There are nearly 1,500 massage
therapy schools nationwide
but only HAI teaches this
The Body Insight Method™ is exclusive to the Healing Arts Institute, and was developed by the school’s founder and owner, Gary Salinger. He took the skills that benefited people the most and refined them into a bodywork method that combines deep tissue therapy, active movement and active awareness.
What we do with Body Insight is we teach our students to observe posture, first of all, and when they look at posture, the way that we look at it, is when people don’t stand straight, there’s a whole misalignment of joints going on in their body. Their ankles are caved in, their knees are buckled or knock-kneed, or hyper-extended, usually there’s one hip higher than another, and so on and so forth till you get to the point where people have headaches or they’ve got big knots in the back of their neck.
People don’t realize that what they’re doing is that they’re practicing that poor posture 24/7 and what it’s doing is over and over that habitual pattern that is inside their bodies is tightening tight muscles and loosening loose muscles. And this system keeps going on and on and eventually what happens is that injury will arise, because the body is not balanced, it’s not flowing correctly. Body Insight is a deep massage, it’s known as neuromuscular. Which means is that what happens is that we put pressure in, but very gently because we don’t want to increase the pain in the individual, but we put pressure into the muscle, and as we do that we ask that the person do some limited motion.
The reason for that is that if you can get the person to move the way that the muscle is supposed to move and you can release the tension in the muscle at the same time, what happens is that the system remembers, it’s very interesting, but remembers it’s design, and when it remembers it’s design, it goes back into it’s original function.
I developed Body Insight because I realized that it was much easier to work with a client than it was to on a client. And that’s a very important distinction. I think there are too many therapists out there that don’t really include the person that they’re working on. They just work on them, that’s just how it is, and if they get results great. Hopefully the person is happy, fine, okay, bye. But in this case I found that when you work with the person, you’re doing something that you’re involving them. And Body Insight, key to the nature of Body Insight, is the reality that it involves participation.
People who receive the bodywork will feel the pressure that goes into the muscle, but they’ll also be requested to do movement along the specific action of that muscle. And what will happen is as they start feeling the relief, because this is how it’s designed, what will go on is that they will start getting an awareness that they’re involved in the process. This helps me immeasurably, because as they start asking me questions about their body, what I can do is I can educate them. I can educate them about what they do on a daily basis, the habits that are unsuccessful. The way that they sit, the way that they stand, the way that they walk, the way that they sleep. There are just tons and tons of things that people do over and over, and what happens is when people practice these habits 24/7 what goes on is it cascades a whole bunch of unfortunate events within the body. Certain muscles tighten up and they get short, other ones stretch and they get long, and as you look at people’s posture, eventually you start noticing it starts moving out of alignment.
Where did it happen? Who knows. There could have been lots of traumas that happened as a kid, it could have been as simple as, you know, falling out of a tree or bumping your knee, or spraining your ankle. And during that recovery period people started to acquire little bit of habits where they were limping, and eventually the musculature around that joint got used to it, and that’s what the person did. As they kept practicing this, they eventually got to the point of having a habit instilled in them. They didn’t notice it and they kept doing it. When you do Body Insight what happens is you bring awareness to people about the muscles. You bring awareness to them that that movement is easier not easy, the movement has some level of discomfort and as you release the muscle while you’re working with them, as they do the movement they discover that the pain goes away.
As it does that, they become fascinated. They start asking questions about, “Well, why is this and why is that?” And we have the opportunity to really capitalize that on that whole situation, because now I am working with my clients. My client wants to know, they’re gonna listen to what I have to share with them, they’re gonna be much more active in participation, which is also a key secret to really keeping long-term clients. It’s one thing for a client to come in, lay on a table, you do a nice massage, they feel good, see you later, bye. It’s a whole another thing for you to do, not only a good massage, but you do some bodywork that they feel different in a fundamental level, and they start saying to themselves, “What happened?” “This is different.” “Nobody has ever done this.”
And this is a comment I get over, and over, and over again. “I’ve had hundreds of massages. I’ve had massages for 20 years and nobody has ever done this, why haven’t they? Well, the answer is nobody knew it. Body Insight is so special, it’s so different, it is so unique within it’s design that people that know it have a tremendous advantage because most bodywork systems, most massage schools, whatever it is, they don’t teach you this basic reality of what works.
