An Advanced, BIO-Structural Bodywork,
Clinical Massage, & Postural Yoga Therapy System
Rooted in Physical/Mental & Relational Yoga and Postural Yoga Therapy, yet going beyond “Conscious Stretching” into therapeutic, Clinical Massage Therapy & Structural Bodywork …
DSL EdgeWork is a comprehensive, integrated system of principles, practices & preventive therapeutics with a strong scientific & philosophical basis. As a therapeutic system, it has very often found and resolved sources of a wide variety of musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and myofascial issues other practitioners and physicians, using a wide range of orthodox or alternative modalities, had given up on.
Dissolving C.E.M.&.N.T. with Yoga & Yoga-based Bodywork
The Primary Purpose & Focus of DSL EdgeWork is to find and relieve chronic, excess muscle & nerve tension & stress (or C.E.M.&.N.T. for short, because for some people, that’s what their muscles feel like).
This system of advanced yoga therapy and bodywork (massage therapy) dissolves C.E.M.&.N.T. more thoroughly than most systems we are aware of.
Many aches and pains, afflictions and dysfunctions of the body have their roots in this excess tension, yet it goes to a great degree unacknowledged, sometimes unnoticed. Even many massage therapists, bodyworkers and yoga teachers, those you would expect to know, are unaware of just how significant C.E.M.&.N.T. is in the many specific as well as overall issues of life, nor really what to do about it.
With DSL EdgeWork, overall neuromuscular and myofascial tension, physical and mental stress, and negative habit patterns are directly addressed, reduced, and if possible, eliminated by the soft tissue techniques, the Primary Tools employed.
The Primary Tools of DSL EdgeWork are …
… the EdgeTouch™ Manual Technique: hands-on, manual pressure (similar to massage, with significant nuances and differences) and DSL’s unique system of
… Let-Go Yoga: Learning How to GET CONTROL of muscles, nerves, fascia & joints by LETTING GO of tension, stress and negative habit patterns with Modern Postural Yoga.
Getting Mind & Body Working Together
Bodywork, massage therapy and such tools operate under the principles of Psycho-Muscular Release (in short for Psycho-Neuro-Musculo-Fascial Release) dealing with relaxing musculo-fascial tensions, physical, mental & emotional stresses, negative habit patterns and other restrictions (such as in the fascia) in the psycho-muscular system.
Psycho-Muscular Release is achieved with Let-Go Yoga and Yoga-Based, hands-on Bodywork. Both tools follow the basic rules of paying close attention to sensation and movement of the body while Playing the Edge of Pain and Resistance.
This means No Pain, MORE Gain, as well as other elements of Physical/Mental & Relational Yoga.
Much of the DSL system is derived from the pioneering teachings of Joel Kramer. DSL began applying Joel’s principles to massage and bodywork in the late 1970s, and has been developing and refining them ever since. One of Joel’s primary teachings was going up to but not into pain, up to the edge but not over it.
Rather than the Client, being a more-or-less passive recipient of the work, a DSL EdgeWork trained practitioner, whether using hands-on work or stretching, strives to more fully engage or involve the Client directly in the tension release process.
This is about Participatory Health Care, not Spectator health care.
The first level of this is to establish a communication system where Client keeps Therapist well informed, in as close to Real Time as possible, as to what they’re feeling & experiencing. This is especially important relative to their sensation or pain levels.
NO Pain Means MORE Gain
Whether receiving bodywork or stretching therapy, you should always LIKE or be completely NEUTRAL about what you are feeling. You should not be tolerating any sensations. (A so-called Good Hurt is not really a hurt or pain in the strict sense of the word. It may be a moderate to very intense yet pleasurable or emotionally neutral sensation.)
Put another way, the Client should, ideally, be inviting the sensations, not fighting or resisting. The old No Pain, No Gain philosophy might work well enough in professional football, but does not work very well in therapeutic endeavors or tension release practices.
Minimum to Maximum Edges of Sensation
In fact, in most cases, the more acute or chronic trauma, stress or injury a Client presents with, the less pressure or stretch is initially applied to to the involved myofascial units to prevent negative reactions, many of which are non-conscious and can go unnoticed by an insufficiently trained therapist or even the Client.
