Dr. Anthony B. James DM(P), ND, MD(AM), DPHC(h.c.), SMOKH
Director of Education at The Thai Yoga Center and The SomaVeda™ Institute of Natural Healing
The SomaVeda™ Therapeutic Day Protocol: How Therapeutic Day Programs Enable Therapists to Uncover the Real Cause of a Client’s Pain
What is the difference between getting one 2-hour Thai massage session from a series of Thai yoga therapeutic sessions? What distinguishes one practitioner’s credentials from another? Is there a difference between learning Thai yoga from a 10 day program overseas in Thailand at Wat Pho and the Thai Yoga Center here in Plant City Florida?
What is one of the distinguishing factors? In Thailand, you go and get an education that is based on the Thai Ministry of Health’s distinction of teaching foreigners basic tourist Thai yoga, whereas Our SomaVeda™ approach is educating students and practitioners on the basis of therapeutic, clinical hands on healing. It is not a one hour ‘fluff and buff’ session. That is factory production work. In the SomaVeda™ system we work with programs. Why? Because it is about treating the person, not the symptoms of dis-ease.
<<The basic SomaVeda™ program developed by Dr. James is the Therapeutic Day Protocol. The “Therapeutic Day” program consist of seven different individual sessions, conducted on seven different days. Depending on the complaint, necessity and goals for therapeutic outcomes, D. James creates a unique and personal approach for every client stressing integration of mind, body and spirit. “We treat people not symptoms” is the maxim. Whether your health and wellness challenge is of the body, mind or spirit natural, spiritually based holistic medicine has an answer for you. Program includes a free initial consultation.>> The Thai Yoga Center.
Dr. James explains in one of his lectures during the 200hour Certified Thai Practitioner Intensives in June 2012 that without the Therapeutic Day, you might entirely miss why a client needs your services as a Thai yoga therapist.
“I have a story to tell you.
I had a female client. As usual, in the first session, there was a cursory intake. You have them fill out a little form. My form had questions such as: are you on medication? Are you under a doctor’s care? Have you been recently hospitalized?
Nope, nope, nope. All good. She had had some pain and had gone to a doctor recently. She had been diagnosed by her Medical Doctor with Endometriosis. She described her symptoms, which sounded a little bit like Crohn’s disease to me. I didn’t say that. That was what was in my head.
I explained the benefits of committing to a 7-session protocol called the Therapeutic Day. She was like, ‘yeah I wanna do this’. She committed to a therapeutic day and came in regularly for the bodywork.
Initially she wouldn’t talk very much and was pretty simple about her answers with a lot of yes’s or no’s. There was not too much elaboration. However, she would elaborate on things that just seemed to be completely unrelated. In my opinion she seemed to be doing pretty well. She was communicating a lot less pain. I was happy with that.
I came to day number 5 – 2nd supine, which I usually think of as a fairly intense session. It is about the abdomen so the focus is on the ‘garden of delights’. You have to pay attention. I asked her, ‘can I pull up your shirt and look at your belly?’ She agreed. When I lifted her shirt, on the left lower side, there was a big, puckery circular scar that was quite large. The only ever time I’ve seen scars like that are from gun shot wounds.
I would have remembered if she had written ‘gun shot wound’ on her intake form. She had only mentioned abdominal pain. It was so big and without asking her I reached under her because I thought to myself, ‘this big of a wound has to have an exit right?’ When I put my hand on her back, sure enough there was a slightly larger scar there. Through and through it was.
I go, ‘Carol, look at me. What is (I had my finger out) this (and pointed to the scar)?’
Bless her heart, she whips her shirt up and bends over to look at the scar because she doesn’t know what I’m talking about. She goes, ‘ohhhh…yeah…I forgot.’
She then tells me a story about how she was bicycle messenger in Chicago. She was going over the Well Street Bridge in downtown Chicago let’s say. It is really kind of steep with a drawbridge at the top. For some reason, she was going a little too fast and she overshot the curb at the end of the bridge as someone made a hard right turn and ran the red light. They were supposed to stop before turning on the bridge but they didn’t. This is where two things come together. They nailed her.
EMT’s and fire department showed up. They took a saw and cut the handlebars off the bicycle. The bicycle handlebars had gone straight through her abdomen. She could then fit in the ambulance. She had to have surgery and was on dialysis for 2 years because she had lost her left kidney. It took that long for the other kidney to pick up enough function that she could get off the dialysis. This was only 5 years before the session.
Student: How do we forget stuff like that? Why?
Dr. J: It’s easy. You might think you remember pain but you really don’t. You remember the affective (emotional) memory of pain but you do not remember the sensory pain.
