Transcript #016 - Hellerwork

Dan Bienenfeld - Healing with Hellerwork (#016)

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#016 - Dan Bienenfeld - Healing with Hellerwork - Episode Transcript

016 - Dan Bienenfeld - Healing with Hellerwork

Dan Bienenfeld: [00:00:00] The body's made of a matrix that's referred to it as connective tissue or fascia. It's really the body's intelligence system. It's like we're, we're referring it as the wifi. It's really where we get our sensing. We have trillions of nerves that tell us what's happening, where it's happening, when it's happening.

Most people are very disconnected from that. We want to turn on the awareness so that we're really aware of what's happening now and To do that, people have to be willing to go inside.

Amanda Parker: Welcome to Don't Step on the Bluebells, the podcast where personal healing and transformation take center stage. I'm your host, Amanda Parker, and I'm a fellow seeker on the journey of personal growth. Join me as I delve into the stories of gifted healers, guides, and everyday people who have experienced remarkable transformations.

Listen in as they share their practical wisdom to enrich [00:01:00] your everyday life. And don't forget to hit subscribe and never miss a new episode.

Welcome to today's episode of Don't Step on the Bluebells, where we're joined by Dan Bienenfeld, a world renowned somatic therapist and Heller Works structural integration trainer and practitioner, with over 45 years of experience.

Dan shares his valuable insights on the healing arts and the journey of embodiment drawing from his work with thousands of people. We discuss what Heller work is, how it differs from other modalities, the role of fascia in our overall health, and a powerful self care technique. anyone can use to release patterns of pain and stuckness.

Dan's wisdom and compassion shines through as he invites us to experience the richness of life by coming home to our bodies. Whether you're new to body work or a seasoned practitioner, this episode offers a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for your own healing journey. Let's dive [00:02:00] in. Dan, I am so grateful that you are here with us today.

Thanks for joining me.

Dan Bienenfeld: Thank you, Amanda. I'm so thrilled to be here today with you. And thank you for doing this.

Amanda Parker: It is my pleasure. I am very excited because Heller work is a type of work that I'm not as familiar with. And I'm really excited to be learning from someone with your caliber of experience. So really, genuinely, thank you for being willing to share some of that, some of your journey and some of that work with us today.

Dan Bienenfeld: Amanda, it's really easy because I've spent my life in this work. I was very young when I got into it because of my history, um, with spinal problems and something called scoliosis. That's a twisting of the spine. And I was a very uncomfortable child. And somehow I got very fortunate when I was 18, I found this work that ended up being [00:03:00] my life work.

So I grew up in this work and it's been an amazing. practice, a career, uh, both practicing with clients and teaching, and it's really work that it's a lifestyle. So I feel very fortunate and natural to be in it.

Amanda Parker: That is incredible. And that you found this work, first of all, so young, and that it's carried you through your life.

To me, this takes an incredible amount of creativity. And also, like, there's something really powerful in the ability to see something through like that? How has it changed over the years for you?

Dan Bienenfeld: What's changed is just a deepening, you know, because I think I started off in this work as someone with body pain and poor self image.

You know, because my body was twisted, my spine was twisted. I felt awkward, which meant I felt awkward with [00:04:00] people. I was afraid of being judged. So many things like that were part of the journey. I judged myself. So I think one of the biggest gifts of the work is, is that a lot of the. Judgments that I had a lot of the fears that I had about being a person living in my own way in this world, in this life, a lot of those barriers dissolved.

And so I think the biggest thing I could tell you is that I feel consistently freer and freer to be who I am. And when I tell you a little bit more about the work, I think you'll understand why.

Amanda Parker: I'm already raptured.

Dan Bienenfeld: Amanda, um, it's interesting timing doing this with you today. And it's possible I might start crying.

But the man who taught me this passed away just a few days ago. And, you know, our community is in grief and mourning. And even though he retired a while [00:05:00] ago, uh, Joseph Heller was an incredible teacher, mentor. For me, he was like a second father and he showed up in my life and saw something. So a lot of my path was based on teachings that I got from him and time I spent with him, which was so valuable and so precious.

You know, here we are, you know, the work continues. And the founder just passed away.

Amanda Parker: Thank you so much for sharing that. And I'm really sorry to hear about your loss and it feels really like more of an honor to be able to have this conversation and really shed light on what that work and what that legacy is and what's really possible.

