I’ve always thought that one of our responsibilities as Bodyworkers is to convey to our clients how incredibly amazing our bodies are. Most people, including many therapists (unfortunately), don’t truly understand how the bodies we occupy actually works– I can’t blame them, really…I drive a car every day and don’t understand exactly how that works either.
I’m not saying you need to have a PhD. in physiology, but knowledge is an invaluable asset (and a powerful marketing tool). Supplying a quick, authoritative answer will reinforce a client’s perception that you have an incredible command of how complex the human body is.
For example, haven’t you ever had clients ask you where that knot you’re working on so diligently came from? Most of them aren’t aware that the seemingly simple act of wiggling one’s fingers requires an enormous number of simultaneous biochemical and biomechanical actions that happen faster than the most powerful computer. Trying to explain the full scope of the process might be a bit much, but most find a condensed version really interesting. I use something like this…
Muscles are like rope – microscopic contractile cells, called sarcomeres, are connected, end-to-end to form long strands of myofibrils. Groups of myofibrils are bundled together to form fibers, groups of fibers are bundled together to form fascicles, and groups of fascicles are bundled together to form the muscle itself.
The sarcomeres are where the entire action of a muscles contraction originates. Each sarcomere is separated by a membrane called a Z band and contains two filament-like proteins called myosin and actin. When you want your finger to wiggle, the proteins are drawn towards the center of the sarcomere, causing the Z bands to move closer together and the muscle to contract.
Unfortunately the actin and myosin filaments in the sarcomeres can get stuck, preventing them from returning to their resting lengths. If this happens in clusters of cells, the end result is a knot; the more cells in a cluster, the bigger the knot…once the actin and myosin filaments get unstuck, the knot goes away.
Educating your clients, and delivering work that backs up what you say, is precisely how you will build your stable of repeat clientele, and repeat clients means a better business.
P.S. Just because I find this so fascinating, here’s some more information that may (or may not) be something you want to throw into your explanation…
The contraction of the sarcomeres occurs through a complicated chemical process that involves the release and uptake of several biochemicals including acetylcholine (ACh) and calcium. The command your brain sends down the nerves telling your muscle to contract produces excessive amounts of ACh, which increases the intracellular calcium levels and triggers the muscle contractions.
The movement of the actin and myosin proteins is “fueled,” in part, from the conversion of chemical energy to mechanical energy. Myosin utilizes the conversion of ATP, adenosine triphosphate, to ADP, adenosine diphosphate, to create energy that allows it, in the presence of high levels of calcium ions, to repeatedly attach, move, detach, and then reattach to the actin fibers, repeatedly, thereby enabling the myosin and actin to draw together as described above.
When multiplied by the thousands and thousands of sarcomeres in a muscle this “movement” of the myosin, which causes the actin fibers to shorten, allows your leg or arm or fingers to contract. When the level of calcium ions is reduced due to the cessation of the message sent from your brain to contract, the actin fibers are able to relax again (unless, of course, they become entangled in the gel-like substance called titin). This constant back and forth is what enables you to move.