You’ve probably heard that regular stretching is good for your body, but you may not have considered stretching, combined with acupressure, as a form of healing. Rhys Dwyer is a practitioner of this modality (Zero Balancing), where he uses techniques to help you reduce pain and even release suppressed trauma.
Unlike traditional massage, this form of touch therapy focuses mostly on the bones and joints. You can learn more about Rhys and zero balancing here:
What made you want to get into this field?
Two things. The physical results I got right away were astounding in terms of pain and mobility. The feeling of integration and overall balance were also very cool.
But wayyy more important was the way it brought me back to myself at a soul level. I initially described it as being reintroduced to my “old self”. What I now realise was that my old self, my original soul-self, if you like, has always been there. This therapy helped me bring my soul into the light of day. That has opened the way for my own spiritual growth to blossom in the intervening years.
What has been your favorite aspect of this work?
Helping people to meet their “old selves” again, to rebalance, reduce pain, move better, relax and destress using a very simple and non-invasive touch therapy.
The other really cool aspect is Zero Balancing’s (ZB’s) ability to release historic trauma. I’ve treated a lady who was subject to multiple sexual abuse as a child, and helped her to release the physical manifestations of that history in her body. She’s been able to operate more freely in the world now, unencumbered by that history. I’m currently working with another woman who now realises some of her lifelong physical issues, especially in one shoulder, upper back and neck may have to do with her mother’s anxiety issues during and after the pregnancy.
Can you explain what zero balancing is and what a typical session is like from start to finish?
Zero Balancing is a touch bodywork therapy that works mainly on bones and joints, gently releasing any held tension. It’s done with acupressure and stretches in a head to foot “holistic” therapy. Clients remain comfortably clothed throughout.
We start with a 15 minute consultation where we understand relevant history and their health objectives. After assessment, most of the session is conducted with them lying face-up on a massage table. We commence with a stretch from their ankles to engage the whole body. We then work the low back, sacrum, hips, knees and feet with acupressure and stretches. Followed by upper back, neck, head and arms. It finishes with a final curved stretch from the ankles to integrate. The sessions typically run for 45 or 60 minutes, including consultation which reduces to about 5 minutes at subsequent sessions.
Skilled acupressure touch is used to meet any tension we find in bone (quite often a hardness, or heat, sometimes dullness); then gently help it dissipate, leaving the bone feeling more supple and alive. ZB unblocks held energy (aka pain, tension, stiffness) transforming it into positive energy flowing seamlessly through their bone structure. It’s difficult to put into words how good this feels!
During the session the client feels relaxed, alive, very present and connected to themselves.
While the client will notice immediate changes in their body, often the physical and mental benefits continue to manifest for several days to a week after the treatment.
What sort of health challenges can zero balancing be effective for and why?
Mental and physical trauma are often held in the body as tension, the deepest trauma is held as tension points in bone. ZB can release that tension without the therapist or client necessarily having to know the cause. Releasing the bone tension also eases tension in soft tissue and can influence the background energy field as well. Often these releases can occur without any major meltdown on the part of the client. Sometimes this tension has been held for years, in some cases their whole life.
Physical issues. Often clients come to me with long term physical issues with back, neck, shoulder hips and so on that more conventional specialists haven’t been able to resolve. ZB rebalances the whole body and may resolve such issues whether they be originating, or possibly compensating for an imbalance elsewhere in the body.
Stress starts in the brain but manifests in bone, so when ZB releases bone tension, the stress is often relieved as well. Sometimes a client complains of a “knot” in their back, but most often it’s a hard spot in a rib, rather than muscle.
Relaxation. I always ask clients how they’d like to feel after a session. 95% of the time they ask for relaxation, because they know ZB will give them that, whether or not they understand that they are actually making contact with their deeper selves. Research has shown that ZB relieves stress markers over FIVE times more than relaxation alone.
Anxiety and other challenges of the thinking mind. ZB helps people exit the thought stream and grounds them in the present moment. This helps to remove the overwhelm of the “story” we create about our problems, which often assume proportions much greater than what is actually facing us at this moment. We only ever live in this moment. Children figuring out life also face periods of anxiety and respond well to body-held tension release.
General lethargy as well as chronic fatigue syndromes often respond well to the energy basis of ZB.
Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke and other neurological conditions often respond well, probably because of the effect of ZB on clearing the mind, and also the physical tension release. I’ve also recently worked with several autistic clients who love to chill out with ZB. Autistic people benefit from balance as much as anyone else!
Cancer and other confronting diseases. Clients may benefit from the mental benefits of ZB, bringing them back to a state of presence, which has greater healing potential than someone continually manifesting in a worry state.
