There is something very calming and balanced about Jan Trewartha. She is soft-spoken and walks like a ballerina, as if drawn up by that invisible thread we always hear about when speaking of perfect posture. I bluster in and set my huge handbag, laden with books and various flotsam and jetsam, down heavily in the pristine space of her treatment room.
Over a glass of water, Jan explains to me that the way we sit, stand and lie affects our alignment and can cause pain either now or in the future. Her treatment moves your body back into the position in which the problem first occurred and releases the tension in that position, to remind your body what it feels like not to hold it in that awkward way. She specialises in releasing emotional and physical trauma and pain held in the body over the years.
Jan had sent me a form to fill in prior to the session and I listed things like my arthritic knee in that but had completely forgotten to mention the Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) in my right arm. The first thing Jan does is to get you to walk up and down so she can check your alignment. Then you stand before her while she talks you through a guided meditation to open up your chakras. I found this very relaxing and felt a tingling sensation as she was working energetically.
Then you lie, fully clothed, on the treatment table and she begins working where she’s drawn to, moving your limbs into the position at which you misaligned and working quite deeply to release the muscles. What was interesting was that sometimes she worked on the opposite leg to where I thought the problem was but Jan has an impeccable understanding of body alignment and where you may think you’re imbalanced may not necessarily be where the problem lies.
She picked up on my right shoulder quite quickly and it felt great to not have any more pain there after my first session. Strangely she worked much more on my right leg rather than the left and afterwards asked if I ever sat with my right leg tucked under me. That was a typical thing for me to do throughout my teenage years and I was amazed that something you do so unconsciously some time ago can contribute so much to your alignment.
After having worked on both sides of my body, Jan got me to stand in front of her again as she closed down my chakras to integrate the healing. Jan teaches Body Realignment to other therapists and is the principal of the Body in Harmony School of Massage and Bodywork.
After my first session I looked in the mirror and could see how elongated my neck was and how much straighter I was standing.
Jan asked me to do away with bags that hang on one shoulder and go for more balanced options like rucksacks or satchels slung across the body to distribute the weight. It was a pity as I love my big roomy bug but I can see how a heavy bag can cause misalignment.
Walking out of the clinic, I felt very spacey but also really stretched out and balanced in my posture. Despite it not being a particularly rigorous treatment and like a deep tissue massage or anything of that ilk, it felt as if I had really been put through my paces and I had a pleasurable ache where my muscles felt stretched and released.
After my first session with Jan I had a couple of people comment on how well I looked, despite nothing really being different. I was also a lot more aware of when I was scrunching up to read my computer screen or not sitting up straight. This conscious awareness of my body has had massive repercussions for how I sit, stand and walk. The RSI in my right arm is under control because, after Jan’s session, I checked how I sat in front of my screen, where my mouse was positioned and how I was straining to reach things. I had always thought my alignment at work was fine but the changes I made after listening to my body have changed my condition entirely.