Building Awareness: Creating a BodyTalk Matrix in Central Visayas and Mindanao, Philippines

Jan 30, 2020

By Penelope Reyes

Increased awareness, in all its forms, can have a truly remarkable effect in healing and growth. This is true for the client as much as it is for the BodyTalk Practitioner. This article is about how growing awareness on both a personal level and a community level has helped in expanding the BodyTalk matrix in my home country--the Philippines.

This story begins in November 2014, when I first was introduced to BodyTalk during a public presentation sponsored by the BodyTalk Philippines network. They promoted an upcoming BodyTalk Access course, and this is also where I learned the Cortices Technique. What convinced me to enroll in the Access class was experiencing my first private BodyTalk session given right after the presentation by Alan Along, CBP. What an interesting experience that was! It made me yearn to know more about this amazing healing system. Thus, a week later, I found myself taking BodyTalk Access in Manila. A year after that, my husband and I immigrated to Europe and I continued my BodyTalk learning journey there, getting my CBP certification and opening a clinic in southern Portugal. The stay in Europe allowed me to keep learning and evolving--taking advanced courses and also cultivating a thriving BodyTalk practice. After a turn of personal events, however, my husband and I found ourselves settling back in the Philippines by June of 2018.

One of the most challenging aspects of our move is that it was to a totally new place, with no relatives or friends to help us. I literally had to start a new life and a new BodyTalk practice!


Strategies

The tenet "proper awareness and education in communicating BodyTalk" has been ingrained in me by Dr. John Veltheim in the CBP Practice Building toolkit. His advice left me with the strong impression that such communication is equally important as giving good BodyTalk sessions. Following are some strategies that I employed to help rebuild my practice in a totally new place.

Immediately after the move, I did not have a venue to practice. Scouting around my area of Dumaguete, there did not seem to be any suitable place that resonated. Intuitively, I was drawn to connect with an established holistic practitioner, Dr. Romy Paredes, who runs Wellnessland Health Institute, an alternative clinic, vegetarian restaurant and hotel. It is located some 150 kilometers (93 miles) away on the island of Cebu. Although far in distance from where I live, it felt right to connect with this center that has been running for more than eight years. It did help greatly that they have meeting and class facilities and are known to promote holistic events to a mailing list of 15,000 people. Fortunately, my proposal to give a free BodyTalk presentation was accepted. The openness and support of a successful, holistic establishment is always going to be remembered; it is what jump-started my practice in the Philippines. On July 26, 2018, I gave my first talk with 27 people in attendance (pictured at left). Immediately after the talk, Dr. Romy invited me to open a BodyTalk practice at his clinic as a visiting practitioner. Nine people signed-up for sessions, and I have been busy ever since, with a following that has grown organically over time.

On my home front, linking with likeminded establishments to sponsor the venue for free talks at Dauin, Negros Oriental has also helped in growing awareness about BodyTalk. Silver Reef, a newly opened eco-friendly dive resort, supported the idea of a "Dive Into Health" series of talks at their resort to attract customers to their vegetarian cafe and also to support the idea of holistic health. These talks ran for five consecutive months, and they have generated quite an interest in BodyTalk.

In neighboring Dumaguete City, the main capital of our province, connections were made with Samyama Yoga studio for a talk during their first wellness, culture and art festival in the city, where more than 150 people attended. Consequently, a series of monthly free talks called "BodyTalk Saturdays" were scheduled starting in September 2019 and running until March of 2020.

Two crucial aspects that have contributed to the matrix growth are the wealth of knowledge I have gained in taking as many advanced courses as possible combined with a busy clinic to hone my BodyTalk skills in practice. These serve as a foundational base in presenting monthly free talks on different topics relating to BodyTalk. The talks are varied. Examples include:

  • BodyTalk: Healthcare Designed by Your Body
  • The Science and Philosophy of BodyTalk
  • BodyTalk: Exploring the 3 Brains
  • How Emotions and Memories Affect our Health
  • BodyTalk in the Treatment of Cancer (promo advertisement shown here)
  • Matrix Sessions: Healing Families, Businesses, Groups and Personal Relationships

One of the most important advanced courses that I recommend is the Orthopedic Evaluation class of Dr. Kerry D'Ambrogio. Since taking his class last year, there was a marked increase in the engagement of people through the proper and effective use of evaluation in talks and in clinic sessions. The expansion in body awareness that evaluation focuses on helps people to appreciate the sometimes subtle energy balancing that happens when experiencing BodyTalk techniques. There has been a significant increase in the numbers of people who sign-up for BodyTalk sessions after a presentation when active evaluation is used together with teaching the Cortices Technique. The same goes for orthopedic evaluation before and after a BodyTalk demonstration during a talk, where the sometimes stunning range-of-motion results inspire the audience to want to try it themselves.

