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Aston-Patterning: A Holistic Look at Therapeutic Body Massage

Bodywork expert Rama Newton may not know who will come walking in his door next but there is one thing he feels sure of—that person will go walking out in a whole different place. Founder and owner of Your Balanced Being in Edgewater, Colorado, Rama has seen—and treated—it all.

From common complaints like back pain to aiding in the rehabilitation of a man who broke his neck in a car accident he uses therapeutic body massage to provide relief, education and empowerment to his clients.

“The work that I do is founded from advanced bodywork called Aston-Patterning which is more of a comprehensive way of looking at our bodies in a holistic way,” he says. In other words, he looks at the whole package.

For example, a person with a knee injury who goes to a physical therapist will likely have the knee and its range of motion examined and then be given a treatment plan focused on the injured area.

Rama, on the other hand, wants to know the big picture—not only what’s happening with the knee but how that knee is interacting with the rest of the body.

An evaluation with Rama begins with taking a history of what is going on followed by a visual assessment. “I look at alignment from all four angles watching how the person stands and walks and how their body segments all relate to each other,” he says.

He also gleans information by feeling the muscles’ strength and tension levels. Certain areas might be too dense and working too hard whereas others could be soft and not doing enough. Both can put a body out of kilter.

While many people come to him looking for relief from pain, others seek skill improvement ranging from running to tennis to playing a musical instrument. In those cases he watches the individual do the activity as well. “We’re all unique in how our bodies do what they do,” he says.

“You watch one person do an overhand serve in tennis and watch ten more people and there is similarity but also idiosyncrasies of how their bodies are in position to make that happen.”

Rama studies these idiosyncrasies and the way the body moves as a whole to make suggestions how the movements might relate to the area of discomfort or lack of power or efficiency the client is trying to achieve. Treatment consists of several components.

Often tissue work like massage is involved with specific strokes changing the muscle tissue—for example, loosening up tense muscles. Once this is achieved the entire body is viewed again to see how this one change has affected all the other parts which can lead to focus on additional areas.

Exercises are also crucial to success. Stretching, loosening and/or toning are all possible recommendations depending on the individual.

Finally, education is key. “One of the cool things is how empowering it is,” says Rama.

“It’s not just about me magically doing work on somebody. I always do my best to educate the client and what it is I’m doing and help them to understand their body.

Why are they experiencing and feeling what they’re feeling and how can they take control, what can they do to make it different for themselves.”

For more information about Rama, visit his website Your Balanced Being at www.yourbalancedbeing.com.

Kristen Stewart is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition, parenting and lifestyle topics. To learn more, visit her website at www.kristenestewart.com.