Mikka Barkman, A.B.T., L.M.T.
3rd Generation Cree Healer
The “Barkman Method” is a holistically focused bodywork which unites advanced manual technique and dialog helping clients to understand how their body is an expression of everything they believe about themselves and the world. Back issues, chronic pain, digestive issues, thyroid conditions, in fact, every physical symptom has its roots within the subconscious. These symptoms are the body’s attempt to bring them to consciousness. There are also corresponding thought processes, emotions, and behaviors that are part of the chemical components that created the symptoms. Through the process of releasing muscular tensions deep within the body, memories and often the emotions associated with those memories will emerge into the conscious mind allowing them to be processed in a new way, freeing them so that the physical symptoms will diminish and eventually disappear.
Native Americans have always innately understood the benefits of touch and almost all groups have had some form of hands-on healing method throughout history. It is human nature to connect with others and with all of nature. Thoughts and emotions (Spirits) show up in the body in specific areas and can feel more dense or immobile in relationship to other areas of the body. These areas are reflections of conflict and may be asymptomatic, numb-like, tender or very painful, depending upon which stage of resolution a person is in. When these densities are located and manipulated with constructive interference, change occurs and an opening to release old patterns and space for the development of new, growth oriented patterns is possible. Thought and emotion are forms of energy. When we freely express ourselves, this energy dissipates or moves. When suppressed, or worse, repressed, this energy has to go somewhere and can manifest in the body. Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it simply changes it’s form.
The principles of the Medicine Wheel provide a model to understand the connection of the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of being human. When these aspects are all active within the self, strength and a positive sense of well-being are experienced. As a client’s stories are revealed, the conflicts become apparent. As they apply their story to the Medicine Wheel, new awareness is gained and conditioned reactions can be replaced by new ways of thinking and behaving so that they can respond to life and live more in the present. Crucial to understanding the Medicine Wheel is the knowledge that this philosophy is a tool to exercise personal inquiry to develop volition. Understanding and using the Medicine Wheel philosophy is not for everyone, however, dialog still remains an important aspect of the sessions. It’s principles are universal and fit into most peoples views of what it means to be a good person. The therapist participates in the dialog to assist and guide, not to direct, the client to greater personal understanding. The Medicine Wheel is not used by all tribal groups and there are multiple ways to translate its meaning. Ultimately, it empowers people to live in harmony with nature: their own, their community’s and the Earth.
The techniques used in the Barkman Method have been around for millennium and may resemble techniques found within the fields of osteopathy, Asian bodywork, physical therapy, psychotherapy, NLP, crystal and other energy based modalities. The “Barkman Method” uses variations of any of these, relying upon the innate healing wisdom of the body to determine which is needed. Manual pressure can be feather light, deeply penetrating, and somewhere in between. Though the superficial layers of the musculature are touched, it is the deeper structures that are the focus.
Bodywork sessions are done on the floor, on a warm mat, with the recipient fully clothed in loose comfortable clothing. The practitioner applies pressure with the palms, thumbs, fingers, forearms, elbows, knees, shins, toes and feet, often being in contact with the client using all four limbs simultaneously. A ceiling bar, and the walls of the therapy room (in place of trees), can be used for support when using the feet. Movement into a variety of positions and stretching are sometimes part of sessions, though this will vary according to the needs or limitations of the client. Each session is unique and depends entirely on the issues that are presenting at that moment.
Sessions become an artful dance, a melody of relaxed and sometimes intense release. Clients can expect a profound feeling of change and an expanded awareness of self in just one session bringing them one step further in the journey of life.
Each healthy, thriving client has a positive affect on our world.
For professionals interested in learning more, Mikka may adapt some of the techniques for use on a table. Contact Mikka for information about upcoming classes: email@example.com