Asia Spa 2011

Asia Spa 2011
Category: Print
Posted: May 26, 2012 03:47:05 AM
Synopsis: Sensitive Touch

Ellen's initial exploration of the world of touch and healing came as a way to escape aches and pains accumulated from long hours at work at the knitting machine, and from the emotional pain of dealing with the end of a long-term relationship. "12 to 14 hours a day at a knitting machine had created a lot of tension in my back, neck and shoulders and I was also at the end of the relationship that had left me feeling touch deprived," she tells.

At a friend's recommendation, Ellen visited the Shiatsu School in Santa Monica where she was introduced to a man, who was has since become her greatest teacher.

The sessions she signed up for completely blew her mind. "I'd had eight years of therapy at that point, and I got more done with him in two hours with emotional release work, deep tissue work and some structural body work which totally changed my posture, than in eight years of therapy. He dove into some sensitive areas around my hip bone and I started screaming and crying and thinking that he was trying to kill me, and then I started laughing hysterically. At the end I was left exhausted and so profoundly relaxed because a huge layer of emotion has been lifted."

Being this aware of the capability of bodywork to connect someone up so directly was hugely inspiring for Ellen. " It was then I made up mind. Forget about the garment business, forget about making money, forget about everything, I'm going to drop it all and learn about the relationship between yoga and bodywork and how I can make this experience available to other people," she remembers. Inspired by the power of informed touch, she took her first yoga training with Ana Forrest. Then by studying Shiatsu Ellen started transforming her own skilled hands to work on the physical and emotional body.

An apprenticeship with her Shiatsu teacher allowed her to follow him closely until he started to divulge his secrets. "I hosted a lot of bodywork seminars at my house in trade for an apprenticeship and studied with him at the Shiatsu school." When Ellen's Shiatsu teacher told her to study craniosacral with Hugh Milne, she agreed, immediately seduced into the visionary craniosacral approach because it mapped closely onto Forrest yoga's shamanic approach of being able to see empathically what's going on in another person's body. 

"Without having to touch them, without having to talk to them, you can actually be in somebody's energy field and know where they are, emotionally or psychologically, or even physically. There's a way to develop intuition to see what troubles somebody," she explains.

The Milne Institute has a lot of intuitive development as part of its curriculum. It also has a very rigorous and deep anatomical education, extremely rich anatomical education, which required Ellen to learn very in depth anatomy of the whole upper body, pelvis and the back. "We were taught

to hold a picture of the deep anatomy in our mind's eye, and dialogue with it. In my experience if I name the anatomical parts as I'm touching them I can feel the body's response. If your intuition is open you can go in and find the restriction and free it and it doesn't have to be complicated or painful."

After undertaking a second round of yoga teacher training (with Ana Forest?)

Ellen immediately started teaching anatomy for yoga teachers. "The basis for Shiatsu is the Chinese meridian system and the notion that certain emotional content is locked into certain muscle groups," she explains. "As a result of my bodywork training I understood the relationship between emotion and body parts and was able to explain to yoga teachers why people were having emotional releases in yoga classes in certain poses," Ellen reveals.

12 years of study and over 10,000 hours of clinical experience later and Ellen's work has revealed many mysteries of how people hold emotional content in their body, why some people release it and some people don't. "There are secret doorways into different areas of the body and I've learnt to access those doorways," says Ellen. She gives the example of the pectoral muscles

which hold the emotion of grief. "I've put my hands on a lot of pectoral muscles and if somebody has unexpressed grief and you touch them on the pectoral muscle they'll probably start crying."