So I'm, yeah, I have goosebumps head to toe. I'm really grateful to be able to be here in this, really vulnerable space and have a conversation that has suddenly taken on [00:06:00] quite a different meaning and context. I would say. It's also interesting timing on my side because my father has had some issues with his spine and just had back surgery last week and listening to the first minute of what you're sharing already I'm really, uh, ready to hear a lot of what you have to share with us and see how that's something that's also applicable in my own reality like in the day to day reality today but also you know he's not alone in that pain and that work that you've been doing and that joseph heller has brought into the world is Going to touch a lot of people even still.

Dan Bienenfeld: Indeed.

Amanda Parker: How would you describe what Heller work is?

Dan Bienenfeld: Heller work is an educational process, even though it can look like a treatment. You know, we call the meeting sessions. We do sessions. But it's basically [00:07:00] a method that systematically realigns the body structure. It has three elements to it. Element one is to straighten out the body.

Element two is to re educate how we move in this life, in this world, with this body that we have. And the third element is an exploration of our Mind body relationship, because as we're working with people doing these sessions, it's kind of like an excavation, you know, when we work in certain areas, memories come up, images of people, places or things, um, people have insights, people have resistance, there's pockets where we hold history, you know, our, our bodies are biography.

Or maybe it's our autobiography. Everywhere we work in the body, there's content there. You know, the idea would be that this content would clear itself, that it would cleanse itself [00:08:00] just through life itself, but it doesn't really work out that way. Sometimes things happen and we can't complete them. You know, we have a loss.

We grew up in a family where we can't express, so we end up holding. Those types of things create a crystallization of events that get stuck in the tissue. The body's made of a matrix that's kind of a chameleon. We refer to it as connective tissue or fascia, and fascia is very popular right now. It's definitely having its heyday, which is exciting.

It's really the body's intelligence system. It's like we're referring it as the Wi Fi. It's really where we get our sensing. We have trillions of nerves that tell us what's happening, where it's happening, when it's happening. Most people are very disconnected from that. So the idea is that we want to come online.

We're [00:09:00] even calling it body intelligence. We want to turn on the awareness so that we're really aware of what's happening now. And to do that, people have to be willing to go inside. So part of the work is to reacquaint people with their insides, to really come back to their body. Joseph Heller, who was my teacher, used to call it coming home to your body.

So it's a, it's really a return. Returning to our body is not different than returning to who we really are. Returning to the present moment. There's lots of things that take us away. Coming back to right here, right now is pretty powerful. Joseph Heller developed Heller work after being a rolfer.

Structural integration, also known as rolfing, came before, and Dr. Rolf was a fascia scientist. She was an incredible woman way ahead of her time. She knew [00:10:00] a hundred years ago what is now being discovered scientifically about fascia. So she was a true luminary and Joseph Heller was um, one of her students and also served as the president of the Rolf Institute and helped Dr.

Rolf launch Rolfing to really get it out there.

Amanda Parker: So what exactly is Rolfing? Is Rolfing.

Dan Bienenfeld: So Rolfing is the body work that I'm just describing that works with the fascia that realigns the body. The difference between Heller work and Rolfing mainly is not the body work part, it's the part that Heller added, which was the movement.

Education and also the, we call it therapeutic dialogue, where we talk with the client as things come up that we explore and investigate these holdings that we have so that people can become aware of the relationship they have [00:11:00] between their mental and emotional and spiritual self. As it interacts with the body.

So Joseph added those pieces. He really learned the body work. This incredible method of how to put the order back, how to put the bones back where they belong. How to realign the body with gravity. He learned that from Dr. Rolfe. Although, ironically, Joseph was also a rocket scientist before he became a rolfer.

Wow. So he understood gravity, he understood mechanics. What he didn't understand when he got into it was the body. And his body. And sometimes he tells a story that, you know, the only purpose for his body was to take his head around so he could think, you know, he was an, he was an engineer. He volunteered for a Rolfing demonstration.

He became the person that they worked on, I think it was at Caltech, and he got off the table and he [00:12:00] said that that was the first time he ever really felt his body. And that before that, he felt like a cerebral cortex on a broomstick. So, that got his attention and he was, he pretty quickly resigned from aerospace and followed Dr.

Rolfe. That's how he got involved.

Amanda Parker: Is there an idea that you have of what healing means to you? So to be healed or to go through healing?

Dan Bienenfeld: Yeah, there's a lot of, um, a lot to say about healing. Healing doesn't mean the same thing as fixing. Like someone could have a, let's call a shoulder injury, and they could have healing without it getting fixed.