This approach is about working toward the Minimum Edges, the lower levels, sometimes MUCH lower, of intensity of sensation. This is an application of the Low- or Micro-Dose principles of Homeopathic Medicine. (See Special Note below on the words Medicine and Homeopathy.)
A very healthy Client can work with, or closer to, their Maximum Edges, higher levels of intensity, as long as they invest some time in working with or near their Minimum Edges, to most efficiently and effectively Let-Go of their inevitably accumulated tensions & stresses, at a fundamental level, on a regular basis.
Letting Go of Tension, rather than forcing it, is an element of Volitional Release, where you are intentionally looking for ways to release tension by consciously relaxing.
More typical approaches to hands-on work and yoga give the impression that tension is “pushed out” by finger or hand pressure, or “pulled out” by stretching, as if tension were a “thing” that needed to be removed. This model often leads to more aggressive work, usually pushing the Client over their Edge, causing negative reactions.
Such aggressive work can in many cases help matters quite a lot, despite the pain or discomfort. Yet with more traumatized or long standing, chronic tensions, Less Really Can Be More.
SPECIAL NOTE: The term Client, as used in the DSL Method of Yoga/ Bodywork/ Whole Health Therapeutics, is defined as:
One who is under the protection of another.
(From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.)
This way of defining a Client implies a higher level of relationship and responsibility on the part of the Physician, Therapist, Trainer or Coach than is ordinarily observed. Compare with the term Patient:
1. an individual awaiting or under medical care and treatment.
2. the recipient of any of various personal services.
3. one that is acted upon.
The implied attitudinal difference toward the Client and the Patient should be obvious. The term Client is not found in the Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary. The otherwise very progressive Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary defines a Client as merely: The patient of a health care professional.
DE-Compressing & Aligning the Human Structure
Decisions on which myofascial units to work on and when, and in what sequence, are made with DSL’s system of BIO-Structural Balancing. The system includes:
- BIO-Structural Analysis: Study of the physical structures & forces of the human body
- Postural Assessment: Determining tension patterns interfering with proper function
- Structural Balancing Strategies: Determining the sequence in which to release tensions patterns
The BIO-Structural Sciences employed are:
- Advanced Structural Anatomy: Detailed location and dimensions of the various parts of the body
- Postural & Functional Kinesiology: How those parts interact with each other
- Physics & Geometry of Structures: Natural Forces acting upon and within the body
- Neuromuscular/Myofascial Physiology: How the systems work internally
- Neuro-Logical Physiology: Body-Brain-Mind Integration, especially Sensory-Motor feedback
- Dynamics of the Psycho-Neuro-Musculo-Fascial System: Putting it all together
- Yogic-Logic & YogasAnalysis: DE-Construction & Application of Yoga Postures to Structural Therapy
The Psycho-Neuro-Musculo-Fascial System
in BIO-Structural Balancing
The term BIO-Structural Bodywork is a general term including musculoskeletal, psychomuscular, neuromuscular, myofascial and other bodywork systems and principles, yet implying a system applicable in a wide range of potential situations.
We developed our system of bodywork / massage / yoga therapy with these principles in mind:
The prefix BIO- is short for Biologic (Living) and Bioenergetic (referring to the interaction of mental, emotional and physical aspects) … Integral (all things working together at a deeper, more complete level), and … Organon and Optimal (the body of knowledge utilized to achieve the optimized results of BIO-Structural Balancing).
As utilized in The DSL Method, it is, potentially, a more preventive & integrative system, a generalized approach to working with and normalizing the whole human structure toward a more harmonized and integrated function.
Rather than being about tracking down specific symptoms or illnesses, aches or pains, or dysfunctions, the whole structure is assessed for its long-term accumulations of muscular tension and stress. We’re looking to more accurately find: psycho-neuro-musculo-fascial tensions that have been and are pulling the overall structure out of proper balance. Within that overall structure, localized imbalances occur as well.
These imbalances lead to inefficiencies of movement and action, and increase the physical tensions and stresses necessary for the bodymind to function in day-to-day life.
