FAQ

How do clients feel safe, stay grounded at SynergyAlive?

  • First of all, practitioner approach, as well as session pace and experiences, are customized to the client's situation and desires . 

  • Clients are oriented to connect with aspects of the their strengths to draw on to support and nurture welfare and ability to adapt at early signs of overwhelm, threat, or danger resourced; then trauma is not re-triggered and client system integrity is strengthened.  This is called "Felt Resources."

  • Privacy is protected and boundaries are respected.  Sessions are done clothed.  Permission to address issues or touch body areas appropriately is requested.

  • Attitudes of play and adventure are the basis of the experiences at SynergyAlive.  

  • The work is gentle and supportive. 

  • Experiences at SynergyAlive are a great way to weave body, mind, and spirit together more closely while each area grows, adding to a sense of wholeness, kind of like a good yoga class. 

  • The goal is stimulating well-being.  Some say it’s like “spiritual acupuncture.” People report feeling more relaxed, clear, good, and whole.

  • Rest for the nervous system is encouraged and triggering stress is avoided.  Clients learn about Felt Resources to avoid tumbling in the agitated surf of overwhelm or re-triggering trauma. 

  • People use this work to feel more “embodied,” to gain a sense of actually living in their body; to experience their physical, mental, and emotional bodies as a safer and more enjoyable place to b; to know and trust  body sense; and to integrate body/mind/spirit in unique wholeness.

Polarity Therapy

1) What is the principle of polarity?

  • Dr. Stone, the originator of Polarity, wrote that all life is movement and movement is a manifestation of energy or the vital force.  His idea was about vital energy with fields and currents moving in waves of expansion and contraction related harmoniously to each other.

  • The physical body is seen as an expression of this subtle energy.

  • Imbalances in this energy are reflected in the body's fascial, muscular, bony and organ relationships.

  • Life is a manifestation of energy.  Initially, energy is a unified neutral source.  "Prana" or "chi" are the energies enlivening the body. All energy begins at this unified neutral source and returns to it.  This neutral energy becomes gradually more solid and dense to form the human body. 

  • Polarity Therapy uses gentle techniques to work with three phases of energy manifestation in the body: the most subtle phase being the chakras and 5 elements; the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and central nervous systems; and work with the physical body in fascial, muscular, bony, and organ relationships. 

  • Energy in the human body flows from positive areas to negative areas. 

  • The top of the body is considered positive and the lower part negative.  

  • The negative parts of the body attract the positive energy of the Source.  

  • The right hand is considered positive and the left hand negative. 

  • Improved energy flow is supported with the practitioner's hands, as well as with self-awareness, energy exercises, and good nutrition.

 

2) What are the five elements in Polarity?

  • In Ayurvedic system, all matter is classified as consisting of 5 elements—ether, air, fire, water, and earth. 

  • Each element is associated with different parts of the body. 

  • Ether has to do with joints, nerves, arteries and veins. 

  • The air element also relates to circulation as well as breath.  Air is also associated with the parasympathetic nervous system. 

  • The fire element relates to the digestive function as well as the sympathetic part of the nervous system.  Fire has to do with system vitality, tissue healing, and basic energy level. 

  • The water element is associated with body fluids like blood, lymph and mucous, the matrix which binds the body together like skin and muscle. 

  • The earth element is associated with bones, structure, and elimination. 

  • Emotional conditions, both “positive” and “negative,” are also associated with a particular element. 

  • Ether is associated with sense of beauty and grieving, pride and humility; air with verbal expressiveness and scatteredness, greed and contentment; fire with vitality, forgiveness, and anger; water with creativity, attachment and flow; and earth is associated with stability and stuckness, courage and fear.  

3) What are the chakras in the polarity model?

  • Thinking about the chakras begins with the Source (the unified neutral energy mentioned above) which then becomes the “ultrasonic core."  It is neutral in charge and the source of all other fields. 

  • The highest level of the ultrasonic core is the seventh chakra. 

  • In the 6th chakra, this core splits and forms dual paths depicted as serpents.  They are pictured as the caduceus, the symbol commonly representing various health fields including traditional medical world.   Each serpent has a different charge, positive or negative. 

  • As the Source allows itself to be slowed down to form the body and weave back and forth across each other down the body.  The points of intersection form the chakras. 

  • Each chakra is associated with an element as the serpents descend to form the body:  ether, air, fire, water, and earth. 

  • Body parts and emotions are associated with each elemental zone:  neck or ether area with grief, chest/heart or air zone with desire, epigastrum or solar plexus, with anger, pelvic zone with attachment, and colon/rectum or earth zone with fear.  

  • The currents descend to form the body first, and then make the return journey home back to the Source.

 

4) How do energy exercises help you feel good?

  • The energy that forms the body originates in the Source and allows itself to be slowed and descend chakra by chakra, forming the body. 

  • The head is thought of as the “north pole” or positive aspect of the body, and the pelvis, known as the “emotional basin,” or the "south pole," as the negative aspect of the body.   

