A Calm I Rarely Get
by Erin Hudson
When Julia founded Serve the Warrior and asked me to join her on the journey, I had no idea that I would be experiencing and blogging about healing treatments. We knew that along with orchestrating the Serve the Warrior Retreat we also wanted to spread the experience of nontraditional healing modalities to our Veteran community and beyond. Far be it for us to ask someone to have an open mind about something I’m not willing to check out myself, be the “guinea pig” so to say.
I was scheduled to receive a Harmonyum treatment at Naam Yoga in Santa Monica, California. Before I went to Namm for my treatment I did minimal research. I wanted to be, well surprised I guess. Sometimes when I know too much, I have expectations and I really wanted to keep an open mind and heart. What I did know going in was that Harmonyum is considered a Bio-Metaphysical Medicine treatment, is non evasive, and is a pretty simple procedure in regards to what one experiences physically. No deep pressure, no needles, pretty much just a gentle touch along the spine.
When I arrived at Naam I was greeted by Chris, my Harmonyum practitioner. I was completely delighted by his demeanor and explanation of the treatment including what I may experience during and after. I was told that Harmonyum is not like a massage – not anywhere close. Harmonyum, as explained by Chris, is an actual way for a body to heal itself. There is little to no work done by the person giving the treatment. It is their job to facilitate the healing that your body naturally does itself. He explained I would be lying on a massage table, on my stomach, and would feel very light pressure along the entire length of my spine. I was to be in the treatment for roughly an hour, and Chris assured me that nothing, not even an interruption to have drink of water, cough, or adjustment to make myself for more comfortable would disrupt the treatment. It is not possible. He also said that the work we accomplish can never be undone; that my treatment and what we achieve is this session will always be in effect. I could simply only do one treatment and still benefit even if I never do another Harmonyum treatment again in my life. Now that had my curiosity. Of course multiple sessions are recommended (7) but there is no magic number, no set stages of progress and I found that refreshing. No pressure. What I experience today will be mine no matter what.
There was no specific clothing requirement and removing one’s clothing is not necessary. I wore yoga pants and a comfortable short sleeve t-shirt. You can have a sheet or light blanket over you if you prefer. The room temperature was perfect, so I chose neither and never felt chilled or uncomfortable. The space is similar to many massage rooms I have been in – minimal furniture and decor, simple paintings, warm color tones, a massage table in the middle of the room. It also had a window, and the sun was shining through. The sun did not disturb the treatment or distract me in any way. I was actually surprised because normally during a massage I like to be in a darker room with dim lights. I believe Chris asked if I would like the shades drawn, but it brought warmth into the room so I chose otherwise. Chris had music playing, but besides my recollection that music was playing, I couldn’t describe to you if I tried.
Even after Chris explained to me how the procedure would go, I still had it in my mind that it would be similar to a massage. Even though he told me a few times that little to no pressure would be applied, I was assuming that he must clearly mean no deep tissue type of pressure – aka no swedish massage, no pain no gain, type of pressure. That is the type of healing work I am used to and actually enjoyed once a week during my waitressing years. I enjoyed not only the relaxation that comes from a strong massage but also the good pain of my muscles being worked on to relieve tension so I could be more relaxed.
I have never fallen asleep during a massage, nor have I ever felt so at peace that I could slip into a place that gave my body and my mind a real chance to recuperate. Harmonyum embodied that experience. It is what I have been looking for. Complete surrender for my mind and even my body. Releasing “the punishment” that I thought body/healing work was suppose to encompass. Being in a place where I wasn’t asleep but my mind was still, not racing. I wasn’t wondering when the treatment was going to end. I was perfectly content and lost in the moment of the peace I felt in my body. I’m not sure I have ever felt that way while being totally aware of being awake and present. At first this treatment with minimal contact had me thinking, “How can this be doing anything to me?” Well, all I can say is something extraordinary did happen.
I can see how Harmonyum would be different for everyone. Obviously most experiences are described differently from one person to another but this… I can’t quite wrap my head around what is actually being done to you while you lay there. To be honest, it is exactly as Chris described. Light gentle touches of the entire spine. At times even just simple hands resting lightly on certain parts of the spinal chord and also neck area. No pressure, no knots being worked out, no cracking or pain.
Near the end of my treatment Chris asked me to sit up, he did a few more light pressure adjustments and then I returned… from the bliss. I imagine it is what a hibernating bear must feel after taking a winter’s nap. My body felt, I think really for the first time, rejuvenated. I felt like I could move at a slower pace both mentally and physically and still get what I needed to get done for the day. A calm that I rarely get to enjoy living in Los Angeles and feeling like all I do is run around and get little to nothing accomplished. I walked out of Naam Yoga feeling restored and more vitalized. And the best part was is that it stayed with me!
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