Santa Barbara Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner – Meg Butler
Serving: Summerland, Santa Barbara, Montecito, CA
We live in a time when many of us are seeking a deeper meaning in life and connection to self. As we look for what we value most, touch and body awareness can be powerful agents of change.
Certified Rosen Method Practitioner
As you hold yourself away from your feelings less and less, you connect with a deeper, more authentic part of yourself. Your feelings, your inner guidance, arises. You will trust and accept yourself more–regardless of your outer circumstances, creating more health and ease in your life.
“This work is about transformation–from the person we think we are to the person we really are.”
– Marion Rosen
Read articles on the Rosen Method, including one written by Meg Butler.
Therapist’s hands-on method has gone worldwide
Marion Rosen describes herself as a bodyworker and physical therapist. Others call her a healer. Read more about Marion Rosen & Rosen Method Bodywork in the San Francisco Chronicle.
What is Rosen Method Bodywork?
Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioners combine sensory input through direct touch and verbal dialogue to deepen awareness within our clients and explore the connections between the body and emotions. As we engage the stopped movement (habitual tension) in our clients, there is a conversation between our client’s body and our hands. This “listening” with our hands to our client”s body assists our clients to bypass the conscious mind and drop into pure awareness and sometimes to allow unconscious and unfelt feelings to arise. Added to this conversation, the verbal dialogue can deepen awareness and, at other times in the session, can also respectfully question the (once very useful) unconscious strategies for protection in the muscle tension, bring awareness to the potential cost (to the lives of our clients) of the tension, and investigate the possibilities of other choices.
People use their musculature to express their emotions, but when emotions are not accepted or feelings are not allowed, we also use our musculature to repress or contain the feelings. Muscular holding over time becomes an unconscious habit and can cause chronic pain. The muscles have “forgotten” how to relax.
As a Rosen Method Practitioner, I work to “enliven” the muscles rather than to manipulate the muscles or “make” my clients relax. My clients put the tension into their bodies at one time for a very good reason and it is not up to me to decide if it is still necessary. The idea is to invite relaxation and to bring consciousness to my clients so that they can make a choice about whether or not it is safe to let go.
To deepen awareness in my client, I may talk to my client about how their body is responding under my hands, about the statement that their body is making through the tension, or about their holding. When we work in this way, sometimes memories and/or long held beliefs arise. We can often get in touch with what has been contained by the habitual muscle tension in their body and what happened that the tension was necessary. When feelings are allowed, the muscle softens, because the tension is no longer needed to hold the feeling down. This frees energy, previously used in holding the muscle, to be used for other purposes. Often, too, the circumstances in our lives has changed and the reason we originally needed contain our feelings is no longer present. Awareness and insights gained in a session often lead to new possibilities and clarity in our lives.
As a Rosen worker, I am also very focused on the diaphragm and what happens to the breath although I don’t often talk about it in a session (because I don’t want to draw attention to the breath – I am interested in the”unperformed” breath). Marion saw that when the diaphragm lets go something would happen to the body. “When the diaphragm lets go, then that feeling of trust very often comes in. At that point worries, considerations and insecurities no longer matter; another space is opening up. The diaphragm swings and we are at peace with our aliveness,” said Marion Rosen in an interview with Mara Lynn Keller, Ph.D. And when the trust comes to the body then surrender can also come. “This surrendering could be to God’ or to that sense of connection to the larger whole; to something beyond self. It means surrendering the feeling that it is all up to me, that I have to do it all myself,” said Gloria Hessellund in the same interview.
To facilitate this kind of experience, Marion taught me as a student not to have an agenda, not to have an answer, but to sit in stillness, patience and acceptance of another’s suffering. I attempt to just be present with myself and with the client and to sense the authentic self beneath the holding.
What is a session like?
Meg Butler is a Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner in Santa Barbara. In a private Rosen session gentle touch and verbal dialogue follow the breath to invite relaxation and awareness. As this process unfolds, truths held in the body surface and a deeper self emerges. While many come to Rosen for support with physical injury, others are drawn to the work as a tool for healing and personal growth.
I begin sessions with my clients lying on their belly on a massage table. I get a sense of where my clients hold your tension, where my clients allow movement, and where my curiosity about my client begins. I also “listen” with my hands to the subtle changes in muscular tension and breathing. My client and I may talk about how their body is responding under my hands or what happened that they needed the tension in their life.
This is not something that I do to a client. This is a journey that we take together as my client’s truth unfolds. What happens in each session is individual and will change from session to session.
Sessions last an hour. Rosen Method Bodywork is beneficial in single sessions and in a short series of sessions. It is most effective, and goes deepest as an ongoing process.
