Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash
I embarked on this project to explore the role of bodywork as a potential adjunct to existing methods used to integrate psychedelic experiences. The project involved working with volunteers who are using psychedelics for therapeutic reasons, to see how bodywork - and in my case I use a bodywork modality called Zero Balancing - could help them integrate their experiences. The three volunteers that came forward each wrote about their experiences and these can be read here (one, two and three).
I've been reflecting on this topic over the past few months, in part because I knew I wanted to continue it, or at the very least wrap it up with a summary. Quite where this blog post will sit in the scheme of this project remains to be seen. Regardless, it's a good opportunity to take stock.
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash
For those of you who know me and have worked with me for some time, you will appreciate that I really miss connecting with my clients and working with my hands. You have all, without exception, been such a pleasure to work with.
To keep my love of this work alive and to nourish my creative side, I have been exploring something I call 'virtual Zero Balancing'.
What is virtual Zero Balancing?
Zero Balancing is a touch-based therapy and because I can't work with my hands during the lockdown, I am available to do this work via Zoom instead. Hence the name, virtual Zero Balancing!
The sessions will be verbal, rather than touch-based, and will have a similar structure to a regular ZB session (i.e. consultation, verbally guided ZB and time afterward to integrate).
How does this work?
In Zero Balancing we work with both the body's physical structure as well as its vitality, or energy. Whilst I can't work through touch during this time of social distancing, it's possible to work with the flow of vitality from a distance and through verbal guidance, enabling the client to reconnect with their body and help them work with whatever ails them physically, emotionally and/or spiritually. It is calming, balancing and can help you to feel more present and at home in yourself.
Sounds great! What do I need?
You'll need the following:
How much does it cost?
Virtual Zero Balancing sessions are available on a donation basis. Give whatever you want! If you're uncomfortable with that, then let me know. Funds can be transferred after the session via BACS.
How long is a virtual Zero Balancing session?
A session should take between 30 and 60 minutes.
If you have any further questions or would like to arrange a session, get in touch by email to email@example.com.
This is the last in a series of guest blog posts about psychedelic integration. See here for an introduction to this project, here for the first case study and here for the second case study.
It's hard to know where to start in summarising my experience of psychedelic-assisted therapy and Zero Balancing as, in James' words, 'the healing potential of psychedelics is so incredibly broad'. The reality of the healing experience, for me, was also incredibly broad. So much to consider!
I was both honoured and excited to have James invite me as a volunteer to help him with his exploration into how Zero Balancing might benefit the integration of psychedelic, or any plant, entheogenic or psychotropic healing experience. It felt, to me, like together we were doing something for the greater good.
What follows is a guest blog post from psychedelic integration volunteer #2. See here for an introduction to this project, and here for the first case study. A third case study will be published in the coming week.
I'd recently taken psychedelic drugs (psilocybin mushrooms) as a therapeutic aid and was looking for a way to integrate the experience into my everyday life. This opportunity to work with James was recommended by a friend.
Prior to this, for the last 20 years, I've been a very traditional businessman working in sectors where "feelings" are consciously suppressed. Much of the terminology of Zero Balancing was meaningless to me, for instance "bodywork" is the panelling on my car. So please forgive any naivety in the language of this report, I hope it's readable to all.
My interest in all of this is my need for self-development. I want to improve my life, change harmful behaviours and patterns that I see playing out repeatedly in my relationships, and ultimately to move towards self-realisation.
To celebrate the new decade, I'd like to offer everyone (existing clients included) three Zero Balancing sessions for the price of two!
Get in touch before 31st January to book the first session and state your intention to take advantage of this offer by quoting 'JAN2020'. Pay Â£90 upfront and you'll get three sessions for the price of two :)
The only condition is that you have all three sessions before 31st March.
Book by calling 0131 210 0131 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you happiness, health and abundance for 2020 and beyond,
What follows is a guest blog post from the psychedelic integration volunteer mentioned in the previous blog post.
As James said in his post, ingestion of psychedelics under supervision in a safe setting greatly increases the likelihood that the psychedelic experience is one of therapeutic benefit.
I completely agree, however the safe setting that I chose could be regarded by many as highly unsafe. The middle of the Peruvian jungle, in an off grid camp, next to a tributary of the Amazon river, a day's canoe ride from any medical help. It's tough to find somewhere to do it in the UK. I'm an adventurer so it wasn't too much of an issue for me. I was highly motivated by the desire to rid myself of the heavy darkness I was carrying inside me, I didn't want it but I couldn't seem to free myself from it. I'd made progress through counseling, meditation, yoga, NVC (non violent communication), spiritual teachers on youtube and various other weird and wonderful retreats I'd attended. But something was still there and I couldn't get to it. They name this plant medicine "The Mother" in the Amazon, and they say it calls you. When I learned about Ayahuasca, it called me.
There is an emerging paradigm shift taking hold in the treatment of mental illness. It goes by the name of Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy, and essentially involves the ingestion of psychedelics under supervision in a safe setting. Doing so greatly increases the likelihood that the psychedelic experience is one of therapeutic benefit.
Such benefits include the treatment of treatment-resistant depression, fear of death in terminal cancer patients and nicotine addiction. The results from research done so far is very compelling - some cases of which show that three doses can have lasting and sustained positive outcomes, such as an 80% success rate in the case of treating nicotine addiction. And, indeed, that one dose can make a beneficial and lasting impact on those suffering from depression. Such success rates are totally unheard of in the existing paradigm. Similarly impressive results are seen in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With two new research centres now established - one in Imperial College London and the other at John Hopkins University - many more studies are planned.
Clients often come to me to release the imprints, the remnants, and the ever present impact of events from the past. Abuses of all kinds, childhood conditioning and psychological patterns that developed as a result of these are the most common. Every one has their story, their pain.
The common notion of the nature of time is that the past is just that, in the past - it's no longer present and no longer affects us - may be true in a mechanical sense. And it's along these lines that you may hear people say, "Get over it," or, "Why does that still bother you?" Other than lacking the obvious compassion, such statements are also factually incorrect. The past is not the past when it comes to the human psyche.
Both Bessel van der Kolk's best-selling book, The Body Keeps The Score, and Dr Gabor Mate's excellent books summarise how the central nervous system still behaves as if the threat of past experiences is ever present, and I would thoroughly recommend people read these books if they want to explore this topic further.
The affected central nervous system, in turn, affects the whole body - including hormone secretions and organ function - as well as our behaviour. Our accumulation of experiences has shaped us, and continues to do so.
This morning I re-read Jim McCormick's guest blog post and it strikes at the very heart of why I do Zero Balancing and why I continue to dedicate myself to it. Zero Balancing is not just for aches, pains and physical realignment. It's a tool that can deepen our personal development and our understanding of ourselves - helping us to strip away all that we are not, so we are left with a greater knowledge of who we are.
To let go of all physical tensions that are no longer of use or necessary is to let go of all psychological habits or tensions that are similarly no longer of use or necessary. We literally hold our way of being in the world in our body. In letting go of who we were, we are able to re-define ourselves and adapt to the changes of life. This in itself is useful as it makes us adaptable to whatever may arise in our lives in any given moment. And it goes deeper still, we can gain knowledge of why we behave the way we do, to understand what happened in our lives to make us just so and, ultimately, to root it out so we can be more fully ourselves.
To celebrate the new year, I'd like to offer everyone (existing clients included) three Zero Balancing sessions for the price of two! All you have to do is get in touch before 31st January to book your first session and state your intention to take advantage of this special offer by quoting JAN2019.
You can book the usual way - calling 0131 210 0131, by email to email@example.com, or by messaging the facebook page.