We do not live in a society that prioritizes healing by slowing down and experiencing our own bodies.
For most people, daily life is stressful and disconnected from our innermost feelings, sensations and needs.
We spend hours sitting in chairs or cars. We eat poorly and fill our bodies with caffeine or sugar when we need sleep. We push ourselves in the gym or on the yoga mat. We are forever rushing to get things done.
When we struggle, we become stressed, tired or disconnected and this actually turns up the volume of pain. We ignore our intuition and body wisdom, further compromising our well-being. As a so-called intelligent species, we put very little emphasis on true health, and we know so little about whole-body-mind wellbeing!
Yet, human beings are capable of powerful, long-term self-healing. We have brain plasticity and this means we can change the habits and signals that give rise to pain. there is a new science to pain relief with Embodiment and Somatic Movement as key to pain-free living.
Holistic pain management: change your physiology and relieve pain without drugs.
My name is Donna Brooks, and for over 35 years, I have been helping people gain insight into their bodies and lives through yoga therapy, somatic movement, and the healing arts.
I offer a holistic pain management approach for sufferers of long-term pain. It is a movement-based, mindful approach to natural pain relief teaching you how to address pain from the inside out.
For most people, this includes:
- Unlearning poor movement habits of a lifetime.
- Identifying and offering alternatives to physical, mental or emotional habits that trigger pain.
- Alleviate postural and movement problems causing pain
- Unwinding patterns of compensation caused by injuries or trauma.
- Being gentle with yourself and becoming your own best pain relief coach.
- Mastering simple breathing habits that halt stress releasing hormones.
- Regulating your nervous system so you react less to stress and discomfort.
Perhaps for the first time in your adult life, you will experience your whole body and how good it feels when it works the way it was designed to.
My clients regularly report that they experience:
- Long term pain relief.
- Increased mobility and agility.
- Emotional resilience and calmness.
- Being more comfortable in their skin.
- Feeling safe in discussing causes of pain - accidents, injuries, diseases and emotional difficulties or trauma
Natural pain treatment online or in Pioneer Valley, MA
I offer unique and customised pain treatment sessions, either online via Zoom – or in my studio in Pioneer Valley, MA. Pain treatments include a combination of gentle, yet-powerful techniques inspired by Yoga Therapy, Pandiculation Somatics, Body-Mind Centering, Dialogue, Embodied Meditation, Breathwork, The Realization Process, Open Focus, Continuum, and other effective Somatic Movement approaches.
Every client has different needs, and our sessions are fluid. There is no “right” way to treat pain; we go where your body needs to go. I tailor your sessions depending on your life experience, your needs and my intuitive process.
Together we delve into the new science of pain relief so you can:
- Learn how to move without pain.
- Develop Emotional and physiological self-regulation
- Relieve stress and pain by self-sensing
- Integrate Somato-sensory experience.
- Enjoy pleasurable movement and play.
My technique is gentle, natural and creates new neural pathways for calm, strength, and vitality.
"Donna is a truly gifted healer and bodyworker.
It's hard for me to explain in words the subtlety of what she does and the depth of her knowledge and intuition. In just a few sessions, she helped me reverse months' worth of debilitating back pain and regain my mobility. I love working with Donna – she is a true gem.
"Donna is an excellent teacher! I’ve had a really profound experience working with Donna, and its all been over video, during the pandemic, and for this I’m very grateful.
She’s been helping me reconnect with my body, learn new ways of moving with ease, and bring caring and patience toward myself. She has a deep and nuanced understanding of anatomy and the functioning of the nervous system, and a commitment toward cultivating wholeness and full embodiment with her students. Donna also has a great sense of humor, and there is joy and self-expression in our sessions. Working with her, I practice living within my body and accepting all of its sensations, which has helped with chronic pain and stiffness and helped me feel more alive.
"Donna is a master at developing, sharing, and teaching techniques to strengthen the mind/body connection.
I have been attending Donna’s classes, both in-person and via Zoom, for a couple of years. As a physician specializing in chronic pain management, I have learned that developing the mind/body connection is the most essential tool for relieving pain and enhancing function. She has helped me to heal and prevent injuries. And the understanding I have gained about my body, by attending her classes, has been invaluable for both my personal health and my professional life as an educator about pain. I would recommend her classes for anyone who either suffers from chronic pain or who simply wants to better understand how their body works.
William Cutler, Northampton MA
"I sought out Donna’s expertise because I live
with chronic pain.
Her creative and thoughtful method of instruction has helped me to inhabit my body with greater ease and fluidity. Her relaxation meditations are divine and so helpful in unwinding the nervous system.
