Big News

Beginning the week of August 20th, 2019, I will be working with patients full time at the Osher Center for Integrative Health at Vanderbilt and will close my private practice.

I am so grateful for the last sixteen years of private practice, and am excited about this next step in the journey.

 

 

Ramona Reid, a friend and colleague as well as host of the show Holistic Revolution on 101.5 WXNA, interviewed me last week about a range of topics. Please visit her website through the link below to hear the broadcast! And check out WXNA for great community radio.

http://www.mynashvillecenter.com/holistic-revolution/2016/6/18/june-17-2016-bodywork-dis-ease-and-our-bodies-innate-intelligence-to-heal

http://wxna.org

As a healthcare practitioner, I am also by necessity a self care practitioner. The most powerful form of self care that I have experienced is meditation. Like most people, I struggle to maintain a daily meditation practice in the midst of a busy life. But the days that start with meditation (or contemplative prayer) always feel different.

When I have maintained a regular practice over time I have felt changed from within. As my practice lapses, I can feel those changes slowly ebb away. As a bodyworker, I see firsthand the effects of stress on the body: in the tension of the muscles, in the set of the muscles or the jaw, or in the struggle to relax on the table.

Meditation may seem unrelated to massage, but I think that meditation is in fact a form of massage. Our mental equilibrium directly effects our nervous system and the tone of our muscles. Regular meditation creates a new ecosystem that we live within and from. Harvard University just released the results of a study that examined the effects of meditation, and MRI scans revealed significant structural changes in the brain with just 27 minutes of meditation practice per day. As they state in the article, “people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

From the article (click to go to full article):

Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. In a study that will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s gray matter.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

Stretching is one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves to maintain flexibility and address postural imbalances that arise from daily patterns. However, it is also possible to overstretch muscles that are not warmed up, or even to cause damage when stretching improperly.

In the article below, Dr. Ben Kim discusses a very common hamstring/lower back stretch that can stress the lumbar (lower back) vertebrae, and suggests an easy alternative. He also gives some good advice: don’t stretch first thing in the morning!

From Dr. Ben Kim at http://www.drbenkim.com:

Click quote for entire post

“I’ve long recommended avoiding vigorous stretching first thing in the morning; the risk of injury is significant, especially as we get older, as our muscles, tendons, and ligaments are not well perfused with blood when we first wake up. These tissues are best stretched after we have been out and about for an hour or two, and optimally, after enough of an aerobic workout where we are sweating – if we’ve worked hard enough to sweat, we can reasonably assume that our muscles and ligaments are flush with blood and ready to be safely and effectively lengthened through stretching.

One stretch in particular that I have found to be quite dangerous to lower back health is forward bending where your legs are pressed together on the ground in front of you, and you lower your chest to get as close as possible to your knees. Some people use this position to stretch their hamstrings, others to stretch their lower back. Regardless of which muscles you are targeting, you should know that this stretch puts significant pressure on the discs that act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae in your lower spine.”

It is not necessary to remove your clothing to experience the benefits of massage therapy. Clothing may be the safe boundary necessary to introduce the body to healthy touch. This article from massagetherapy.com explores a few of the most common modalities that do not require the removal of clothing.

Have you or someone you know been delaying getting a massage because you don’t feel like getting undressed? If so, delay no more. There are many types of bodywork you can receive while remaining fully clothed. Clothed bodywork modalities are a great introduction to the world of massage, letting you feel safe and secure while enjoying the benefits of healing touch. So, what are you waiting for? 

In the perfect world suggested by most massage marketing, the morning after a massage will always be a day of abundant sunshine, big smiles with outstretched arms, and a body free of all aches and pains. Ahhh, what a nice world….

I am not a believer in the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. Our bodies reflexively guard against pressure that is too deep, sudden, or intense. Communication during the session is essential for finding the therapeutic threshold in any session.

