Block Therapy is a Therapy, Exercise and Meditation
As an Athletic Therapist, I am trained to treat both chronic and acute issues in the body. Before the development of Fluid isometrics and Block Therapy, I focused on deep tissue work as my main modality to treat individuals.
I myself had a lot of chronic pain from years of playing sports, unconscious living, and general wear and tear. The process of Fluid isometrics initially began with me working on myself, and I learned that to get deep to the root of the issue, 4 things were missing from my education.
Creating Space – I have learned that the Fascia can seal to bone with a force up to 2000 pounds/square inch. In order to reach the root of the issue, we need to spiral through the dense layers. Think of opening a bottle of wine; you don’t drive the corkscrew straight in to the cork, you screw it in.
With the methods I was trained in, I realized that I was only reaching the surface tissue, rather than getting deep to the root cause. Fluid Isometrics follows the spiral patterns seen in nature, releasing the seams of time and granting deeper access to the bone, where the issues lie. Block Therapy uses this same principal to drive through the layers to create those deep releases.
Inflating Space - It was through my studies of Iyengar Yoga that I became aware of the importance of diaphragmatic breathing. I could feel in my own body the inability to breathe deeply, and learned through my process that in order the access the diaphragm fully, the adhesions in the core and ribcage had to be addressed. As mentioned above, spiraling into the tissue created a deeper release and gave a deeper access to the roots of the issue. This created a greater ability to access more of the diaphragm muscle.
Through my own experience, I also learned the primary focus of the breath needs to be the exhalation. Typically, when telling someone to take deep full breaths, they take a full inhale, but the exhale is shallow. The exhalation requires more focus and attention because during this phase, the diaphragm is lifting up into the body, against the force of gravity. The inhalation comes easier at is working with gravity. This becomes an integral part of the Block Therapy system to ensure optimal oxygen absorption in the body, as well as optimal removal of waste from the body.
Maintaining Space - As a student of Iyengar Yoga, I learned about proper postural alignment. A lot of this understanding is built into the Block Therapy system. I have also learned through self-exploration that the tongue muscle is in part designed to support the weight of the head.
Strengthening proper foundations is crucial to support proper cell alignment. Without bringing conscious awareness into how you sit, stand, move and even sleep, the body recoils back into the negative pattern your fascia has developed over years, keeping the body in a state of chronic pain.
Cause Sites vs. Pain Sites - The fascia system connects the body from head to toe. Typically, where we experience chronic pain is at a distance from what is causing the pain.
For example, I have learned with time that the lower legs and feet are a major cause site for issues up the body, including headaches and shoulder pain – even issues with our size and shape. The Block Therapy system addresses the entire body to ensure both cause and pain sites are addressed.
Acute pain from injury has traditionally been dealt with the RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This is designed to slow and limit inflammation. If inflammation becomes stagnant, it can cause more issues, however, if it is used for the purpose it is designed for, it becomes a tool to effectively rebuild the damaged tissue.
I like to share this analogy to make the point. If you are baking a cake, you put the raw ingredients together to make batter. If you put the batter into the freezer, you have frozen batter. If you put the batter into the oven, you bake the cake.
The nutrients required to rebuild the tissue are sent in the inflammation. Our goal is to assist the inflammation through proper practice so it can do its job. This is what the Fluid isometrics and Block therapy system does.
Typical forms of exercise can be damaging to the body. I know. I used to run, lift weights and play sports. This left my body hard, compacted, twisted and dense. Even if we are conscious about alignment and breathing during exercise, the forceful nature of these activities adds up in the body and can create pain, aging and even disease.
Isometric resistance is the healthiest way to strengthen the body. It creates a contraction in the muscle without changing the length of the muscle, unlike doing a bicep curl for example, where the muscle shortens and lengthens. Isometrics allows more of the muscle fibers to be integrated and fed with proper amounts of blood and oxygen flow, which is necessary to feed the mitochondria – the energy source of the cells.
In Block Therapy, we do isometrics holds while in a block position. For example, when blocking the hip flexor, that same leg can be lifted off the floor and help for a period of time. This has a dual effect. Not only is the block creating space in the front of the hip, where it has traditionally shortened, the act of holding the leg isometrically engages the gluteal muscle and pulls the tissue back to proper alignment. This strengthens and re-aligns at the same time, undoing the negative effects of unconscious posture.