So healing would represent diving into the deeper layers of healing. Of what's going on with that shoulder, like on the physical level, which is usually what gets people's attention [00:13:00] is discomfort, you know, I feel feeling like, oh, it hurts, or it feels tight, and that's great that that's a physical sensation when we have a discomfort somewhere, there's always an emotional undertone, like right now in the, in this group that's listening, if you have a place in your body that, you know, You usually have discomfort.

Go to that place and just tighten it a little more and maybe tighten it half of what you just did. And when you tightened it, oftentimes it will evoke an emotion like, Ooh, now I feel like when I tighten it a little bit, it makes me feel how I feel when I feel frustrated or angry. Or sad. So you're actually stimulating the emotional content that you're holding in that part of the body.

So this is a good way to, we don't want to [00:14:00] stay there. So just take a breath and let it go. Let that area go. Um, we want to go into it. We don't want to just notice the, that it hurts because usually when something hurts, people get away from it, they disassociate from it. So we're going to actually go into it.

I actually have a whole workshop that I give called releasing pain and inflammation through my website, which kind of teaches people how to do this themselves, but part of it is going into the. Discomfort, noticing, even giving it a voice, you know, if it could talk, well, would it say, Oh, I really don't like my boss or it's going to say something when you allow, uh, an area to have it's it's day in court or it's exposure or give it a voice.

Sometimes that's all something needs in order to let go. [00:15:00] So at the very least, even if the area isn't fixed, it'll be a lot happier. You're going to make space around it. Sometimes it's letting go of victimization, like someone hit me when I was 10, and I'm still mad at them, and I feel victimized. No one ever heals until they let go of the victimization.

It's impossible. So the healing starts when you, when you allow yourself to forgive yourself for holding on to something your whole life. And there's a lot of things that stimulate healing. And these are just some of the tools I use.

Amanda Parker: A lot of people who are listening in, I know in particular, a lot of people who I've worked with in the coaching space are just different, you know, facets of the work that I do tend to be living very much in their head.

That might just be modern society. You know, we're all on technology and we're [00:16:00] constantly distracted and not really fully present in the moment or in our bodies or where we are. That is a challenge that I see so often in my own life and the people around me over and over and over this whole I mean, as you described it, what did you say, the cerebral on a broomstick, the brain on a broomstick, cerebral cortex on a broomstick.

How do you bring someone who's just literally so up in their head all the time? What is that transition to bring them into the body? How is that even possible?

Dan Bienenfeld: You know what? If you'd like, I can just give you a little example of that right now. So people that are listening, what Amanda is talking about here is, it may seem like multitasking, because people will often, you know, be doing an activity, you know, like they're typing on their computer, they're on [00:17:00] their phone, and the relationship with the body often disappears.

So, basically we're adding back, keeping the body there while you're doing the activity. So for example, you know, as you're sitting there right now in your chair, if you're sitting, um, notice how you're sitting in the chair, just tune into your body, feel the geometry of it. We have a way that we are used to sitting, you know, some people sit upright, some people slump in their chair.

But what I want you to tune into is. your sit bones. So at the bottom of the butt, I'm going to scoot back so I can maybe show you this. So at the bottom of your butt, you have two sit bones. So take your two hands and cup them underneath your butt as you're sitting. And you're going to feel one bone under each [00:18:00] hand.

Just notice that those are your sit bones. And yes, they're designed to sit on. So, um, notice if you go into a slouch that the sit bones go in front of your hands and notice if you sit up straight, your sit bones will be going straight down into your hands. If you sit a little bit in front of your sit bones, just rock your pelvis forward.

You'll feel your sit bones going back. So the idea would be that we want to perfect sitting. So that we're sitting right on top of the sit bones. So in the position where you feel them right under your hands, that is the position we want to come back to, but notice in that position that the body is going to be upright and take a breath into that position.

So take a breath, [00:19:00] just notice how the breath is when you're sitting upright and then go back into like a slouch position and notice how the breath is in that position. It's not going to be as full, and yes, you might be used to that if that's your style. So while we're doing the body work, um, we, in a session, we also add these very functional, um, lifestyle things like sitting, standing, walking, lifting, reaching.

Every possible thing that you do, how to do it with ease and grace, and how to do it in good rapport with gravity. So that gravity, you know, gravity's arguably the most powerful force in the universe. Maybe except for love. Or maybe they're both related. If we're in alignment with gravity, the body doesn't have to [00:20:00] fight this powerful force.

