Releasing Your Pain: How Amanae Works
By starting from the invisible world the visible world was invented.”— The Hypostasis of the Archons
The room is in the basement of a huge 19th century industrial building in a warehouse quarter in North London. The ceiling and part of one wall is covered in pipes, and there’s a low humming noise, like distant machinery, thrumming away in the background.
The room has a functional air. Rooms like this are normally hidden away. They are part of the workings of the building and often neglected, full of junk and dust, old rags and disused machinery. But this room has been reclaimed. It has been cleaned up, painted white, made comfortable with seats and cushions, and lit up with the soft glow of side-lamps.
This seems apt somehow. That’s what we are doing too. We are entering some old, forgotten, functional parts of the psyche, and cleaning them up to make them habitable again.
I’m lying face-down in the massage table and Eric, the practitioner, is working on the base of my skull, at the point where the skull attaches to the spinal column. Suddenly he lets out a distinct, high-toned, musical note. He’s been making noises throughout the session, as have I. My noises are low-down, guttural groans and sighs, with the occasional cry of rage, while his are articulated sounds, with some semblance of words. I don’t know if they are words or not. It sounds like he’s speaking in tongues, or in some ancient, long-forgotten language. But this sudden high note is very unexpected, and I find myself responding to it in a surprising way. I find that I want to sing.
Eric’s fingers are still nudging my cranium and I find that there’s a note attached to this part of my body. It’s a very high melodic note, almost angelic, like the high, clear notes that pre-adolescent boys are able to reach. I try to sing this note, but it comes out cracked and faltering from my aged throat. I can’t make the note, but I want to, and I keep trying.
This goes on for some time and it’s a wonder Eric can bear it: the broken strains of a middle-aged man wailing at the top of his voice, trying to sing like an eight year old choir boy. But he not only can bear it, he’s encouraging it. His deft fingers are working at the sides of my throat, allowing it to open up, allowing the notes to come tumbling from my mouth.
The song I am trying to sing is “Soldier, Soldier Won’t You Marry Me” and inside my heart I’m about eight years old.
The work is known as Amanae. It originated in Australia with a woman called Christine Day. She was diagnosed with Lupus Syndrome and given two months to live, but while in hospital she realised that she had created the illness herself. With this came the corresponding realisation that if she could create something to kill herself, she could also create something to heal herself. She began to change things in her life, started on a variety of courses, taking natural herbs and doing bodywork and very quickly brought herself back to health. But it wasn’t really the herbs or the bodywork which cured her: it was the realisation of her own innate creativity while she was busy dying in hospital, and the decision that actually she wanted to live.
The blueprint for the work came to her about six months later, during a meditation session. She says it came to her within a 2-3 second period. “All of a sudden one minute I didn't know anything and the next minute I knew a concept of healing that would help people move more completely into who they were.”
Later she began teaching it, and later again moved to the United States.
Eric Lipin, the man whose probing thumbs have been making me want to sing, was trained directly by Christine Day.
He was introduced to it by a body worker who was one of Christine’s first students in the United States. Eric had been seeing him for a number of years. At some point the body worker had started practicing Amanae, and he introduced it to Eric.
“The work was more intense than other bodyworks I experienced,” explains Eric now. But he trusted his practitioner completely and allowed him to get on with it. At some point he was working on his shoulder blades. It was getting almost unbearably intense by now. Eric had a sudden thought, “why am I doing this?” and he began laughing. That was like a trigger. First of all he laughed uncontrollably for about ten minutes, and then, with a slight shift, he began to cry. He’d not cried like that since he was a little child, he says.
After that he signed up for one of Christine Day’s 5-day workshops. “That was even bigger,” he says. “That completely changed my life. I left that place a completely different person. I left three full suitcases at the workshop. They were suitcases I never knew I’d been carrying with me. I went back to my life, to my office job, and everything was different.”
That was about 14 or 15 years ago.
“I learned to trust Christine with my life,” he says. Trust is essential.
He decided to undertake the work himself and signed up for a year-long training programme. “I thought of it like one long five day workshop. We were really in the fire the whole time.”
After the course was finished there was a series of synchronistic events that lead him the Europe. He worked in Brussels and then in Prague.
“That’s when I started waking up to that there’s a magic out there in the world,” he says. “That there is a force bringing things together at the right time and the right place.”
Eventually he decided to move to Belgium, which is where he met his wife.
“I’ve been here ever since,” he says.
For a while he was the only practitioner in Europe. He was invited to London, and then to Holland and to Germany. And some of his trainees went to workshops in Israel, so then there were two more practitioners. These are both in the UK. A number of people have been trained, but only a handful of people have managed to make a practice of it.
The work involves a combination of breath, awareness and points in the body known as “doorways”. The breath and the awareness are one thing. You could call it “breathing awareness”. The practitioner presses down on the doorways using his thumbs, while the receiver breathes into the sensation, bringing his awareness into any pain that might be locked up there. You are asked to be with the pain, to let it be, and to give expression to it. While the in-breath involves awareness, the out-breath involves a kind of vocalised sigh, opening your throat to allow any sounds to emerge.
