You sit at work for eight hours bent over a computer, drive home, stand over the stove cooking, eat dinner and settle back down in front of the computer for the evening.
At first glance, they are all a normal day’s activities, routine and predictable, seemingly the farthest thing from harmful. However, it is these same daily actions that can damage our bodies and cause excrutiating pain.
“We go through our daily lives so habitually,” said Jennifer Soames, LMP, KMI/BCSI. “Sometimes it’s those repetetive things that get us into trouble.”
Soames sees this kind of chronic pain every day at her Issaquah bodywork studio, Santosha Bodywork. Soames, who has been in the practice of healing pain through touch therapy for a decade, in January moved Santosha from Renton to Issaquah, a change that she had been excited to make for quite some time.
“I noticed the commitment and dedication to health and wellness that the people here hold,” she described. “I see so many holistic professionals; the community really welcomes that.”
Santosha Bodywork takes a stab at pain through a three-fold approach to wellness that comprises structural integration, yoga and nutrition counseling. Soames said that the goals of her clients are “lasting relief from chronic pain, deeper awareness and connection with the body, and [the ability to] reclaim joy back in your life.”
“It’s an opportunity for people to get out of their heads and into their bodies so that they can actually feel,” she said.
Santosha’s clients range from people with injuries to chronic pain to congenital disorders, but what every client has in common is that they “want to feel better in their own skin and have more joy in their lives.” Physical, mental and emotional pain are all tied together, Soames stressed, and Santosha aims to bring relief to all three areas. Alignment refers not only to structural alignment, but also to “alignment with a higher self, higher consciousness.”
Stuctural integration is often compared to massage, Soames said, but in reality, structural integration is far more interactive. Rather than massage, where the client lies down passively, Soames works together with her clients on therapeutic movements in what she calls a partnership. She also pointed to the project aspect of structural integration, noting that the 12 sessions give clients an end goal toward which they can work.
“In our traditional western society, we have looked to other things and other people to ‘fix’ us,” she said. The real question, though, should be, “How can we start to be a part of our own process and not solely rely on other people?”
According to Soames, our society’s education system largely ignores the study of anatomy, and as a result, many people come in to Santosha without an understanding of how their bodies work. Soames teaches people that the places people feel symptoms are not the only areas of their bodies that need work; she pointed to one client who came in for neck pain and found relief through leg movements.
“Education is a huge part of my practice,” Soames said. “I educate people on what’s happening in their body and how to live in it.”
The interactive part of structural integration extends into Soames’ yoga classes as well, as she brings the lessons she teaches clients on the table onto the yoga mat. Classes of just three people allow for maximal individual attention. Soames described how making just small adjustments to people’s movements in the practice can completely change them.
“I love seeing those lightbulbs go off,” she said. “I love helping people come into themselves.”
Santosha Bodywork is located at 55 1st Place NW, Suite 4, in Issaquah. For more information, call 425-463-5763. Santosha Bodywork will be having a 10th anniversary celebration on Saturday, March 3 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.