Structural Bodywork
Structural Bodywork is a form of massage that penetrates directly to the moving parts of the body and makes adjustments on both the macro– and microscopic levels. By working with connective tissue, Structural Bodywork helps to heal injuries and dysfunction of muscles, bones, organs and connective tissue itself. Loosening the connective tissue allows muscles more space in which to work and decreases spasms. Aligning the connective tissue cleans up scar tissue and straightens posture. Painful, chemically toxic trigger points (the primary cause of Fibromyalgia) can be flushed out and aligned using Structural Bodywork. This form of massage is a crucial part of the regimen for healing ligament sprains and tendon tears that occur from sports, exercise and work injuries. Further, Structural Bodywork flushes toxins out of every part it touches and results in a profound detoxification of the body. Structural Bodywork has also been used by many people to increase physical and emotional awareness. It works well as an adjunct to mental health services. See Bodymind Integration section below.

Structural Bodywork can be done as single, ninety minute sessions that address the specific needs of the client. It can also be done as a series of ten, ninety minute sessions that work through the whole body in a systematic manner.

Along with the traditional 10 session series, Christian has developed an Arm Session that helps to solve problems arising from carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis, a Jaw Session that helps to solve problems arising from Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome and a Rib Cage Session that helps to open and expand one’s breathing capacity.
What it feels like:
The person receiving structural bodywork may feel that the practitioner gets directly to the parts that have been hurting or tight. There may be an experience of surprise and yet relief that the practitioner has found the right spot, maybe even the spot that no one else has found. One 10 year old recipient of Structural Bodywork said that it felt like “being under a waterfall in slow motion”. A client in Berlin said that, after the upper body session he received, he felt that he had Flügelschultern (shoulders with wings).
“Annie’s work has been integral to my rehabilitation and return to dancing. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of how the body works and applies her various approaches and techniques to bring about healing and transformation. I find her unique amongst many practitioners and physiotherapists I have used.” Oliver Scott, Dancer, Choreographer
“After seeing a series of medical specialists at the University of California Los Angeles (neurologists, internists and ear specialists) no source nor solution for my vertigo was discovered. But after a series of deep tissue massages from Christian, my vertigo was gone.” -Susan Von Manske, Los Angeles
“Annie worked her bodywork magic on me and sorted out problems I’d had with my neck and upper back for 25 years in 5 sessions. No intervention I’d had before had been anything like as effective. I went to her with these specific problems, but Annie treats the whole body, and explained how a problem in one area can be the result of imbalance and misalignment elsewhere in the body. She gave me bodywork but also an education in how to protect my body from further problems in very simple ways – like walking, carrying and sitting correctly.” -Emma F., London
Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy (Upledger Institute)  is like a whisper that enters slowly into the body. It is on this quality that the power of this bodywork is based. It was discovered that most tissues in the body can be stretched and aligned using 5 grams of pressure and a lot of patience. This makes Craniosacral Therapy (CST) effective in areas that are traumatized and would be further injured by other modalities. Using this technique, practitioners of CST can free cranial and spinal bones from restrictions and increase the flow of the brain’s circulation of cerebral spinal fluid. CST has been found to be an effective treatment for headaches, auditory and vision problems, muscular tension, arthritis and connective tissue injury. Owing to the subtlety of its pressure CST a bodywork style that can be applied to acute injury. Research has found CST to be an adjunct therapy in the treatment of learning disabilities and autism. Craniosacral Therapy, through its advanced form as SomatoEmotional Release, has also been used in the field of mental health.

Craniosacral Therapy is also indicated for infants. The process of birth may sometimes result in structural imbalances in the cranium or the limbs. These imbalances may lead to excess colic, suckling problems and restlessness. At Forest of Arden Healing Arts we can check your baby for these imbalances and gently encourage structural balance.
What it feels like:
Craniosacral Therapy feels in a way that few other experiences on the body feel. It does not feel like pressing or pulling or even like stretching. Instead, there is a sense of an opening in a place that one did not know one had inside. As the sutures are freed from their restrictions, a lightness enters the head. As the limbs are unwound from their tension, they float in an airiness. Sometimes the experience is akin to the gentle floating and gliding of an altered state of consciousness.
Relaxation/Circulation Massage

As medical research advances, it is discovering a common cause for most illness – stress. The body is an information system. All metabolic processes including those of defence, growth and regeneration are controlled by chemical and electrical information in the body. Stress significantly alters the body’s information and consequently alters the body’s capacity to defend itself against illness, to grow correctly and to regenerate when necessary. When one is feeling stress, one’s body releases a chemical called cortisol. This chemical shuts off the immune system and strips the body of its defence against illness. Since modern life is full of stress this news seems bleak. There is, however, a remedy – relaxation. A relaxation massage reverses the effects of stress, prevents the release of cortisol, and jumpstarts the immune system. From the first touch of this massage the body switches on the nervous system that controls relaxation and reinstates the body’s shield against disease. I can think of no better defence against the ravages of stress than receiving a relaxation massage once a week for life.

