Touch Therapeutic

Nurse Anesthesiologist

Zero Balance Massage is a relatively new type of massage therapy introduced in the 1970s by Dr. Fritz Frederick Smith, MD. It combines Western science with Eastern traditions for a new approach to body/mind healing. Zero Balance Massage theory states that there are three primary sources of energy in the body: the universal flow of life, running vertically through the skeletal system, which connects us to the universe; three levels of internal energy flows--the figure 8 within the skeletal system which is activated by walking and other everyday movements, the middle level of the soft tissues, which is how we manifest our individuality, and the superficial level of the wei chi through which we identify and maintain our boundaries; and the background energy field which fills the space within and around the body--the vibratory backdrop of everyday life. Zero balance practitioners use the fulcrum, or position through which vital power can be exercised, to bring these three energy fields to interact with one another in order to achieve well-being. These fulcrums are applied in specific sequences to the key joints and areas of energetic significance in the body. With the use of these fulcrums, clients will periodically enter a "working state" in which the body/mind/spirit responds, reorganizes and reintegrates during or following a shift of balance or vibration. The client will show response through “working signs”, such as shallow or exaggerated breathing, rapid eyelid fluttering, involuntary movements, or various facial expressions. These signs tell the zero balance practitioner how the client is responding to the treatment, and direct them how next to proceed.

When first treating a client, the practitioner takes a brief history, including lifestyle factors. They then do a seated evaluation to gather preliminary information from the ribs, lower back and shoulders as well as to establish interface, after which the client lies down. Through a variety of evaluative movements and fulcrums, the practitioner slowly balances key joints and soft tissues in the lower back, hips and feet. The practitioner then proceeds to the upper body, watching for “working signs” the whole time. Evaluating and balancing first the ribs and neck, the practitioner completes the upper body work followed by some fine-tuning through "touch-up" fulcrums. Returning to the lower body the practitioner applies a few more touch up fulcrums and ,with a longer integrating fulcrum and final contact, waits for the client to settle into their new experience.

Zero Balance Massage practitioners may work in offices, clinics, and wellness centers. They may also teach the methods of Zero Balance Massage, and some are health practitioners, including doctors, who incorporate Zero Balance Massage into their current practice. They work a regular week, but may offer evening, weekend, and in-home sessions for clients in order to meet their needs. Their salary varies according to the area in which they are located, their client base, and the capacity in which they are employed, but they can expect to make the same average salary as any other massage therapist.

Zero Balance Massage is taught as a set of high level skills rather than as an exclusive approach. The insights and abilities stimulated by this practice therefore enrich whatever one's primary modality of massage is, if it be Swedish, Thai or Qi Gong. Most who study it freely incorporate Zer Balancing into their massage therapy, body/movement work, counseling, acupuncture, or medical practice. Training programs are offered by the Zero Balancing Association, the Upledger Institute, and by individual teachers.

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