Grinberg method gets to the foot of the problem

Jo Haywood dives feet first into an unusual treatment (that's not a treatment). Caroline Hodgson had my life in her hands

Actually, she had my feet in her hands, but they were telling her all sorts of deep dark secrets. Was she looking at my soles or my soul? How did she know I was very shy as a child and still walked with my eyes glued to the pavement so I didn't have to lock eyes with passers-by? How did she know my left shoulder gave me gip because of the sheer enormity of the bags I lug round? And how on God's green earth did she know I had a tendency to make lists (I have a list of my alltime favourite lists if you'd like to see it)?

Caroline is one of the few practitioners of the Grinberg Method in the UK, and the only one in Yorkshire. She has undergone rigorous training in centres across Europe and graduated in October last year - allowing her to take on paying clients for the first time at her clinic in Hebden Bridge,West Yorkshire. The method - she kept stressing that it's not a treatment - teaches clients to make their own life changes by learning how to utilise their bodies properly.

'It uses touch, breathing, movement, physical exercises, description tools and techniques to increase your ability to pay attention,' said Caroline, still staring intently at my feet (tatty pink nail varnish and all). 'Lessons are learned through the body, and when they are applied they can make a serious impact on your life, from realising your goals and wishes to improving your overall health and wellbeing.'

After reading my feet for ten minutes or so and chatting through some of her findings - most of which were very specific and accurate - she decided I needed a 'fire massage' session to iron out some of the crunchingly tight muscles in my shoulders, feet and legs. Perhaps not surprisingly, I soon discovered a fire massage was not a relaxing, featherlight tickle. In fact, it was downright painful. Anyone waiting in reception for the next appointment might have been a little perturbed by my yodels of pain and pathetic 'yee-ouch!' and 'ow-ow-ow!' exclamations, but Caroline was not to be put off.

'Just keep breathing through it,' she said repeatedly, sounding remarkably like a midwife. 'Your body will loosen up if you breath deeply and go with it.' And she was right. The pain was intense, but it didn't last long and the feeling of relief and relaxation I felt afterwards was equally as intense. My gippy shoulder felt looser and my feet, which are usually a rather fetching shade of blue, were pleasantly warm and tingly.

I could see why the Grinberg Method, developed by Avi Grinberg in the 1980s, is often confused with reflexology and massage. But it differs in one crucial way - it's not a treatment and you are not a patient. 'The Grinberg practitioner works in partnership with their client to identify how they use their bodies and how they have developed patterns of behaviour,' Caroline explained. 'We don't claim to be healers and we don't have anything to say about a client's lifestyle. I wouldn't tell a person what posture to adopt or what food to eat because I want my client to become fully attuned to their own body and to take responsibility for their own wellbeing

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'By truly paying attention to what their body needs and wants, they should eventually find ways of managing their patterns rather than their patterns managing them.'

For further information about the Grinberg Method, phone Caroline Hodgson on 07968 731521, email or click on

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