We're in harmony with it. So, the idea was that we wanted to take the body into a vertical. Bodies have a tendency to get off axis. You know, the head will come forward, or the shoulders will, the hips will twist, one is higher than the other. We all have distortion in our physical body, which affects its alignment with gravity, and the ability for the gravity line to, the gravity field to go through the body.

So we realign the body so that it's in line mechanically with the gravity field, and life becomes a lot easier. Also the fascia that holds. Everything together, fascia is very adaptable to how we, how we're using it. For example, if you train as a dancer, you're going to get a dancer's body. Everyone knows that if you slouch all day or desk, your body's going to take that shape.

And even when you stand up, you're going to be [00:21:00] in that shape. So we want to get the daily habits so that they're all in good rapport with gravity and everything in the body, the organs, the tissues. The flow of lymphatics, circulatory system, the nervous system, the energy flow of the body, everything works better when your body is in that vertical alignment.

So it's a training, a retraining of the body, how to be in that line, but not in a stiff military way, in a very fluid way. Because if we're fluid in our body as we're moving and living, the fascia, which holds us together, stays fluid. If we're rigid with it, the fascia tightens and becomes a barrier to all the flow that I mentioned.

So that's a little bit of So we're bringing attention to daily life and all of the activities so that we can respect our body while we're living.

Amanda Parker: Is this the kind of work that someone [00:22:00] can actually do on their own, or is this something that's really much better when working together with a practitioner?

Dan Bienenfeld: Well, that's a great question. I realize there's options. Um, you know, the work is very hard to do because it's body work. It's hard to realign your own body because of leverage and hard to get into the right angles. And, um, so it's really great to have. Um, a practitioner work with you to actually help your, you and your body get into the line of gravity.

There are a lot of things that you can do yourself, but it would be be very hard to replicate the whole process doing that work. Having said that, there's a lot you can do with yoga and things like that to elongate the body, but you'd have to be very knowledgeable. Because a lot of people can go to yoga, you know, two or three times a week and they get more flexible, but they don't necessarily have the [00:23:00] same directive or intention as this work does.

It's different and it's complimentary, but it's not the same thing. Or Pilates or all these great modalities. It's great to find a practitioner in your area, um, who practices Hellerwerk structural integration. And also, for example, I have a series of e books that I wrote that are good for people to learn how to, you know, You know, create, recreate a new movement system so they can learn how to move in their daily life with gravity and grace and ease.

So I've attempted to do this, to separate the body work from that. And you can do that. I'm also doing a project now with Align Life Studios, which, um, we're calling body intelligence instead of AI. We're calling it BI. And it's a certification program using [00:24:00] self bodywork, using the foam roller to, to create some similar results.

It's not quite the same thing, but it's as close as you can get without a practitioner.

Amanda Parker: So if someone was listening and wasn't sure if they would actually need this, I mean, I'm sure there's an opinion that everyone could benefit from this, right? But if someone's really listening and they're like, well, how do I know?

I mean, yeah, I have a bit of shoulder pain or my back hurts a bit, but it's not so bad. How could someone decide? Actually, this is the thing that I need, or this is what would be the most beneficial now.

Dan Bienenfeld: I think it's one of those things that people have to have a session and see, because, you know, we work with people that have back problems or joint problems or emotional things.

It, you know, people come in from all different directions to line up their life. It's [00:25:00] more than just the body. So it's the kind of thing you'd have to experience to see, but it's certainly worth the experience to see.

Amanda Parker: So I'm going to ask another question, and maybe you have heard this many times and would roll your eyes.

I don't know. I had my first experience with a chiropractor last year, and I found it really helpful in the moment. It was the right thing that I needed. I had I don't, I guess it was a bit of a sports injury from spinning class and things were out of alignment, but I didn't know where or why. What would the relationship between this kind of body work be to, for example, working with a chiropractor.

Okay. Or what might this do better?

Dan Bienenfeld: I'm not rolling my eyes up. That's a great question. Good. Um, I think the biggest difference, and if you were asking me about physical therapy or any number of modalities, My answer would be the same if you [00:26:00] were trying to fix a symptom. Like, let's say you had a shoulder problem or a back problem.

