I asked Jon Schreiber, Director of the Breema Center and Breema Clinic. Here's what he has to say in response:
Breema is based on an amazingly practical common-sense
approach to the body and to life. There is nothing that we need to do in
life that should be uncomfortable or painful to our
body. But in fact, most of the things we do in life fall into that
category! They end up damaging us or draining us. Breema actually
teaches you how to do things in a way that is enjoyable for you,
and increases your energy rather than draining it.
Each of us has an instinctive intelligence that operates in the body, and the possibility to enter a deeper, more meaningful, or higher level of consciousness than we typically spend our life in. Breema's philosophy and practice constantly orient us toward this bigger picture. It saves us from reducing clients to the set of problems they are presenting themselves with. The more the practitioner is free from identifying with what the client's identified with, the better it is for both of them. At those times, I can see that my client may have back pain, but at the same time is alive, is actually much healthier than not healthy, and is part of a much larger Life. The more this is not just a concept for me, but informs how I move, how I touch, how I am when I am with them, the more they are affected by that and oriented toward a larger perspective of what's actually going on in their life. It decreases their fear of possible consequences of their problem, and that alone is a big support for the healing process, which takes place within the client himself.
In practicing Breema, and working with its philosophy and principles, you know you've helped when you experience that you were supported to become more present. This definite knowing that we did something that was useful and helpful doesn't come from what we observe with our eyes and senses about the recipient, or from our conjectures. It comes from putting the principles like Mutual Support and No Judgment into practice. The natural confidence that comes from seeing that both the client and the practitioner have benefited makes doing bodywork very joyful—moving it from a job to something that you are doing that really supports your own life.
I spoke to a couple of Breema practitioners who also practice other forms of massage, bodywork, and yoga. They told me of their experiences and how they benefit from Breema, no matter what form they are practicing:
Before I started studying Breema I was studying massage and teaching yoga, and have practiced it in different therapeutic settings. I probably wouldn't be practicing massage professionally if it wasn't for Breema, because it was Breema that taught me that I am included in the session. Until I learned that, massage seemed like too much work, because I was thinking about the client and forgetting about myself. I've been practicing for 20 years, and I don't think I would have this kind of relationship with bodywork if it wasn't for Breema. Not only am I included and taking care of myself, but I actually benefit from giving bodywork, because of Breema.
Rather than talking about being present in an abstract way, Breema gives me really simple tools to actually experience being present to my own experience. When I am doing other forms of bodywork I can relate the Breema principles to that bodywork, and doing massage and bodywork becomes a quiet time that supports me essentially.
Before Breema, my yoga practice was full of force—but studying Breema opened up a quality of being rather than just doing. The emphasis on understanding and verifying things for myself gave a whole new orientation to bodywork and to teaching yoga. I became a lot more available to listening to myself, and able to be
more present when I teach yoga, and with my clients. The emphasis on learning from my own direct experience, not from theory, has helped me learn so much more, both about the body and about myself.
I mostly do massage at Google, practicing a number of different massage techniques, using my Breema experience to support me to be present in the session. When I notice that my mind is wandering, I register my breath to come back to the body, or begin to work with one of the Breema principles, like Body Comfortable or Single Moment/Single Activity. Some of the inspirational material from the philosophy will come alive, like the titles of Self-Breema, for example: This Moment Is, I Am. I almost always do a Breema hold on my clients' feet, and I find that I am always really present during that hold—I can rely on it to help me be more connected and present. Some other aspects of Breema bodywork also come in while I do massage, and they always remind me to come back to my body and breath.
Breema for Bodyworkers workshop with Jon Schreiber will take place at the Breema Center Saturday April 12 from 10am-4:30pm. More information, details and registration here.