Body Insight is a form of neuromuscular bodywork. What I mean by that is, that if you’ve received a massage, you’ve received often times what’s called Swedish. It’s a form of bodywork but it’s more gentle and flowing. When we’re talking about bodywork, we’re talking about corrective. We’re taking about somebody comes in and they have an ache or a pain or they complain about their shoulder hurting or they’re limping, or whatever is going on. It’s something quite obvious in their system where their body isn’t working efficiently. What bodywork does is, it goes deeply into the muscles and it starts freeing the muscles up, it sorts of “unglues” them, as those muscles became “unglued”, the pressure that their exerting out to the joints very subtly changes.
As the pressure on the joint changes so does the movement. If you do it correctly, you can actually correct the imbalance that exists within the movement and there’s all kinds of wonderful side effects. The first side effect is reduction of tension. The second one is reduction of pain. The third one is more efficient movement, and the fourth one is a lot more energy that’s not being wasted, so people actually feel more energized when their body is balanced. Body Insight is all about putting back the balance. So the bodywork as I talked about frees the muscles. What happens is it affects on how the muscles pull on the joints, and as I talked about before when we’re talking about the idea of proprioception, what happens is over time, people standing here is going to see a whole imbalance. One hip is higher and knee is locked back, the neck is tight, the shoulders pulled up, all kinds of different things.
Well that’s because people’s habits over time have become institutionalized. It’s like their doing this thing 24/7. The problem is, it is also the source of where their aches and pains are. Because any time that muscle is over-shortened and for whatever reason you reached for something, that muscle get over-stretched and what happens is that there’s micro-tears that go onto the muscle and there’s a lot of pain that can happen. And that’s what people feel. Massage is great because what it can do is it can warm up the muscle. But what it does not do is the neuromuscular part, it does not retrain the muscle. And that is what Body Insight does, it actually retrains the muscle. ‘Cause as I was talking about, you put pressure into the muscle, it starts releasing it, it starts sending messages to the joints and as that goes on the whole system starts getting a cascading effect, that happens.
Sometimes after people get up after a session of Body Insight they feel light-headed or they feel strange for a period of time. And it’s because their muscles are now working in a way that they’re not used to. This is the time for us as Body Insight therapists to move into the next step of neuromuscular which has to do with re-education. It’s a real secret about why this works. In a sense a person when the muscles are freed up properly but they’re not used to it yet are in a place where they’re what I call up for adoption. What will happen is that without any help, they’re going back into their habits because after all that’s what they remember. Another wonderful part about Body Insight is that, the therapists are trained to re-educate the actual movement that goes on inside the person. When that movement is re-educated properly, what would go on is they will no longer put pressure on those joints in the ineffective way because they now are moving more effectively.
Does it happen overnight? Hey, sometimes a miracles happen, but sometimes it just means that you have to work with that client for a period of time to really help them understand what they have to do exactly. But that’s really not a problem because for the most part, if you do the first step which is where you start freeing up those muscles, people will immediately feel a reduction in pain. They will have an increase in movement and oftentimes they’ll feel much more energized. They will feel better. When they reached that point, they’ll want to receive more work from you. They’ll be open to the education that you can offer, and Body Insight is a complete method. It’s not there just to do a little work and see you later. It’s about the whole idea of correcting how the muscles work, correcting the movement, helping the person retrain themselves in such a way that they don’t have to have this aches and pains in the future, which is something that clients really love. What’s fascinating about it is you would think that we will have less clients but the reality is, is that the work works so well that even if you do get somebody to a point where they feel so much better that they don’t need to see you at this point in time, they’ll tell 10 others.
And that’s what makes you a very successful therapist. And that’s what I’m really interested in when I’m teaching people to become therapists. I don’t want you just do my method because I think it’s cool and I know it works. I want you to do it because I know it’s going to be instrumental in you becoming a successful therapist, because you will have a tool that will create change quickly. It will be a tool that will pinpoint where people are complaining about the pain. You will have a tool that also educates them about where it’s coming from. I can’t tell you how many times somebody that has a “knot in their neck” has been wondering why I am not directly working on that immediately and I’ll chuckle and I’ll say, “Well how many people worked on your neck?”, “Oh everybody does,” and I’ll say, “Well how long has that been working for you”, and they’ll look at me at go, “Not so well.” And I’ll say “Yeah. Because they’re not getting the right stuff.” So if we can get the right stuff, we do it quickly, what happens is they’ve become very fascinated. When they’re fascinated they want to participate. When they want to participate, they will go the extra yard. They will pay you the money. They will take the time out of their lives, because they’re getting value.