You go to someone to try to fix that problem. Structural integration is a little different. We're not, we are concerned about symptoms, but we recognize them as symptoms and not the source. Usually, in order to work and correct a shoulder problem, we're not just working on the shoulder, we're working on the whole body, the relationship between the shoulder and the rest of the body.

And it's pretty amazing when we do that because even though it takes longer, you can actually make space so that the shoulder is comfortable again. If we're just working on this and loosening it, it doesn't often, sometimes you can get lucky and, you know, pains will go away, but it doesn't necessarily change the shoulder.

And the relationship with the rest of the body. So it would be like, if you've ever used a jigsaw puzzle and you're putting the pieces in the slots and [00:27:00] sometimes it's cut too tight and they don't fit, you know, you need to, you need to have the spacing, right. And internal space in the body is extremely important for.

All the function, physiological, energetic, so restoring that, then the pieces actually drop right into the slot, but you could sometimes correct the shoulder by working on the leg. And so often people come in and they don't understand. Hey, it's my job. Why are you working on my toes? They don't understand the myofascial relationship that runs through like meridians.

It's like when you pull on a terrycloth robe, for example, and there is a snag and you pull on the string and you see somewhere else, it's kind of going like this. It's kind of everything is interconnected. If you know how to work on the system, it's pretty ingenious. It's, it's very, um, [00:28:00] it's very avant garde.

It's not an obvious thing. So we work on the whole body to work out symptoms. That's the biggest thing I could tell you.

Amanda Parker: What also comes to mind, um, I'm gonna just give this example because it's top of mind now. So I sleep often with my right arm kind of hooked out because my cat sleeps in my arms.

Dan Bienenfeld: Important.

Amanda Parker: And it's so important, and my soul is happy, and often my shoulder is not. So even if I went to a chiropractor, for example, my shoulder is going to start hurting again because I haven't changed anything. I'm still going to sleep with my cat in my arms.

Dan Bienenfeld: That's right.

Amanda Parker: So what I'm hearing from you is that in this process, the Heller work process, You're actually also engaging in, like, behavior change, pattern change, holding your body differently.

Yes. So you're really, on a cognitive level, also getting involved in what that healing looks like, what it feels like, because if I come in to you and you say, well, what are you [00:29:00] doing here? Maybe, maybe your soul, your heart needs a bit more loving or whatever that solution is so that I don't have to hold my cat so tightly, you know, these might all be things that come in.

Dan Bienenfeld: If you were coming to me with that. I would first ask you, well, do you want to keep your cat sleeping there? And you would say, yes, and I wouldn't argue with you. I would just give you things that you can do to, um, neutralize it after, like when you wake up, because if you're spending all night with your shoulder turned in, you know, embracing your cat, um, your fascia is going to model itself into that shape.

And, you know, in the morning you can wake up and You can do certain stretches and movements that will open that up again. So, so that you're not, let's call it deformed in a gentle way, but you can restore yourself back to open that space up.

Amanda Parker: Okay, so that that makes a lot of sense. So there's actually [00:30:00] like a longer process that you're going through to I mean, even in that short example that you just gave of how to sit, I could already feel the airflow.

And I wish I had let you guide us before we began recording, because there was just such a calming sensation in doing that. So you're also really getting involved in that process as the recipient or the client who's coming in for that work.

Dan Bienenfeld: That's right. Amanda, another thing that I'd like to offer. that people can do themselves is an incredible kind of a protocol of things.

We call it the fascia integration technique or sometimes referred to it as the fascia flow technique. What's important with our connective tissue because it's our intelligence is to keep it supple and the key to keeping it supple is also the key to beautiful skin. [00:31:00] And collagen building and, you know, the beauty industry is discovering this too, that to mobilize your fascia, it's turning the clock back and you can do that with places in your body that hurt.

You can do it with. areas that you want to bring vitality into. And I can give you a quick example if you'd like. Yeah,

Amanda Parker: please.

Dan Bienenfeld: Okay, so, so as you're sitting, let's use your left hand, for example. So let's put, you can put your hand on the desk, you can put it on your lap. I want you just to bring your attention to your left hand.

And we're going to call this feeling and scanning your left hand. Now this could be any part of your body. So I'm giving, I'm using the hand as an example. Okay. So as you feel your left hand, feel the sensations of it. Feel, is it hot or cold? Is it, is it [00:32:00] comfortable? Is it uncomfortable? What characteristics does it have?

This is a sensory question. Sensations in your hand, sensing them. And, is it tight or achy? Is it relaxed? The second step is to activate the fascia in your hand, or whatever part of the body you're using. Activation. is about imagining light, shimmering light coming into your hand. Envisioning that shimmering light pouring into your hand.

