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The Thompson Method of Bodywork


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Ohashi


Preface by Tara Thompson Lewis


Cathy Thompson's Philosophy of Bodywork

1 Kyo and Jitsu

2 Structural Health: Symmetry, Space, and Flow Correct the Position of Your Thighbones

3 Mind/Body Working with Emotions through the Body "Switching" to Relax

4 What Is Tension?

5 Injury and Trauma

6 Pain

7 About the Exercises in This Book Using Kyo and Jitsu to Increase Body Awareness Taking a Kinesthetic "Photograph"

Cathy Thompson's Exercises

8 The Head and Neck
Neck and Head Alignment
Jaw Release
Correcting Head Tilt
Enhancing Side-to-Side Balance of the Head
Moving Your Skull over Your Neck
Strengthen Your Neck Flexors
Advanced Strengthening Exercise for the Neck Stretch for the Neck

9 Breathing
Feeling Your Breath in Your Top Rib
Releasing Stuck Intercostals
Finding the Quadratus Lumborum
Balance Yourself
Freeing the Diaphragm: Freeing the Breath
Diaphragm Opening
Advanced Diaphragm Technique
Equalizing Breathing Pattern
Releasing the Shoulders
Finding the Action of Transverse Abdominis in Exhalation
Breathing Exercise for Diaphragmatic Problems
Breathing through Water

10 The Voice
Strengthen the Latissimus Dorsi and Serratus Anterior Muscles
Relax the Larynx, Jaw, and Tongue
Exercise for Tongue Tension
Working in the Mouth to Release Vocal Tension
Soft Palate Release: Advanced
Breath Pattern for Breaks in the Voice (at any place)

11 The Shoulders
Shoulder Joint Exercise
Exercise for Shoulder Alignment
Reposition the Shoulder Joint
Rotator Cuff Muscle Exercise
Shoulder Stretch Series

12 The Spine and Deep Core Muscles
Exercise for Multifidus in the Back, Especially the Lower Back
Spiral Pathway Exercise No. 1: Transverse Abdominis Exercise I
Spiral Pathway Exercise No. 2: Transverse Abdominis Exercise II
Spiral Pathway Exercise No. 3: Outer Spiral Exercise
Spiral Pathway Exercise No. 4: Lower Back Exercise with Physio Ball Arm Raise Twist
Variation on the Horse Stance
Exercise for the Paraspinals
Exercise for the Sacroiliac Joint
Wall Hang Stretch
Stretching the Back and the Neck
Using the Neck Roll
Using Props with the Thoracic Spine
Using Props with the Sacrum
Using Props with the Mid-Lower Back

13 Psoas, Hips, and Pelvis
Psoas Stretches
Advanced Psoas Stretch
Three Modified Psoas Stretches
Psoas Strengthening Exercise
Psoas Exercise for Lower Back Pain
Correcting the High Hip
Correcting Pelvic Rotation and Spinal Movement
Exploring Your Relationship with Gravity
Working with Your Pelvic Floor

14 The Abdomen and Vital Organs
Plank Exercise on Toes or Tops of Feet
Rebalance the Navel Pulse
Exercises to Treat Acid Reflux
Release the Vagus Nerve

15 The Knees
Muscle Exercises to Help the Knees
Meniscus Strengthener
Calf Raise Exercise
Knee Stabilizer Exercise

16 The Feet
Exercise for Aligning the Feet
Foot Workout Ankle Circles
Exercise for the Arches of the Feet
Deep Stretches for the Top of the Foot
Runner's Stretch
Stretch the Achilles Tendon and the Deeper Calf Muscles

17 Ball Exercises
Warm-Up Exercises for the Back and Neck
Basic Ball Exercises
Advanced Ball Exercises for the Neck and Shoulders
Advanced Ball Exercise for the Jaw
Advanced Ball Exercise for the Diaphragm
Advanced Ball Exercises for the Sternum
Advanced Ball Exercises for the Pelvis
Advanced Ball Exercise for the Knees
Advanced Ball Exercises for the Feet

18 Ergonomics

19 For Bodyworkers: How to Do This Work
Work the Outer Cranial Bones (Skull)
Work the Inner Cranial Structures
Work the Anterior Spine
Pulling Down the Stomach
Pulling Down the Transverse Colon
Pelvic Floor Work