The second important effect of this form of massage is to encourage flow of the fluids in the body including blood and lymph. As the therapist slides her hands through the muscles, she pushes standing blood and lymph back into the blood and lymph vessels. This cleanses the body and encourages the excretion of wastes and toxins. It also makes space for fresh healthy blood and lymph to flow into the tissue and nourish it. Good fluid flow is essential to good health.

What’s more is that this massage feels good. Interestingly, modern medical research has something to say about feeling good as well. The experience of pleasure has been found to not only prevent disease but also to change the structure of the brain. Research has found that pleasurable touch stimulates growth in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is known to be the seat of empathy. So, regular relaxation massage will change your personality making you more open to understanding other people’s feelings.
What it feels like:
This type of massage feels pleasurable. A full warm energy glides along the skin. One may feel that one’s deep self is being moisturised.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage uses deep heated basalt rocks to warm, relax and detoxify muscles and connective tissue. Stones are placed on or under the body while other stones flow gently over the body in the sweeping motions of a circulatory massage. The heat from the stones penetrates deeply into the body causing a profound and pleasurable relaxation. As layers of tension let go, the heat also causes blood vessels to open and increases the removal of waste products and the delivery of nutrients. As muscles relax, joints can move more easily and pressure is released, making this an effective treatment for stiffness, headaches and arthritis. The use of many stones creates a feeling of total envelopment in comfort. It feels as if there are many hands on you relaxing all of your muscles at once. Aromatherapy oils can be used along with the stones.
 
What it feels like:
Similar to Relaxation Massage, Hot Stone Massage feels primarily pleasurable. The hot stones add a warmth that can be felt not only at the surface, but also deep in the muscles. Some people say that they feel enveloped in the warmth in a way that they have been seeking for a long time.
“My wife and I booked a couples hot stone massage for our anniversary. Annie and Christian decorated the room beautifully – the ambience was very relaxing and the massage absolutely sublime.”– Mr and Mrs MacDonald, Leamington Spa UK
Thai Massage

Thai Massage is the practical application of Metta, the Buddhist practice of Loving Kindness or compassion. The practitioner of Thai Massage melds with the client using pressures and stretches. Each touch is a chance for the practitioner to join her energy with the client’s energy. As a meditative practice the goal is the transcendence of duality (client-therapist, sick-healthy, you-me). It is this rigorous practice that allows the Thai Massage practitioner to apply the stretches and strokes in such a way that profoundly relaxes and balances the client. This is massage raised to the level of sublime ritual.

