If you haven't heard of the Yamuna method, you're not alone. Founded the 70s by Yamuna Zake in New York City, the holistic body work system uses inflatable balls, spiked plastic foot massagers, traditional yoga concepts, and some serious muscle pressure to reimagine the traditional table massage—and there's only one practitioner in Portland who's trained to do it.
In a cozy studio above the Max line on SW Morrison, Vicki Seabrook welcomes clients to explore a wide variety of treatments—dubbed Body Logic, Rolling Table treatments, Yamuna Yoga, Body Rolling, Foot Fitness, and Face Saver sessions—based on the idea that healing and alignment occurs best with simultaneous bone stimulation and the application of traction to elongate muscle fibers in all directions.
Seabrook was introduced to the transformative method via her father, who was being treated by Yamuna Zake herself for a herniated disk. "He was still under her care when I had a horse riding accident and couldn’t move—so he suggested I see her," remembers Seabrook. "It was a life changer. After being in so much pain for so long and not finding solutions anywhere, I was hooked after just one Body Logic session. I started going to her classes and I bought all the balls."
After practicing the Yamuna method at home for many months, Seabrook enrolled in Zake's certification course, and practiced in New York at Bliss Yoga Center and worked directly the method's founder before moving to Portland. There are 457 Yamuna practitioners worldwide, and just 206 practitioners in the US—compared to over 350,000 massage therapists! The community may be small, but it's united in a shared goal—to make every client independent and able to use the method at home, for free, without a therapist.
Here's how the method works in all of its myriad forms:
- Body Logic: Through gentle traction and rotation movements—utilizing the practitioner's elbows, fingers, and other tools—muscles are traced at the origin of bone and tendon, elongating them towards the insertion, thereby increasing range of motion and eliminating pain and restriction. "I love Body Logic for really addressing what is going on structurally," shares Seabrook. "I recommend people new to the method start with a Body Logic session, because it gives me the opportunity to see which other practices would be most beneficial for the individual."
- Body Rolling and Yamuna Yoga: A bit like foam rolling at the gym but with more focused targeting of muscles, a private body rolling session or Yamuna Yoga class will use 6-10 inflatable body balls and the weight of your own body to work specific muscles in detail, to create suppleness in tight areas and optimize range of motion."I love teaching body rolling because I really enjoy people’s reaction to standing tall, looking surprised, and telling me 'Wow, I feel longer and lighter!’"
- Rolling Table Treatment: Originally designed by Yamuna Zake for the one-and-only Canyon Ranch Spa to translate the Body Rolling class into a relaxing, massage-like session, this treatment uses inflatable balls as a fulcrum within the body's joints. This allows the trained practitioner to go very deep without pain, using the hands as traction on one side and the ball on the other, giving the client a treatment on both sides of the body simultaneously. According to Seabrook, "It feels like you have two therapists working on you at once to lengthen and align."
- Face Saver: Using a small inflatable ball to release and smooth the muscles of the face, this method is very easy to learn and use at home to target TMJ discomfort, headaches, and sinus trouble—in addition to some major aesthetic benefits. According to Seabrook, "the face work deeply relaxes furrowed brows while immediately helping to lift and erase fine lines."
- Foot Saver: Your feet are the foundation of your body’s architecture—the way you stand and the way you walk transfers into your posture and over time affects how stable and flexible your body becomes. This treatment teaches clients how to use Yamuna foot saver tools to bring flexibility, whole-body alignment, and stability. "Most exercise and fitness methods ignore the feet. There is nothing like specialized foot work to give each bone and muscle in the foot its own workout."
As for being the only Yamuna practitioner in the region, Seabrook enjoys a loyal following without competition, but says there is one drawback to being a long ranger: "I don’t have anyone to give me a Body Logic session!"
For more information on Vicki Seabrook and the Yamuna method, including special intro rates and workshops, visit vickiseabrook.com.