You can contact me by email
09 420 7182
Mobile: 0272 54 0282
I acknowledge that most of my clients work during the day, and many travel some distance to see me. As I work from home, I am happy to arrange appointments for evenings and weekends to accommodate personal needs.
I regret that at present my services are not subsidised by ACC, and given the local funding climate are unlikely to be so in the foreseeable future.
Many of the techniques I use I have developed personally though very few of them would be possible without the previous research carried out by Dr Janet Travell and Dr David Simons. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the late Frank Mahony, whose Hyperton-X training sparked my interest in the control and relief of pain and stress.
Chronic Pain: Typically I work with those who have already been to doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths and/or chiropractors without useful results. These are people whose pain is often a constant companion.
(I do not work with fresh injury - this is the province of licenced professionals. When or if they are no longer able to provide useful assistance, I believe I have a legitimate role.)
I don't always succeed - but in these circumstances, every success is gratifying, and I have a satisfying hit rate.
I do not mean to imply any criticism of the work of the above-mentioned professions. The vast majority of their clients are well-served. As yet, experience in the use of trigger point therapy and PNF stretch is not widespread among their practitioners, though it is now more common among those recently trained.
Osteoarthritis: Typically, when a hip joint is affected by arthritis, muscles in the area tighten to limit movement. In the process, trigger points in the area may become active and refer considerable pain to muscles in the thigh and lower leg. Most of the pain from arthritis is muscular. As public waiting lists for hip replacements are typically about two years long minimum, pain management is important, and trigger point therapy has a useful part to play here.
Regular deep massage of these muscles is also important so that following the operation they return quickly to normal function. Muscles that have been moving minimally for several years will typically lose tone and may become permanently shortened. (There are a range of management activities that will assist during the waiting period before the operation. These should be overseen by a medical practitioner.)
Stress: Most emotional stress has an effect on the muscles of the body. Releasing muscles that are tight as a response to stress can help process the underlying emotions. (It may also mean that emotional responses are much closer to the surface than normally, at least for a few days following treatment.)
Pregnancy: My wife is a midwife, and I work, under her supervision, on those of her pregnant clients whose hips or backs or shoulders or feet are causing undue pain as a result of postural changes.
Horses: I also work on the occasional horse that comes my way, whose problems are often strikingly similar to those of my human clients, and who typically responds just as effectively to the same gentle muscle release techniques.
From 1979 until 1995, apart from a year or two out with back problems of my own, I worked as a domestic stoneware potter. That equates to something like 25,000 coffee mugs, one at a time, and bowls and teapots and casseroles and jugs and jars as required.
When a potter sits down to a morning or afternoon's throwing, the clay must be prepared properly. The tiniest unevenness in consistency, in softness or hardness, means a pot which winds up in the slop bucket. All potters who do any serious throwing develop an extraordinary sensitivity to small changes in the softness or hardness of the clay, and this quality is still present when they turn their attention to massage or other bodywork.
As the market for domestic stoneware began to shrink, I found more time to explore these areas in the community, initially in massage and Touch for Health, and then in the late Frank Mahony's Hyperton-X series of workshops. I read widely to gain a better understanding of anatomy, and began exploring the relationship between emotional trauma and muscular pain and discomfort. This led me almost inevitably to the work of Dr Janet Travell.
I had a ready clientele among the community members - a rare treat for a new practitioner - and I was fortunate to include several GPs among my friends who gladly gave advice whenever I sought it and loaned their bodies to find out what I was doing. As my work progressed, and particularly once I began working in new ways, I was concerned above all that I did not inadvertently cause harm.
Dr Bruce Dewe was responsible for the early development and promotion of Touch for Health in New Zealand. One of the standing jokes in the early days was that he was called Bruce Dewe because he bruised you. And early instruction emphasised firm massage of neurolymphatic reflexes. One of my early memories concerned a young woman who said to me a week or so after I had worked on her. "You know, I've still got bruises from where you worked on me. But it was worth it..."
In the immortal words of Kinky Friedman, "Hold the weddin'".