  • The south pole attracts the energy from the north pole.  

  • When the South Pole is full of undigested impressions, the North Pole doesn't have a target to which to send its impulse.  That's when we can feel discombobulated, at loose ends, or funky.  It's like a pitcher's throws not getting to the catcher's mitt because it's already full of balls and the system does not work optimally.  

  • Polarity exercises are designed to nourish the human energy field, to optimize the flow of elements in the body, and to allow the south pole to discharge what’s held there that blocks energy flow, resulting in feeling good with more energy available.   

  • The positive north pole can then flow in its intended way, with a body that feels good physically, mentally, and emotionally.  

  • Some exercises help release deeply held emotional patterns using movement, sound, and breath.

  • Harmony in physical, mental, and emotional bodies improves. 

  • In turn, the body’s energy flow is optimized, well-being is fostered, and health is enhanced.

 

5) How does polarity treat pain?

  • Pain is seen as an expression of blocked energy. 

  • Polarity practitioners work to unblock energy using their hands to promote flow thru those blocked areas, to help body areas communicate better through good energy flow.

  • Helping body areas communicate better is known as “polarizing” them to other body areas, as well as with strong areas of energy flow in the body.  

  • The closest large joints and the coccyx are areas used by Polarity practitioners to help neutralize the pain. 

  • The Polarity practitioner may also work with elements and different types of touch to relieve pain.

6) How long does a polarity session effect last?

  • A polarity session is like planting seeds. 

  • Those seeds germinate and grow over 2-3 days after a polarity session. 

  • In the days following a polarity session, as the client remembers his/her intention for the session, the client notices that light is thrown on the intention that builds insight and understanding.

 

7) What are the energy currents in the body? 

  • Energy flows vertically, horizontally, and spirals from top downwards and center outwards. 

  • Vertical currents, called north-south currents, are the strongest in the body. 

  • The horizontal currents, called east-west currents, are less strong. 

  • The spiral currents are integrating and contribute to vitality and a sense of spaciousness.

 

8) Why do polarity practitioners work with the feet?

  • The feet hold chronic old energy patterns that are important to work with. 

  • Working with the feet also releases energy in the body above the feet.

Raphaelite Work

1) What is the Raphaelite Work?

  • The Raphaelite Work uses presence and breath to increase awareness of one’s inner condition using the "languages" of the 5 domains or "bodies," the physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual.  

  • Physical sensations, emotional feelings, thoughts and images, felt-sense of connectedness are the languages of these bodies that we can be aware of. 

  • The Raphaelite Work is informed by insights of ancient Sufi teachings combined with those of Depth Psychology, and created by Himayat Inayati ThD, teacher of universal methods of spiritual development. 

  • The Raphaelite Work uses inner awareness to notice subtle conditions which leads to deeper understanding and guidance.  

  • In turn,  awareness of subtle “felt sense” and “felt shifts” grows and can be described. 

  • It is "inner work" and can be thought of as a "guided meditation" launched from experiencing the Heart, a center of wisdom.

  • It is a gentle and supported process.

 

2) What happens in inner work and guided meditation?

  • The Raphaelite Work is inner work and guided meditation.  It's like an energy work session for our inner selves.  

  • The work is launched usually with centering in the Heart to experience the "domain of the Heart" using breath and presence.

  • It uses the Heart as a center of intelligence and a resource.  

  • The Raphaelite Work practitioner and client are guided by the client’s report of experience while being present to breath and languages of the five domains or bodies--physical, emotional, mental, connectedness, and spiritual domains. 

  • The practitioner uses the client’s report of those bodies as the session develops.  Each session is a combination of client and practitioner experience. 

  • Using the activity in the five bodies as clues to be followed, energy is traced through the body. 

  • This process allows the system to process subtle aspects encountered in every day life that can lead to congestion and overload. 

  • Energy in the bodies is witnessed and traced in the bodies. Surprisingly, this can lead us to deeper understanding. 

  • Realization and new insight become apparent in this process.

 

3) What gets stored in the body tissues and how does that effect health? 

  • In Polarity Therapy we learn that it can take time to work through the many things that happen in a day, that we don't have time to fully digest. 

  • Dr. Stone notes that the pelvis often is the storage place for things “waiting to be worked through.”  

  • We work with a similar notion in The Raphaelite Work.

  • Our reaction to events throughout our lives can be stored all over in our bodies, not just the pelvis. 

  • The processing of events or “digestion” of things that has impressed us then leads us to being able to assimilate them and make our own sense of them. 

  • Realization and new insight become apparent in this process.  

  • Results of this presence process are often understanding next steps, light being shed on questions, inner peace, feelings of well-being, and contentment.

 

4) How do I get to experience The Raphaelite Work?

  • This facilitated inner journeying using The Raphaelite Work can be included as part of a bodywork session at SynergyAlive to try it out.

  • It can be included in any SynergyAlive session, or can be a session by itself.  

  • Clients at SynergyAlive learn how to use this inner work to enrich their own meditations outside SynergyAlive.

