Friday, January 6, 2017

Introducing Touch for Health

This blog posting is a departure for me – not a client story,
but sharing information about a wellness technique that every home
should have on hand – right alongside the alcohol wipes and bandages!
And there's a course coming up where you can learn all about it:
Touch For Health, Level One
February 4-5, 2017
Details below! 

What if I told you that there was a simple technique that you could use to greatly diminish or even resolve many aches and pains?

What if it was easy to use and can take just minutes? And anyone could learn it?

Well, there is! It’s called Touch for Health


• Your child has a headache. A few quick muscle checks indicate which regions along the spine to rub, then spots on the head to gently hold. Soon her headache is completely gone. 
• Your spouse has finished a construction project, and has some aches and pains to show for it. A few muscle checks indicate which areas of the body to deeply massage (surprisingly, perhaps not the aching muscles themselves), and which points to hold. Soon he can move much more comfortably. 
• You've learned some upsetting news and you're now experiencing tension or anxiety. You do some muscle checks - on yourself - and learn just where to apply a bit of gentle rubbing, and then which meridian line to trace your hand along. Soon you find yourself feeling much more emotionally balanced. 
• No pills, no trip to the doctor - just a very natural way of maintaining health for your family! 

How could these changes come about so simply and easily? 

I'll be sharing exactly that with you in this article: principles behind these Touch for Health techniques, what you learn when you participate in a course, and what a Touch for Health session looks like. 

I’ll also share some stories, including the one my husband tells about the time I “saved his life” while on holiday in Germany. Yes, this is an exaggeration, but the truth is, I really thought we would need to get him to a hospital. Touch for Health absolutely saved the day – and it took only about ten minutes.

What is Touch for Health, and how is it learned?

Touch for Health (TFH) is a system for quickly identifying the source of physical and emotional challenges – from postural misalignments and aches and pains, to feeling out of sorts or even experiencing deep emotional distress – and then using simple touch techniques to resolve them.

The entire TFH program is taught in a series of four courses, but many people take only the Level One course and simply use those tools forever. I used the Level One work with great success for years, before I ever had a chance to take Level Two, and I have yet to take Level Three! I use what I know all the time.

Many Brain Gym® instructors are also trained in Touch for Health; in fact, these techniques are so very helpful, and mesh so beautifully with the Brain Gym work, that the Touch for Health course qualifies as part of the curriculum for becoming licensed as a Brain Gym instructor. It was actually through his contact with TFH that Paul Dennison (Brain Gym co-founder) experienced many aspects of the mind/body connection, so once you learn Touch for Health, you'll see its techniques throughout the Brain Gym work.

Where did Touch for Health come from?

In the 1960s, renowned chiropractor George Goodheart began exploring the relationship between muscle response, postural alignment, and specific health issues. He eventually developed an entire system that would come to be called Applied Kinesiology. 

In the 1970s, chiropractor John F. Thie began creating a way to share the simplified basics of Applied Kinesiology with the layman – so it could become a tool for health and wellbeing in every home. This became Touch for Health.

John Thie published his first Touch for Health manual in 1973. He and his authorized instructors have trained thousands of people around the world in this system, who use it to improve the lives of friends, family, and clients. Since John Thie's passing in 2005, his work has been carried on by his son, Matthew Thie.   

What are the principles behind Touch for Health?

First, I want to say that it’s really not necessary to understand all these principles in order to learn Touch for Health. When I took my first Touch for Health course I didn’t understand much of this at all, and learned it a bit at a time over the years. My intention here is to show you how elegant the system is, and how the pieces fit together. Consider this your “first taste” of these concepts, so that when you hear them mentioned in class, you’ll already have some familiarity with them.

