Richard Green opened Massage Therapy Works in Davis Square in 1997, and it has almost quadrupled in size over the years. As the practice has grown, he’s added techniques to his healing arsenal.
Massage Therapy Works now offers over 20 types of bodywork, from the more traditional massage treatments to cupping to shamanic healing. By offering such a diverse range of services, Green is hopeful the right treatment can be found once a client is assessed.
“The field of bodywork is not a one-size-fits-all approach,” he says. “Our aim is to empower our clients with information about themselves and their bodies so they can heal.”
Green and his colleagues have made a habit of learning all they can in their field, sometimes expanding the notions of traditional bodywork. “We stay curious,” he says. “We are bound by the desire to help people heal.”
He learned about work that a woman named Eileen McKusick was doing in Vermont, using specialized tuning forks to clear the biomagnetic field—or biofield—that surrounds the human body, and got trained in the practice.
McKusick, a yoga instructor and massage therapist, has been studying the effects of sound on the human body since 1996.
She started using tuning forks—which were originally used to tune instruments but have become popular in alternative medicine, like as part of an acupuncture treatment where vibrating forks are placed on acupressure points—in her massage practice.
While exploring the use of vibration, McKusick found that if she held an activated, or vibrating, tuning fork over areas where her clients complained of pain, the vibration sound would change.
McKusick eventually found the biofield quite by accident in the course of a treatment. Intending to use the tuning fork over her client’s body as usual, she instead struck it about two feet away and discovered a loud, dissonant tone. Repeated hits on the tuning fork produced the same sound in the same area. She started testing the vibrations in the area around her client’s bodies and seeing where the vibrations changed.
This discovery and subsequent testing led to her research and development of the Biofield Anatomy, where different emotions and stresses correspond to specific areas of the body.
The biofield is the body’s ling cabinet, Green explains, where we store our experiences and memories. Green describes it like the rings of a tree: The outermost area corresponds to your earliest experiences, and your newest experiences are closest to your body. Within the biofield, our experiences can be led in designated areas that align with chakras, spaces believed to be a psychic-energy center in the traditions of Indian religions. The biofield extends roughly give to six feet from the body, depending on your age.
Work is done both on and off the body in biofield tuning. The off-body work is carried out with smaller forks, which are activated by a hitting the fork against a hockey puck. The vibrations are used to identify memories that are making us stuck, and the technician will ask if a memory is coming up. The client will then breathe deeply and focus on happier, calmer thoughts while the technician repeats the vibration sounds over and over until the tension clears.
A different set of weighted forks is used to create vibrations on the body itself for particularly snarled muscles or memories. For an area that is really stuck, a crystal made from special Brazilian quartz is used with the forks to create a pulse directly on the body.
Multiple studies show positive effects from types of biofield therapy.
“Several therapies using audible sound have been developed that could be considered biofield devices,” a 2015 study published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine explains. “Music therapy, the clinical and evidence-based use of musical sounds to meet therapeutic goals, has been shown to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, enhance emotional expression and memory, improve communication, and promote physical rehabilitation.”
A 2014 study published in the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine journal looked at biofield therapy—not specifically sound-related—and found that the practice had positive results on some people with sickle cell disease.
I’m initially skeptical, but this technique reminds me of EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, a technique growing in popularity among psychotherapists (including my own) to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During an EMDR treatment, a patient is asked to focus on a particular traumatic memory while a therapist uses sensory stimulation like a moving finger, a flashing light, or a beeping tone until the patient’s distress level goes down. While EMDR is new and is backed by only a handful of small scientific studies, it has been deemed effective in treating PTSD by the American Psychiatric Association and strongly recommended by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.
Biofield tuning results vary from client to client. Green conducted biofield tuning for a friend who had mood swings. The man’s friends reported that his reactions and mood swings lessened after the first session. He didn’t notice a difference right away, but by the third session he was much more stable and the difference was obvious, according to Green.
Greg, 37, a recent client of Green’s who declined to give his last name, says he tried biofield tuning based on a suggestion from his therapist, who had referred others to Green with success. Greg had been working through childhood trauma but became stuck.
