A couple of months ago, a friend of mine recommended to me a body-mind therapy called diafreo (or diafreotherapy). I had never heard of it before moving to Spain, and was surprised to find out how little information was available about it online in English, in comparison to the abundance of videos and articles in Spanish.
The word diafreo in Greek means ‘I open and let through’. The philosophy of this therapy is that our bodies are inextricably linked to our emotions and that by working on the body, we not only release tensions, restructure the alignment of the major muscle chains and recover the body’s symmetry, but also give ourselves space to release emotions and memories that the body has stored throughout our lives. Therefore, the awareness of the body is connected to the awareness of our emotions, and harmonizing and healing of one will have the same effect on the other.
My experience with it so far has been nothing short of magical. I am certain that this type of body-mind work would be incredibly beneficial to me in any circumstances, but as I am entering the second half of my eighth pregnancy month, I really cannot think of a better way to spend 1.5 hours each week.
In the physical sense, I have experienced wonderful relief from tensions and aches of my changing body. Some of these sensations are related to the natural progression of pregnancy while others are due to my specific body type, posture, history and daily activity. For example, I generally find that I feel more relaxed and supple on the days when I move more rather when I sit in front of the computer (even if it’s on a yoga ball). In the beginning of each diafreo session when I first lie down on the mat (most of the therapy takes place while lying down), I feel as if my body’s weight is absolutely enormous and all seemingly concentrated in my sacrum. The only way I can explain the sensation it’s as if the entire Earth were a giant magnet and my sacrum was the exact spot where my metallic body was fused with it. These moments of becoming aware of gravity in such a profound way, are also an opportunity to notice the breath, scan the body, and become aware of any emotions or sensations about what it is like to live in my body at that moment.
During the sessions, the therapist works with the different tensions in the body while gently guiding through breathing techniques, and asking questions to facilitate any release that might occur – be it physical or psychic. The actual physical sensations vary from ticklish to painful, but with the space and ways to express all of that through breath, voice or movements, it becomes the most incredible experience of just being present and witnessing the ebb and flow of it all.
It most certainly feels that during the sessions there are new spaces created in my body as certain muscles relax and bones readjust to a more optimal position. Usually during the sessions I experience a lot of baby movements, which is an indication that the baby is also changing position or moving to where there is less tension and more space. I keep describing that at the end of the sessions my body feels like it is made of clouds – light, spacious and somehow limitless, as if everything around me is an extension of ‘me’.
In addition to the physical benefits, diafreo has been a wonderful opportunity to be present with my mind and emotional states. Numerous memories, thoughts and feelings arise through the changes and sensations in my body. I have been surprised to have a giggly tickle in my psoas muscle lead to tears and memories about sad moments in the past relationships, or have the images of all dentist appointments come up during an exercise to release tension from my jaw. There have also been moments where certain positions or body movements have allowed fears or worries to resurface in relation to the pregnancy and birth that I was not really even aware of (or did not really want to be).
The sessions end with beautiful meditations about new open spaces in my body and mind. I am guided to imagine a stream of life energy that is gently filling up my body with light, illuminating me and the baby. These moments flood me with profound gratitude for being able to connect with and honour myself in such a way and with love for this tiny little being about to enter our lives.
The key theme of diafreo is about giving ourselves the opportunity to be present with all the physical sensations, emotions and thoughts that are there in each moment. To open up and to let it flow through exactly as it is without judging, adding labels, resisting or suppressing. After all, now is all that we really have.Tags: diafreo gratitude loving what is pregnancy self-healing self-love