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The Mystery Uncovered: Bones and Our Gut - with Suresha Hill

by Kelli Peacock

"The bones can move to a better stage of releasing tension with just listening." Suresha Hill was with us last year at the convention and we invited her back for a more in depth experience of communicating with our bones. She helped us digest the information that healthy bones start with a healthy gut biome.

Leaky gut is big news everywhere these days. We learned about foods that support bone density and help with leaky gut.

Probiototics such as lactobacillus rhamnosus and saccharmyces boulardi heal the gut biome, specifically with leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Bifidobacterium longum and lactobacillus helvetica are good for anxiety and depression. We have peak bone density when we are 35 years old. With menopause for women, there is a concern with osteoporosis since lowered estrogen levels stimulate inflammation in the gut which causes bone loss. Women can eat organ meats and pay attention to vitamin K2 intake, which signals calcium to go to the bones. Prunes have hormones and inulin, which are great for bones. Having 5-6 prunes a day is a healthy habit to help reverse bone loss.

Eating enough protein is very important to prevent bone loss. Broccoli, kale, bok choy, leeks, garlic and onions are all prebiotics. Onions in particular inhibit the osteoclasts, which degrade bone. Vitamin D helps to process calcium. Magnesium by itself will increase bone density. Vitamin B6, B12 and folate help with inefficient processed protein, a build up of homocysteine, which increases cortisol in the system. Inflammation and sympathetic triggers can mess with our signaling and bone communication. Dehydration also increases cortisol levels. Drinking half your weight in ounces daily is smart. A good night’s sleep is also very important for building bone. Serotonin deals with levels of signaling to the brain about posture, and melatonin helps with fine motor skills.

Now you probably are saying... wow! The chemistry Suresha describes behind bone loss and leaky gut is recognition of their interdependent nature. A diet of anti-inflammatory support helps lay down new bone by protecting the gut lining. Suresha uses Hanna Somatics and it greatly complements her work as an osteopath. Somatics uses mechanoreceptors, joints, and connective tissue of muscles and skin. We are transmitting detailed information about posture, tone, movement, speed and force to our brain, then the brain feed-forwards back to the body to execute the intention.

She does a big part of her work through palpation, and just listening with her hands to the layers of the body. She looks for density and forces within the body’s structure from the feet up to the head. She holds, listens and follows as the body reorganizes itself. Biomechanical lesions show up as stiffness, intra-osseous compression, restrictions in motion, and lines of tension. She gave the example of a foot with a high arch, carrying much of the force as we walk or run, and how it can get stuck in the bones of the arch and is less likely to dissipate, creating tension in the sole and instep, and as a result, further up the leg as well. Bone can facilitate the release of lesions by following its inherent ability to reset and unwind itself, taking pressure off the surrounding tissues using gentle touch as communication that awakens and reeducates.

There is a definite intention with the different layers of the body. She uses kinetic mirroring, means-whereby, suggestive touch and fulcrum holds to help with this reorganization. (She also pointed out that means-whereby is the overarching technique, induction being part of it. Induction is listening to the current status of the soma while following its own inherent intelligent corrective processes that get set in motion.) For example, with her client prone, she gently held the anterior insertion and posterior insertions of the latissimus dorsi gently, contacting both areas simultaneously, allowing recognition by the soma’s intelligence, and then decompressing happened naturally in relation to each other. Pointing out the density and forces in these layers with touch, lis- tening and following will bring the body to its natural desire to reorganize.

In her assessment and somatic reeducation sessions, she emphasizes that the fluid systems are an important layer for the integration process. Before adding any more techniques, she points out that listening and waiting for the body to respond, completing its reorganization, is a major gateway to the healing process. The sequence through the holds is as follows: the concept lands, the soma hears you, it knows how to reset and rebalance itself and the system works out its resolution throughout many structures, functions and their relationships.

Suresha researches muscle crosstalk and she discussed how it plays a role in our somas. When there is an injury to the bone, muscles will send information from their immune system of load and force working together. Muscles are endocrine organs. The contraction of a muscle acts as a secretory organ. It stimulates production, secretion and expression of cytokines, such as myokines. Myokines are often sent to an area of injury or inflammation for healing and also to declining bone strength and muscle strength. Specifically, inflammatory cytokines are released when the gut lining is permeated. This also happens when women have a drop in estrogen, which is one reason why menopausal women are at greater risk for bone loss and dementia.