  •  The Raphaelite Work is also effective by phone.  People who are outside the Asheville area can have an inner journeying session by phone. 

Craniosacral Therapy

1) What’s the basis of Craniosacral Therapy? 

  • In the 1900’s, osteopathic physician William Sutherland though the sutures in the human cranium suggested they might move, worked to palpate that movement in himself and others, and accounted for the coordination of the rhythmic motion of the cranium and sacrum could be related to the dural tube which connected them. 

  • CranioSacral Therapy is based on the concept that the rhythmic rise and fall of cerebrospinal fluid was produced by the expansion and contraction of the ventricles, where the fluid is produced. 

  • The craniosacral fluid holds the universal life force energy in the human system and is the basis of the body's innate intelligence.

  • There are other theories from other researchers to explain the craniosacral rhythmic motion. 

  • The practitioner feels this rhythmic motion with their hands, and though it can be “palpated” all over the body, is most easily perceived in the head.

2) What are the anatomic parts of the craniosacral system?

  • The parts of the system are:  the cerebrospinal fluid and its production and resorption, the meningeal membranes, bony structures to which these membranes attach which include the sacrum; and connective tissue, especially fascia, related to these meningeal membranes.

3) What does the craniosacral system influence?

  • It is thought it influences the nervous system, lymphatic system, vascular system, and musculoskeletal systems. 

  • Work with the craniosacral system is a way to promote health due to the the way it touches various body systems.

4) What is a “still point?”

  • A still point is when the craniosacral motion stops, the body relaxes, and becomes still. 

  • A still point is commonly induced by the practitioner with certain contact with the head or sacrum, but can also be induced with other manipulations of the body. 

  • A still point lasts a few seconds to a few minutes. 

5) What is fascia and why is it important?

  • Fascia is a band or sheet of slightly mobile connective tissue, primarily collagen but also elastin, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.  Fascia holds our organs in place and unifies the body. 

  • Because of this, if there’s a problem with the fascia like becoming thicker or less mobile, it can affect the whole body and makes us less healthy. 

  • Minimizing inflammation, encouraging movement, good diet and hydration, bodywork, and stress management are all helpful to have healthy fascia.

  • Most of the body’s fascial sheets glide up and down in the body.  There are divisions in the body that are horizontal fascia which can impair the up and down movement of body fascia. 

  • Release of these horizontal structures is fairly simple.  Practitioner hands are placed over the horizontal division on the body front and on the same area in the back.  The practitioner feels for tissue relaxation. 

  • The respiratory diaphragm, dividing the body into thoracic and abdominal cavities, is a common transverse structure that can restrict fascial movement. 

  • The pelvic diaphragm, which stretches across the pelvis like a hammock and supports the pelvic viscera, as well as the thoracic diaphragm are also a common restrictors.  

  • Working with the cranial base is helpful to improve the mobility of the occiput and other cranium bones. 

  • There are other places horizontal or transverse restrictions occur which your practitioner may work with, including hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, etc. 

  • Craniosacral body work can help promote fascial glide.

 

6) How much effort is used in craniosacral work?

  • Your craniosacral practitioner listens to your body with her hands. 

  • The force used depends on the body’s response to the pressure of the practitioner. 

  • Too much pressure stimulates a defensive reaction from the body.  Too much force is self-defeating. 

  • Usually more pressure at the cranial base is required than at other body transverse divisions below. 

  • The approximate force used in CranioSacral Therapy is the force used to raise a nickel with one finger, about 5 grams.  It is the amount of force you’d used to moved a thin piece of cellophane floating on top of water.

Retreat

1) What happens on retreat?  It’s a time for what you want…

  • Time out and time away…from everyday life, habits, concerns, and ways of being—

  • Time to just “be”

  • To rest, be with nature, reflect

  • Allow things to move on that are ready to go

  • Recharge their battery, walk, meditate, pray, sing, move, dance, do art, read.

  • Learn more about meditation as desired.

  • Be present to the moment, nature, and one’s five bodies—the physical, emotional, and mental bodies, our connectedness and the spiritual body from which deep comfort, intuition, inspiration, and realizations come.

  • Renew.

  • Arrive at new perspective and inspiration

  • Allow time for stillness and inner guidance


2) What if I’ve never done a retreat?

  • Retreats are custom designed for the retreatant’s experience and goals.

  • All possible support is given to get the most from the retreat experience. 

  • Enjoying “down time,” gifts of the moment, gentle reflection, meditation tuned to the retreatants desire, and just “being” are key in a retreat. 

  • It’s not required to have personal healing sessions before taking retreat, but can be helpful. 

3) What do you do on a retreat?

  • Your retreat guide visits with you once or twice a day. 

  • The retreatant shares as much of their experience from the day they care to, or life situations that are getting their attention. 

  • The retreat guide is expert in offering gentle “next steps,” options in framing experiences, meditations or “games to play with the universe” to optimize the life-changing learning of the retreat experience.  

 

 

 
 
 
 

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​© 2019 by Aiden Whitney-Johnson