You can use light, which the body is made of. We're made of light particles and sound waves and a few chemicals. So you're activating the light particles that are already there. You can also send loving energy. Tell your hand that you love it. You love your hand. Send loving energy from your heart [00:33:00] into your hand, and just feel, feel what your hand does in response.

And next, bring your breath, bring your breath into your hand. So, even though the air itself doesn't go there, as you breathe into your hand, there's an expansion in your fascia that goes into your hand, which opens up the blood. It opens up the energetic, and it actually does swell when you visualize breathing into the hand.

And next, do a very gentle type of a movement. You can open your eyes if you want just to see. I'm doing this with my hand. Do a, a very gentle, slow movement, which activates fascial nerves. You can even still rest your hand [00:34:00] on your lap or whatever surface it's on. Just bringing movement through your fingertips, your wrist.

The next one is to bring sound and this would be like a hum, like a,

so everyone listening, just generate a hum, feel the vibration. in your throat and bring it all the way down into that part of your body. The sound vibrations activate the fascia. They bring blood flow. They open up the energy flow. This is scientifically proven. The next step is to tap your, tap your hand with the other hand.

Just take your fingertips and tap it, tap the fingers, tap the fingertips, tap the palm. So you're activating the proprioception, [00:35:00] which, which wakes up other elements in the fascia.

The next step is to shake it. Shaking opens up the lymphatic flow and stimulates some of the mechanoreceptors in the fascia. You can shake it through the shoulder on that side, the elbow. There's a few more steps, we're just going to go through it and you'll, you'll understand what activation really is.

The next one is, we call it conscious journey, which is you just go to stillness with your hand and just bring your mind inside of your hand. Bring your inner eye, your explorer, just notice what you see, sense, or feel. Sometimes you'll find. a sensation. Sometimes you'll feel an emotion. [00:36:00] You might see a color or a geometric shape.

The next step, the next stage, which is one of the final stages, is just to integrate. So, how we integrate is just notice the sensation. Notice how you're perceiving your left hand compared to your right hand. Just notice the difference between the two. Notice the, difference between the relationship between your hand and the rest of your body.

So we want that hand to fit in with the rest. We don't want to have a hand that's awake and alive and the rest of the body not so. So you can think of spreading the wealth and an affirmation could be. I [00:37:00] allow divine flow to come to my hand throughout my days. Beautiful flow that keeps me vital, young, healthy, and alive.

Make up your own affirmation. But the idea is that you have something that links your state of vitality to the fascia activation. And we want the whole body to have this. So that's an example of what people can do themselves. Like even if you move your left hand and your right hand in comparison, you'll probably feel a little different.

Amanda Parker: I can report that I feel a difference. It's hard to put it into words, but there's definitely, it's almost like a bit of stagnancy in the other hand. Like it feels a bit heavier, a bit slower. The, the hand that I was actually activating in my case, my left hand feels lighter. [00:38:00] 

Dan Bienenfeld: Yes, it is. It's, it's literally filled with light.

You know, when things, when things are still, um, the molecules, molecules, even. Subatomically, the subatomic particles slow down. That's why, you know, like we, if you have a solid object, it's made of the same many atoms just like our bodies are, but they're, they're not moving. And so, we basically are keeping ourselves animated by the movement.

and having more movement. When we don't move, nothing happens. I mean, Einstein even said, nothing happens until something moves. So it's, it's fine to have stillness and, and the molecules, the cells, the whole physiology will slow down. And we also, in order to be alive, we need to have the movement, need to have that activation.

So you can aim that activation anywhere in your body, it'll wake it up. That's a great tool for anybody to do the [00:39:00] fascia flow technique.

Amanda Parker: This sounds like it would also work in the situations where people feel stuck.

Dan Bienenfeld: You're right. Um, you could use that same protocol and or elements of it and go into a place in your body where you feel stuck, or you could think of a place in your life that you feel stuck.

And when you think of that place in your life, you feel stuck. Notice where that stuckness reflects in your body and then go into that place in your body and use these tools and you'll actually activate it opening. It's a somatic experience and life should be a somatic experience. It should be an experience of being in our body.

This is our vessel. We're exploring life with this tool, with this body that we have. So being in it is very, very advantageous.

