Discovering the Body’s Wisdom by Mirka Knaster is a three-part book that introduces various techniques that relieve pain and increase general pleasures in life. The author, Mirka Knaster, is a licensed massage therapist and is well-experienced in diverse body methods and disciplines. Body wisdom teaches that there are three basic ways the body signals an imbalance: a constriction or blockage exists; muscle tension; and parts of the body are being misused.
Knaster includes methods to decrease tension, increase athletic ability and unblock energy for more pleasure, relief and stimulation. Discussion questions are found below.
1. Describe how traditional American education can lead to disembodiment.
Traditional American education can lead to disembodiment because of the structure which does not permit the children to be aware of their bodies. This is achieved by putting children in uncomfortable chairs and tables, allowing them only to see the backs of others through row formation, not allowing fresh air and providing fluorescent light. This does not teach us how important movement, sensing, thinking, and feeling are all interrelated.
2. Discuss the basic ethical principles that all practitioners should follow.
The ethics that all practitioners should engage in include: not engaging in anything immoral, illegal or harmful; not to discriminate against religion, age, sexual orientation, ethnic origin or profession; not to offer services outside their scope of practice by making referrals to other specialists; not to impose values but to respect their values and the right to choose; assuming responsibility for their work; respecting privacy; and preventing the consequences of dual relationships for example professional with sexual.
3. List the three main aspects concerning the scope of practice and briefly define each one.
- Relaxation – provision of relaxing, stress-reducing, pleasurable, and sensual (not sexual) experience through touch.
- Remediation – relief of pain or some condition or a correction of any disfunction.
- Holism – not a relaxation or remediation, and not focused on curing but a higher level of organisation, structure and well being. Achieved through practitioner`s attention on balacing a particular body system.
4. Discuss what fascia is, and why it is so important to our health.
Fascia is the connective tissue that is widely distributed through our body tissues. It connects tissues, organs, muscles, tendons, and bones together. Deep fascia includes the nervous system and the brain, contributing to the production of new blood corpuscles, removing old corpuscles and playing a role in the immunity against desease.
5. Define and describe what the Feldenkrais method is and include how this method acts on the body.
The Feldenkrais Method involves the repetition of movement sequences to improve the body image of the client. Through the use of the practitioner`s hands, it re-educated the nervous system any forgotten or never used motor ability or sensory organisation. This movement creates awareness, and through this awareness the movement can be repeated without the practitioner. It is used well in celebral palsy, arthritis, cervical condition and brain injury.
It is also designed to improve or discover ability, and create conditions that produce choices. This affects the whole system, by leaving you feeling refreshed, with a light feeling, establishing a more complete body image.
6. Discuss where the Western movement arts originated, and in what ways they are beneficial?
The Western movement art originated in the world of dance and choreography. It is beneficial since its addresses movement, and how we move is how we function. Any restriction in movement is reflected in a restricted mind. Movement art can helps us to eliminate any restrictions we might have and therefore teaching us new possibilities, new ease and how we feel about our bodies.
7. Discuss the five elements in the Eastern tradition and how they impact our health.
The five elements in Eastern traditions are: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. They represent forces of influence and these forces are associated with the following body organs: Liver with wood; heart with fire; kidneys with water; lungs with metal; and spleen with earth. Any imbalance to the forces will produce weaknesses and eventually illness in the corresponding organs.
8. Define and contras the internal and external martial arts.
Internal or soft martial arts include T´ai Chi and Aikido, it focuses on yielding and inner strength, by responding through giving way. Its shadow side includes airiness and shallowness. External or hard martial arts include Karate and its focus is on hard physical training that creates muscular power through breaking limitation with devastating impact. Its shadow side is brutality and murderousness.
Both arts include training in cultivating a tranquil, focused, and peaceful mind. The main theme is on centering and respect. At the heart of both types of martial arts is concentration of chi at a point known as tantien, which is two inches below the navel. All movements and balance radiate from this point.
9. Discuss the definition, history and purpose of convergence systems.
Convergence systems is about working with the body and emotions. It is based on the fact that touching or moving the body using hands to affect the emotions. The healing may be physical or emotional. These system are concerned with the convergence of the body and spirit, energy and structure, psyche and energy, psyche and spirit etc. They are used when you are disappointed, frustrated or confused. The convergence system practitioners see themselves as catalysts of change. In addition to the touch they include talk but strive for the body-mind integration through the touch of the body.
10. Discuss what the most valuable or enlightening information is this book.
The most enlightening information in this book is the fact that the body affects the mind and the health. Any restriction of the body that we may have accumulated in life restricts the mind (Knaster, 1996: 237). With or without the help of a practitioner, and through different bodyways such Feldenkrais, various martial arts, Alexander Technique, Accupunture, Rolfing, and massage we can teach the body to regain balance or teach it new ways that open us up to new possibilities, creating new options, inner peace and improving our confidence and body image.