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The Joy of Pulsing

by Richard Lawton

Everywhere in your body there is rhythm, flow and movement. Your heart beats with a regular pulse. The muscles of your alimentary canal ripple. Your chest rises and falls as your lungs expand and contract in the cycle of breathing - and with each breath the diaphragm gently massages your internal organs. Even when you stand still your muscles are constantly finely adjusting your balance and posture.

Babies spend nine months in the womb swaying with their mother's movements to the background music of her heartbeat; and after birth we naturally rock them when they are tired, fretful or upset.

Out in the world the sun pulsates with energising power, bringing light and life. In the night sky the moon waxes and wanes over the course of her lunar month. Ocean waves roll between distant shores, tides ebbing and flowing. Trees sway as winds play and tumble through the branches. Life is rhythm, movement, flow, cycles of change.

Just as movement is at the heart of life, so movement is at the heart of Pulsing.

I remember my very first training session, a weekend intensive. At the end of the two days I was tired but exhilarated. What should have been an unwelcome long walk to the station was a breeze - I was floating on air. I felt profoundly relaxed and fully alive. My body was tired, but gently sparkling, as though my muscles were full of champagne bubbles.

I fell in love with Pulsing that weekend, and have never fallen out of love.

As a somatic therapist I have experienced many forms of bodywork; some I have trained in, others I might pursue one day. But for me, nothing comes close to Pulsing's ability to meet me where I am at. Whether I am angry and frustrated and wanting to let off steam, bone-tired and desiring rest, or feeling low and need of nurturing, Pulsing can meet me there. There have been times when I have had no idea what I needed - and Pulsing has given me what was exactly right.

Pulsing involves freedom from both responsibility and pressure. I don't have to follow a formula, I'm not being told what is best for me or what exercises I should do, no-one is telling me how I should be, I don't have to make an effort. All I need do is surrender to the movement and connect with breath and awareness to the pulse of my body. Sometimes I enjoy maintaining that awareness and listen to all the rhythms of my body; other times I choose to drift off into a meditative state. Wherever I have been, I return relaxed and refreshed.

As a practitioner I find that giving a Pulsing session may be physically demanding, but it never really feels like work. I noticed this during my training, and it took me a while to understand why. The key is that practitioners have to connect with themselves and be in their own rhythm in order to tune into the client and connect with their pulse. To me, it is like dancing with a partner: if you cannot find your rhythm and synchronise it to your partner's, then there can be no dance, only awkward, disjointed movement. In a Pulsing session the client is allowing me to dance their body. To do that I have to find my own sense of rhythm, which takes me to a place of real connection with myself. So it is not work - just me being myself.

I suppose that is the joy of Pulsing. Surrendering to the rhythm of your body is a gentle way of discovering yourself and being - well, just being.

© 2007 Richard Lawton

Richard Lawton can be contacted at