How can Zero Balancing be supportive in overall healing and well-being?
It’s well accepted these days that most disease states originate from an imbalance in our physical, mental or spiritual states. ZB may aid restoration of this balance. Plus, in my own practice I optionally offer clients free advice to take present moment awareness into their daily lives, and so give the client more tools to improve resilience and maintain their balance for longer.
Many clients incorporate a regular monthly ZB session as part of their overall health maintenance. It keeps the body in balance from any excesses or deficits of exercise, work stress, family issues – ie life. ZB is unique in that people may take different benefits for body, mind and/or spirit depending on what they need at any point.
When western society basically dumped archaic religious practices over the last century, which it needed to do, we didn’t replace it with anything other than materialism. What I’m noticing is that there is a craving these days for people to reconnect with the spiritual aspect of themselves, whether they are aware of that or not. ZB offers the potential for us to reconnect with our “soul-self”, to ground ourselves in that, and interact more easily in the world, making better choices for ourselves. It’s a version of spirituality that the individual can discover and grow for themselves as they are ready, there are no doctrines or rules to follow here.
Is there a technique in your practice that you have found to be the most beneficial to the people you work with?
I find that ZB sessions go best when I maintain absolute presence for the client and hold them in the highest possible regard. It lends the session an extra dimension complementing the touch itself. When I am in that state, it opens the door for the client to be grounded in presence as well.
What is Zero Balancing like from the patient’s point of view?
The first thing is that ZB feels really pleasant to have done. It’s relaxing, great for de-stressing and clearing the mind. The effects may also be invigorating, and energising. Pain is usually reduced, mobility improves, aligned comfort is often experienced. Sometimes the biggest sensation is relief!
The predominant effect actually experienced will depend on what a client needs at any given session. This often dictates what the client’s body and mind takes out of the ZB. Effectively, ZB allows the client’s body to heal itself, and ZB will adapt over time with the client’s needs.
Sometimes clients become very cognitively expanded in the session. This is like an intense feeling of presence with a commensurate ceasing of thought activity. In moments like this, clients may experience their spiritual, or soul, dimension.
Other clients just need to rest, and some will drift off to sleep for a while (which is what I did at my own most recent session!).
What would you say to someone skeptical about zero balancing and its effectiveness? How do you approach that?
If they are even slightly open to a new healing possibility, then just trying it can’t hurt – ZB is very safe. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence as well as research.
However, if they are truly skeptical, then they are closed down. If they are not open to healing themselves, then any treatment modality is going to seem like voodoo magic. Is the status quo better for them? In a book written by a cell biologist (‘The Biology of Belief’ – ref below) he relates that whatever we believe, our biology will follow. Cells are either in growth mode when the environment is positive, or they are in protection mode when the environment is closed and negative. Disease tends to happen in the latter.
Some people need to go through a world of pain before they become desperate enough to search for another option. However, things don’t have to get desperate or suicidal. There is no shame in reaching out to anyone for help.
Even the biggest introvert needs a friend. What is less commonly appreciated is that the biggest egoist needs that friend just as much. Just the act of reaching out stimulates oxytocin and helps begin the healing process.
Besides Zero Balancing do you have any universal health and well-being tips that you’d like to share?
Yes absolutely. Take some time each day to centre yourself with body awareness, counting or watching the breath, music – whatever helps you escape the thought stream for a while. This is very healing for the brain.
Try to link with nature, animals, or special people daily.
Exercise moderately. Exercise is health.
Be grateful – make a list each day of three things you are grateful for. Gratitude and neediness can’t coexist.
Be kind to yourself, and to others.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to someone who is struggling, what would it be?
Don’t believe what a random thought tells you, a new one will be along in a moment. Your thoughts are not you. Treat them as a show that you don’t need to get personally involved in. In time they will diminish. Come back to the present moment, it is a simpler and happier place to live. ZB is one way to help you experience the present moment for yourself.
What resources would you recommend? (books, podcasts, websites that you’ve found helpful)
Bruce Lipton – The Biology of Belief
Ram Dass – Polishing the Mirror
Eckhart Tolle – A New Earth plus podcasts
Byron Katie – YouTube and several books
Oprah Winfrey – Supersoul Sunday podcast
John O’Donohue – Anam Cara
Anita Moorjani – Dying To Be Me
Trauma can manifest into physical ailments throughout your body and may be causing chronic pain in different areas or even throughout. This embedded trauma cannot be worked out with typical massage therapy, but instead can be addressed with the modality of zero balancing.
Check out Rhys’ website and Instagram below to learn more about him and his work:
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