<<No studies have yet explored the cerebral areas selectively involved in the explicit, conscious memory of the sensory aspects of pain. In contrast, memory of the affective aspect of pain has been proposed as a critical element in the expression of pain empathy (Preston and de Waal, 2002)>> (http://www.jneurosci.org/content/27/17/4612.full)
It’s quite normal for people who have incredible trauma to block it out. That is the most normal thing in the world. It is part of the symptomology of what we call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Before this was studied, it was observed that people sometimes blanked out after traumatic events but they didn’t realize it was part of a psychological profile.
I’m thinking, ‘okay, Endometriosis. I mean come on. Think about it. Through and through the abdomen. Post-reconstructive surgery and 2 years of dialysis. How much scar tissue would there be from that? Could there be scar tissue encroaching on the uterus?’
The handlebars grazed the uterus. The connective tissue went off like a bomb had hit it. You cannot surgically fix that. All the doctors can do in this case is clean it up as best they can. They cannot put it back because it is a thin filmy sheet under tension. Think about it. If you blow up a balloon until it pops, that is similar to what happens when fascia is exploded. All the little remnants and rough ends that aren’t taken care of become sites of encroachment of further scar tissue. They become a nexus or node of scar tissue. That’s why those kinds of wounds have very complex patterns of scar tissue. It’s not on a single plane.
I worked on her and she got better. I changed my tactic because I went into scar tissue therapy mode. I did long, strong, deep stretches with lots of breathing where we were holding them long enough to actually get microscopic tears. When scar tissue forms, it is created in cross-fiber pattern against the normal grain of the normal fasciae. In order to realign the connective tissue, a lot of movement and deep slow work is necessary. That takes sustained pressure right on the crisp edge of pain. The fasciae planes then heal separately to enable more mobility within the visceral and muscular aspects of the abdomen. This tactic also works well for things like hamstring tears where there is encroachment on the adductor magnus for example.
I didn’t know to take that direction with her until her fifth session. I had already given her seven hours hands-on before I knew what was really going on with her. If I had just spent 11 minutes with her doing a basic assessment, I might have recommended something for stress.
“Maybe you just need some uterine herbs to relax your uterus” I might have suggested. I’m not saying it might not have helped, but it certainly would not have addressed her primary issue at all.
The therapeutic day gives us seven different opportunities to connect with the client. Any one of these sessions could give us key information that we would have otherwise not known, making our therapies less effective overall.
Here’s another thing I found out. From my personal experience of having worked on clients for over 20 years and doing both individual sessions and therapeutic programs, I can relate to you the following: People who commit to programs get better more often than people who do not. I think it’s due to their commitment. If all you are committed to is 45 minutes, then there is only a certain amount of healing that you will allow yourself to have. If you know you are committed to be with me for seven weeks or seven months, your engagement is completely different.
The therapeutic day could be done every day for seven days or every other day for fourteen days, every third day for 21 days, once a week for seven weeks, or once a month for seven months. Technically the closer the sessions are together, the better it seems to work, but it will actually still work if you only work on the person once a month for seven months.
I don’t know how that works. My logical mind says that if all you do is come to see me for one session once a month, there is no conditioning affect. The physiologist part of me has to acknowledge there is not conditioning effect. People actually have had really good results that rarely. I call that grace. I believe there is grace in what we do. That is where we see it. You see grace when there shouldn’t be the results you get. You get them anyway. Well isn’t that the placebo effect because you convinced them that you should have a benefit? By the way, in natural medicine, we don’t really care if it’s a placebo. We are okay with that. Ultimately, it is about bringing the person back into balance with nature-the nature within their body as well as the natural world surrounding them. If that means, using a simple means like the placebo effect, then yes, as a natural doctor, I am all for it.“
The Therapeutic Day is the basis for the SomaVeda™ clinical method. Technically, as a practitioner or therapist, you are not doing SomaVeda™ unless you are doing the 7-session protocol. I don’t expect you to see the kind of benefits that I see in sessions unless you are doing the seven-session protocol. You don’t have enough contact time or enough variety.
SomaVeda™ is unique in its approach to working with clients through the use of a systemic hands-on protocol of several sessions over time that enables a greater integration of the healing of mind, body and spirit.
SomaVeda™ Integrated Traditional Therapies are a spiritual, energetic and competency based therapeutic healing system or Spiritual Medicine (See: What is SomaVeda™?). In the SomaVeda™ system there are over 1000 different therapeutic postures used commonly. SomaVeda™ is a complete holistic system of Native, Traditional and or Natural Medicine. SomaVeda™ Integrated Traditional Therapies is a Registered TradeMark of Anthony James.
For info and live courses with Aachan Anthony James at the Thai Yoga Center, visit ThaiYogaCenter.Com