I Tried Touch Therapy & It Freaked Me Out

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Avni Trivedi is explaining her methods – a combination of 'touch therapy', osteopathy and zero balancing – to me, but I'm a little distracted. The room in her Mayfair treatment centre is dimly lit and redolent with oil, and I'm eyeing the table beside me and wondering what exactly happens on it.
My session starts in a chair. Avni asks about my health, mental and physical. I get to ask her some questions too, like who exactly needs zero balancing? "It's good for anyone who would like more connection between mind and body," she explains. "They may be stressed or busy, and need more time to settle the breath and relax. They might be going through transition such as divorce or a breakup or dealing with anxiety or depression. Alternatively they might want to enhance and improve their quality of life, for example a yogi or meditator who wants the experience of body work to take them to a place they can’t get to alone. Sessions are cumulative so benefits stack on over time."
Time to try it. We move to the treatment table where I sit upright as Avni moves my arms up, down and side to side, as if I'm flapping my wings. Apparently I'm flexible. Then I lie down, fully clothed, shoes off. Avni starts at my feet, pulling and cracking my toes. She applies pressure, and gently moves my legs up and down, bending them at the knee. I feel myself slightly resisting but try to relax. Next she puts her hands under my lower back and senses pressure. Some of this touching feels pleasant; occasionally there is a little discomfort or pain. "Don't be so awkward," I silently chastise myself as she works her way around the table, pressing my body in different places.

That my liver is angry comes as less of a surprise, I treat it like shit.

We talk throughout. Avni explains more about what she does and how it works. "With zero balancing there are various movements such as pulling from the ankles to engage the legs, hips and pelvis. It gives a sense of what’s going on physically and energetically in the body. Energy work in this modality is very much within the body, rather than light hands on or above the body common in other energy approaches such as reiki. The bone energy is the deepest part of someone physically and emotionally, hence this is what I tune into when I am 'listening' with my hands while working on the feet, lower back, back of the pelvis..."
Avni Trivedi
Avni asks about my job, my family (especially my parents and how they handle stress and anxiety) and lifestyle. I try to be honest. Within the first 10 minutes, she mentions anger. I don’t think of myself as an angry person, although the fact that I feel a bit annoyed when she says it makes me think maybe I am. And apparently, my body is telling Avni I'm angry even if my mouth is not. This isn't unusual, she says. "It’s a common pattern to find stuck tension behind the right shoulder – this relates to the liver, which emotionally is linked to anger. Often anger or frustration is not expressed outwardly, particularly for women, so it can sometimes somatize or show up on a physical level in the body." That my liver is angry comes as less of a surprise, I treat it like shit.
She offers some good advice on dealing with anger: "Toddlers get it all out. We should do the same." She doesn't mean throwing ourselves on the floor and having a kicking, screaming,
snot-flying-everywhere tantrum at work, she means vigorous activity.
When we get to my head and shoulders, Avni finds a lot of tension. "The shoulders and the back of the neck are like a cupboard we fling things in," she says. "I feel like my whole body is a skip I fling things in," I reply.
About halfway through, when I already feel as if Avni has read me like a book, she tells me things that freak me out. One, that I am lopsided and should adjust the position of my mouse on my desk. After she touches my temples and around my ears she asks if I had braces. For about three years as a teenager, I tell her. I have no idea how she knows that. "And a few extractions?" she asks. I've had all my wisdom teeth out.

'There’s a lot going on here,' she says when she touches my temples, by which she means I'm stressed out, not that my mind is whirring with Euclidean geometry.

"There’s a lot going on here," she says when she touches my temples, by which she means I'm stressed out, not that my mind is whirring with Euclidean geometry or that I'm silently reciting Finnegans Wake in French.
The whole process lasts about an hour and is hard to describe because there are no big movements. It’s not massage. She places her fingers on a small area and applies pressure, sometimes for what feels like a long time. The movements are slow. Deliberate. But powerful.
Before I leave, Avni recommends something grounding like yoga (the type where you don’t do much and lie in blankets) as well as the vigorous exercise, which I'm already dreading.
On my way home, I'm not 100% sure how I feel. Insular maybe. Quiet definitely. I don't know if I feel rebalanced but I do feel something I haven't experienced in a long time – a deep sense of calm.
After our session I email Avni to ask if she picked up anything else about me. This is her reply: "Your body was working harder than it needed to, eg. your breath was holding rather than fully releasing, and your body was not quite allowing itself to let go on the couch. This can happen when you’re trying to experience treatment while track what’s happening, but it also happens when the nervous system is primed and anticipating what’s next rather than pausing."
In the weeks that follow, I take Avni's advice and book some sessions with a personal trainer. I go to HIIT sessions and try some very silly dance classes at the gym to 'get it all out'. I try to be less lopsided. I think it's working and I do feel less angry – although I expect my liver is still mad at me.
Sessions with Avni Trivedi cost £125 for the first session and £110 thereafter, visit Avni Touch

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