Zero Balancing

I had a zero balancing session earlier this week – my first one!  I didn’t really know what it was or what to expect, but it was a really interesting experience.  The rundown: sit on the massage bed, talk with the practitioner about health issues/what you’d like to get out of the treatment, lie down on your back, and enjoy the treatment!

The practitioner uses touch to readjust the energy and structure of your body and its different joints.  It seems kind of like massage, but you are on your back and the practitioner reaches under you to get to your spine and other joints.  It took me a little bit of coaxing and reminders to relax and let the practitioner do her work (my body is always tightly wound!), but by the end of the session, I felt so much more relaxed and calm.  I slept so well that night!

Zero Balancing was founded in the 1970s by Fritz Smith, both an osteopathic doctor and medical doctor.  He trained in acupuncture as well, so he created this technique that combines acupuncture’s focus on energy found and Western medical practices’ focus on the body’s structure .  He found that readjustments to the body’s bone structure is helpful for the flow of energy through the energy body and structural body.  Smith created the “fulcrum” – a tool that works as the therapist’s structural and energetic “interface with the structure and energy of a client” [1].   This corresponds to Wolff’s Law that says that “when pressure is applied to a bone, the bone responds. An example is maintaining or increasing bone density with weightbearing exercise” [2].  Sessions are supposed to help create, or restore, balance to the body’s two bodies – the skeletal body and energetic body.

I appreciate how he does not discourage anyone from continuing their Western medicine regimens; I have found that when an “alternative” therapy practitioner discourages me from continuing with my pharmaceutical treatments (ones that have really saved me from horrible disease), I tend to distrust her.  This form of bodywork is non-diagnostic and is not meant to replace other forms of medical therapies; it is meant to work as a complement.

To check out Zero Balancing, click here.

[1] David Lauterstein, “What Is Zero Balancing,”

[2] Kate Chase Ryan, “A Whole Person Approach: The Zero Balancing Technique,” Massage Magazine (Oct 2009).


I was looking through a book given to me in Spring of 2009 when I had my first flare-up of lupus, or something “lupus-like,” called New Hope for People with Lupus by Theresa Foy DiGeronimo, M.Ed.  I’m particularly interested in a passage about stress: “STRESS ALERT.”  Especially coming out of the holiday season when stress is running at a high, this passage seems useful, but also unrealistic.

“While you’re learning to recognize and release the body’s negative physical responses to stress, you should also help your body avoid this tension to begin with by learning to reduce the amount of stress you expose yourself to each day.  No one can eliminate stress completely (and who would want to live such a boring life!), but you can be on the alert for situations and people who tend to fill you with stress.  If you know that trip to the amusement park with your kids and their four friends will push you over the edge, don’t go!  If you know that a coworker’s constant complaining and negative attitude make you feel tense, avoid her!  If your job is so hectic and pressured that you feel you’re about to explore every day of your life, think seriously about finding a new job.

As someone with lupus, the quality of your daily life can be severely affected by the amount of stress with which you have to contend.  So take an inventory of where excessive stress may be coming from and do something to change the situation.  This is one area of your treatment plan that you have the power to control.  Take a deep breath right now and promise yourself that you are going to do yourself the favor of avoiding stressful people and places.” (187-188)

The letter from my last rheumatologist visit describes my “increasing anxiety and depression, a lot of pressures since she is applying for a PhD program.”  Should I not be doing this for my education and career because I have an autoimmune disease and “shouldn’t” put myself this stress?  Am I choosing to do something that is bad for me?

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