One common error is to assume the imbalances or postural distortions cause pain. Yet we use the opposite idea. It is more or most often the c.e.m.&.n.t causing the imbalances. Attempting to push bones or fascia back into place, or realign the joints, or get more flexible, is not our objective. Those are by-products.
Our main objective is to use structural analysis/postural assessment to tell us which musculoskeletal-facial units are must hyper-contracted.
Gravity is NOT the Enemy
The primary focus of the work is Structural De-Compression and Balancing the Body Structures in the field of gravity. By releasing tensions compressing and interfering with proper function of the body, hands-on work brings the body back to balance.
Natural Forces built into the body by nature, at birth, are restored to function, providing the body with effortless good posture; energetic, fluid movement; and a pain free existence.
The term Clinical Massage (or Bodywork) Therapy is a more specifically targeted system designed to track down and resolve discrete pain patterns, and can work in a more targeted, specific way. It is directly targeted toward immediate resolution of very specific pains and dysfunction.
Yet it is quite often the case that if the more global approach of Structural Bodywork is applied, many, and sometimes all, of the specific issues will clear up on their own without “chasing the pain.” The choice of which two approaches to use, although there is much overlap, depends upon the goals and objectives of the Individual Client.
SPECIAL NOTE: Historically, especially in modern, orthodox medicine, the term structure has tended to imply (although not by strict dictionary definition) the bones and joints of the body, leading to significant blind spots toward the importance of muscles and fascial sheaths in many conditions, especially postural issues such as functional scoliosis. (Orthodox medicine, especially Orthopedics, generally does not consider scoliosis to be a “postural” problem.) Since the advent of Rolfing® (Structural Integration) and Classical Osteopathy before that, the term structural has been more widely used to imply the entire musculoskeletal and fascial system.
Structure: The aggregate of elements of an entity in their relationships to each other.
* Rolfing® is one of the grand parents, and probably best known, of the forerunners of modern structurally oriented approaches to musculoskeletal issues. [Osteopathy is much older, yet generally does not pay as much attention to the soft tissues as do the more recent iterations of structural therapy, such as Rolfing. Modern Naturopathic Medicine embraces soft tissue and manual medicine as well.]
With Rolfing® the focus was put on soft tissue as the primary force affecting the structure. However, Rolfing put most of their focus on the fascial, connective tissues, and much less on the muscles. The DSL Method considers this near exclusive focus on fascia to be a substantial error, especially when considering the well-established sciences behind the issues. The primary difference is fascia has minimal capacity to “contract” to anywhere near the degree, if at all, that muscle fibers do.
The primary focus of BIO-Structural Balancing is on learning to observe the various physical structures and forces within the human body and how they relate to gravity and other external pressures and forces, as well as internal, psycho-emotional forces.
Then, Psycho-Muscular Release is employed via the EdgeTouch™ Manual Technique or Let-Go Yoga to relax the muscular tensions that distort posture and function and interfere with movement and action.
DSL’s Yoga-based, Hands-On Bodywork:
Based on Physical/Mental & Relational Yoga
The DSL EdgeWork, Hands-On Bodywork System is based solidly on basic principles and insights of physical, mental & relational yoga as well as perspectives, principles & sciences from myofascial, neuromuscular & structural bodywork. (Although there are many VERY significant differences and some controversies in philosophy, principles, & techniques between the DSL Method and the more commonly known bodywork and yoga systems.)
The basic DSL Let-Go Yoga principles are derived primarily from Joel Kramer, whom many people call the Father of American Yoga, and the First American Yoga Master.
The Let-Go Yoga System has, in turn, been extensively modified by many years (beginning in 1981) of professional experience in private sessions of hands-on bodywork & therapeutic yoga, and extensive cross-training working with physicians and practitioners of a wide-range of orthodox and wholistic medicine/natural health care modalities.
SPECIAL NOTE: On the word Medicine and the Big Picture of Yoga in Eastern & Western Thought:
The DSL Method takes a yogic* attitude toward the practice of “medicine.” As described by David Bohm in his 1983 book Wholeness and the Implicate Order*, the word medicine is derived from the Latin root mederi, which translates into: to measure, to moderate, to mediate, to meditate … and also medicine.
All of these are also the root of the term to cure.