So, as an introduction, here are five basic concepts behind this technique:

1) Subtle energy flows throughout the body along lines called meridians, which were first identified by the ancient Chinese. It is at specific points along these meridians that acupuncturists may insert needles to treat various health conditions. 
     More recently, meridians and acupuncture points have been scientifically mapped.[1] Acupuncture is now accepted in the modern medical world, and is even covered by many insurance programs.
     Touch for Health is not acupuncture, but does use touch or massage techniques on some of these same points, as well as light tracing along the meridian lines themselves.

2) There are fourteen principal meridians. Each meridian is named (for the organ or body system it's associated with) and identified separately, and has a specific beginning and ending point; however, each one ends near to where the next one begins, so these individual sections become a continuous flow. 

3) The flow of subtle energy throughout the body can become blocked when we experience stressful situations such as illness, physical accidents, or challenging emotional events. When these blocks are identified and released, people often experience improvements in their physical and emotional wellbeing, and they function more comfortably in life.

4) Each meridian is related to a specific muscle of the physical body. For example, the quadricep (thigh muscle) is associated with the Large Intestine meridian. A facilitator can use muscle checking (seeing if the muscle “holds” against slight pressure) to assess the state of each meridian, and determine which are “flowing” and which are “blocked.”

5) When a block is identified, the facilitator can use specific touch processes (ultra-light touch or deeper rubbing on a specific points, tracing along the meridian line, etc.) to release the block in that meridian.

What does a Touch for Health session look like?

Using the simplest (Level One) protocols, a Touch for Health session looks like this: Just like in Brain Gym balancing, the facilitator supports you in creating a goal for the kind of change you’d like to see, and you get a current baseline for it by acting it out in some way (pre-check). This “pushes the button” so the blocks to energy flow in your meridians will show up clearly.  
     Then the facilitator begins with the first meridian and checks the muscle associated with it. If  the muscle check doesn’t hold (indicating blocked flow in the meridian) the facilitator does one or more simple touch options (which are clearly shown in the manual). At a certain point, checking the muscle again will show that it is now “on,” indicating that energetic flow has been restored in that meridian.  
     The facilitator then goes on to the next meridian and repeats the process. Some meridians may require no intervention at all; others may require two or three techniques. When the facilitator has taken you through the entire meridian system, having checked and resolved any blocks in all fourteen meridians, the session is complete. At this point, a replay of acting out your goal (post-check) will likely feel much more comfortable and integrated.  
     I have done full Touch for Health sessions with someone in as little as a few minutes; more often it takes a bit longer, especially if several meridians need to be addressed. It all depends on how strongly the person's mind/body system is experiencing the stress of his issue.

Learning the process

When you take a Touch for Health course, you’ll learn these concepts a bit at a time, and apply them with increasing ease. When I took Touch for Health, I was surprised to realize that over two days I’d not only learned how to muscle check someone, but I’d learned all fourteen muscle checks for the fourteen meridians. The instructor had made the learning simple and fun, and I'd had plenty of opportunity to practice in class.

Also - there’s no need to memorize everything because there’s a clear, simplified "level one" manual. You’ll learn the process, with which you’ll become increasingly familiar, and you’ll learn how to refer to your manual for whatever details you need. For a long time, I used the manual for everything. Through repetition over the years I now know the muscle checks and meridians, but I still use the manual to be sure I know which points to hold or massage.

Experiences using Touch for Health

I love how this information can help me understand my life.

When my husband and I were planning the remodeling of our kitchen we had many significant decisions to make over a period of months, about things that were to be permanent, expensive elements of our home. Key word here: stress. At certain points I’d feel completely drained and overwhelmed – like I just couldn’t make one more choice. Not only that, I was feeling increased tension in both sides of my head! I checked my meridians and found that my Gall Bladder meridian was off. This made total sense because...
    One more thing you'll learn is that each meridian also has an associated metaphor - related to an aspect of how we move through life. When the meridian is flowing, then so is that metaphoric aspect. The metaphor for the Gall Bladder meridian is (would you believe it?) decision making! Plus, this meridian begins on the sides of the face and tracks repeatedly through the head, before running down through the torso to its endpoint on the foot.
    Through the simple techniques of Touch for Health, I was able to continually release blocks I was experiencing. I’d get back into the flow of decision making, and the tension in the sides of my head vanished. And I love our new kitchen! 
But my most amazing experience with Touch for Health was this one:

