Rolinda Schonwald shares how Breema bodywork and Self-Breema have been constant and invaluable tools to care for herself and others throughout her life.

Life Touching Life

Jul 23, 2021

by Rolinda Schonwald

I attended my first Breema workshop many years ago at a time when no “notes” were given. Instead, we were to take an impression and use what comes alive for us—a novel way to learn for me! Although I come from a life-long dance background, having begun ballet lessons at age two and with BA and MA degrees in dance and dance therapy, I wondered, “How will I remember these exercises and sequences?” 

The answer: “When you need them, they will come alive.”

Indeed, a short time later, while visiting a friend whose mother was convalescing after cancer surgery, I entered her room, and one part of a Breema treatment sequence I had just learned came vividly alive for me. Without hesitating, I introduced myself, placed my hands on her belly, brushed three times down one leg and then three times down another, and held her belly and toes. “My dear,” she exclaimed as I finished, “what did you just do to me?” I said a few words about Breema, mentioning that I had just begun studying. “Well, whatever it’s called, God bless you!” she exclaimed. “You just took away all my pain.”

Although pain relief is not the goal of Breema, I recognized that Breema would be a valuable tool to add to my toolbox. My daughters asked for Breema throughout their pregnancies and I have attended the births of several of my grandchildren. My family and friends love receiving “Birthday Breema” sessions, and I never worry about going anywhere empty-handed—I just bring my hands with me! Many years later, I give Breema treatments as a means of touch support for cancer patients and their families in a neighborhood clinic.

We closed during the first pandemic lockdown, but because we are considered an essential service, we were issued police passes to come treat our patients, while following all the necessary guidelines to stay safe. Many of my recipients expressed gratitude for the opportunity to receive touch during a time when we were in isolation and missing touch in our everyday lives. (At the clinic, we follow guidelines and remain masked, wash hands between recipients, and take care not to breathe near their airways.) Breema has been a huge support in this uncertain period of time.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to deepen my Breema studies via online Zoom classes in this time when travel is not possible. Breema magic begins to happen when I simply connect to my body breathing. I might be thinking, “Oh no! I am too old for this, sitting cross-legged on the floor…” when suddenly, as I tap on the soles of my feet, I feel the support of the universe. Aches and pains ease up and sometimes even vanish. In their place is a welcome feeling of aliveness and well-being.

I cherish those moments when the teachings come alive. Sometimes a principle, or the title of a class, a Self-Breema exercise, or treatment sequence will suddenly headline my life. Recently, for instance, the title “Life Touching Life” came alive for me. That is the simple key. That is my way of being in the world. The way I hold my newborn grandchild. The way I give treatments at the clinic or to family and friends. Or now, in this period of time, the way a Self-Breema exercise supports my well-being and aliveness.

I would say that Breema has been the not-so-secret tool in my toolbox for keeping my family together, especially during this challenging time in which we live. Even a five-minute foot sequence can unwind a tense moment, replacing it with supportive touch. Whether tapping or brushing the legs and feet, or holding the toes, the feet receive this life-affirming, invigorating touch and send it throughout the body.

Some describe doing Self-Breema as “building a reservoir of resilience.”  I strongly resonate with that formulation. Ironically, during the years when I lived in Oakland, California, I never heard of Breema! I was introduced to it in Jerusalem, and it has been an essential part of my life ever since.

Rolinda is a Certified Breema Practitioner, Self-Breema and Breema Instructor in Baka, Jerusalem. She continues to give this nurturing touch support during these times to cancer patients and their families at a neighboring clinic.

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