However, the days following treatment may (but do not always) include some residual muscle soreness as the session’s effects are received and processed by your body. Particularly in cases of deep tissue or myofascial release therapy, it is wise to wait 48 hours to assess the result of the session.

“Your body is one of the most complex machines in existence. There is an interplay between body and mind that is only really beginning to be understood. This connection could, however, explain the soreness experienced the morning after a massage. Neurological sensitivity, or “sensitization,” explores the “whole response of what’s going on in a person.” During a massage, the body’s experiences are processed through the central nervous system to be understood by your brain. At times of high stress, the nervous system and the brain may feel overwhelmed by this increase in information. The soreness and tiredness experienced the following day are then understood as side-effects of this information overload.”

Check this out! Click on the quote to read a quick but profound article from massagetherapy.com.

“The adult human lives inside an envelope of about 18 square feet of skin. Every square inch houses thousands of nerve endings and various kinds of sensory receptors, all working to tell the brain about its surroundings”.

This article in the New York Times illustrates the beautiful ability of bodywork to open up new and unexpected ways of healing and integration.

Schedule Appointment

“Massage has been an important part of my life for over twenty years, but it wasn’t until I found Brian that I experienced what a massage should be. Brian has a nurturing spirit and an intuitive as well as practical knowledge of the body. He uses those gifts along with his years of training to make positive and long lasting changes in the body.” –Kim C.

Welcome! Thank you for visiting.

integration: the act or instance of combining into an integral whole.

Integration is the task of our lifetime, and a task that our bodies and beings work on every day of our lives. For many years I have called my practice Integrative Bodywork, in honor of this divine process that is unfolding within and through us, and the experience of well-being that arises when we feel a state of higher integration within ourselves.

My massage practice is an intuitive blend of Swedish, Myofascial Release and Deep Tissue Massage with an emphasis on the overall balance of the mind and body. My goal is for you to leave the massage table with a greater sense of ease and well-being. Since every client has different needs, no two sessions are ever exactly the same.

I also offer Mind-Body Balancing, which is a process of coming into a deep internal awareness of–and relationship with–our inner selves through tuning in to the intelligence and information of our physical bodies. Unlike a traditional massage, the client is fully clothed during a Mind-Body session. This is not a passive exercise but an engaged encounter with your own body’s intelligence. The results of these sessions can be very powerful and long lasting. Mind-Body Balancing sessions have a higher fee due to the specialized training required for this work.

An abiding interest of mine has always been the consciousness at the heart of every individual. What is the common spark that we all share; the life force that sustains us? How can we contact this healing presence even when we feel estranged from it? I have found that the simple act of conscious presence and touch can allow this spark to speak for itself, and bring us back to a greater sense of balance, grace and well-being.

Please use the drop down menu to explore the site in more detail.

phone: 615.496.0782

email: briwingate@gmail.com

cropped-shot_13003064131851.jpg

David Brooks published an op-ed piece in The New York Times today entitled “The New Humanism.” He starts from a platform of political policy and quickly ties decision making on a large scale in with our changing knowledge of how human beings encounter the world within their own bodies and minds.

Massage, bodywork, somatic therapies, art, dance, music, good conversations–these all speak to healing the rift between reason and emotion that David Brooks describes. Body based therapies engage so much of the unconscious mind that is below the surface of our conscious awareness.

An excerpt follows. The article is short and worth the read.

“Over the past few decades, we have tended to define human capital in the narrow way, emphasizing I.Q., degrees, and professional skills. Those are all important, obviously, but this research illuminates a range of deeper talents, which span reason and emotion and make a hash of both categories:

Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.

Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.

Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.

Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.

Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.

When Sigmund Freud came up with his view of the unconscious, it had a huge effect on society and literature. Now hundreds of thousands of researchers are coming up with a more accurate view of who we are. Their work is scientific, but it directs our attention toward a new humanism. It’s beginning to show how the emotional and the rational are intertwined.

I suspect their work will have a giant effect on the culture. It’ll change how we see ourselves. Who knows, it may even someday transform the way our policy makers see the world.”