My husband and I were on holiday in Germany on 9/11, a day of shock and trauma. Three days later my husband developed stomach pain so severe he couldn’t eat. Fearing the worst, and ready to ask at our hotel about the nearest hospital, I somehow thought to take out my travel-size Touch for Health folio. My husband’s stomach meridian (key concept: digesting/processing what is coming in) was blocked and I used the techniques I’d learned to release that energy flow. (We realized later that “what he’d taken in” was the overwhelm of traumatic news.) Within a half hour he was feeling 80% better and could actually eat a light dinner; by the next morning he was 95% better. Needless to say, we were both incredibly relieved. We continued to use Touch for Health along with Brain Gym balancing throughout what remained of our time in Germany and travel home, under exceedingly stressful circumstances. These are truly indispensable tools.

I have had the good fortune to learn Touch for Health from someone who has been using and teaching it for 30 years Colleen Carroll Gardner. It was during her involvement with the Touch for Health foundation that she came in touch with Paul Dennison, and was captivated by his Educational Kinesiology work, and eventually became the first member of the Edu-K international faculty. She not only brings decades of both areas of her training to every class she teaches, but has used Touch for Health throughout her years as a parent and world adventurer. She says:

My Touch for Health skills have been invaluable throughout my life — from dealing with my children’s aches, pains, and sports injuries, to keeping everyone healthy as I trekked through Nepal with college students, to balancing for health and wellbeing, for myself and others, through life’s biggest emotional challenges. These tools are incredibly helpful to have at hand.
Ready to learn Touch for Health?
You'll have tools forever, that will literally be at your fingertips!

Licensed instructors for the Touch for Health program offer courses around the world. 
Click here to find courses in the United States.

And – If you live in or near Phoenix, Arizona 
or would like to visit, 
Touch for Health is coming to YOU!

I’m delighted to say that I’m sponsoring 
Touch for Health, Level One, 
taught by Colleen Carroll Gardner
February 4-5, 2017
No prerequisite – everyone is welcome!

and click here for the flyer, with registration form on Page 2. 

I hope you can join us for this wonderful learning opportunity!

Kathy Brown, M.Ed.
Educational Kinesiologist
Licensed Brain Gym® Instructor/Consultant
Author of Educate Your Brain

[1] There are many articles about the science behind meridians. This one is from the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health:
Brain Gym® movement photographs Copyright© Laird Brown Photography. All rights reserved
Photograph of wooden figures with acupuncture points Copyright© Claudio Curro, through iStock/Getty Images
©Copyright 2016 Kathy Brown. All rights reserved.
Brain Gym® is a registered trademark of the Educational Kinesiology Foundation  •  Ventura, CA  •
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Friday, December 2, 2016