AFTERWORD: Bodywork Is about the Mother by Tara Thompson Lewis



About the Author

Cathy Thompson (1957-2008) was an innovative bodywork practitioner with a private practice in Manhattan for 30 years. She worked with many famous singers, actors, athletes, and dancers. She studied Ohashiatsu at the Ohashi Institute and Gestalt psychotherapy at the Gestalt Institute of New York. She also taught workshops and trained students in the Thompson Method. Tara Thompson Lewis studied the Thompson Method intensively with her mother and was a Brooke Scholar at Oxford University before taking over her mother's private bodywork practice. She lives in New York City.


"Cathy Thompson turns bodywork into art." * Darren Aronofsky, director of Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, and Noah *
"A major resource for performing artists, Cathy Thompson has had a profound impact on my work with singers. She recognizes the mind-body-voice connection is what it's all about. Let this priceless book be your guide." * Joan Lader, Tony Award-winning voice therapist and teacher *
"The Thompson Method of Bodywork gives you the tools to understand how your body works when conducting, singing, teaching, acting, or just walking down a street. It is invaluable. It has helped me become a better teacher and conductor." * Judith Clurman, conductor for Essential Voices USA *
"Tara Thompson Lewis has done a masterful job in completing this ambitious book begun by her late mentor and mother, Cathy Thompson, thus making these brilliant teachings available to anyone. The Thompson Method of Bodywork presents mountains of useful information (much of it drawn from Zen Shiatsu) and offers a banquet of exercises for healing the kyo/jitsu relationship within ourselves, whether the triggers happen to be physical injury, structural misalignment, or psychological, spiritual, or emotional pain." * Kathleen Porter, author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living *
"Cathy's extraordinary gift began in her brain, traveled to her heart, and continued through the tips of her fingers." * Kathie Lee Gifford, TV personality and author *
"Throughout my professional operatic and teaching careers, I have been blessed with many who have supported and enabled my vocal strength and health. Cathy Thompson and now Tara Thompson Lewis have been instrumental in my success as a singer and teacher. Specializing in physical manipulation for professional singers, actors, and dancers, they are able to relieve pain, tension, and realign the body to achieve optimal health and performance. Here in New York City in my own professional voice studio, I am able to utilize their techniques to help my students understand the importance of proper physical organization as it applies especially to singing. I urge anyone who wants to be a better, healthier performer to read this book. I enthusiastically recommend their techniques, and I continue to be a delighted and grateful client." * Candace Goetz, opera singer and founder of the Candace Goetz Voice Studio *
"I spent many years working with Cathy Thompson (and then with Tara), and reading this material reminded me of Cathy's very specific genius: her profound understanding of the body and, may I say, much more. Working with both of them had a profound effect on my singing, and indeed my life, and it's a great pleasure to be able to reconnect with Cathy's way of thinking and working while reading this book. I recommend it highly for anyone interested in changing, improving, and enriching their lives. It certainly did mine." * Steven Lutvak, singer-songwriter, composer and lyricist *
"I first began seeing Cathy Thompson in my 20s, while starting on Broadway. Both my physical life and emotional life were quite demanding, and I needed all around customtailored care. After each and every session I've had, I've walked out feeling calmer, yet more energized, as well as open. As a vocalist and performer, being a clear channel is of the utmost importance." * Debbie Gibson, American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress *
"I began working with Cathy Thompson over 20 years ago, as a young singer with chronic throat tension. At the time, I thought her work was magical, her intuition uncanny. Over the years, I began to understand how the Thompson Method works and what Cathy was doing when she worked on my body and encouraged me to explore on my own. Now, two decades later, I am thrilled that Cathy's work is available to everyone who is interested in learning about how to take care of their bodies, voices, and minds. In addition to singing, I teach voice to a wide range of students. Access to the Thompson Method will add a great deal of value to their practice routines. In each chapter, Cathy explores and explains possible reasons for tension or lack of strength and mobility and then offers well-explained and illustrated exercises to address each of these aspects. Twenty plus years after being introduced to it, I am still reaping benefits from and learning about the Thompson Method, and I am grateful for it." * Jamie Leonhart, singer, songwriter, and voice teacher *

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