Lifestyle | Interviews

Q & A with Neurosomatic Massage Therapist, Jennifer Sprung

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I’ve known Jenny Sprung for 14 years + now. She became one of my dearest friends in a way that some might consider unconventional but is also a testament to the innately generous and practical nature of women – I dated her ex-husband for several years after their divorce. During that time period we connected over kids and holidays and general upkeep of family matters. After that relationship ended Jenny and I continued and strengthened ours.

Jenny not only became one of my closest friends she also became my neurosomatic massage therapist – an essential member of a small team of healers (acupuncturist, infectious disease specialist, and Jenny) literally helping me survive and ultimately heal from 5 devastating years of chronic Lyme Disease.

Chronic body pain from any source is debilitating and life alteringand learning to find ways to help your body manage pain and heal is a critical tool in the arsenal against feeling unwell. Jenny is to this day the most extraordinary hands on healer I’ve worked with. The combination of extraordinary expertise, skill, technique, intuition and empathy in her approach is extremely powerful and effective. When we were thinking about who we wanted to include in our “Success Team” to bring information about self-care and body knowledge to help empower our readers to help themselves feel better Jenny was at the top of that list.

We want you to know a bit more about Jenny from her own words – and hope that you find relief through her posts and video guidance as well as learn something new about your wonderful body!

Jennifer Sprung, Neurosomatic Massage Therapist atop her bike about to go out for a spin.

You can also read about her on her bio page and be sure to check out her articles on the digestive system and self massage! 

Robin Jaffin: Jenny, when did you start to think you wanted to work with the body as a form of practice? Was this something you had always wanted to do or did it evolve for you over time?

Jenny Sprung: Wellness and Nutrition have always been my focus, since I started playing sports in elementary school. When my children were very small, I supplemented the family income teaching fitness classes, everything from step aerobics (and how to do it correctly and safely), slide, spin cycle, weight lifting and personal training. Every neighborhood I resided, created, with me, fitness classes in basements, local gyms. I became interested in training instructors to teach exciting and effective group fitness classes. There were plenty of friends and family as well as amazing fitness clubs in Maryland, which I became coordinator and director.

My family moved to Vermont to raise my children in a small town environment. There were no fitness clubs close by, so I opened my own in my basement and then in a newly built fitness barn on my property. Ten percent of the population came to achieve personal goals of wellness and nutrition. During that time I spoke at several retreats on the many aspects of personal fitness and nutrition.

I was offered a job at a newly constructed ski resort hotel directing the fitness center and the aesthetic spa. It was there that I was taught hands on healing by our exemplary team of therapists. It was a grand time. I went to Kripalu in Western Massachusetts to gain my certification in Manual Manipulation Massage Therapy. My instructors at Kripalu urged me to continue my study noting my abilities to work at interface, creating a nurturing environment for effective healing. It was there that we focused on structure and energy and how , treated simulateously, optimal healing would occur.

Feedback was an important aspect of the work, as was the mutual learning environment. Intuition sharpened in the one on one environment building on each subsequent treatment. My sensory perceptions fine tuned as those on my table reached their healing goals.

Tell us a bit about your choice of body work approaches. On your AMAZING website – Treating Yourself Naturally – which is just chock full of truly excellent, informative and accessible information you have a long list of body work approaches you can offer and speak to. Can you describe what some of those are and why you chose to become a practitioner of those particular modalities?

Kripalu Massage Therapy focuses on extreme ethical caring of the person on the table, understanding that one never knows what that person is truly going through and what they truly need. Creating space for them to discover and address this and be an integral part of their own healing was a key element. It was a soft massage, gentle, with combination of hands on and hands off, such as Reiki. Reiki is a form of energetic healing as is Chakra Healing. All these modalities were studied at Kripalu.

La Stone Therapy is heavenly heated stone work. The basalt stones hold a vibration close to the earth and create vasodilation allowing for deeper work into the belly of the muscle and energy centers. I became a harvester of stones in Maine and taught warm stone massage at the Bhakti Academe in Safety Harbor Florida.

Bhakti is a form of loving , quiet, slow massage focusing on constant pace, constant pressure, constant attention and intention. I graduated from that Academe and became as instructor there for 6 years until the school closed.

Myofascial Release is a modality that creates space in fascia. When overuse and repetitive use binds fascia it becomes glue like. Myofascial Release restructures the fascia so it becomes more gel like in structure, more fluid, more open and pliable. Fascia is your body’s communication pathway and provides stabilization for the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, bones, brain and vital organs. It is a network of support for your body. It is everywhere. You can take the bones out of the body and it will retain its shape due to the web of fascia within.

Trigger Point Therapy is designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release. The recipient actively participates through deep breathing as well as identification of location and intensity. A trigger point is a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body. A trigger point in the back, for example, may produce referral pain in the neck. The neck, now acting as a satellite trigger point, may then cause pain in the head. The pain may be sharp and intense or a dull ache.The results and benefits of trigger point massage are releasing constricted areas in the muscles thus alleviating pain.

Sports Massage is a manual manipulaton that focuses on pre and post event readiness and recovery.

Integative Neurosomatic Massage Therapy focuses on Gait, Posture, Anatomy, Origins and Insertions of muscles. Principles of the body and Laws of the Body. Specific work such as the Temporomandibular Joint, Viscerat (Vital Organs), Pelvic floor, Cranial, Atlas Axis of Cervical Spine and leg length inequality issues, distortion patterns and their effect on the body..It is extensive and intensive thorough work. Years of study and Case studies leading to teaching this amazing, effective and efficient work has contributed to continued learning at an accelerated rate thus benefiting my clients and patients. You can read much more about this here in an article on my website.

