Jonathan Tripodi, an ordained minister with degrees in Physical Therapy and Movement and Sport Sciences and a certification in therapeutic bodywork, has devoted many years to exploring body memory and its relationship to chronic pain, stress, illness, and behavior; he developed the Body Memory Recall approach in 1997. In his book, Freedom from Body Memory, he explains how the body can repress stressful memories as a survival mechanism and accumulate them over a lifetime. This unconscious habit of repressing rather than expressing stress results in a phenomenon known as body memory, which can manifest as pain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression and can lead to destructive or negative patterns of thought, tension, and behavior. Contrary to traditional biological models that suggest that memory resides solely in the brain, Tripodi’s expanded paradigm, supported by leading-edge scientists and medical pioneers, presents the compelling case that “the properties exist for information to be communicated and stored within the tissues, fluids, and cells of the body.” In his book, he relates true life stories, history, and science that illustrate how repressed experiences lead to chronic physical, mental, and emotional imbalances that are often misdiagnosed or mistreated.
Body Memory Recall is founded on the building blocks of therapeutic modalities dating back to the early 1900s that share the common philosophy that the body is innately designed to release suppressed stressful experiences in both body and mind and achieve increasing states of growth, health, function, and vitality. The purpose behind BMR speaks to the phenomenon that although release is a natural biological process, the release of body memory rarely occurs without support or therapeutic intervention because of unconscious habitual tendencies to suppress. BMR consists of specialized manual therapy, therapeutic dialogue, movement reeducation, and exercise training, all of which collectively support the complete recall, release, resolution, and transformation of body memory. As an international speaker, Tripodi travels extensively to provide retreats and training in his BMR approach.
A typical BMR session consists of three steps. First there is an interview in which the practitioner asks the client for medical history dating back to birth, including previous health conditions, trauma, stress, and particularly challenging experiences (breech birth, accidents, abuse, injuries, surgery, or death of a relative). Current health conditions and goals for the treatment are also discussed. After the interview, the practitioner evaluates the client’s posture, looking for tension that is pulling the body out of alignment and identifying epicenters of tension. These epicenters are located along the midline of the body and are where the protective freeze response is most active. (Imagine scrunching the center of a tablecloth; tension created at the center of the cloth extends to all four corners. Epicenter of tension have a similar effect on the human body.) Using the information gathered in the interview and postural evaluation, the practitioner places his hands on the body, relying on kinesthetic sensitivity to feel the location and gradually release protective tensions and body armor. Light, sensitive, and nurturing touch is used to create an energetic connection that deepens trust and encourages the client to initiate the release of tension. As the client relaxes, the release of tension and suppressed body memory allows the flow of energy to stimulate involuntary muscle movement in all directions; the therapist does not make this happen but simply supports its occurrence.
The practitioner then uses an appropriate combination of multiple techniques to address specific systems of the body. Myofascial Release treats the muscular and connective tissue system; sustained pressure is applied to any myofascial tension and restrictions for the length of time necessary for the natural self-correcting release to occur. Gentle Craniosacral Therapy treats the central nervous system and restrictions around the spinal cord, sacrum, and head. Visceral Manipulation applied on the abdomen and diaphragm releases protective muscle guarding, stretches the organs, and improves breathing, digestion, elimination, and circulation. Unwinding treats the body as a whole, including the human energy field. When the session is over additional self-care and home exercises may also be provided to promote further body-memory transformation and integration.
This modality comes from “Our Inner Ocean”, a book by Captain LeCain W. Smith: The author, LeCain W. Smith, learned early in life that his personal path to awakening was through ocean sailing, bodywork, and transformational energetic experiences. When living on the sea, making friends with the elements and with nature, he uncovered his passion for adventure, exploration, fitness, and health. He spent many years studying and experiencing bodywork and practicing yoga, qigong, breath-work, and meditation. This passion, combined with seeing numerous friends struggle with health problems, eventually drove Smith to reach out and help others through the writing of this book. If this endeavor changes the life of only one person, he will consider it a success.
Good health is something we all aspire to, but it’s so much more than just being free of disease. A perfectly functioning body, tranquil mind, and vibrant spirit working together harmoniously create the joy and happiness that put the good in good health and the worth into a life worth living. Our Inner Ocean describes ancient and new holistic modalities of practitioner-applied bodywork and revitalizing self-care practices.