Parallel to the free public presentations, I also embarked on a journey as a BodyTalk Outreacher to provide the BodyTalk Access tools freely to areas and people that need healthcare support. The Philippines, through the support of the International BodyTalk Foundation (IBF), is known for having a successful BodyTalk Access Outreach Program, with much gratitude to the pioneering efforts of Dorothy Friesen, BAT, CBP (building on the legacy of her prior work). And thanks to Gina Lee, CBP of BodyTalk Philippines, for her guidance in BodyTalk Outreach, I received certification as a BodyTalk Outreacher and conducted my first outreach activity with a congregation of nuns in Cebu last August 2018. Since then, I have brought BodyTalk Access Outreach to my immediate neighborhood, the village government and community health workers at Maayongtubig, Dauin, the Rural Health Unit of Dauin which includes firefighters and ambulance teams, a far-flung upland community in Sibulan, Negros Oriental, and a shelter for sexually abused children in Dumaguete City.

Here in the Philippines, there are five Certified BodyTalk Practitioners (including myself). Out of that, three of them are BodyTalk Access Trainers (BATs) and are located in the main capital of Manila, which is the biggest island in the North Philippines. In the region where I live--central and south Philippines--I am the only CBP present. Thus, I decided last year to become a BodyTalk Access Trainer (BAT) to help in growing the BodyTalk community in my area. BodyTalk Access Training is a wonderful way to introduce the powerful benefits of BodyTalk to the general public. It is also a great way of encouraging further studies into the BodyTalk System.

Aside from imparting knowledge on BodyTalk, it helps to consider the cultural and financial conditions in the area of practice. Since returning to the Philippines, it seemed inappropriate to charge my European rate for BodyTalk sessions because no one would be able to afford it. Thus, I adapted a strategy of lowering the cost barrier by adjusting the price of clinic/distance sessions and Access classes to make it accessible to more people. This has resulted in a vibrant clinic and "full to capacity" BodyTalk Access classes.

Opening a holistic and wellness center has also helped a great deal in grounding the energy of BodyTalk to a physical place. On August 1, 2019, the doors of Kalipay Wellness Center were officially opened to the Dauin, Negros Oriental community. This center is where I permanently hold a clinic and conduct BodyTalk Access classes and small group orientations.


Results and Future Plans

As I write this, it has been exactly one year and six months since my return to the Philippines. It took great effort to build up my clinic, but with the right tools, determination and support, I am very grateful for what has transpired thus far, which includes: 

  • 20 BodyTalk Public presentations with attendees ranging from 12 to 80 people per talk;
  • 3 BodyTalk presentations to private groups, reaching 180 people;
  • 566 BodyTalk sessions - clinic and distance sessions combined;
  • 208 BodyTalk Outreach beneficiaries;
  • 6 BodyTalk Access classes held with a total of 70 BodyTalk Access Graduates;
  • 1 presentation at the first Culture and Wellness Festival in Dumaguete City called "Samyama";
  • The formation of a BodyTalk Matrix in Cebu composed of BodyTalk clients and Access graduates (pictured below; Penelope fourth from left). Out of this group, two people who have taken BodyTalk Access have enrolled this year in BodyTalk Fundamentals in Singapore.
  • Initiated a fundraising campaign and conducted a BodyTalk Access training for 20 emergency response staff in earthquake-devastated areas of Mindanao last November 22, 2019 (pictured in the banner at the top of this story).
  • There are also plans to bring BodyTalk Fundamentals with Claudia Schembri-Heitmann, Ph.D. to Cebu this May 2020 and to conduct online study groups for those planning to take the CBP exams. Hopefully, by being more present and active around the region, more CBPs will soon be emerging from the Philippines.



Personal Insights


Activating a BodyTalk matrix takes a huge amount of energy and tenacity. On a personal level, having the support of family is crucial since it is a cornerstone for all the good work to manifest. I am forever grateful for the unconditional love and support of my husband, without whom I would not have been able to accomplish so much in such a brief period of time. His constant reminder to live a balanced life has enabled me to always reevaluate decisions and recalibrate my direction whenever I get too engrossed with work.

Also, active participation within the IBA has also been a great help--whether it is sharing information in the forums, writing this article, or exchanging BodyTalk sessions with other practitioners around the world.

And lastly, an important aspect to acknowledge is the appreciation for the support extended by the IBA to its Members--the inspiring newsletters, the Members Meetings, and lately, receiving the powerful healing from John Veltheim's Fusion Sessions. All of these are profoundly contributing to my personal evolution and, consequently, to the growth of the BodyTalk matrix in Central Visayas, Philippines.

About Penelope


Penelope holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Management (MEM). She discovered BodyTalk in 2014 in Manila Philippines and this greatly improved her health and mental focus. Inspired, she learned more about this alternative healthcare system and later became a Certified BodyTalk Practitioner (CBP) herself, opening a full-time clinic in Southern Portugal in 2016. In June 2018, she relocated back to the Philippines and started her BodyTalk practice at Dauin, Negros Oriental and Cebu City. Aside from this, Penelope is a BodyTalk Access Trainer (BAT) and regularly conducts Access classes and Outreach sessions in the region. She is a Member of the Philippine College of Lifestyle Medicine--the first Philippine national medical specialty society for healthcare professionals who utilize the therapeutic use of lifestyle and other non-drug modalities, to prevent, treat, and, more importantly, reverse lifestyle-related, chronic disease. Penelope is the founder of Kalipay Wellness Center, a center for holistic healing and environmental care that offers BodyTalk.

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