If you’ll readily accept that your thigh bone’s connected to your hip bone’s connected to your generalized anxiety disorder, we might be able to put you in touch with someone who’s good with that kind of stuff.
Georgette Yannetti took a bold step away from her corporate job this summer and opened up shop in Greenpoint, where she’s now running her Holistic Myotherapy practice out of a cozy, dimly-lit room in Java Studios.
Myotherapy literally means “muscle therapy,” but the implications run far deeper.
“I didn’t want to use the term ‘massage’ because everyone thinks massage is just being rubbed down, but it’s more ‘muscular therapy,'” Yannetti told me. “I’m realigning the structure of your muscles.”
In a way, too, Yannetti is realigning your brain. Her treatment of musculoskeletal pain takes muscles, joints, nerves, and even organs into consideration, as well as your overall mental and emotional state. Whether you’re dealing with actual trauma or you’re overly liberal with your day-to-day use of the term “PTSD,” each session begins with a tête-à-tête on the couch near the entrance of her studio. The idea, she says, is to bring trust and intimacy into the doctor/patient relationship, which takes you to a place where you can actually receive therapeutic work from someone who’s suddenly not that much of a stranger.
“Our whole body — everything is connected,” she said. “So if I’m going to be working on your body, I need to know what’s going on. A lot of people don’t tell me everything, but as I get to know people, they open up more and more. I’m not a therapist, but I mean, that’s why there’s this little area right here so people can talk to me first about what’s going on with them psychologically.”
As someone who was diagnosed with scoliosis at a formative age, Yannetti has been there and back again when it comes to incapacitating back pain, surgeries, and therapists that left her feeling somewhat cold. Now that she’s doing her own thing, she’s able to give herself — and her patients — the time and thoroughness she needs to be effective. Yannetti spaces all her clients out with an hour or more in between to remove the clinical, clockwork feeling of working in a corporate spa. That leaves plenty of time after the session to talk at length about what did or didn’t work about her approach.
“It’s intimate work — it’s not just touching someone,” she explained. “And if you’re not being mindful about where they’re at psychologically, you can’t really give them a good session.”
In just a minute or two, I, too, would turn my recorder off and unload my pedestrian worries. If you’re wondering, they’re definitely not that interesting. Other than that, I have persisting tightness along my IT band that I’m pretty sure is related to some lower back troubles from before, as well as a possible herniated disc. Yannetti is also calling attention to my weird habit of touching my neck when I’m speaking.
Armed with this deep knowledge of my person, she proceeded to work out a fair amount of my hip tension using a variety of manual techniques, deep breathing on my part, and a touch of aromatherapy for good measure. But this is holistic work we’re talking about, and getting to the source of the problem often involves taking the roundabout way. To get to my hip, Yannetti started by getting my quotidian anxieties out into the open, then working on every other part of my body with sweeping, all-encompassing motions — a total reset, as she explained earlier. It’s the body-work equivalent of a deep clean (versus just pushing the dirt around).
It’s hard to say whether our informal chat at the start of the session actually diminished my pain in a tangible way. But there’s something comforting — dare I say therapeutic — about knowing that I wasn’t just another body on the assembly line.