Body Awareness Coaching

Learn How to Be Healthier and Feel Better by Understanding Your Body’s Signals

Frances Reed with a client at Freed Bodyworks at 1426 Penn. Ave. SE.

Frances Reed helps people take back their power. She practices body awareness coaching, a technique that assists clients in recognizing clues from their body so they can change what is not beneficial to them. Frances guides them into developing a more in-tune relationship with their bodies.

 “I teach them how to go deep into their center-their core-and listen. Their body is their magic eight ball. If people focus and listen, their body will tell them how to navigate confidently through the everyday decisions as well as the major life changes of their lives.”

Do you feel overwhelmed with all you have to do? Are you unable to make decisions? Do you feel tired a lot? Do you have a high stress job? Do you live a high stress life? Do you want to be healthier? Would you like to feel happier? If you answered yes to any of these questions then body awareness coaching may be right for you.

What is body awareness coaching?

Body awareness coaching is a technique that Frances developed from her massage practice, which she describes as “a little bit different. “ I give my clients a no-charge 30-minute intake before a massage. The questions I ask give me the information I need to know in order to target their issues during the massage.” For example, she said a client may come in with tightness in the upper body. She asks where? The client says she doesn’t know. She breaks it down.  Is it the crest of the shoulder? Is the tightness between the shoulder blades? Is it the neck? Is it located on the back pack straps? She asks if any of those areas resonate with them. A client can usually identify one of those areas. Then Frances asks, “Is it more on the left or right?” She said at first most aren’t sure, but after they think about it they figure it out.

She then asks what motion they perform regularly. The pain is very different for a baker whisking a bowl versus an office worker manipulating a mouse all day.

As Frances’ massage practice grew, she said, about six months ago clients began complaining that she no longer had time to chat. They told her “I need the coaching part in addition to a massage!” Body Awareness Coaching was born.

Frances uses role playing and interviewing skills she developed in her first career as an activist and antipoverty proponent. “I worked with people coming out of prison on life skills in a job training program. For a decade I observed how people deal with changing their behavior patterns.”

What is body awareness so important?

Last month I was teaching one of my regular classes. While performing a standing exercise my left leg made a very loud popping noise. It startled me and several of my students. I paused, breathed, remained calm and inwardly took an assessment. I listened and felt. The chronic tightness I had felt behind my knee and down my shin into my ankle was instantly gone. I could walk. There was no pain. My inner guide, my gut, my core – whatever you call it- told me I did not need a physician. The next few days the area where my leg popped was sore and even developed a black and blue mark. I waited patiently until I could see my massage therapist who confirmed that the culprit was my ilio-tibia band – the sheath that starts in the gluteus and inserts under the knee. It was tight, and the popping I experienced was its release from one of my quadriceps (thigh) muscles. That’s body awareness- knowing what’s best for you by going within for the answer. The way in which I handled my issue would not necessarily be the right way for someone else. Frances teaches people to, “stop listening to everyone else and start listening to your body.”

Why Do Body Awareness Coaching?

Anyone can benefit from Body Awareness Coaching. It is not psychotherapy. While Frances prefers at least an initial in-person session, Skype sessions can be arranged. A session does not include a massage though the two services can be combined effectively.

Body awareness coaching may be for you if you want to improve your health, make nutritional changes, improve sex and intimacy, become more self aware, better understand pain or discomfort, embrace major changes happening in your life, be more creative or spontaneous or live more in the present. Learning how to listen to your body can help if you want to lose weight. “I teach people to find the feeling of hunger and feel it. Sometimes what people think is hunger is really thirst.”

Frances said she finds that people are strongly conditioned out of hearing anything that their bodies are telling them. Instead of looking outside themselves for answers, Frances teaches them to seek answers from within and feel their way through the process.

“The ‘aha’ moment for me is when clients recognizes a headache is telling you something about your body.” For example, a tension headache is at the base of the neck and across the forehead; a headache in the temples is most likely coming from the jaw; a feeling similar to a bicycle helmet squeezing your head is probably the result of dehydration or caffeine withdrawal and a pain behind the eyes and nasal cavities is most likely caused by your sinuses.

Once her clients hear the message from their bodies she said she encourages them to pause and listen.  Frances asks clients to look at what they feel in their body after they have an anxious moment. She tells them, “Sit down and recollect the physical sensations. What did you think and feel?” She said by defining the feelings you can define the anxiety. Is from pressure and deadline, from short term conflict or a larger quandary in life? With that knowledge is power.

I have found that body awareness for me is the key to creating ease in my life, both day-to-day and long term. It also enables me to be more confident in my decisions, to make them more easily and not be so hung up on the outcome. The most significant result for me of listening to my body is the overall well being I’ve developed about my life as a whole. My goal is to feel good most of the time.

Frances’ business is called Freed Bodyworks and is on Pennsylvania Ave., SE a few doors up from Trustees. Her phone number is: 202-277-8629.

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Pattie Cinelli is a health and fitness trainer who specializes in functional fitness, pre-post natal exercise, mind-body balance for weight loss and wellness consultations. She can be reached at: