Stevenswood Spa Resort is happy and excited to announce our newest member to the Indigo Eco-Spa, Loie Rosenkrantz. For seven years, she apprenticed with Louise Barrie to become a practioner and teacher of somatic psychotherapy. She has helped people to prepare for medical procedures including organ transplants, hip replacements and healing physical and psychological trauma. In addition to being a bodyworker, she has been a meditator for 35 years and was the director of a Zen Center in the Bay Area for ten years.
Loie is a longtime bodyworker that is noted for her warm hands. She loves working on hands, necks, and feet, including carpal tunnel syndrome. She works in a variety of modalities from craniosacral and deep tissue massage, huma and the gentle touch of the Rosen Method. She studied hypnotherapy at the Institute for Education Therapy and Rosen Method Bodywork at the Berkeley Center for Rosenwork with the founding personnel.
What is Rosenwork:
Doctors are increasingly baffled by patients recurring aches, pains and diseases. So often unexplained issues are attributed to stress without knowing or exploring the source. The body does not lie. It holds people’s life stories, and especially, their unexpressed feelings. This suppressed unconsciousness results in muscle tension that affects a person’s bodily form and interferes with their ability to function. All organs work harder because of the pressure and limitations of the breath. The immune system, which regulates the body’s resistance to disease is weakened. The Rosen Method is distinguished by its gentle, direct touch. Using hands that listen rather than manipulate, the practitioner focuses on chronic muscle tension.
Rosenwork penetrates the memory locked into chronic tension, allowing a release of the barrier between ourselves and others. As the body relaxes in a Rosenwork session, clients often remember events and feelings. Ordinarily muscles contract and relax as we breathe, move, and express ourselves. But sometimes muscle contracts and then does not complete the cycle by relaxing again. This muscular holding is often associated with the suppression of feeling and memory.
An example may be during childhood we may have experienced an overwhelming trauma or a family situation in which we felt trapped, with no way to escape or even to express our distress. If the muscles remain tight, we experience chronic or habitual tension. The holding has become unconscious; we have forgotten how to let go. So unfortunately, not only are the threatening feeling held down, but all feeling is blocked in a tense muscle, and its physical function is also impaired. In Rosenwork we bring about the relaxation of the muscles that hold down these experiences. The barrier can be released; the moment the experience becomes conscious and there is no reason to hold it down anymore.
In a bodywork session, the Rosen practitioner helps evoke the client’s unconscious experience through a special kind of touch, unique to Rosenwork, through verbal interaction. The touch used in Rosenwork is gentle but deep. Deep not because a lot of pressure is used, but because its acknowledges and accesses the emotional level of the persons experience. It is touch that connects to the pranamayakosha, or energy/breath sheath, and the manomayakosha, or mental/emotional sheath, of the subtle body, as described in yogic literature.
As the practitioner senses responses in the clients body, the practitioner hands acknowledge these subtle shifts. She may also verbally reflect back to the client a feeling or incident the client has related when it correlates with what is happening in the clients body. In this way the client becomes more conscious of there experience. Through awareness and acceptance of their feelings and memories, the client starts to give up the holding. As the client entegrates the experiences, realizing that “yes, that happened to me. I lived through it, and I’m all right now,” there is no more need to “put them away” in the musculature. The client allows the holding to release, without effort of “doing”. In letting go of control, in surrender, comes release.
The basic principle is relaxation, non-doing, which provides an opening for something. The non-doing enables people to contact the unconscious, and from the unconscious they can have an awareness of what is going on with them. You give up your conscious control and let another control take place, the control of the body, of the unconscious, allowing the autonomic nervous system to take over. You don’t have to hold anything back, you don’t have to hold anything down, so the unconscious can give you input into your life.
Both practitioner and client participate in allowing this “other control to take place.” In giving a session, the practitioner drops down into a kind of meditative state, beneath the ego and social persona. Once there, the practitioner works intuitively, without an agenda except to help the person become reunited with his authentic self, letting her hands guide her, perhaps accessing and sharing images related to the client’s body and life situation. The client, too, often enters an altered state, and the two share a kind of mutual, conscious dream state, centered around the client’s body-mind experience in the moment.
Marion Rosen (pictured left) is the remarkable woman who developed this subtle and profound method of working with chronic tension in the body. Born in Nuremberg, Germany, she came of age during the Nazi period. As a young woman she trained with Lucy Heyer, a student of Elsa Gindler. Gindler was the grandmother of many body, relaxation and breathing methods based on sensory awareness. Heyer worked in conjunction with her husband, Dr. Gustab Heyer, a colleage and former student of Carl Jung. She and Marion did relaxation work with patients who then saw Dr. Heyer for psychotherapy. The Heyers together achieved such spectacular results that people came from all over Germany to work with them. Here the seeds of combining verbal and body therapies, a hallmark of the Rosen Method, were sown in Marion’s mind.
The Rosen family left Germany as World War II was approaching. Marion and her sister went to Sweden to await American visas. Marion took the opportunity to study Swedish physical therapy, which validated what she had learned from Heyer. When she received her visa and came to the United States, she settled in California at Berkeley where she worked as a physical therapist with men and women injured in the wartime shipyards.
After the war she took a physical therapy course at the Mayo clinic and following a period of hospital work, established a private practice. She worked for over 30 years in a basement office in Oakland, California. Rosen gradually become known as someone who could effectively treat psychosomatic cases. She noticed that people who talked about what was happening in their lives at the time of their injury or illness got better faster than those who didn’t. She worked in relative isolation during those years, which her early training mingled with extensive hands-on experience was the beginning of the Rosen method.
The period of working alone ended in the early 1970′s. After a couple of circumstances conspired to draw Rosen out of the basement, when a patient who had not made much progress came in one day much improved. She told Rosen that she had just taken a weekend seminar called Mind Dynamics with someone named Werner Erhard. Rosen was impressed with the change, she enrolled in Erhard’s seminar and later got involved with the est training. “I began to say things to my patients, and it seemed to make a great difference. This is how I reawakened in myself an interest in the verbal part of my work and really when it began in earnest.”
At about this time a young woman named Sara Webb was casting about for a career direction, and her mother, a client of Rosen’s suggested that she asked Rosen to train her in relaxation work. When Sara approached her, Rosen’s initial response was, “I couldn’t possibly teach what I do.” However, when Rosen went home that night and, having just done the est training, considered that maybe she could do more that she thought she could. The next morning she called Sara and took on her very first student. Soon Sara began bringing friends to be trained, and in 1980 the first training class began. The early students found what is now the Rosen Institute in Berkeley, California. Rosenwork training consists of two years of part-time classes and one year internship.
Rosen Method Training Centers:
Australia … Canada
(Cascadia Center, Sechelt, B.C.) … Denmark
(Uddannelses Center, Copenhagen) … England
(Rosen Method Training and Therapy Ltd., London) … Finland
(Axelsons Bodywork School) … France
(Methode Rosen Centre de Paris) … Germany
Korperarbeit – Deutches Zentrum Buhl-Waldmatt) … Norway
(Axelsons Gymnastiska Institute, Oslo) … Russia
(Rosen Method Center, Moscow) … Sweden
(Axelsons Gymnastiska Institute) … Switzerland
Methode Rosen Centre Suisse, Neuchatel) … United States
(Monterey Bay Rosen Method Center) (The Berkeley Center, Berkeley, California) (Two Rivers Center Rosen Southwest, Santa Fe, New Mexico)
Research on this story is taken from articles by Libby Gustin M.B.A., Ph. D., with Andrew Gustin. Also the Yoga Journal, March/April 1990 by Bevalyn Crawford, and from the Rosen Institute, Rosen Method Bodywork and Movement.