“I drank the silence of God from a spring in the woods.”
– Georg Trakl
Benefits of Rosen Method
“The mind is embodied in the sense that it exists within the body. The brain engages in bidirectional communication with the body, so that the state of the mind influences the body, and the state of the body influences the mind. Emotions, too, are embodied and given their power to affect physiology outside the skull they are arguably the most embodied form of mental activity. The brain circuits that underlie Emotional Styles have extensive two-way connections with the immune system, the endocrine system [the collection of glands that produce hormones], and the autonomic nervous system [regulates the function of internal organs]. Through traffic in one direction, from brain to body, the mind influences our health. Through traffic in the other direction, from body to brain, changes in our patterns of movement can affect how our mind processes emotional information. It also suggests that the body can become an alley in transforming emotion, meaning practices that emphasize the body have the potential to modulate emotion.”
– From: “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” by Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D. with Sharon Begley 136
- As we explore the stopped movement (habitual tension) in the client’s body we bring awareness to the possibility of greater ease of movement.
- At times in the session, we bypass the conscious mind and help the client access pure feelings.
- At other times, the verbal dialogue can also respectfully question the (once very useful) unconscious strategies for protection in the muscle tension, bring awareness to the potential cost (to the lives of our clients) of the tension, and explore the possibilities of other choices. This can help challenge the accuracy of our clients beliefs and behaviors, and can help our clients reframe the cause of their distress.
- This process directly engages the prefrontal cortex, resulting in increased prefrontal inhibition of the amygdala, a structure in the brain which becomes active when we feel anxious, afraid, or threatened.
- Oxytocin, which has been shown to be released by our brains when our body is touched, also reduces activation in the amygdala inducing feelings of contentment, calmness, security and reduction of anxiety.
- Reduces stress through the release of anti-stress hormones from the endocrine system.
- Effects the immune system for better immune function.
- Positively effects the autonomic nervous system which regulates internal organ function.
- Relaxes muscle tension and chronic holding relieving physical pain.
- Increases flexibility and vitality.
- Deepens physical and emotional awareness.
- Invites personal growth.
- Complements psychotherapy and spiritual practices.
- Helps clients to live more intuitively.
- Increases creativity.
- Strengthens your connection to the support and guidance within yourself.
- Helps clients to realize our potential.
- Allows truth and invites self acceptance.
- Helps us to live more meaningful lives.
- Santa Barbara Rosen Method by Meg Butler
About Meg Butler, LMT, Certified Rosen Method Practitioner
I moved to Santa Barbara in 1980 to attend the University of California where I earned a BA in biology.
In 1994 I was teaching massage at one of the local massage schools and I had been practicing massage in Santa Barbara for five years. While I enjoyed doing and teaching massage, I was looking for a way to touch people more deeply. From my experience on and off the table, I knew that feelings could be accessed through the body, but most of the time I felt like I was rubbing over the surface of my clients. A flyer was sent to the massage school where I was teaching advertising a Rosen Method Introductory Workshop.
I had not heard of Rosen Method before, so I called for more information and eventually attended. I met Marion Rosen, the originator of this subtle and profound bodywork method and Gloria Hessellund, one of her early students. Marion was a tall woman in her early 80’s at the time. I was impressed with Marion’s attentiveness, wisdom and honesty. She seemed to really “take in” everyone she worked on and treat them with such appreciation for who they were and what they had to do to survive. That reverence was evident in the way she engaged the people she worked on with her touch and her words. I knew after that workshop that I wanted to continue training to work in that way.
I entered the “intensive track” in 1995 and trained under Marion for the next two years. I changed tremendously during the course of my training.
My mother had died when I was six years old. To hold myself away from the pain that I was experiencing, and to be accepted, I put parts of myself away. This profoundly effected the way I lived and especially effected the way I allowed myself to love and trust. I had done a few years of talk therapy (and that helped), but I did not “get” the physical barrier that I had created in my body to protect myself from being hurt again – the cost of that protection was that I was unable to allow intimacy. Through my training and my personal work with Rosen Method, I have grieved the pain surrounding that experience and I have included many of those abandoned parts of myself. I feel much less physically and emotionally rigid. I am more accepting of myself, and therefore, I move through my life with more ease and a greater sense of well being. My whole life has changed.
I began seeing Rosen Method clients in 1999 while in my internship, and became a Certified Rosen Method Practitioner in the spring of 2001. I am currently continuing my education to become a Rosen Method Workshop teacher. I live with my husband and two children in Santa Barbara.
I thoroughly enjoy the invitation to dive deeper into the mystery of what it means to be alive and human that Rosen Method offers us; I look forward to seeing you soon.