Balancing for Group Goals: The Power of Coherence

I’m sharing this excerpt from my book, Educate Your Brain. This piece is the conclusion to Chapter 14, “Brain Gym in the Workplace.” However, as you read, please keep in mind that groups are found everywhere: sports teams, dance ensembles, study groups, neighborhood associations – even families! Wherever there’s a group that would like to function more effectively as a coordinated team, Edu-K balancing can be a valued resource. 
I conclude this posting with an addition: thoughts about what it is that makes the group balancing process so powerful. What might it have to do with the power of coherence? I warmly invite you to share this exploration with me. 
Edu-K balancing and group goals
While the balance process is used most often with individuals, remarkable shifts may also occur when those individuals come together to address a common goal. Following a balance, office staff or management teams may find themselves communicating more effectively, feeling more aligned as a group, and cooperatively solving challenges that arise.
I was invited to work with a business that was having serious cooperation issues. It was a small, recently merged office. The two owners (now partners) brought with them distinctly different personality styles and sets of office systems, and employees steeped in those disparate systems. As one of the owners stated, “The challenges for our newly merged support staff are considerable and lead to conflicts that drain our time and energy.”
The Total Team EffectivenessTM program I’ve developed uses the Edu-K model to specifically address challenges within groups. It consists of a workshop covering the basics of the Brain Gym process, followed by individual balances with each team member, and then at least one more session with the entire group, focused on a collective goal.
In the case of this company, each participant chose to use his or her private session to address a specific personal issue, with the overall understanding that balanced team members create a more balanced team. When they got together a few days later for their group session, they chose to focus on improving their ability to communicate and generate harmonious solutions.
The owners later wrote to say that their office was now more productive and focused on accomplishing their business goals. One of the office staff members commented, “It isn’t that conflict went away. We just seem to find solutions so cooperatively and easily now.”
Not all businesses have a need—or the time—for such in-depth work. Sometimes just a quick balance-boost can resolve a specific situation.
I facilitated a short workshop for the executive committee of a small private college at the beginning of a day dedicated to creating a three-year strategic plan. This school was facing a real challenge: each department’s program was growing, and the building wasn’t. There had been some very heated “discussions” among department directors about the usage of classrooms and whose program “deserved” what space. All the directors attended this meeting.
In the workshop, I briefly explained the basics of Edu-K balancing and introduced the PACE warm-up. Then we discussed what they wanted to accomplish together. The participants all knew they needed to improve their teamwork and blend the interests of the various departments of the school. To develop a group goal, I asked them to list the qualities that would help their team be more effective, which I scribed on the board. They mentioned such things as respect, flexibility, open communication, and willingness to hold a team view. Once all these words were contributed, I had everyone look at them and notice their reaction. Their comments ranged from “I can’t even look at the word cooperation” to “Making this change seems totally impossible.”
The Calf Pump
I suggested they each put a hand over any place where they noticed discomfort in their body, and soon they were covering stomachs, heads, necks, jaws, and lower backs. One man said, “I need more hands!” Then I pointed to a poster of all the Brain Gym movements (our learning menu), and invited members of the group to simply notice which movements they were drawn to. One person said, “I can’t take my eyes off the words ‘The Calf Pump.’ What is it?” I replied, “I’ll show you,” and then led the group in that movement. After a few movements done this way, I noticed everyone sitting back in their chairs, seeming quite content. When they looked again at the words on the board describing their goal, they had various comments: “My stomach feels fine and my headache is gone.” “I can do that now.” “I can look at our goal and breathe now—and even smile.” “I’m ready—let’s get to work.”
The director of public relations for this school later wrote to describe what happened during the meeting that followed their Brain Gym workshop:
We found that we were able to complete our tasks in record time with great camaraderie. Starting with concerns of “turf wars” between members of the team, we found we spent the day enjoying and respecting one another more than we could have anticipated. In fact, we accomplished the outline of our Three-Year Strategic Plan by 5:00 p.m. that same day!
Even though several weeks have passed since our retreat, members of the Executive Committee are openly using the techniques in front of our employees and discussing the benefits of the processes with their staff. Many of our employees have sought out the Brain Gym® for Business books that we brought back with us so that they, too, can benefit from the exercises.
