Body Harmony® is the name given to an integrated approach to bodywork and life skills pioneered by Don McFarland and now practised around the world. Body Harmony incorporates many of the numerous techniques available for working with the body, mind and spirit but what makes it particularly effective is the way the incorporates these into a touch that listens to the whole being. We work from the understanding that each body knows what will help it heal and the skill is in ‘listening' in such a way that a body feels safe to share the stories of its life and to take the steps to achieve the healing. This gives access to the body's natural healing abilities, inner wisdom and self confidence so Body Harmony promotes healing and personal effectiveness in all areas of life.
Body Harmony works on all aspects of being, from the deep physical structure to the meta physical components. Practitioners recognise that current knowledge about the interactions between the physical, emotional and energetic is only in its infancy, whereas our own structure, physical, emotional and metaphysical understands what it needs but can get stuck in painful protective patterns and emotional cycles meaning it may need a helping hand or listening ear to enact the movement toward health.
For many years Don McFarland had extensive experience as both student and colleague of numerous pioneers in the fields of bodywork, breathwork, healing, psychology, sports and dance medicine and observed that whatever system was being applied to people's bodies, those bodies themselves had their own opinions on what was being done, and how it was it was being done. They also had their own ways of making those opinions known. Consistently confirmed in his own practice, he saw the most easily made, effective and long lasting changes were being achieved by the bodyworkers who were open both to listening to, AND to being guided by these body responses.
Developed from this, Body Harmony uses a usually gentle, non-invasive but responsive touch to encourage the whole being to release trauma and injury, increase energy flow and expand its movement; actively involving the individual as participant in their own healing. To achieve this elements of many bodywork, healing and related methods from around the world may be recognisable within a session. The stories the body tells through indicators like movement and stillness, changes in breathing or in tensions and pulses under the practitioners hand prompt and guide their application. No technique is applied in isolation ‘because it's good for you' nor is anything imposed.
What to Expect
Each session will usually start with discussion and an assessment of body structure, function and alignment during which the body will start to ‘talk'. This generally, but not always, progresses to hands on work on the treatment table with each session being as individual as the person participating. Some are very gentle and quiet, some more active and cathartic in nature but all address the stories we hold and how they affect our functioning in everyday life, whether that be physical, emotional or social. There are examples of sessions included in a fuller article on Body Harmony in Positive Health Magazine.
What can Body Harmony help?
According to client willingness and desire Body Harmony can relieve stress and tension, relieve aches and pains and restore natural body movement so improving function, posture and presentation. It can accelerate physical and emotional healing and resolve issues held in the body to allow enhanced health, vitality and communication, increased success and prosperity, and improved interpersonal relationships.
Workshops and Group Events
In a session the client learns more about their own responses and ways to continue their healing at home. Workshops and trainings build on this: a common wish after experiencing body harmony in a session is to take the understanding of our own body responses further by attending group events. Often called trainings or classes these workshops are far from limited to those intending professional practice, they are group events led by Body Harmony teachers in which anyone with an interest can find out more about Body Harmony or explore specific skills further. Most workshops/trainings are suitable for everyone and we welcome complete beginners as well as those experienced in related fields. Many people with no wish to practice professionally participate in Body Harmony classes to work with themselves, and with family and friends.
Specific introductory classes are available which address the basic elements of Body Harmony but all classes develop the skills for effective work with ourselves and others in a collaborative, experiential and lively way which makes learning the mechanics of freedom a pleasant and joyful experience. Often they have a theme to focus the work and some like the 5 Module Course are designed to train professional practitioners.
The public practice of Body Harmony has three progressive stages overseen by the International Body Harmony Guild (IBHG).
An Internationally Certified Practitioner has demonstrated an understanding of the principles of Body Harmony and the ability to apply these mechanics in a manner that assures personal empowerment without compressive side effects. Minimum preparation is 5 Modules of 20 hours each.
An Internationally Certified Consultant has demonstrated the ability to analyse the structural relationships of a system- from individual to family, to corporate. To pinpoint their points of stress, and facilitate more harmonious functioning. This usually requires an average of 1000hours training in Body Harmony and related experience.
An Internationally Certified Teacher has demonstrated the attributes of both consultant and practitioner and is able to demonstrate and teach the mechanics of Body Harmony by word and action.
The International Body Harmony® Guild
Body Harmony is a registered name and all practitioners must be accredited by the IBHG and be current members of this Guild.
This site has information on practitioners worldwides, current classes and local contacts in other regions.