Zero Balancing - In Conversation with James Salomons
We spoke to our in-house Zero Balancing Therapist, James Salomons, all about Zero Balancing, what it is and how it came into his life.
Let's get right into it. What exactly is Zero Balancing?
On the surface, Zero Balancing is a bodywork method that utilises light touch and gentle traction. The client lies down fully clothed on the massage table and enjoys a deeply relaxing experience.
My preferred way of describing Zero Balancing is to say that it's like massage with your clothes on, acupuncture without the needles and therapy without talking. The point being that its effects and impact are not limited to just the physical. It assists the flow of vitality in the body and can have, and often does have, emotional and psychological benefits.
This surprises some people I speak to... "How can touching the body affect my mind?!"We have all seen and experienced it. Posture slumps when a person is depressed. A feeling of butterflies in the stomach when excited. Tears stream from eyes when a heart is broken.
Your body is and was there for every life experience you have encountered. Touching the body, therefore, is touching a life lived.We often see the body, emotions and mind as separate. Therefore it's not unfathomable to consider them as interrelated. By affecting one, we can affect the other. By touching the body, we can touch the emotions and the mind.
Of course no one has to take my word for it. I'm simply putting words to the experience of what it is like to be touched in a skilful and therapeutic way. Bodyworkers of all persuasions have experience of this and there is now a growing body of scientific studies to back this up.
So not only do Zero Balancing clients feel like they've had their physical body tended to, but they also feel a greater sense of emotional equilibrium. There is an increased capacity to deal with stress, and greater joy and ease in their daily lives. And this is not just for a few hours or days after the treatment, but a cumulative effect on their lives going forward.
Tell us about your personal journey and what led you to train in Zero Balancing?
I have been blessed to receive treatments from some very skilled healers and there was one pivotal experience that I will never forget.
During one of these session we had uncovered sexual abuse I had experienced as a child. The pain and sadness were overwhelming. I left the room immediately after the session and went to the nearest bathroom. I saw myself in the mirror with tears streaming down my face. Insights flooded my awareness of how I had buried these experiences and had effectively been running away from them ever since. I saw how much of my anger and self-abuse had their roots in those experiences.
The process of purging the negative effects of the abuse on my life had begun.
A month or so later, I realised that - WOW! - this was possible simply because someone had trained their touch to listen to my body. My body somehow knew what it needed and this therapist was able to 'listen' to that need and, better still, facilitate that need being met.In that moment, I knew it was my calling to help others in the same way.
I spoke to a trusted bodywork practitioner and he suggested that I research Trager and Zero Balancing. So I bought a book on each. The Trager book was OK, but it didn't really resonate with me. The next book I read was Inner Bridges by the founder of Zero Balancing, Dr Fritz Frederick Smith, and it was like reading a book an older version of me had written. I LOVED it and knew this was what I was looking for.
That was toward the end of 2014. I started training in early 2015. The first training course solidified my decision and, boy, did those four days introduce me to the power of Zero Balancing.
What is it about Zero Balancing that keeps you interested?
Ever see a martial art film where there's a very old man who has exceptional skill? It's because he's trained his whole life mastering his art. To my mind, Zero Balancing is that art that I want to develop and practice.Whilst all the techniques follow a simple and effective framework, there seem to be endless subtleties in the work.The variety in body shapes and the variety in their vitality and character are intriguing. And what I mentioned earlier about how touching a body is touching a life lived opens up some very interesting avenues for exploration.
How many people do you know who have the same pasts? None, most likely. Even identical twins won't be identical in their experiences. And so none of my clients are the same.On top of that, not every session is identical either. The context of my clients' lives have changed and the intention they bring to the session changes. Equally, the context of my life changes too.
So how we meet as Zero Balancer and client changes, and how we meet through the medium of touch changes.With the constancy of change aside, however, there are three main elements that keep me engaged in the work.The first is the skill of 'listening' through my fingertips. Just like how listening in conversation is a skill that can be developed to great sensitivity and nuance, so too can listening through the fingertips. Picking up on qualities of sadness, anger and grief through touch is not uncommon. But subtleties like to whom that sadness, anger or grief may relate to, and how old the client was when this was experienced, provide some examples of how the skill of listening can be refined.
Secondly, the skill of developing a rapport with the client's body so it can be heard (non-verbally) and have its needs met is another avenue that I'm exploring. Part of this means respecting the body if it does not yet wish to venture into certain subconscious territory, such as sexual abuse, for example.And, lastly, doing Zero Balancing is a meditative work. The more 'I' get out the way during a treatment, the more the client benefits. So I see it very much, not just as my vocation, but as a profound spiritual endeavour too.
Who can benefit from Zero Balancing?
Pretty much everyone. There's a book with Zero Balancing case studies and it talks about artists who overcame creative blocks through Zero Balancing, kids on the autism spectrum who were better able to concentrate, and adults who finally came to be comfortable with themselves. It's applications are vast.
In my personal practice, I have helped clients' natural healing mechanisms overcome aches and pains, helped many more with overcoming past hurts and traumas and helped one or two deepen their spiritual practice. All that said, most simply come to feel more at home within themselves and for much-needed stress relief.
Fascinating! What are your working hours and how can people learn more?
I work at Santosa on the following days:Wednesdays 10am - 6pm
Thursdays 10am - 8pm
Fridays 10am - 6pm