Hakomi is a mindfulness-based, body-centered psychotherapy method created by Ron Kurtz. Hakomi based body work is an adaptation of this method relating to massage or bodywork techniques. It is not psychotherapy. The following are important ways Hakomi-based Bodywork differs from standard bodywork or massage therapy:
By Laura McCorkle, LMT
Hakomi based Bodywork is an outgrowth of Hakomi, a body-centered psychotherapeutic method developed by Ron Kurtz that draws from psychotherapy, body therapies, Buddhism and Taoism. At its most basic level, Hakomi is the therapeutic expression of a set of five universal principles: Mindfulness, Nonviolence, Unity, Organicity, and Mind-Body Integration. While sharing the core principles, Hakomi based Bodywork is distinct from Hakomi psychotherapy, and is not a psychotherapeutic method. It is an adaptation of Hakomi that is incorporated into a massage or bodywork session to focus on the client’s somatic experience or more simply put, how a client can relate to their own body. It integrates the five principles with verbal dialogue to help the client access his/her own body’s wisdom and organic unfolding toward wholeness. It provides tools for educating clients about their relationship to their somatic selves and helps them to expand their awareness of themselves in their bodies. Rather than using an agenda or protocol, the therapist works cooperatively with the client’s system to access the innate wisdom and natural tendency to seek wholeness.
How does this happen? Any time we, the therapist, touch a client we touch into their emotions and belief systems as expressed in the tissue, structure, movements and energy of the body. The techniques of Hakomi based Bodywork guides the client’s attention to their embodied experience. Together, practitioner and client explore the type of touch that best assists this process. Staying with sensations and responses, the client and therapist begin to understand the body’s language and the body begins to tell us a story. From their somatic experiences, emotions, images, thoughts, and even memories can emerge. As the relationship among these things becomes known, held energy can be released, the tissue yields, and structure and alignment is effected. What ultimately unfolds is a greater awareness and understanding of the client's own body and how it functions based on past experiences or beliefs that are held within the body. Many times, these are unconsciously held within our bodies. As a result, this work can be very profound creating huge shifts and changes in awareness for the client. Chronic or long-standing pain patterns can be alleviated or in some cases, completely released.