Biochemical crosstalk between different organs is huge in determining what happens with a body. There are 56 types of myokines with different functions. Exercise-induced myokines definitely have a role in treating metabolic diseases. Suresha encourages clients to include aerobic exercise regularly for anything that is not broken. It helps unwind patterns of stored force inherent in posture and gait imbalances.

After the convention, I asked Suresha some clarification questions:

Kelli:  Why did you include information on cytokines and myokines?
Suresha:  I included both of these forms of communication because I've been looking into all the ways the body messages itself, as well as how we can enter into those conversations in the self-regulatory process and stay ahead of issues that imbalance us or contribute to the 'myth of aging'. The biochemical forms of communication have an appreciable impact on the musculoskeletal system and organs, which both have a huge effect on the brain and how the mind functions as time goes by.... and vice-versa.

The reason that I began these forms of inquiry about how the system communicates with itself and how we can engage in those forms of communication is due to the many complex conditions that my clients brought in to be addressed, as well as the curiosity about my own injuries and how they'd effect my overall well-being if left to chance. In studying further (non-stop for 25 years), and contemplating my own soma through moving deeply inside of the sensations and forces that were contributing to the imbalances as they occurred, my 'felt-sense' became enhanced immeasurably and inner relationships began to become apparent. After testing these relationships and interchanges on thousands of clients over the years, I saw some connections that are reliably helpful in creating a space whereby reorganization can happen fairly directly, from the other side of the looking glass - from within the system itself; from the inside-out. It's like a paradigm shift within a paradigm shift.

The manual therapy (osteopathic) methods that I began to learn supported the idea that Hanna Somatics is based in osteopathic theory also, except that osteopathic theory goes a little deeper and broader in acknowledging some of the other forces at work rather than just the sensory-motor system. It includes organs, fluids, energy, emotion, and consciousness as well as the inherent intelligence and interconnectedness of all of the other systems of the soma. They are all informing and being informed by the sensory-motor system - it's one huge network that responds more fully if the other aspects are included in the conversation.”

Kelli:  How does addressing metabolic processes help your clients?

Suresha:  As far as the metabolic processes and my work, there have been many cases whereby intestinal or internal organ issues have been addressed that have helped resolve musculoskeletal discomfort that leads to mental discomfort such as irritability, depression, constipation, indigestion, headaches, heavy menses and cramps, vertigo, inflammation of various kinds including sciatica, arthritis, or swelling around a nerve or disc, herniated discs, sprains, post-surgical scar tissue not healing well due to the shock or trauma of the surgery, the anesthesia, etc. So many, many cases where entering through or addressing a different system rather than just the sensory-motor (nerve-to-muscle) relationship has been very helpful.


Kelli:  Suresha’s current fascination for future work with clients is working directly on nuclei and pathways in the brain to help resolve distal issues. This would allow tensions related to over-stimulation or hypervigilence by the sensory processing centers in the brain to settle down. The process of relaxing the paraspinals via the descending pathways as they pass through the mid-brain or corona radiata could prove to help people in pain of whatever kind. In several instances, she noticed that working directly with the raphe nuclei or dopaminergic pathways is very soothing for those in pain. These methods can be easily combined with Lesson 1.

The subtle, knowing movement that our bodies respond with, that Suresha speaks about in our chemistry makeup, gives me a larger sense of my own self-regulation. The chemistry is more clear, for me, but it is a lot of information to take in. Ever since the convention, I have been working on my communication with my knee, using holds in different lines of force and density in the different layers and it has proven to be helpful. Suresha realized that students feel it before they understand it. Staying present and being mindful can change our soma with this deeper listening. "Creating a paradigm shift within a paradigm shift" can be totally mystifying to the mind, but under our hands there is a whole world to discover.

To contact Sursha Hill:
e-mail: info@neurosomatics.info
website: www.neurosomatics.net

Marin Center for Somatic Education,
P.O. Box 150954, San Rafael, CA 94916
phone: (415) 339-8196