Another component is the breathing aspect of Block Therapy. The diaphragm is a plate of muscle in the core of the body. When actively focusing on the breath through this practice, you are engaging the core muscles continually, as well as increasing oxygen absorption in the cells. As mentioned, oxygen is required to feed the mitochondria. Typical exercise depletes the mitochondria, leaving you fatigued. Strengthening this muscles bring a greater level of endurance to your muscles and body as a whole.
By definition, meditation is the combination of opening your awareness, while focusing your attention. The Block Therapy system is all about this process. When in position, you are instructed to seek out the pain, as your breath allows. Turning your attention to the sensations takes you away from the unconscious thoughts running through your mind, and expanding the diaphragm to engage a deeper breath opens your mind to a deeper awareness through increasing the oxygen to your cells.
Another element to this is the connection to the parasympathetic nervous system. Pressure over time with the breath brings a deep level of relaxation to the body. It is like giving the cells a hug. The act of lying on the tool, the Block Buddy, while activating the diaphragm conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, decreases blood pressure and provides an overall relaxation to the mind and body.
What the Fluid Isometrics/Block Therapy Symbol Represents
I began developing Fluid Isometrics 10 years before Block Therapy. About 2 years into the practice, I reached out to a graphic designer to create a logo for Fluid Isometrics. I explained to her how I sensed the spiral pattern in the fascia, and that this process was all about releasing the adhesions that were holding the body out of alignment, as well as bringing balance and symmetry back into the body.
The fascia holds us in an asymmetrical pattern – something that occurs from the left/right dominant aspect of how we move and live. The fascia will grip in opposite spirals to support the body and splint it from tipping off balance. This system releases those grips by diving into the spirals.
After explaining this process, the graphic designer nailed it. The symbol was a beautiful representation of what this work is all about, and has become the logo for both Fluid Isometrics, and Block Therapy.
Block Therapy is a self-care version of Fluid Isometrics. The individual lies on a therapeutic tool called the Block Buddy for a minimum of three minutes in various positions throughout the body. Wood is used as the therapeutic tool because, unlike artificial materials like foam or plastic, it shares similar density to bone. With gravity and body weight, the Block Buddy is able to sink deeply into the tissue all the way to the root of your issues. The pressure brings increased blood and oxygen into the area warming the connective tissue and “melting” the powerful seal between the layers of unhealthy restrictions. The student is taught to use diaphragmatic breathing to increase oxygen absorption up to 6 times the amount, compared to breathing through the muscles of the upper chest. The combination of increased oxygen, the freeing of adhesions, proper posture and alignment form the basis of the Block Therapy/Fluid Isometrics system.
Fluid Isometrics is a body work practice that utilizes either the practitioner’s hands or our therapeutic tool, the Block Buddy, to bring heat into an area and melt frozen fascia, releasing it from the area and thereby promoting increased blood and oxygen flow—both critical to health and healing. Over time, our fascia compresses layer over layer. If we allow this compression to develop, eventually fat builds up, disease settles in, and aches and pains become chronic. Block Therapy is a way to personally harness the power of Fluid Isometrics.
Founder of Block Therapy
& Fluid Isometrics
Certified Athletic Therapist
About Deanna Hansen
Deanna Hansen is a Certified Athletic Therapist and founder of Fluid Isometrics™ and Block Therapy™, a bodywork practice that is meditation, exercise and therapy all in one. Deanna began her practice as an Athletic Therapist in 1995, always focusing on deep tissue work. She built up a thriving practice, as her strong hands could work out the deep knots in tissue. Unfortunately, as successful as her business was, Deanna’s physical health and mental wellbeing were eluding her.
In 2000, Deanna experienced a major breakthrough. Her large, heavy body stored much pain and she felt weighed down and depressed. While experiencing the worst of a series of anxiety attacks, Deanna intuitively pushed her hand into her abdomen and, at that moment, began a path of self-discovery. In a short period of time, Deanna’s body began to change. The weight was dropping, the chronic pain and issues were improving and, most importantly, the depression and anxiety disappeared. She immediately began applying this to her existing patients and the results were immediate and outstanding.