Amanda Parker: First of all, it's just an honor to be guided. You know, we're so often trying to [00:40:00] figure things out on our own and trying to make it work. And we're, you know, in a world of self sufficiency.

So just the privilege of being able to be guided by someone who understands who knows what they're talking about, who actually knows how to help you move through this process. Um, is actually really a gift and then just feeling, I mean, personally, I feel that energy as you're talking me through, so I'm paying attention to my hand and I'm following what you're saying, but there's also just a very, calming, present sensation that I felt throughout my body as you were sharing.

So there's clearly a gift in there that you're bringing along with this work, that even if we're presumably talking about one part of the body, It is actually, well, definitely possible that it's affecting multiple [00:41:00] parts of your body, but it might feel disconnected, but it's not. It's impacting the whole.

I'm having a visceral experience of that. So thank you. So thinking back to That moment that you shared with us in the beginning, how you actually got started into this work, was there like a specific point in time where you decided to dedicate yourself or did you fall into it? What was that like for you?

Dan Bienenfeld: It's kind of a cute short story. I had a girlfriend in high school named Amy who Was amazing. And she had kind of a stocky kind of a short body type, beautiful. And then somehow over the course of a few months, I watched her body elongate and she looked like a ballerina. And I didn't understand what I was seeing because I didn't understand how the body could change like that.

She wasn't [00:42:00] going to dance classes. And I looked at her one day and I said, what are you doing? You look like a different person. And she said, Oh, I'm going through structural integration. I didn't even know what it was, but. Something inside said, not only am I going to do that, you know, I was suffering from twisted scoliosis and terrible body image and uncomfortable.

I heard those words and I said, that's, that's my life. I didn't even know what it was. I haven't had this kind of clarity about. Many other things I want you to know, I wish it were true, but for some reason in this case I did so I pursued it and I ended up going through the process myself where of course my spine straightened out and my parents who had taken me everywhere.

To help me get out of pain and discomfort, watch this process. And they decided they wanted to do it and it kind of upset me. But instead of going to the person that I went to, they decided to go to this [00:43:00] other rolfer who was Joseph Heller, Joseph Heller, who created Heller work. And I used to go watch my parents get worked on thinking this is for me.

I'm. going to do this. But I was too young. They didn't allow people to become practitioners until they were at least 25 years old. And I was this 18 year old puppy just waiting to do it. Um, but one day, my mother asked Joseph Heller while she was getting her session and I was watching the session, she said, Why don't you train him?

And he stepped back and he said, that's a great idea. And actually gave him the idea to start his own school. And so I was one of his first students, um, when he did it and that was it. So I stayed in the work my whole, my whole life. I have a practice in Los Angeles area. And I teach all over the world, and I have an amazing group of clients, and [00:44:00] I'm in, I'm in for life.

This is my thing.

Amanda Parker: We also have you and your mother to thank for this school of thought coming into being.

Dan Bienenfeld: It's true.

Amanda Parker: Wow. That is a legacy. I am, I have chills everywhere. Um, that's a beautiful story. I think that a lot of us, you know, myself included, have these impulses when we're young about something that really feels good or that feels right and for so many life gets in the way or schools or family or culture that start shaping us differently or giving us messages about who we're supposed to be and what we're supposed to do that many of us end up spending a lifetime trying to come back to that knowing and that understanding of, Oh, actually I wanted to do that all along.

And so it's pretty amazing to not only have that clarity so young, but to have [00:45:00] supporters. People who believed in it and were willing to lift and carry you.

Dan Bienenfeld: That's true. I feel extremely fortunate. My parents were very on board and. Even though it was an unusual thing. I mean, I did this in the, in the late seventies, I started in 1978 and this work was not even well known.

It was considered very fringy. And, you know, I was supposed to be a doctor or a lawyer, not some body work person, but they, they, they came on board. They supported it. I was fortunate. I think someone's very fortunate when they find their thing. And like you said. We can, you know, it might take our whole life to come back to it, but I think everyone does have a thing.

Amanda Parker: You know, cause a lot of listeners are sitting in Europe or the UK or different countries, is this kind of work available in different countries as well? Is it primarily U. S. based?

Dan Bienenfeld: Um, there's probably more. Per capita in [00:46:00] the U. S., but Heller work has, you know, it's still a very small number of practitioners doing it, but in the greater, um, structural integration world, even though it's not exactly.