And sounds do emerge. It’s like these doorways are passages into some primal state of being, something raw and deep and beyond words. Emotional. It’s as if deep hidden pain is locked up in the body behind these portals, and by giving voice to them you are letting them loose. Letting them be. It’s as if another, hidden part of yourself is being awakened.
I have to say that it can be quite uncomfortable. It depends on the person. For some people it can be painful, for others less so. But it’s a strange kind of pain, oddly gratifying. It’s like an ache in your muscles. It hurts, but there’s a sense of satisfaction that goes with it. You find yourself melting into the sensation in the same way that heavily worked muscles relax after a hard day’s graft.
I first heard about it about 2 years ago when a friend of mine had it. The change after Amanae was noticeable and immediate. It was like a great tension had been lifted from her life and she became much less defensive, more relaxed, more joyous and adaptable in her outlook.
I was having therapy at the time: traditional bodywork. My body-worker also had Amanae and had begun training with Eric. And one day she tried it on me.
I almost jumped out of my skin.
It was like she had found some deep node of sensation in my body-structure and she was twanging it. It was tucked away between the bones, deeper than anything I’d ever felt before, an old ache, an ancient pain. It was my pain. And after a while I began to love it. I began to love the ache. My breath and my awareness would move to meet the ache. And then, inside the ache, there were memories.
That’s where the Soldier, Soldier song had come from. It was a song I’d sung to a girl I was in love with when I was about eight years old. We were singing the song together in school, in front of the class. She was taking the female parts, while I was singing the male parts, and while I was singing I was looking into her eyes, my heart soaring with every line, with every rise and fall of the melody. Afterwards the teacher commented on how beautiful my voice was.
Later I told my Mum about it, and she teased me. “Was it a girl?” she said, laughing. I was overcome by a sudden feeling of shame, as if falling in love with a girl was wrong somehow, a feeling that lodged itself into my body and has been there ever since.
That was why I was trying to sing on the massage table. I was singing out my secret sense of shame.
I have to say that I felt very supported by Eric. He had the air of a kindly uncle genuinely concerned for my wellbeing. After the session was over he left me on my own for a while, having first offered suggestions as to how I might integrate the experience into my ordinary life. He also offered on-going support via email and the telephone.
Once he had left the room I went back inside my heart. I could feel the hurt little boy in there, still sobbing for attention. In my imagination I cradled him in my arms, as I had my own son when he was the same age.
“That’s all right,” I was saying, rocking my younger self to and fro. “There, there.”
And I carried on rocking him like that till he stopped crying.
"After the session I felt like a child in a beautiful world."
Anonymous , The Netherlands
“Amanae is by far the most powerful bodywork that I have experienced. Three months after my session, I was still feeling the beneficial effects of Eric’s work. Eric is not intrusive with his methods even though the effect of his work is life changing. I recommend him without reservation.”
Kate R, Teacher and Artist, Czech Republic
"After the session I felt like a child in a beautiful world."
Anonymous , The Netherlands
“I can truthfully say that I've rarely, possibly never, felt so good in my life as I have since returning from Brussels. I've been feeling energetic and (as far as I can remember) more positive than ever before. It is as if some ancient, deep feelings of sadness and guilt have disappeared, and I am far more at peace with myself and the world.”
Barbara H, Luxembourg
“Wow, I went deep into my feelings, and into my history…back down to my own birth! I passed some barriers that had been difficult for me.”
"Thank you very much for the session last time, and for winning my trust. I have cried a LOT since then, releasing a really startling amount of grief and feelings of loss. It's great that all that emotion is coming out, and helping me to let go and move on. "
"Overall I'm feeling quite well, thank you!
It's still going on, that's very obvious to me, and I breathe a lot.
What was very striking to me was that on Sunday, the fear (almost panic) I usually feel when I'm out came up while I was just on my own, alone in my own house. I was able to let the fear come, and kept breathing, and after a while, it was gone.
Through all this I have a very relieved feeling in the front of my body, it seems as if a lot of the usual tension has gone. And I feel warm and intimate with my own company and have a grateful feeling. And that, feeling gracefulness, to me is always a sign that I'm in touch with the bigger part of it all, with divinity.
So thank you very much for your good work."
T.V., The Netherlands
"Your work is very intuitive...you always say the right thing at the right time."
Anonymous, United Kingdom
“This is like no other bodywork I have experienced, it's deep but gentle (without hurting physically like other deep bodywork), and it comes from the heart. Your words touched me deeply."
“Thanks for the amanae experience. It hadn't been sure what to expect exactly but I did know that I wouldn't shy away from some physical pain in the process. I find it all fascinating from the receiving perspective but the giving as well. Something was definitely shifted and released. And I want you to know how utterly safe I felt with you which is quite amazing for the fact that we didn't know each other really.”
Maike W., The Netherlands
- Amanae Europe
Welcome to the European home of Amanae Transformational Bodywork. Amanae combines deeply intuitive touch with conscious breathing for a dynamic opening of the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies.
- What is Amanae?
Founded by Christine Day in 1987, Amanae is hands-on, emotional release, bodywork which opens "doorways" that have been closed by deeply held fear, anger and trauma
- The Amanae Experience
More on Amanae by CJ Stone
© 2011 Christopher James Stone