something called fascia, which is the name for the body’s primary connective tissue. It’s nearly everywhere in us. The way I understand it is, if the fascia is supple and flexible, it’s as though we’re held together with spider webbing, which is thin and delicate and tremendously strong. But if the fascia is constricted and tense, it’s like the body is held together with a whole lot of heavy duty duct tape.

MaryAnn talks about fascia the way Toby Hemenway talks about soil – with passion, respect, wonder, love, and awe. She touches it in the same way. Sometimes I feel like it’s just her and my fascia, and I’m hanging out nearby, somehow, feeling the conversation between them. And I feel it in funny places. For instance, in this past ZB session, she was working on my hip bones and I felt something relax behind my right knee. After a while, it felt like my whole right leg was relaxing. Then she put one hand on each of my hip bones where they stick up and pushed down, and I felt like I’d been waiting for that moment my entire life. I can still feel that sense of opening radiating through my pelvic girdle to my hips and lower back.

My intent is that my body re-align itself according to its original design. To do that, MaryAnn has suggested myo-something. So that’s what we’re going to do. With photographs, so I can track my progress and share it with you. I already have homework. Tasks involve walls, swim noodles, and a timer with temple bells. Another assignment is to occasionally eat dark chocolate. Tsk. The woman is such a taskmaster.

I don’t see any difference yet when I look in the mirror, and my head still feels like a bowling ball hanging off my neck. But my fascia is saying, ohhhh, yeaaaahhh, and something even deeper is waking up to possibility, and that’s a really good start.

MaryAnn’s comments:

For readers, if you’re still not sure what forward head posture is, this graphic shows it well, if cartoonishly.


Also, if you’re interested in fascia, here’s a very cool video, courtesy of Ronelle Wood, posted by permission of fascia explorer Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau.

I’ve posted about Zero Balancing before. It’s bodywork that has been developed from osteopathic manual therapy, Rolfing, and traditional Chinese medicine, and lots of feedback, and it affects the body’s structure and energy. I believe it lightens up the cumulative effect of gravity on our bodies as well as releasing habitual tension patterns. It’s also just getting on the national radar for bodywork modalities. Curious? Come in for a session! 30 minutes, clothed.

Read about the second treatment here.

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