WHITEFISH – BodyTalk isn’t easy to explain.
Descriptions are peppered with references to neuromuscular systems, cortices, biofeedback, harmony and natural healing. But even if they don’t understand the specifics, it’s apparent that people across the nation are increasingly drawn to this alternative health care procedure.
The trend is particularly evident in Montana, led by the Flathead Valley, where seven of the state’s 20 licensed BodyTalk practitioners are located, more than in most areas of the nation, according to the International BodyTalk Association. By comparison, there are seven practitioners in Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota combined.
BodyTalk touts itself as one of the fastest-growing health care systems in the world. Greg Wieting, co-owner of the Whitefish BodyTalk Center, said his office, which has three of the valley’s practitioners including himself, has a client database of more than 500. The Whitefish office’s two other practitioners besides Wieting are Jaymie Noble and Anna Welty.
“It’s spreading like wildfire,” Wieting said.
Practitioners say the BodyTalk healing system, founded in 1995 by Australian Dr. Jonathan Veltheim, combines elements of chiropractic care, acupuncture, structured breathing techniques and Reiki, among other characteristics. Non-invasive and without the use of medication, it is one of a host of alternative medicines and healing practices that have emerged in recent years.
The fundamental idea behind the practice is that the human body is a system based, like any other, on communication. When the different areas of the body lose communication – this could be through a muscle tear, psychological depression or the flu, among other internal stresses – the body won’t naturally heal. It’s the job of BodyTalk practitioners to encourage communication and stimulate natural healing, Wieting said. They call it “energy medicine.”
When clients come in for an appointment, one of Whitefish BodyTalk’s three practitioners instructs them to lie down on a massage table in the office. Practitioners identify areas of the body where there are apparent imbalances, and then they tap lightly on the head and the sternum area above the heart to sync the communication pathways between the two.
Practitioners say BodyTalk can improve a variety of conditions, including arthritis, digestive disorders, chronic pain, allergies and more. The procedure also, they say, helps with emotional issues as well.
Noble used family interaction as a comparative example to the body’s system – communication breakdowns inevitably lead to problems.
“When we apply that to the body, it’s the same principle,” Noble said.
To be sure, BodyTalk has its skeptics and Wieting acknowledges as much. But he points to both his own growing clientele and the increasing global intrigue as evidence of what he feels is the system’s effectiveness. Though Wieting recommends BodyTalk for a wide variety of illnesses and injuries, he acknowledges that traditional Western medical procedures are necessary. Wieting has undergone surgery before.
“We’re not anti-Western medicine,” Wieting said.
Wieting said scientific research is emerging on the system, but because of its relatively recent origination there’s not an abundance of medical literature. Similar alternative practices such as Reiki have received mixed results, with some studies suggesting little to no medical effectiveness, while others have concluded it has significant healing qualities.
Wieting said he has long been involved with Reiki – a practice that involves healing through the hands and energy channeling – but it wasn’t until several years ago that he began hearing about the BodyTalk system. While living in Seattle, he became more interested in the system and then when he moved back to the Flathead, he got his license and began practicing. At the time, he said there weren’t any practitioners in the valley. In October, he and Noble opened up Whitefish Body Talk at its current location at 211 Central Ave.
Sessions at Whitefish BodyTalk are based on a sliding scale and cost between $55 and $95, depending on income and family size. Both walk-ins and appointments are welcomed. There is a $15 discount for first-time appointments.
Whitefish BodyTalk also offers community clinics with discounted sessions, as well as seminars. The office is open from Monday through Saturday and can be reached at 862-2608 for more information.