**Note: names and some details have been changed to preserve anonymity. All stories used with permission.**
Amy arrived complaining of an intense pain in her neck. She'd been to acupuncture and a chiropractor already. Both had provided some temporary partial relief, but at this point she was dealing with more or less constant pain throughout the day. It was interfering with her sleep and ability to engage with the world. She'd heard about me through a referral and, although 'Breathwork' and 'Energy Healing' didn't particularly resonate with her, she figured she'd give it a shot.
We began the conversation with a short exploration of what was going on in her neck. How long had the pain been present? Could she identify a particular moment when it had shown up? She couldn't. It had just appeared one day a few weeks earlier.
Through conversation, Amy realized that around the time the pain had started, she'd found out that her father had been cheating on her mother for years. Her parents, cornerstones of her world and identity, were in crisis and heading towards divorce. In recounting this, Amy's voice took on a different quality. Quiet and sharper. Her body tensed a bit and I noticed her shoulders clenching towards her ears.
After a few minutes of explanation around what to expect during the rest of the session, Amy hopped up on the treatment table. I put an cover over her eyes and we began.
I guided Amy into a gentle 3-part breathing pattern, two inhales and an exhale, and observed that she struggled to inhale fully. Instead of pushing her to try harder, I invited her to be gentle with herself and allow herself to find her own rhythm with the breathing.
As she moved into the practice, I guided her to bring awareness to her neck. Together, we observed the sensations there, allowing them to simply exist without needed to change or influence them. As we did then, her body began to soften and she began to experience emotions--first laughter, then tears. "Why am I crying?" she asked while laughing. "This is so weird."
Emotions continued to move through for a bit. Then she settled in and moved into a place of deep rest. She shifted into a integration breath--a single, slow inhale and exhale--while I shared Reiki with her to support her body's integration of the experience it had just had.
Following the session, Amy report a significant reduction of pain in her neck as well as a sense of energy and well-being that had not been present before our session. As we concluded, I invited Amy to engage with the breathwork three times a week for ten minutes or so to help keep energy moving through her system. Two weeks later, the pain remained diminished.