Innisfil's Victoria Goodman is Ontario's first Certified Block Therapy Instructor. She discovered the self-care practice of Block Therapy after searching for ways to help deal with her pain from an injured rotator cuff five years ago.
Block Therapy was founded by Deanna Hansen, a certified athletic therapist out of Winnipeg. In 2000, Hansen was depressed, and experiencing bouts of anxiety. It was during one of her anxiety attacks she intuitively pushed her hand into her abdomen and felt immediate relief.
"She noticed that when she did that, the pain brought her out of the anxiety attack and grounded her," said Goodman.
This was how she developed Block Therapy, manipulating a wooden block on different parts of the body.
"That was her a-ha moment, and instead of using her hands, she needed a tool," which is how the wooden block was incorporated into the practice.
"You lie on top of the block, and you're using your body weight and gravity to work for you instead of against you," said Goodman. "Every cell has a home, and when it's not aligned with its home, the cell starts distorting and changing shape and starts to flatten, and when it starts to flatten, the oxygen cannot flow into the cell properly."
Goodman says the benefits of the therapy include pain relief, weight loss and a better mood.
"It's a form of exercise, meditation and therapy all in one self-care practice," she said.
There are at least 100 different positions to use with the bamboo block.
"That enables you to cover every single part of your body, allowing fresh supply of blood and oxygen into your cells, and when your cells are fed, they're happy and they function properly," adding that the practice also helps with posture and alignment.
She says Block Therapy is also good for anti-aging.
"We're putting that water back into our skin which is good for lines and wrinkles," she said.
"Aging is all about constriction and lack of blood flow," she said, which is where the block exercises can help.
Goodman first got involved in Block Therapy after looking for treatment options for her rotator cuff injury. Her deltoid muscle was torn and caused her a great deal of pain for five years. She did massages and yoga, but they were not alleviating all of her pain.
"Massage does not help strains and it does not help tears, it actually creates more pain," she said.
She also did Bowen Therapy, which she says helped but was not the cure she was looking for.
"Even after a couple of years of Bowen Therapy, (another form of bodywork that stretches the fascia with the hands) I was still stuck," she said. "I could work but I couldn't lift my arm up."
"It's hard to work when you're suffering like that, especially as a therapist, we're supposed to be able to fix ourselves," she said.
She discovered Block Therapy on LinkedIn and connected with the founder directly to learn more about the practice.
She tested out the exercises, putting pressure on her pain spot for about 10 minutes and felt immediate relief.
"I was so amazed that it worked so fast," she said.
She said after consistent practice she was able to heal herself within three months.
It's been almost four years since Goodman started practicing Block Therapy and is now a Certified Block Therapy Instructor and Therapist.
"What we do as Block Therapy Instructors is we teach you how to move safely into your pain," she said. "Two minutes on the block, your pain turns to pressure, because the pressure fibres engage and the pain fibres receed and that's approximately the time it takes for that to happen."
She says people can go from pain to comfort in about five minutes on the block.
"People are stuck in their pain, so this is a way to unstuck your body," she said.
Prior to COVID, Goodman was teaching Block Therapy classes at the Innisfil Library in Alcona, and at Gilford Hall.
Since lockdown, Goodman has been hosting online Block Therapy classes for both beginners and advanced. She hopes to be able to offer outdoor in-person classes this summer at her spa.
In addition, Goodman is certified in Bowen Therapy, MSTR-Scar Tissue Release, Indian Champissage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, and Reiki Master and offers holistic health therapies through her spa business which she has owned for 30 years.
Before moving to Innisfil, she lived in Toronto, Bowmanville and Newtonville.
To learn more, visit Goodman's Block Therapy website here.
To view Goodman's other services, visit her spa website here.