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Where is Your Focus?

When working with a client, is your focus local or global? Are you zeroed in on territory where the client’s issue is located or are you paying more attention to the potential causes from other areas in the body? Adjusting the “zoom lens” of our focus during our sessions is quite an art.

Early on in many bodyworkers' careers, it’s easy to get stuck working the territory the client points to when they walk in the door. A client arrives with shoulder pain and the practitioner spends the whole hour ironing out all the tension in the shoulder only to have the client’s issue feel temporarily better and then return.

I’ve also witnessed the opposite issue where practitioners spend all their time hunting for the distant “cause” of the shoulder pain (to stick with our example) anywhere but in the shoulder itself. This often leaves the client feeling that their requests were unmet and, if the practitioner's hunch was wrong, with an hour of work that hasn’t done much to relieve their pain.

In the end, neither approach is wrong, but also, blindly committing to one or the other doesn’t meet the end goal of helping our client long term. So how do we find a balance between these two approaches?

In many ways, this ability to zoom in and out during my session is one of the many important skills I gained while training in Structural Integration. Through learning how to body read and assess the tissue with specific palpation techniques, I have learned how to address my client’s requests on many different levels.

Through the years of practicing both of these assessments techniques, I’ve learned how to see my client's pain both locally and globally. Developing this skill took time and I definitely have had and still occasionally do have moments where I get stuck in one camp or the other, but I always keep in

mind the value and importance of both perspectives.

If you want to get a better idea of what I mean by a local or global approach, check out this article I wrote a few years ago on Upper Cross Syndrome.

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know by emailing us at We are always here to help.


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