As Bohm states:
” … ‘to cure’ is based on a root meaning ‘to measure’. This reflects the view that physical health is to be regarded as the outcome of a state of right inward measure in all parts and processes of the body. … the word moderation, which describes one of the prime ancient notions of virtue, is based on the same root, and this shows that such virtue was regarded as the outcome of a right inner measure underlying man’s social actions and behavior. Again, the word meditation, which is based on the same root, implies a kind of weighing, pondering, or measuring of the whole process of thought, sensing, feeling and being, which could bring the inner activities of the mind to a state of harmonious measure.”
The larger point Bohm was making is that medicine, in ancient times, was more about an Inner Measure, a more internally meditative, self-aware function. Yet in modern times, medicine is more about external measuring devices (blood pressure cuffs, MRIs, X-rays, EKGs, etc.) and our inner, meditative, more wholistic* sense of ourselves is often completely over-run or all together missing from the modern medical “measure.”
This is not to say the modern, outer measure approach is of no value or use. It is immensely valuable for certain processes and needs. It is only to say that it has lost much in the transition … and the translation!
* Wholistic is here written with a *W* rather than as in holistic. To some, the word holistic implies the terms “holy” and/or “holographic,” interpretations the DSL approach does not fully subscribe to in such cases.
Physical/Mental & Relational Yoga is an Inner Measuring of a subjective sense of self, which includes how we relate to other human beings and our environment, with an objective of Optimal Internal and External Health:
Therefore, IF one ascribes to the term Yoga the meaning Awareness in the Inner Measure or meditative sense, then we see this ancient derivative of the root word mederi as the foundation of real medicine in a fuller, deeper, more humanistic and less mechanical way. We also see an ancient root meaning opening doors to yoga and medicine as a physical, mental & relational system.
On the Term *DSL* . . .
The acronym DSL is on one hand the initials of David Scott Lynn. … On the other hand, David wrote a small book titled DSL: The Dynamics of (BIO)-Structural Learning©.
Dynamics: The Physical, Intellectual, and Moral (!!!) forces producing motion, activity, and change in a given sphere.
(See Century Dictionary & Cyclopedia, 1911 edition. That definition could be considered out-of-date, just as my use of the word medicine could be considered out-of-date. However it figures perfectly in a more wholistic view of the sciences of being human.)
DSL EdgeWork studies a wide range of the Dynamics of Being Human. You can learn to more fully study and experience your internal physical and mental dynamics via your own human structure, powers of observation, and Beingness, a process called phenomenology. In short, how objective can you be in your subjectivity?
Physical, Mental & Relational Yoga, as well as Yoga-based, Hands-on Bodywork, are excellent systems by which to study those inner dynamics. We also recognize that while more often than not the function of a mechanism or entity follows or is determined by its structure or form, there are also times when the function significantly influences or modifies the structure.
BIO-Structural: The interrelation of parts or the principle of organization in a complex, living unity.
Having to do with the psychological, emotional, metabolic (organs) and neurological elements, as well as the muscular, skeletal and fascial components, which drive and/or participate in, and are reflected in, one’s overall structure, posture, function, digestion & elimination, mobility and the creation of Purposeful Action.
Learning: To cause to understand, to lead someone on his or her way, to lead out.
In its more profound sense, real learning is NOT just data accumulation, rote memorization, or behavior modification, although it can include those to varying degrees. Real learning is about developing a capacity to See Anew, to FEEL Reality, to integrate Reality into One’s Self, and vice versa.
On Discipline: As Joel Kramer has said, one of the many things yoga is, is a way of learning. To that effect, real discipline is not about a militaristic conformity to a system or norm. A disciple is one who learns, who is deeply interested in, is committed to going to the depths of what a subject or object has to teach us or that we can master.
Please see the e-Book What Is DSL? on the e-Books Page and Please see the Free Article on Old versus New Paradigm Learning.
[Those pages nor the e-book are not installed yet.]
Please stay tuned for more information by signing up for my newsletter.
Thank You Very Much & Take Care,
David Scott Lynn (DSL)
DSL: Your Hi-Touch Up-Link to the Inner-Net.
Inner-Net: Your Psycho-Neuro-Musculo-Fascial System