We hope to include you in a future all-school meeting. In the meantime, we are all ambassadors for “Brain Gym” techniques!
Whether it’s a quick productivity boost or in-depth balancing, Brain Gym and Edu-K can help to transform the atmosphere of your work setting. It’s amazing what can happen when individuals really prepare themselves for success, and teams balance to hold a shared vision.
How to explain such profound changes in camaraderie and teamwork?
Over the last twenty years using Brain Gym, I’ve found that when people do these movements together, and especially when they engage in the balance process together toward a shared goal, positive shifts take place in group dynamics.
Teachers have shared that their classroom environments have been transformed once they began introducing the Brain Gym movements and making them a regular part of their day. This email from a special-education teacher is a good example:
“My students (many of whom I knew well, as they had been in this special class last year also) were suddenly shifting their attitude and getting along so well together. They cooperated in ways I’d never seen before, and the typical nagging and teasing almost vanished. They really became a learning team and seemed to enjoy the victories and gains of their classmates as much as they enjoyed their own.”[1]
And balancing is effective if your group is just two people! One of my Brain Gym students remarked that she and her husband were getting along remarkably better, ever since they came to me for a “partners” balance around the topic of communication. She said, “We seem to respect each other’s communication styles so much more; we’re more patient and understanding with each other. Our marriage is much more harmonious now.”
What’s the source of this kind of change?
Many of you who follow the Brain Gym work may know neurobiologist Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., from her book Smart Moves – Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head, in which she explains the biology of the learning process, and why physical movements like the Brain Gym activities are so vital for developing our capacity to learn.
She followed this book with Playing in the Unified Field – Raising & Becoming Conscious, Creative Human Beings. In this volume she takes a much more profound look at the forces (now verified by physicists) within us, and around us, as we experience our everyday lives. One topic she turns to again and again in this volume is coherence, which she describes as “an ordered, consistent, congruent, harmonious functioning within any system.”[2]
In essence, when we are in a state of coherence, we feel comfortable, connected, and happy; when we are in a state of in-coherence, we feel stressed, separate, and distressed.
Given these definitions, it’s not a stretch to suggest that the outcome of any individual’s Edu-K balancing session is a state of internal coherence, in regard to the goal they were addressing. (In the Edu-K/Brain Gym work, this is called a state of “integration.”)
I believe that what is happening during a group balancing session is that the group members are coming into a state of coherence – individually and together – around a topic in which they all have an emotional investment. When an entire group is in a coherent state, the need for defensive stances and chronic oppositional thinking simply falls away, and cooperation becomes spontaneous and natural. 
What’s creating this state of coherence, and how is it that it carries on as a lasting pattern? The balance process itself is a potent medium for change: preparing ourselves for new learning (the PACE warm-up) and setting a focused intention for change (setting a goal); noticing how and where we feel stuck (so the mind-body system knows what patterns to re-educate), and then doing Brain Gym movements, each of which has its own manner of releasing the effects of stress in the body and returning us to a more balanced (coherent) state; following this with noticing again (Wow – I feel different now!). Celebrating our change is the final step.
A powerful combination: 
• The Brain Gym movements themselves help us shift into a more integrated, coherent mind-body state. 
• The Edu-K balance process harnesses the power of focused intention for making a specific change, so those changes are deep and long-lasting.
Carla Hannaford describes the balance process this way: “elegantly simple.”
Is this exactly what’s happening when we balance? Is this all there is to it? Actually, I don’t know. It’s one way of looking at possibilities.
For me, what’s sufficient is to know that it works. Edu-K balancing works – for individuals and for groups, as well.
What opportunities are there in your own life, for exploring the possibilities?
With all best wishes,


Kathy Brown, M.Ed.
Educational Kinesiologist
Licensed Brain Gym® Instructor/Consultant
Author of Educate Your Brain

[1] Brown, Kathy. Educate Your Brain. Phoenix: Balance Point Publishing LLC, 2012. p.180
[2] Hannaford, Carla. Playing in the Unified Field. Salt Lake City: Great River Publishing, 2010. p.22.
Original article from Educate Your Brain Copyright© 2012 Kathy Brown. All rights reserved
Photographs Copyright© Laird Brown Photography. All rights reserved. 
©Copyright 2016 Kathy Brown. All rights reserved.
Brain Gym® is a registered trademark of the Educational Kinesiology Foundation  •  Ventura, CA  •

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