Thai Massage unblocks the flow of energy along ten primary energy channels called Sen. Like other meridian-based therapies (Acupuncture, Medical Qi Gong), Thai Massage heals by encouraging energy flow and balancing that flow. This therapy also works as a form of assisted yoga. The client is stretched slowly and deeply at just the right pressure due to the meditative nature of the work. Thai Massage is therefore a perfect therapy for relieving stiff joints.
What it feels like:
At one level, Thai Massage feels like a really good stretch – a stretch that one has needed but could not quite achieve. This is due to the palpation-based moves that the practitioner is doing. At another level, Thai Massage feels like someone is opening the pathways to energy in one’s body. Suddenly there is a flow of tingle where there wasn’t one before. At a still deeper level, Thai Massage can feel like a close non-verbal communication between the practitioner and the person.
“I had chronic frozen shoulders that had plagued me for four years. No matter what I tried, they would not unfreeze. After just one Thai massage from Annie I was able to move my shoulders again; not just my shoulders, my whole body felt looser and still is. The massage itself was very hands-on with client and therapist working closely together. Annie is very knowledgeable, understanding and professional, and knew exactly how far to take the various stretches.”-Martin Dymock, Birmingham UK
Lymph Drainage Therapy
Most of the volume in our body is made up of water. We can be described as a walking, feeling, thinking bag of fluid. In this light, it should be no surprise that the quality of our walking, feeling and thinking is dependent on the condition of those fluids. Lymph is a fluid that carries waste products away from cells and back to the heart to be distributed to the excretory organs. When lymph is sluggish or blocked, waste products build up around cells and become toxic. This toxicity is the basis for many diseases because it creates an environment of wrong information around the cells. Cancer, for example is a process of cell mutation caused by wrong information. Lymph Drainage therapy removes blocks that inhibit the flow of lymph. It manually moves lymph through the body, discouraging stagnation and encouraging elimination. The strokes of Lymphatic Drainage are amongst the most gentle in the world of bodywork. The overall sensation of this session is one of profound relaxation. The work is also effective in treating oedema and acute injury. Lymphatic Drainage can encourage draining of puffy joints or puffy bags under the eyes. This work, in its advanced form is also effective in redirecting lymph in people who have had lymph nodes removed and are susceptible to oedema in limbs.
What it feels like:
Similar to Craniosacral Therapy, Lymph Drainage does not feel like a push or a pull. Having some of the lightest moves of all the bodywork styles we do, Lymph Drainage might not be experienced at the point of contact at all. Usually, the person feels a deep relaxation on the table. Afterwards, the surprising sensation is that one feels looser in the joints. This is because inflammation can bind joints into rigidity and Lymph Drainage decreases inflammation and loosens the joints.
“The Lymph work Annie did helped me regain muscular control in my face that I thought was permanently lost.” -Cherise S., Actor
Visceral Manipulation
Typically, when one thinks of tight muscles and connective tissue, one thinks of the skeletal muscles. And when one thinks of massage and stretching, it is for these skeletal muscles and connective tissue that one uses massage and stretching. However, the practice of Visceral Manipulation, developed by Jean-Pierre Barral, has taught us that another place where bodywork can be useful as a means to release muscular tension and correct connective tissue problems is in the viscera – the body’s organs. The viscera are made up of four tissues: endothelial, muscular, connective and nervous. The endothelial tissue is the workhorse of the organ; it contains the glands and sacs that release the chemicals that organ produces. It is the site where the organ absorbs, excretes, filters and processes. This endothelial tissue is set in a complex network of smooth muscles. Just like skeletal muscles, if the smooth muscles are chronically tight, they will not be useful to support the function of the body part, in this case, the viscera. And similar to every other structure in the body, the endothelium and smooth muscles are surrounded by, supported by and interpenetrated by connective tissue. If the connective tissue is too tight, too loose, or somehow distorted, it will inhibit the functioning of the organ. And like other structures of the body, the viscera are guided by information from the body. This information is delivered to and sent from the viscera by chemicals (hormones, peptides) and neural impulses. The chemicals travel through vessels and the neural impulses through nerves. Both fluid vessels and nerves require that the connective tissue and muscles of the viscera be well-aligned, not too tight, and healthy enough to support their well functioning. Tightly-bound and pinched vessels to and from the viscera inhibit or even destroy the functioning of the viscera.
Using Visceral Manipulation, we palpate the state of the tissues of your viscera. We can loosen and adjust the tissues of your organs, as a means to support their efficient and healthy functioning. One particularly interesting phenomenon in the body is the integration of the network of connective tissues. This network is seamless, from your bones to your skeletal muscles and connective tissues to your viscera. For example, many of your abdominal organs hang from your vertebrae via the mesentery. Visceral Manipulation palpates and works directly on the mesentery and makes changes both in the organs and in the back.
What it feels like:
The experience of receiving Visceral Manipulation is quite varied. Sometimes the person is lying quietly on the table as the practitioner gently encourages the motility of the viscera. Sometimes the person is breathing deeply to allow the practitioner’s fingers deep into her abdomen to encourage the mobility of the viscera. Afterwards, one may feel a profound shift in the position of the different parts of one’s trunk. And if a visceral problem has been resolved, then relief of the symptoms will be felt.