A sculpture of a hand by Jenny Sprung.
Hand Sculpture by Jennifer Sprung

I chose to dedicate continued years of study to this modality as it has helped countless family members and friends.

Zero Balancing is the modality and practice that brought all of the above together to create a high energetic and structural healing modality.

“It is this therapy combined with all of the others that creates a depth of healing not experienced elsewhere. It sets my practice apart and amplifies all healing.”

Zero Balancing or ZB, is a hands on bodywork system designed to align your energy body with your physical structure. Gentle,  yet powerful, it focuses on your whole person while addressing specific needs. Eastern concepts of energy and healing are incorporated into a Zero Balancing session. The practitioner works simultaneously with the patient/client’s structure and energy body to bring balance. Structure of the body and energy of the body work in synchronization. The structural body can be seen and touched. The energy body is seen and unseen movement of tissue (fluids, cellular and molecular vibrations) within the fields of the body and the movement of the life force itself. The energy body affects and can be responsible for moods, emotions and vitality. Changes in these fields of energy may precede illness and disease.

When structure and energy are touched simultaneously, with intention and attention, a deep grounded balance can be achieved.

“When structure and energy are balanced, pain, dysfunctional habits, erratic emotional patterns and imprints from past traumas tend to release. “

One of the more exceptional aspects of your effectiveness and skill is what I feel is your intuitive understanding of the body- beyond the technical knowledge-– are you able to articulate what you understand about where that comes from?

Listening to the body, believing in the individuals innate ability to contribute and take control of their own healing, through conscious thought and breath Attention and Intention. While creating space within the structure and energy of the body, working specifically with the anatomy, I ‘lean into’ the person on the table, gauging where they want to be met and identifying through structure and energy fields how to create space so that they can heal. The body wants to be in balance. Setting the tone so that the client can ‘find’, ‘identify’ and breathe with each part of the body. When this happens healing is amplified. This is intuition. Noticing. Listening, not trying.

You are one of the most voracious learners I’ve known- you are constantly seeking new knowledge and information on subjects related to body health and wellness – it’s the mark of a true healer, in my mind – and a trait shared by all of our Success Team members. Can you tell us what you are currently studying and interested in learning more about?

Joint replacement, proprioception post joint replacement, Somatic to Visceral and visceral to somatic responses in the body, Cold Therapy, Salt Therapy, Sauna therapy, nnEMF concerns and their affects on the body and most importantly, continued work to encourage everyone to touch and treat themselves at home.

“We are our own best healers. We have the ability to heal ourselves.”

In your blog and video series for FODMAP Everyday® you are showing us how to undertake self-massage organ by organ to help us learn more about how our body works and how to relieve pain and symptoms related to IBS as well as other digestive system issues. Most people never stop to take the time to explore their own bodies – and know that they can help themselves if they just learn some simple hands on approaches. Some even fear doing so. Can you speak to this topic a bit?

When you were a child do you remember the first thing you would do if you skinned your knee or hit your head? You would place your hand there to assess, to touch, to CONNECT. The body spoke to you and you answered with the placing of your hands. When your body speaks to you, with pain, tightness, uneasiness—-answer it…talk to it, touch it, respond. Gently at first and then, once you have initially addressed it, then assess it and research it. It is rewarding to know you can listen to your body and answer it…with amazingly successful results. And, when the a team of healers is needed you can be a part of the discussion, the knowledge, the empowerment and the healing.

You recently underwent a major surgery for a knee replacement – which required some serious rehab and focused healing. What did you find were/are the most important practices that helped you heal so well?

Good Nutrition was KEY and is KEY. When I go out to eat and pay no mind to what I ingest, inevitably the surgery site swells and gets angry. If you can take a pill the size of your pinky fingernail that can reduce blood pressure in the entire body, or perform another whole body function, imagine, JUST imagine the HEALING AFFECTS OF CONSCIOUS EATING OF WHOLE FOODS such as what you will find on this website.

I have had many clients who found that when they adjusted their diets any remaining body pain was eliminated. Be mindful though, wholistic healing such as nutrition takes time. It is not a band-aid nor does it work quickly like a pill. It is a magical lifestyle change that will serve you your entire life.

The tincture of time is an important practice along with patience. Meditation on my energy centers and the structures/workings of MY body. I often will breathe deeply into my liver, gall bladder or my new knee area sending healing there in my own individual way. Make your healing meditation your own…it doesn’t have to be long or arduous…allow yourself time to go to the place or places in the body that need healing attention.

Jennfer Sprung and her family.
Jenny’s wonderful family!

You have always been very physically active; now that you are a woman “of a certain age”, like I am, what can you share about how you stay fit and what is changing about your own health and wellness routine as you age?

Exercise has modified to accommodate my age and careful nutrition has become paramount. When I eat correctly, for me, I feel young, I look youthful, I have energy, I am not depressed nor anxious. I do not stray from what I know is right for me. I say no when I want to and yes when I want to and I don’t know when I don’t know…realizing the answers will come with patience. I create much more space for myself and keep my goals simple, doing my best to wake noticing which way my mind wanders and to ask myself…how do you really want this day to go.. My answer is always to exhibit joy, integrity and feel REALLY good.

Thanks Jenny! We look forward to your continued series on digestion and self- care

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