I did not want friends of mine walking round a week later with great purple reminders of their time with me, "worth it" or not. There had to be a better way that caused less pain and preferably did not cause tissue damage.
As I pressed my thumb more slowly into a reflex point (or moved a muscle into extension), I noticed that at a certain point my client would begin to tense up. I could even see a "focus" for that tension, and I discovered that if I used my other hand to stimulate the second point gently, the original point melted and the tension relaxed. Alternatively, I would organise it so that the muscle group that tensed up was in maximum extension and hence at a serious disadvantage. There would be a brief attempt at contraction, and then a "surrender" and melting of the original sore point.
BUT, for this to happen, the pressure into the original trigger point needs to be just sufficient to engage the client's attention, no more. If it is too hard, the client's body simply goes into intractable defense mode. The client will feel "worked over" rather than "worked with". The process is a partnership between two autonomous parties.
What happens when it doesn't work
Now and again, I would get a client whose pain refused to yield to the normal range of interventions. I would find myself feeling like, "I'm not going to let this beat me. There has to be a way to fix this."
WHOA! Back off! This is not something/someone I am setting out to "beat", or "fix". I am dealing with a client whose pain, or my intervention, at some level has him running scared. Even if I have gone in gently, "gently" has not been gentle enough. More of the same, fuelled by "I'm gonna get this s.o.b." will not achieve anything, except perhaps to double his defenses.
It's a bit like the fictional Englishman who believed that all foreigners understood English if you spoke it slowly enough and loudly enough.
The client needs to surrender to his pain, and accept it, accept that it is his to suffer, and understand that it is his to heal, however it was caused. Anger is fine. Blame is not. However "justified" the blame, however much our local mores or legal system may insist he has a right to blame, as long as the client is holding onto blame he cannot heal. Because while he is blaming, the pain is somebody else's responsibility, not the client's.
Accepting the pain, allowing his muscular defenses against the pain to dissolve, begins a process of self-initiated physical healing. This is not just pseudo-metaphysical New Age nonsense. I have seen it demonstrated again and again.
But it is not something that will happen while the client is blaming somebody else, or expecting me to fix his pain for him. Nor will it happen if I am on some kind of power trip. I am a catalyst only.
It may be necessary to process anger about the injury. Anger is not the same as blame and it is not the same as violence. There may also be grief and/or any of a range of emotions which need to be honoured. Or it may be a simple process of surrender and acknowledgement. "This is me and I am hurting."
The legal system will run its course in respect of any abuser who has broken the law, but my experience suggests that a client who wishes to heal should preferably allow it to do so without investment in the result. One of the purposes of the legal system is to remove from the individual the burden of personal responsibility for retribution.
If an abused person can allow this to happen, he has much greater freedom to get on with the business of healing himself.
Healing from a distance. With experience, I began to "see" painful areas on a body without any physical contact whatever. Later on, I began to sense these without any visual contact. Friends would ring me up with a headache or other discomfort, and I could concentrate and direct their hands to painful areas on their head or face or elsewhere which would melt after a moment or two of being held. I could sense also when the pain had gone. Not always successful, but enough to be scary.
One of my favourite wins was an elderly woman who had become "cast" in a low armchair, unable to get out, and alone in her house. Fortunately, she had her mobile phone in her apron pocket, and she telephoned me. Over about five minutes we worked together on a series of points, until I felt an overall tension of some kind dissipate. "Can you get up now?" I asked her. "Yes, I can," was the triumphant reply.
The NFSH originated in Britain where they were one of the first natural health modalities to get their act together in respect of training and accreditation. Their current president is a General Practitioner, and it is possible in the UK for a GP to prescribe spirital healing from a member of this group and have it paid for by the National Health.
Bob and Jan Arnold, who founded the NFSH in New Zealand, are accredited trainers for the British group as well.
As a further string to my bow, and in view of the direction in which my bodywork seemed to be leading me, I have been undertaking the NFSH training programme. I am at present a probationer spiritual healer.