The same as Heller Work, it's extremely good. So, people can look up Heller Work at hellerwork. com. If there's no one in their city, they can go look up structural integration in their city. And they'll get good work. I mean, the schools that teach, most of them are fantastic. Part of my goal in my life is to keep spreading the word.

So, I'd love to develop more practitioners in different countries. We've got a little satellite program going and I mean we have people and all over Europe and but we need more The work is incredible and we need more people doing it. So we're always looking to train more people

Amanda Parker: So that is something that you actually offer.

So you are training practitioners.

Dan Bienenfeld: Yes. [00:47:00] 

Amanda Parker: How do people find out about that?

Dan Bienenfeld: They can go to hellerwork. com That's the website, or I have a website called embody365. com

Amanda Parker: and

Dan Bienenfeld: people can write to me there and get in touch and I can talk to them. Okay,

Amanda Parker: I'm going to link to all of this in the show notes. So if you're driving while you're listening, you'll get this after just click the show notes link.

So what would you say is a piece of advice that you would offer to someone who's maybe just starting on a journey of trying to feel good within their body?

Dan Bienenfeld: I would say that, um, if they've been away from their body and they're coming back, they're in for a great experience. I mean, it's not always going to be a happy experience.

In other words, the idea that we come back, there's usually a reason we left. And, you know, there's trauma. Trauma is a very popular [00:48:00] word right now. I take it to mean anything from anything around something happened and I had a reaction to it. It just depends how severe. But often people dissociate from their body and go more into the mental, it's sort of a bypass.

So coming back in is as simple as feeling sensations. So usually I counsel people just scan your body many times a day. You might be cooking, you might be working, you might be working out. Notice the sensations you're having. The more investment you take in coming back in, the more in your body you will be.

And when you come back to the body, your body will help you. It'll help you clear events of the past. It'll help you become much more connected to your body. It's, it's sort of like you can't become wealthy without [00:49:00] investing money. You have to invest energy into something for it to grow. So investing.

Awareness into your body, giving your body positive messages, sending love, sending light, waking it up is the most important thing and getting help with it. You know, talk to people about what you find and you're not alone. We all have a body. We all have emotions that we've stuffed. We all have fear. The human experience is, is unique for each person, but it's also very We all have the same feelings, getting to know ourselves so that we can actually have a richer life.

We've known people that didn't invest in this and yeah, they might have had life of luxury or, or certain acclaim and things like that. But if they didn't get to know who they were, if they didn't open up their hearts, And be [00:50:00] available and learn how to be powerfully vulnerable. It's not a very rich life.

The investment is worth it. And it's very easy to do. It's just a commitment to, I want to free myself. I want to be here. And so I need to connect with my body because my body feels what's happening. And there's no way to get around that. If you want to come back, you have to go through your body.

Amanda Parker: That's very powerful.

And I'm happy to hear that interpretation of healing. I find it always fascinating how many different ways we can look at this one word and what it really means to all of us. And what I'm hearing from you is just. really giving the pain, giving your body, giving the tightness or even the joy, a voice, letting it be felt, letting it be heard, experienced.

And very often that's all that's needed. And [00:51:00] sometimes there's more, but that's already enough to just shift something to create movement.

Dan Bienenfeld: Well said, Amanda. Yeah.

Amanda Parker: You have already been so generous. You shared exercises and a lot of wisdom. I'd just like to know if there's anything else that you feel would be important to hear, to know, to share.

Dan Bienenfeld: I would just invite you to, to gift yourself with a session of structural integration. Some at some point when the timing is right just to see and feel and it's just as a gift to yourself and Also, just to come back come back to your body come back while you're doing everything else. It's it's really It makes for a whole new experience of life because the body is where we feel life from.

And we can't think life, we feel life. And if [00:52:00] anyone is suffering from lack of energy, come back to your body.

Amanda Parker: That's going to get a lot of traction. Thank you so much for listening. sharing with us, um, for really being so open and generous and guiding really powerful experiences of just a snippet of the work that you do.

Um, so already with that taste, I, I have a sense of what else there is, um, that's possible through Heller work, but also through working with you in particular. So I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much for being here today.

Dan Bienenfeld: My pleasure. Thank you, Amanda.

Amanda Parker: And that's all for today's episode of Don't Step on the Bluebells.Can't wait to see you next time. Thanks for tuning in to today's episode of Don't Step on the Bluebells. If you enjoyed this conversation, please give the [00:53:00] podcast a five star rating wherever you listen. And don't forget to hit subscribe and follow along so you never miss a new episode.