Functional Bodywork


Bodywork for the 21st Century.

Working with clients as they move provides endless possibilities for assessment and improvement in real time. No longer do you have to ‘assess, treat, and re-assess’ - you can do it all at the same time.

Clients seek bodywork because they want to reduce their symptoms and improve their performance - we want to help with both at the same time.

Functional Bodywork allows the practitioner to work with motor control, joint and soft-tissue issues with the same technique – the client is simultaneously assessed, treated and re-educated with pain-free interventions.

Previously known as 'Born to Move', the Functional Bodywork workshops blend functional movement principles with hands-on manipulation of the soft tissue to give you completely new and exciting assessments and treatment strategies for your clients.

Now taught over two weekend workshops - (1) Standing & (2) Side-lying and 4-Point Kneeling - you will learn how to manipulate client positioning and movement to create predictable reactions through the client’s system. The client can be worked on in whatever position is most appropriate for their pain pattern, their strength and balance, or according to the needs of the treatment plan. By the end of the 4 days of training, the therapist will know exactly how to create movements that support the client’s goals.

Not only do the workshops give you a full range of treatment principles but it also gives you an immediate sense of true functional anatomy. The body’s natural tensegrity, its ‘kinetic chain’, or it’s ‘chain reaction’, however you wish to word it, is all felt, assessed, and worked with directly during treatment. We do not make up ‘anatomy stories’, limit you to ‘anatomy models’, or follow one school of thought - in this workshop the client’s system and its movement are the only references.

The workshops can be seen as a pair that will help you toward the full Functional & Integrative Bodywork Diploma, or either can be taken individually.

What is Functional Bodywork?

Functional Bodywork (FB, formerly Active Fascial Release/AFR) has been developed by James Earls, blending his understanding of myofascial and functional movement principles with hands-on manipulation of the soft tissue to create a variety of therapeutic effects.

James trained with Tom Myers, the originator of the Anatomy Trains model, and studied functional movement principles with Gary Gray and David Tiberio of the Gray Institute. Functional Bodywork aims to bring the best of both these models together to give you an immediate and effective treatment tool.

Functional Bodywork combines elements of motor control theory with a neuro-myo-fascial approach to identify, treat and finally re-educate the client’s movement patterns. Blending guided movement with various soft tissue engagement protocols has created a method that addresses the body as a whole and acknowledges the roles of the body’s various tissues and their interrelationships.

Learning Objectives

  •    Understanding and applying essential principles – touch, layering, movement
  •  How to select positions that work best for your client.
  •    How to apply movement drivers to create specific reactions and knowing when to use and how to adapt them.
  •    Know how to enhance movement range and tissue differentiation. 
  •   Be able to combine structural and functional assessments and making sense of how they interact
  •    Build on the principles listed above to develop global and local movement strategies and know when to use each based on the combined structural and functional assessments

Further Highlights Include:

‘Functional Bodywork’ provides you with a full repertoire of interventions for the body in a way that is creative and can be easily adapted to almost any client. You will not only learn techniques, you will learn how the body moves, and how you can guide that movement to help your client.

More than any other workshop we know of, this one teaches a truly functional approach to the tensegrity of the human body.

Practical Elements - What to bring, learning supports etc

Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely.

Learning Aids:

  •    A fully illustrated manual outlines the principles and techniques
  •    Participants also receive access to video content to review and expand on the techniques demonstrated during the workshop

Who Should Attend:

The workshop is designed for massage therapists, physical therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and those wanting to add an extra dimension to their treatments. While anatomy and pathology will be acknowledged during the 4 days of training, time is too short to teach basics, so a reasonable understanding is expected to allow for a rapid progression and focus on techniques.



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