September 26

What is Breema Bodywork?

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Reading time 4 min.

What is Breema?

Breema is a Healing Modality, a Philosophy, an Art Form, a Way of Living, Practitioner’s Meditation, a Recharge. Breema is Existential, Delicious, a Partnership. Breema Relaxes, Refreshes, Activates Meridians, Warms Marmas, Lubricates Joints, Palpates Muscles, Resonates Bones, Stimulates Being, Soothes Senses & Nerves. Breema is Really Nourishing, and Really Fun!

The Nine Principles of Harmony

Body Comfortable No Hurry, No Pause Single Moment, Single Activity No Force No Judgment Full Participation Mutual Support Firmness and Gentleness No Extra

“Bodywork” usually refers to massage modalities in which the recipient remains clothed, versus having oil or lotion applied to the recipient’s skin either simply to reduce friction or for the purpose of absorbing the oil/ lotion. Besides Breema, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Feldenkrais, Bowen Method, Tui Na, Jin Shin Jitsu could be called bodywork.

What can I expect in a session?

Your Breema bodywork session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room, usually without music.

You will lie on a clean Persian carpet, rolled out just for Breema sessions, that is supported below by other carpets or padding. You will lie face up on the carpets, or sometimes begin seated cross-legged.

Sequences flow like a sentence made up of movement “words” spelled out by movement “letters” passed down by tradition over many generations. A single Breema sentence may take only 10 minutes to complete, but it’s usual for a series of sequences to be offered lasting around 45-50 minutes. The sequences are memorized as “letters,” “words” and “sentences,” however your own Being communicating with the practitioner’s Being is what indicates which sentences should be called upon for your session; it’s something like a rehearsed improvisation. There are thousands of sequences, but it’s common for a practitioner to call upon the ones s/he is most familiar with and confident sharing, engaging the principle of Body Comfortable.

Tradition requests that your entire body be covered except for your hands and face; in particular it is important to be wearing socks. (Short-sleeved shirts are fine.) Wool socks are kept on hand for your session should you wear sandals. All metal and other jewelry should be removed during the session, as well as belts and glasses.

What parts of my body will be massaged?

A typical full-body session will include work on your feet and legs, arms and/or hands, abdomen, shoulders, neck and head with some light work on your face and ears. Sometimes the back is reached in a particular sequence.

What will the bodywork feel like?

Breema has been described as a cross between Reiki and Thai (Yogic) Massage, although its history in the United States predates that of both of these currently popular methods. Passive stretching, swinging, both vigorous and light tapping (of the limbs), combine with soft and subtle holds, rocking and brushes on the limbs, head or abdomen. Most sequences require the recipient to lie face up and the eyes can be open or closed. The movements are begun with gradual pressure and intensity to find the right balance between the practitioner and recipient. Recipients feel relaxed, sometimes drowsy, often relieved of mental tension as the physical tension lowers. A common description after a treatment is “I feel really energized and relaxed at the same time.” Another one is “I had a sense of being cared for as if I were a sleeping toddler who fell asleep on a caregiver’s shoulder.”

What should I do during my treatment?

Prior to your very first session, you might find your curiosity satisfied by looking at photos or video online (Searching for the terms “Malicheck Mooshan” yields some of these when placed in the search engine Google).

Although the practitioner practices meditation while giving Breema sessions, all that is asked of the recipient is to let me know if you feel physically uncomfortable in a pose.

So, during the session make yourself comfortable. I will move your body into position. Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, communicating with a few words or a gesture if/when they need a blanket or other prop to be comfortable during the session.

How will I feel after the bodywork session?

Most people feel very relaxed right after Breema, but not as groggy as massage with oils can feel. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended that you drink some warm or room temperature water following your session.

Many people feel energized, with an extra spring in their step, right away. When received in a series, for example, a few days in a row, or once weekly, or so, you can expect to experience greater freedom from long-term aches and pains that stem from held mental and physical tensions or from repetitive activity (like driving a long distance or hunching over a computer many hours at a time). With regularity, people often then experience increased energy, heightened awareness and inner focus, and subsequently a sense of greater productivity without extra stress or strain.

What are the origins of Breema?

Deriving from a remote mountainous area within the former Persian Empire, now located somewhere in Afghanistan, Breema historically served as a holistic healthcare modality for pastoral and agricultural people maintaining their physical stamina & flexibility while practicing a form of active meditation in which thought, emotion and body movement come together in a conscious awareness of be-ing.

Although culturally specific to the locality, Breema’s philosophical underpinnings are firmly rooted in Sufism. Brought to the SF Bay Area in the late ‘70s by a wisdom-keeper of the tradition, it was reformatted for Western needs among a group of the wisdom-keeper’s students in Oakland, California, including a young Doctor of Chiropractic named Jon Schrieber. A core group of these students and their students now train practitioners and teachers in several US and European centers. The wisdom-keeper, Malichek Mooshan, a seller of fine oriental carpets, continued to make appearances throughout his elderhood at the original Breema Center in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood up until his death in 2013.

I received my first Breema session at the recommendation of a Spiritual Director as I emerged from a period of temporary disability. Barbara Knyper, a colleague of my Director in the Ridhwan School of philosophical inquiry, so embodied her own Self through the Principles as she offered us that session that I felt an immediate sense of “coming home to myself” and came back to receive from her again the next month. I kept going back every single month for all of 3 years.

The Nine Principles of Harmony make Breema Bodywork unique. The guiding principles distinguish Breema from other methods with similar movements and infuse the sessions with a profound but hard-to-identify quality.

You just have to try it to understand!

To schedule a Breema bodywork treatment, click here to contact me about your situation.

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