Aston-Patterning® is an effective and precise system for addressing the underlying stress patterns in our bodies that are responsible for creating and maintaining tension. But even more than that, the work serves as a powerful educational tool that can help individuals to increase their body awareness, thereby enabling them to modify their body usage and experience life in a body that is relaxed, responsive, and best able to support them in their activities.
What can you expect to gain from an Aston-Patterning series?
- Relief from Pain – Comprehensive postural, movement, and muscle tension analysis coupled with targeted muscle manipulation and personalized movement exercises address areas of holding, release muscular tension, and help to establish new neuromuscular patterns.
- Improved Performance in Your Activities – More optimal body alignment and usage patterns reduce tension and unconscious holding patterns, allowing you to focus your kinetic energy more directly towards the chosen activity.
- Self-Empowerment – Enhanced body awareness and the ability to adjust the ergonomics of your environment give you the tools to quickly and effectively tailor your environment and/or movement patterns to best fit your needs in real time
Aston-Patterning achieves these results by applying a variety of methods, which are fine-tuned to your particular needs.
- Postural, movement, and muscle tension assessment – to detect tension patterns and compromised range of motion. Also establishes a baseline upon which improvement is measured.
- Targeted bodywork – to release muscle tension and unwind long-held tension and pain patterns.
- Movement coaching – utilized both to 1) release tension in areas where massage isn’t as effective and 2) establish new neuromuscular patterns/adjust your habitual movement patterns.
- Ergonomic education – to enable you to modify your environment to reduce stress on the body, thereby decreasing chance of injury and improving the performance of your activities
Who Can Benefit from Aston-Patterning®?
All sessions are focused around neutralizing tension and helping individuals learn how to use their body in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Thus, almost anyone can benefit from Aston-Patterning. Some specific applications are detailed below.
- Those who are recovering from physical injuries Aston-Patterning® can assist in the release of general muscle tension as well as scar tissue, through a combination of hands-on bodywork coupled with movement coaching and specific exercises, during which the client learns how to utilize specific movement designs to release muscular tension from the inside-out. The system’s holistic approach also emphasizes awareness of the effects of specific injuries on tension and movement patterns (e.g: walking) in the rest of the body, and strives to neutralize the compensatory muscular tension patterns while also educating the individual on how to more easily negotiate their movement around the injury until it is completely healed.
- Office workers Working at a desk for hours on end can put a lot of stress on the body, from the lower back all the way up to the shoulders, neck, arms and even the eyes. An Aston-Patterning session can address these stresses not only through massage, but by teaching clients movement exercises to do during their workday, as well as by enhancing the ergonomics of their workstation.
- Athletes Aston-Patterning’s assessment of posture, muscle tension, and movement, combined with hands-on bodywork and movement coaching, can improve sports performance by addressing the causes of muscular and movement imbalance while assisting athletes in determining their optimal alignment and most efficient body movement patterns for the sport.
- Musicians Uniting Aston-Patterning’s strengths in body usage analysis with movement coaching and ergonomic adjustments, musicians are coached into their optimal alignment for musical performance. This is achieved by teaching musicians specific exercises to help expand their body awareness and enable them to make more conscious use of their body during performance.
- Actors Aston-Patterning can help actors become more conscious of their own unique movement and postural patterns and then teach them how to neutralize those patterns so that they can more effectively take on different physical personae. Unique aspects of sessions for actors include discussions of common postural patterns and lessons on how to release muscular tension at the end of theatrical performance.
- Public Speakers From educators to business owners, and board members to community activists, many occupations require some degree of public speaking. Aston-Patterning can help you to become more aware of your postural tendencies, while teaching you how to move and present yourself in a relaxed and confident manner.
- People who spend a lot of time driving Car seats can impose considerable tension on the body. In a very focused session, the driver’s posture is assessed both in and out of the car, and different options, from adjustments to the seat itself to the inclusion of Aston® Line seat wedges, are explored, which help achieve the end goal of a less stressful and more balanced seated posture.
- Anyone who is interested in living in a more relaxed and responsive body Aston-Patterning serves as a powerful tool for expanding your body awareness. Not only a method for decreasing body stress in the short-term, Aston-Patterning is an education tool that helps you to determine your optimal alignment (posture), move in a way that is less stressful to your body, and make more conscious choices about your body usage for any given situation or activity.
What to Expect in Your Session
There is no pre-set progression for an Aston® session. Each session is individualized to the client’s specific needs, goals and interests. Sessions include many components, including postural evaluation, massage, movement education and ergonomic/environmental modifications. Most session do, however, follow the basic five-step outline described below.
Step 1: History
By learning about you (the work you do, the sports you play, when or where you feel fatigue or pain), I can help you learn which patterns are interfering with your function.
Step 2: Pre-testing
Pre-tests are a way for both of us to experience various aspects of your movements and their potential for improvement. Pre-tests usually involve basic activities such as walking, reaching and bending. In a session focused on a particular activity, you may perform a portion of that activity as a pre-test. The pre-testing serves two major purposes: 1) To help you become more aware of how you are using your body in certain contexts. Later, after the bodywork or movement education, this part of the session will serve as a basis for comparison. 2) As a long-term reference tool, so that you and your practitioner can accurately chart your changes over time.
Step 3: Movement education and bodywork
Movement education and/or bodywork will be included in virtually all sessions. The massage work consists of three different techniques: 1) Aston® Spiraling Massage, a non-compressive massage therapy based on Swedish massage, which utilizes a unique ‘three-dimensional touch’ to release both daily and accumulated tension, 2) Myo-kinetics, a specialized form of myofascial release which addresses deeply embedded structural holding patterns within the soft tissues, and 3) Arthro-kinetics, a massage form which attends to skeletal holding patterns, enabling releases at joints, tendon insertion points, and tissue to tissue adhesions. Movement education can range from active stretching on the massage table, to work on gait patterns. Overall, the goal of this segment is to release unnecessary tension so as to make your posture more balanced and relaxed, and your movement/activities easier and more efficient.
Steps 4 & 5: Post-testing and applications
In post-testing, you will repeat the pre-testing movements to see and feel the changes that have occurred during the session. The application phase of the session helps you integrate these changes into your daily life. Again, the work is tailored to the individual: if the session has been focused on arm and shoulder movements, you may apply the new movements to your tennis strokes or piano playing, to your keyboarding at the computer, or to the way you drive your car. Often ergonomic adjustments are employed at this point, and you are taught how to adjust your environment to better support the changes achieved in your body. The lessons of the bodywork, movement, and ergonomic coaching can become integrated into your everyday body-experience with awareness and practice.
“Listening to our bodies can release them into their natural role as our allies, rather than that of an enemy to be controlled.”
– Judith Aston
How can I help you?