A Typical Day in College - Bodywork class with tutors Ben Elliot and Alex Humphries
In early January our first year students are having a body work lesson with tutors Ben Elliot and Alex Humphries. In the first year there are a lot of “hands on” classes, teaching practical techniques such as massage and point location. It is important for our students to get used to working with people and their bodies. In this particular class the group are learning about back and neck massage techniques. Once they have learned from the tutors they practise on each other. Most students come out of this class very relaxed, especially as Ben and Alex have some relaxing music playing in the background during the student practice session - nice touch gentlemen!
Bodywork Tutor Ben Elliot
What are the students learning in this lesson?
"In this lesson we are teaching a neck and shoulder routine. The routine gives the students a foundation for treating common neck and shoulder complaints and allows them to develop a flexible framework of hands on techniques that can be used alongside acupuncture or as a stand- alone treatment. When teaching the routine we discuss both Chinese medicine theory and western anatomy and treatment models to make sure the students have a broad and relevant outcome from the lesson."
Why do we do bodywork?
"Hands on massage (or bodywork) is an integral part of Chinese medicine and the art of touch can be a powerful element of any treatment. By becoming bodyworkers, the students develop their skills in palpation and the practical based stream is designed to create a ‘toolkit’ of hands on methods and techniques that can be used alongside acupuncture or as a stand- alone treatments. The teaching team bring a wealth of experience from varying backgrounds and areas of speciality, meaning the students get a well - rounded and in depth learning experience."
Student Andrea Lascelles
Can you explain about how the bodywork classes work?
"During bodywork we use a variety of techniques including long full effleurage strokes (water) to move the lymphatic and circulatory system, and strong brisk strokes of petrissage (fire) to loosen and stretch the muscles, skin, tendons and ligaments. Traction of the muscles and joints bring flexibility (wind). The sessions are very centred and grounded, and the treatment is reciprocated so we experience from both a practitioner and patient point of view. I really enjoy bodywork as the lessons allow us to get out of our minds and back into the intuitive body experience."
What are you enjoying most about the first year?
"This year has been challenging but I feel we have been given the opportunity to discover many different aspects of the whole. Each topic is like the spoke of a wheel, and all aspects are developing simultaneously; all very exciting and a great foundation for the next few years ahead."
Bodywork Tutor Alex Humphries
What do the students gain from the bodywork sessions?
"In bodywork sessions we aim for students to start to get comfortable and explore western and eastern approaches to working with the body. It allows them to have specific techniques they can use with patients in the teaching clinic and beyond to use alongside acupuncture to increase the effectiveness of treatment. Sessions involve a lot of working together and hands on learning."
What are you enjoying about teaching bodywork?
"I really enjoy teaching bodywork to the students as my background and interest is in massage for musculo-skeletal issues. As a graduate of the NCA I know how important bodywork is within the clinic to use alongside acupuncture, therefore it has been a pleasure sharing this knowledge but also working with a wonderful group of students."
Student Teresa Plant
What are you writing in your note book?
"I am writing notes about the arm and shoulder massage routine. The body work classes are a good way to connect with people. To become more aware of how people’s bodies differ, both anatomically and energetically, allowing me to improve both my bodywork skills and my anatomical landmark skills which will help me to locate acupuncture points. I have really enjoyed being able to learn about Chinese medicine, which is something I have been interested in learning for a long time. Meeting my fellow students and tutors has made it fun and exciting and having their support is really helping with being a mature student and all it entails!"
Student Pavlinka Peters
Can you tell us about what you are doing?
"Here I am palpating my class mate’s trapezius and scalene muscles and practising a neck and shoulders massage routine. Good palpation skills and anatomy knowledge are an essential part of informed diagnosis and decision making when treating patients. Learning and practising these skills is therefore an important part of our first year studies."