Having been diagnosed with IBS by the doctor, I found Visceral Manipulation with Annie really helped eliminate the cramps and bloat. It was nice to feel normal again. I found the manipulation gentle and painless and was really impressed at the effectiveness of such mild-feeling treatment. -L. C., Leamington Spa UK
Bodymind Integration
Any bodyworker who has spent a few years in her craft can tell you that she has seen some clients become emotional when receiving bodywork. The bursting forth of emotion shows that there is a connection between the body and the feelings. It shouldn’t be too controversial to state that all emotions have a physical counterpart. When you cry, your body shakes and shudders. When you get angry, your muscles tighten. What is revolutionary to the field of medicine is the idea that all physical problems have an emotional root to them. This has been shown in the field of psychoneuroimmunology began by the late George Solomon. Christian met Dr. Solomon and studied his 227 research postulates that display the connection between the body and the mind. This research forms one of the roots of Forest of Arden Healing Art’s Bodymind Therapy. Problems as wide ranging as low back pain, diabetes and cancer have emotional causal roots. Bodymind Therapy follows the trail into those emotional roots and supports the healing of these problems. Conversely, Bodymind Therapy looks for physical root causes of psychological complaints. Depression, obsessions and even relationship problems all have a physical component to their root cause. By working with both the body and the mind/feelings, the therapist can provide a comprehensive therapy that addresses all root causes of a person’s problem.
Any of the bodywork styles listed on this website can be used as the physical basis for Bodymind Therapy. The most common one used is Structural Bodywork. Another equally common combination is Craniosacral Therapy with the psychology. The psychology used at Forest of Arden has two theoretical bases. We use Humanistic therapies (Person-Centered, Gestalt) to empathically listen to the client, reflect back his issues and help him explore other ways of being. The goal here is to increase awareness and to create a genuine relationship between the two individuals that heals simply through its connection. We also use system-based therapies (Family Systems Therapy, Radical Therapy) to help the client understand her place in the social systems around her. This therapy both raises awareness about how the individual’s environment can cause physical and psychological problems and offers solutions to remedy these problems. Bodymind Therapy is a powerful therapy that is exponentially more effective that either purely physical therapy or psychological therapy.
Bodymind Integration is also rooted in the work of Wilhelm Reich. Reich held that the conditions of the body, the mind and the society are all related. In Reich’s theory, tight muscles serve as armouring to help the ego and society repress primary impulses and drives in the individual. The total sum of one’s armouring can be understood to be the one’s character – both psychological and physical. The Bodymind Integrator works slowly through these layers of armouring to help the person re-connect to aspects of her self that she has hidden behind the fortress of armouring. Reich also understood that the compression on the tissues that is caused by armouring can encourage the growth of cancer. Freeing up the body and removing layers of armouring encourages both physical and emotional health. It also goes a way towards encouraging social health. In order for that possibility to be realised, BMI can be done in groups. See group therapy on the Configurations page.
What it feels like:
The experience of receiving Bodymind Integration is unique to each individual. As a form of humanistic therapy, BMI works to explore deeply held problems with living, issues in the unconscious that have not been allowed to surface by the ego. Therefore BMI is not always a pleasurable experience. As the practitioner sinks through the soft aspects of the body’s tissues to the hard tightened tissue, physical resistance may be experienced. As the practitioner  – using Rogerian, Gestalt, Family Systems and Radical Therapy – travels with the person into repressed and feared parts of his self and his social environment, psychological resistance may be experienced. While we do work “through the soft to the hard”, we are also guided by a rule that places the person in control of the depth and speed. We never work deeper or faster than the person allows. Bodymind Integration can give one the experience of a profound relief as one re-connects to parts of oneself that have been long repressed and alienated. In spite in being somewhat scary at times, de-alienation can feel very good. If done in groups, BMI can give one the experience of belonging as the group members re-connect to their humanity together.
“Christian’s work over the years with me has allowed me to overcome deep rooted trauma from my childhood and adolescence along with easing chronic pains in my body.” Hermes Clausz, Founder, Love Catering
Pregnancy Massage
Prenatal massage can help to soothe and relieve the aches and pains that can come along with pregnancy, such as lower back pain, sacral readjustment, ribcage compression and headaches.  It supports the body’s connective tissue to adjust to the rapid changes happening during this period. When receiving massage, the brain and body enter a state of relaxation that releases the ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain, serotonin, which inhibits the release of the stress chemical, cortisol. Therefore, massage can also benefit the ‘chemical soup’ in which your baby is developing. Pregnancy massage is good for mom and baby.
What it feels like:
Pregnancy Massage is done on a table with the mother supported by many pillows, lying in the most comfortable position. Slow, deep pressures penetrate the stretching tissues and help them accommodate to the changes of pregnancy. It can feel as relaxing as Relaxation Massage or, at times, as challenging as Structural Bodywork. Afterwards, the person may feel that she has more room inside her body to accommodate her growing baby.