Health is to be in harmony

with yourself and your environment

- Hippocrates, 400 BC






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Your Body Tells The Truth!

By Karin Granstrom, M.D., CRS

Imagine gaining insights, resolving your issues, and releasing stress, anxiety and pain by learning to listen to your own body! This while resting comfortably (clothes on) on a treatment table, experiencing nurturing body-work, imagery and empowering support. - The Rubenfeld Synergy Method® is one of the best known forms of "body psychotherapy".

"If your shoulder had a voice - what would it say?" I ask my client who is laying on my treatment table, while I gently cradle her shoulder in my hands.  After letting her mind tune in to the shoulder she responds: "It says that it is tired…. actually sick and tired…. even angry!"   Who would it want to say that to?  " My boss."  Anyone else in your life, now or in the past?  "My father".  And so the exploration continues, using the body as a metaphor and tool to contact deep inner emotions that were never expressed at the time when they originated.

Now, why would it be important to get in touch with those old inner feelings and beliefs that have been suppressed or denied over the years in an effort to survive and move on in life?

Well, modern science has confirmed what human beings have intuitively known through the ages: our feelings, our beliefs and attitudes, as well as our physical well-being and our spiritual life are intimately connected. A change in one area effects all the other parts. We all have experiences of a pounding heart and frozen muscles from fear and anxiety, butterflies in the stomach from worry and nervousness, a tightening jaw from anger etc. and we also know how good it feels when we are happy and at peace with ourselves and the world. Sometimes long-term, unexpressed negative feelings go underground, and that is when they cause trouble.

Scientific research has shown that such suppressed and unacknowledged feelings or old negative beliefs stay in our bodies and over time begin to act like toxins. They suppress the immune system and sooner or later show up in the body as physical symptoms or disease. That is how powerful the mind-body connection is! Luckily we can use this connection to our benefit and help our body-mind-spirit to heal by connecting to and processing those feelings that keep us stuck or out of balance. Ilana Rubenfeld has given us tools to do just that: by pioneering a revolutionary therapeutic method that unites touch and talk therapies.  What triggered this creative breakthrough was her own personal story.

In the late1960s in New York City Ilana Rubenfeld, then a young woman, was seeing an Alexander Teacher to get relief from serious muscle spasms in her neck and shoulders, triggered by her strenuous work as a conductor. Experiencing the gentle touch of her Alexander teacher, she was surprised to be overcome by emotions so strong that she burst into tears. Since the Alexander teacher was not trained to deal with emotions, Ilana was referred to a psychotherapist. In the psychotherapy sessions, however, she could not re-experience her  feelings and realized that she was not able to deal with her memories through talk therapy alone.

"Fascinated by what the body held and how touch elicited so much, Ilana Rubenfeld went on to become an Alexander Teacher, and then to study another approach to the body with Moshe Feldenkrais. She was also actively learning about psychotherapy from Fritz and Laura Perls, the founders of Gestalt Therapy, as well as from other experienced therapists. Adding hypnotherapy from studying the work of Milton Erickson, Rubenfeld melded it all together and let it flow into her work with clients. What emerged from this creative brew some thirty years ago is now known as the Rubenfeld Synergy Method®." (From "The Power of Listening Touch" by Jeanne Reock)

This innovative approach to healing integrates gentle listening touch, movement, body awareness - and often humor!  - with imagery and reflective dialogue. While deep inner emotions often are not accessible to the "thinking" part of the brain and therefore not available in regular talk therapy, Rubenfeld Synergy offers a way to contact these deep feelings by combining talk with non-verbal languages - such as touch and imagery.  (Peter. A. Levine says in his book "Waking the Tiger - Healing Trauma", that  "…..only through accessing the body and mind as a unit can we heal trauma").

Touch is the most ancient and elemental form of communication and when gentle and non-invasive it helps the client tune in to the body and "listen" to her/his own feelings. Touch also helps facilitate the release of old holding patterns in both body and psyche. Imagery is another non-verbal "language" that reaches that part of the brain where emotions are stored. It has shown to be so powerful that it has become a state of the art treatment for posttraumatic stress. There is fascinating research demonstrating that consciously created images of peace and beauty have a profound impact on our immune system as well as on our mood and well-being.

The great strength of Rubenfeld Synergy is its ability to help bring to awareness old, unconscious beliefs and attitudes that get in the way of a satisfying life.  Once we make these deeply rooted beliefs conscious, we can let them go and allow a new perspective that frees us up to live a more fulfilling life.

As a Rubenfeld Synergist you don't try to "make" things happen. The Synergist is a facilitator and guide, not a magic healer. Trusting the inner wisdom of the client is basic to the work. A primary belief in Rubenfeld Synergy is that body, mind, emotion and spirit are closely inter-related, which means that any change in one area will influence all the other parts. Throughout this transformational process the Rubenfeld Synergist provides the kind of safe space and empowering support, which most of us need to start the journey of internal exploration.

Most clients find this work to be enjoyable, surprising, relaxing and transformative. Resolving old hurts, trauma and inner conflicts frees up much energy. Honoring your own truth enhances self-esteem. Chronic pain frequently disappears when long held emotions are released. Getting in touch with your hidden inner resources, strength and wisdom makes life much easier and more enjoyable. Relationships improve, old patterns change, you may find yourself making healthier choices in your daily life.

Rubenfeld Synergy is more than a technique, it is a philosophy of life, reminding you that your body is your greatest companion with an amazing innate resilience and self-healing capacity.

For more information about Rubenfeld Synergy, visit and

Every thought, every emotion

has its instant muscular

response, however slight…

                                                       - From "The Thinking Body"

  by Mabel E. Todd

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Last updated 02/10/19