“I had read that body awareness work can be important in dealing with trauma, and so I thought I’d give this a try,” Greg says.
Despite his initial skepticism, he was amazed at the results.
“When Green hit the tuning forks, many feet away from my body, I could really feel it, and it stirred up thoughts and ideas and images in my head that I’d never had before,” he explains. “It was one of the most transformative things I’ve ever done, and even though it didn’t give me any information about the childhood trauma, in some ways it seems to have helped me to let it go.”
Scout Tries It Out
Green invites me to try a session, so I come back a few days later to experience what he’d explained to me.
For my biofield tuning session I need to remove only my shoes. Because this work is non-invasive and is performed while a client is fully clothed and lying face up on a table, it is ideal for those who don’t enjoy a traditional massage. It is gentle enough that it can be used on children or pets, and even can be done remotely via Skype.
The session begins off the body in the biometric field. To assess the size of my field, Green asks my age and then divides it into sections, putting markers on the floor so he can associate any dissonant noise with an approximate age. At about five feet wide, my biofield fills the room. Green takes one of the smaller forks and seeks a tone that marks my birth. With a dissonant ping, Green informs me he’s found my birth!
“Do you know your birth story?” he asks me, and it occurs to me I really don’t. I know my mom had Chinese food for dinner and that her labor was fast, over by the time “The Tonight Show” was on. My mother suspects the doctor was drunk, but she found labor to be almost enjoyable. This is apparently enough information, as there’s not much resistance to the tuning fork in that area.
As Green moves through my biofield, he stops when a fork hits resistance, or a place where the vibration goes out of tune. is marks an area that needs to be cleared. My first resistance area corresponds to the age of three, and he asks if something significant had happened around then. He tells me to take deep breaths and clear the memory.
As he moves closer to my body he encounters newer, more stressful memories. They correspond with the ages marked on the floor. Green switches to a higher-pitched tuning fork, which he likens to a comb—“A wide-tooth comb can smooth your hair, but a finer-toothed comb may be needed for particularly snarled hair.”
Common causes of resistance points include memories of fear, anger, sadness, confusion, or worry. I’ve got a few snarls that require the finer-tuned fork, the heavy fork, and the quartz.
“I’m feeling sadness here, and it isn’t mine,” Green says, somewhere around where my memories of ages 15-18, corresponding with my parent’s extended divorce. Green asks what I remember from that time, and invites me to share or not share, whatever I feel is right.
Tuning doesn’t involve heavy talk therapy. Talking isn’t discouraged, but it isn’t necessary. “We specifically call ourselves technicians, not psychologists,” Green says, in order to differentiate the service his clients receive from him. The goal is for energy disruptions to be reabsorbed into the body, not to forget what has happened.
“Those old memories or experiences, the ones that push your buttons? After a clearing the memory remains but the buttons aren’t pushed anymore,” he says. I’ve got buttons galore, which my kids love to push. I’m hoping this session means they’re out of luck when I get home.
Near the end of our session, Green finds a lot of energy coming from the chakra near my solar plexus. My physical therapist mentioned this energy just last week.
“This area is the mother area. Is there anything going on with your mother?” Green asks. As he combs this area to calm the vibrations, he mentions that many folks who have the mother area cleared find that their mother will also benefit from the tuning, because of how emotions between parent and child can be connected. At press time my mother remains unavailable for comment.
After the session I’m exhausted, but I do feel less tense. Whether the disruptions in my biofield are cleared or I have just had a rare 75 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time, I feel better leaving the office. Even those 75 relaxing minutes could be a positive turn in my health.
Because I didn’t come in seeking treatment for a specific injury or stuck emotion, I don’t have an immediate measurable result. My physical therapist had found certain tense, high-energy spots that correlated with the spots Green found in my biofield, which seemed to corroborate the practice.
The next day I found that my chest cold was suddenly clearing in a way it hadn’t before, which could be a coincidence, a boost in my immune system from the relaxation, or a detox that Green predicted could happen.
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