"I started taking classes with Donna a number of years ago when I was suffering with neck pain.
Through her guidance, I started to understand so much about my body, the patterns of movement I held, and how to move in a much more effortless way. Long after the condition was resolved, I continue to study with Donna. Her approach helps me integrate new ways of understanding my body and how to apply these principles in everyday movement. I can't recommend her classes enough.
"I came to Donna with a herniated disc.
Before working with her, I was disconnected from my body most of the time.
Through our work together, I am now able to experience how I move, how my muscles, bones, and organs work together, and what my body is telling me throughout the day. This heightened awareness is helping me change my way of walking and sitting, and that lets me reduce my back pain and prevent another disc herniation. I'm amazed at how wonderful I feel in my body! Also, being in touch with the inner physical sensations of my body, I feel more emotionally connected as well. In working with Donna, I feel more confident, more comfortable in my skin, and more at home with myself. Working with her has transformed aspects of my life I never even anticipated."
Sara Sloan, therapist, Northampton MA
"Each time I come to class I wonder why I am doing something so simple, so much against my typical “push, push” approach to life.
But by the time I leave, I have found that entrenched pain is gone, or I’ve learned about an alternative to a way in which I’m using my body that really is far more work than I need to do, and is leading to chronic tension and pain. Donna is helping me see that life really can be more comfortable and easier than I had imagined.”
Sally Popper, Northampton MA
"For years I've struggled with trying to improve my posture and back pain.
Finally, I've found something that works!
The change is slow and gentle (therefore effective!) but it's clearly happening. I'm not trying to force myself to "sit up straight" anymore, but finding the best posture naturally and relaxing into it. What a difference! I refer all my friends who have problems with pain."
Dr. Ann Pratt, Northampton MA
Frequently Asked Questions
The number of conscious embodiment sessions varies depending on the individual.
I typically recommend 12 sessions with weekly or twice a month meetings. For some, this plan provides what they have been looking for, Then, once they really experience the results of our work together, they require less frequent maintenance sessions.
Mostly, I go where you need to go, and you guide the frequency according to the results we see.
Movement therapy is useful for a large variety of chronic pain including:
- sports or motor vehicle injuries
- stress or repetitive motion injuries
- mystery pain
- pain with walking, lifting, sitting, running or athletic activity.
- a lifetime of poor posture
- pain from stress and tension
- postpartum pain
- anxiety or emotional trauma manifesting in the body
- long covid
- specific issues with feet or back, neck and shoulder pain.
Like everything else I do - holistic pain management is very gentle, and you set the pace. The first step is to actually feel safe and grounded. But we focus on embodied safety rather than rational safety, which is a new concept for many people! Depending on the person, this can take time to develop, and usually, it is not a linear process.
I am passionate about helping my clients unlearn the movement habits of a lifetime, a crisis or trauma, focusing on connective tissue matrix (fascia) and continuous positive tension throughout our body (tensegrity).
With holistic pain management I use a combination of gentle-yet-powerful techniques and a focus on listening for where you are at right now. There is no prescription, no plan, we listen to your body, you will learn how to listen to your body. It is for the body like meditation is to the mind.
Pain therapy via zoom is not only effective but is especially helpful when clients are unable to drive due to pain. Choose a room where you feel comfortable and safe, where you can be seated and work on the floor. Ideally, you will have a computer positioned with a decent microphone and camera to see each other easily during the session. Loose, comfortable clothes are helpful.
“Somatic Movement Therapy” also known as “Embodiment Therapy” allows you to access wisdom stored in the body by freeing the body from stress, trauma, constraints and habitual tensions. These tensions are often created by adverse experiences, physical injuries, trauma, illness, grief, cultural and personal habits and even developmental stages that you may have skipped as a baby.
Embodiment therapy involves making intentional, gentle movements while focusing on the internal experience of the movement. This process unifies your body and mind and attunes you to your physical, emotional and mental needs.
Embodiment therapy relieves habitual and long-held blockages and constrictions, creating clarity and helping you make better choices about your well-being.
You will experience being alive, aware and present in your body. A way to think of it is… Embodiment is to the body what meditation is to the mind.
I trust my intuition to give input and then see if it is well received. I find out quickly if I am on the right track and, if not, I shift directions. I also ask for verbal confirmations and impressions. Sessions are fluid and follow your lead.
Yes. It is this proceess is helpful to inhabit the body gently, please check with your doctor or surgeon first and let me know of any issues that may impact our sessions.