Wait-- What?! New Guidelines for Lower Back Ache

NYTimes: Lower Back Ache? Be Active and Wait It Out, New Guidelines Say 

This change is sure to get people talking. Opinions run strong when it comes to pain relief (just see the article's comments section!) Carried by the mainstream press, this topic will now make its way into all kinds of conversations about pain and addiction, pleasure and punishment.

I am optimistic about systemic change, toward a holistic view of care. But here's my big "however": Back pain is not just one thing. Pain anywhere is a message for us to attend to, and ask the body, "Hey, what's going on?" Sometimes pain corresponds directly with the area, sometimes the relationship to its source is mysterious. It can be devilishly difficult to figure out just what that message is. We have to keep listening, using all the tools available.

I've learned to not assume back pain is muscular. (Could be organic!) This idea doesn't always fly, when a client is convinced otherwise. So I leaven my approach with humor. Offer something that helps in the moment. Educate a bit, inviting opening to curiosity. Orient to what moves us along in time, together.

And I listen some more.

Abmp back
image from abmp.com

Find the Support You Need

Hi, I'm Suzanne! My Integrative Bodywork practice is here to support you.

With over 25 years experience, I'm helping clients move from overwhelm toward health.

Building on what's already working well in your own physiology, I use manual therapy and Somatic Experiencing to nudge your system back into balance.  I'm licensed in massage therapy since 1991, and now describe my work as "integrative" -- bringing all these tools together to help you heal.

My work can help relieve pain, as well as symptoms of anxiety/depression patterns, so you feel more comfortable. You'll learn how to sense inside safely, to get in touch with what's most important to you. You'll get to practice playing more!

Yes! Less work for the body, more fun. More pleasure even, what about that?

 When your body feels better, your mind benefits too.

So you can begin feeling more like yourself again, connecting with people, and enjoying more of what you love!

You'll find the encouragement you need right here.  

We're in the Claremont Village, by appointment Monday through Friday.

Schedule right here online or by phone.  

Learn about my practice (see at right).

Or if you'd like, set up a free 25-min phone consult: 909.239.8313.  

I look forward to hearing from you!

Less Talk, More Therapy

"I read this New York Times article and decided to see whether there was anybody in Claremont who could help me."  

This, from a new client today who found me online, as "you seem to offer more than a normal massage therapist."  She says she has put up with the pain long enough and is ready to explore change from the body perspective.  

Yay!   First step in seeking well-being is saying, "Enough!" and feeling open to ask questions about what could be different.  Then, who to trust along the way.  Many of my clients are right there at that edge of discovery.  It's a time ripe for experimenting.

Q:  So does this article come close to describing what you do?

A:  Well, sometimes. Often. Depends on what client is open to explore, their stated goals, and how the body calls. Some sessions more like "normal" massage, even deep tissue. Sometimes a whole session is a story-led sensory exploration, all while sitting in chairs, moving a bit, bringing awareness outside on purpose, not even using the table. My goal is always integration... a topic that warrants its own article!



feeling like Eeyore no more

I started seeing Suzanne for fibromyalgia relief.  Her experience and techniques have been very helpful in reducing the muscle aches.  I was surprised at one session where something in my hip released.  From that time several months ago, to the present, my low level depression, what I called my “Eeyore -ness,” has vanished.   --  Kathryn BR

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Second in a series exploring "bottom-up wellness", this class embraces Shoulders, in context of the whole body.  We’ll be using hands-on contact and movement, so learning – expanding perception – can happen from inside.

Download Flyer  IMG_8152 - Copy

Experience a bodyworker's twist on shaping your yoga practice, and unfolding into life. 

Sunday 22 May, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

at  Claremont Yoga

-- in the Village at 204 N. Yale Ave. (at Second)  on 2nd floor, stairs access only

 SPACE IS LIMITED!  Reserve your spot at www.claremontyoga.com

or contact Suzanne at 909.239.8313.  Class is $25.


Here's some of what to expect:

Free-Range Shoulders:  Go Where They Wish. 

Should:  Might We Invite “Can” and “May” into Alignment?

No Shoulder Is An Island:  Amiable Conversation with Neighbors.

Lean on Me:  Comfort, Defend; Contain, Connect.

Shoulder Rest:  Enjoy Support from Below.

Mind Your Head

This new class explores the kind of wellness from inside you --- "bottom-up wellness".  First class will focus on the head:  resolving stress that leads to tension, hands-on help for headaches, and the role your body plays. 

New class:  Mind Your Head IMG_8086

When:        Sunday 3 April, 12 pm - 2 pm

Where:      Claremont Yoga

in the Village at Second and Yale, on 2nd floor.  (Stairs access only.)

Sign up at www.claremontyoga.com

                  or phone Suzanne at 909.239.8313.  Class is $25.

Experience a bodyworker's twist on shaping your yoga poses, and unfolding into life. 

Here's some of what to expect:

  • Taking the Ache Out of Headache.  Lie back and relax!  Learn 7 self-help techniques to relieve head/neck tension. 
  • Finding Space Inside.  Get inside your head -- where space is needed for optimal physical and mental function. 
  • Finding Your Head In Space.  Up in the clouds?  In Outer Space?  Discover how your body locates itself through sensing and moving.
  • Not All in Your Head.  Why feeling good requires the whole body. 



Body Sense magazine

Here is a link to the latest issue of Body Sense magazine, compliments of ABMP.  (I've been a member of this national professional organization since 1991).


Body Sense provides valuable information about how to make massage and bodywork a part of your healthy lifestyle. Inside you'll find helpful articles on the value of downtime, the body's intricate fascia network, and diet recommendations for low-back health.

I am excited to discuss any of the information you find inside, and happy to schedule your next appointment.

Best in Health,


Headache Relief: Let Gravity Help

IMG_0831 At the base of your skull, lots of muscles connect and overlap with each other.  As these muscles constrict, this can reduce flow of blood, oxygen into and out of the head.   Paradoxically, pressing firmly here can re-set the body's message to constrict, therefore restoring flow.

Here are some self-care tips to try at home:

1                     Begin by lying down, face up, and putting your hands behind your head.  Apply pressure with your thumbs and fingertips along the ridge of base-of-skull bone (occiput), and just underneath, toward the neck.   Direct your pressure toward the front of the head, moving from spot to spot along the ridge of bone.   Allow the weight of your head to fall onto your fingertips, varying the pressure.  Try rotating or tilting your head to locate areas where pressure brings relief.  These areas might change day to day.

2                     A more passive version of this utilizes a “still point inducer”.  You can purchase one, or you can make one yourself.  Put 2 racquetballs inside an athletic sock; tie a knot.  Lie face up, positioning the 2 balls side-by-side in the sock under your head, supporting the base-of-skull bone (occiput) comfortably.  You may want to slightly tuck your chin as you begin.  Allow the weight of your head to sink with gravity over several minutes, adjusting your position as needed for comfort.