About Our Guest- Linda Wobeskya – The Zero Balancing Technique

Linda Wobeskya was pursuing a career as a professional contemporary dancer when she broke her foot during a dance class. Although she didn’t realize it at the time, the fracture in her foot would break open her life and lead her to her true calling. The course of her healing exposed her to both Physical Therapy and acupuncture. The Physical Therapy she received led to her achievement of a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy in 1986. Although her Physical Therapy training focused solely on the physical body, she knew intuitively that injury or illness can affect every level of a person. The acupuncture she had received led to her study of Zero Balancing, a therapeutic modality that would allow her to express this holistic awareness with direct hands-on treatment. She began using Zero Balancing with her patients immediately following her first class in 1992. Linda is also a dedicated teacher and has been drawn to teach whatever she is passionate about. After years of experience teaching dance and Physical Therapy, she certified to teach Zero Balancing in 2004 and has taught Zero Balancing all over the United States. She became the director of the Zero Balancing Certification Program in 2007 and joined the Board of Directors of the Zero Balancing Health Association in 2014. She has developed classes in the Zero Balancing curriculum that focus specifically on Zero Balancing touch. The clients in her private practice benefit from an integrative approach that combines Zero Balancing with the Zero Balancing forms of craniosacral therapy and visceral manipulation.

Full Podcast Transcription

Linda Wobeskya 00:00
Zero balancing was developed by an osteopath, Dr. Fred Smith. And one of the things he says in one of our manuals is, if you hold something in neutral with high regard, it will naturally move to its highest state of health.

Diva Nagula 00:26
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of From Doctor to Patient. Today I have the pleasure of having Linda Wobeskya. She was pursuing a career as a professional contemporary dancer when she broke her foot during a dance class. Although she didn’t realize it at the time, the fracture in her foot would break up in her life and lead her to her true calling. The course of her healing expose her to both physical therapy and acupuncture. The physical therapy she received led her to achievement of a master’s degree in physical therapy in 1986. Although her physical therapy training focused solely on the physical body, she knew intuitively that injury or illness can affect every level of a person. The acupuncture she had received led to her study of zero balancing, a therapeutic modality that would allow her to express this holistic awareness with direct hands on treatment. She began using zero balancing with her patients immediately following her first class in 1992. Linda is a dedicated teacher, and has been drawn to teach whatever she is passionate about. After years of experience teaching dance and physical therapy, she certified to teach zero balancing in 2004, and has taught zero bouncing all over the United States. She became the director of a zero balancing certification program in 2007, and joined the board of directors of zero balancing health association in 2014. She developed classes in the zero balance and curriculum that focus specifically on zero balancing touch, clients in her private practice benefit from an integrative approach that combines zero balancing with zero balancing forms of cranial sacral therapy, and visceral manipulation. Linda, thank you so much for coming onto our show this afternoon.

Linda Wobeskya 02:32
Well, thank you so much for having me.

Diva Nagula 02:34
This is a great topic, I have been fascinated with alternative healing modalities, specifically modalities that are off the beaten path and that aren’t, don’t have a lot of recognition at but have some amazing effect on people and allow them to optimize and heal them. So this is a treat for me to educate myself, because I really don’t know what zero balancing is. And I looked at it researching our podcasts. I was reading about it. But I’m fascinated. So tell us a little bit about what zero balancing entails.

Linda Wobeskya 03:12
Well, zero balancing was developed by an osteopath, who became an acupuncturist. And so he went from the world of structure, bones and joints to the world of energy as is dealt with in acupuncture. And along the way, he began to look at the relationship between energy and structure. So in zero balancing, we see people as having two bodies, they have a structural body and an energetic body. And zero balancing uses touch to bring a person’s structure and energy into a more optimal relationship and into balance.

Diva Nagula 04:04
So when you say touch, does that involve, say, like manipulation or does that involve touch on
specific acupressure points? How do you describe the touch that’s applied to a patient?

Linda Wobeskya 04:22
In zero balancing, we’re particularly interested in the energy that’s in bone. And so zero balancing focuses on the bones and joints in the body. Our clients are fully clothed so we are touching them through clothing. And we follow a specific protocol, which can be looked at as analogous to a Tai Chi form. For example, where if you take a Tai Chi Class, you learn a certain series of movements to do and as you deepen your study and practice, you do the same movements. However, your understanding and facility and experience of those movements continues to deepen. So we use a protocol, it takes about 30 minutes, give or take, it’s really individualized to the client. And we focus on looking for where in their body the energy is either stuck, or there isn’t enough energy, if you will. Looks at people, how is this person living in their body? Are they embodied here? Are they not embodied here? Zero balancing addresses that.

Diva Nagula 05:46
So if I had an injury to my knee, and it is a chronic injury, and would you be able to help heal that specific ailment that I’m suffering from by addressing the energy that’s locked in that bone, whether it’s lack of energy, or an excess of energy?

Linda Wobeskya 06:09
So I’m going to say yes, and so we look at the whole person all the time. So yes, you have an injury to your knee, let’s say you tore a ligament many years ago, or something like that, that’s an issue with the structure that has likely healed since then. And we are looking for an imbalance between your energy and structure and to whatever extent your current symptoms are due to that imbalance. That’s the extent to which your symptoms improve. Meanwhile, it’s working on all of you. And I see this all the time in my clients. So as a physical therapist, people come to me they associate physical therapy with pain somewhere, right? They come to me for back pain. However, as their back is getting better, all of them is getting better, their life is getting a little easier. I see this happen all the time, they’re dealing with stress better. Some times people are making decisions about their lives that serve them better. And all I’m doing is giving them the zero balancing session.

Diva Nagula 07:42
I understand how it involves energy, and it also involves your knowledge of the body as a physical therapist. But when you’re I guess, when a Reiki practitioner or an energy healer is looking at the body, they’re not looking at it from a systematic view, and a structural view like you are and is that the difference?

Linda Wobeskya 08:08
Not quite, in ZB, we’re not looking at the body from a structural perspective, per se, we’re looking at the relationship between their structure and energy. I’m fascinated by how things are organized, if you will. So in physical structure, we have all kinds of anatomy books that tell us how the structure is organized. And we can see the structure. So it’s easier to see how it’s organized. I believe there are a lot of modalities that have a worldview about how the energy is organized, if you will. So in, for example, in acupuncture, energy is organized in meridians. In zero balancing, we look at the way the energy is organized in terms of levels; superficial, middle and deep. And we are interested in the deep level of energy, which in our view is the energy that’s in bone.

Diva Nagula 09:19
I see. Okay, so you have to get through the superficial and intermediate levels to access these
deep energy levels in the bone.

Linda Wobeskya 09:29
No, you can just go right there. Okay, you just you can feel it. So we put our hands on bone and look for places where the energy is stuck. And there’s a feel to it that anybody can learn. And we touch it for two or three seconds, and it will begin to shift.

Diva Nagula 09:52
Okay. So if you’re touching an area of the need doesn’t necessarily correlate with an energy that’s blocked there. would be something that’s blocked in their overall sense of well being that couldn’t make them feel a lot better, just by you addressing an area that is set in the foot or the ankle or knee.

Linda Wobeskya 10:11
Exactly. Yeah, it’s a holographic system, in that everything is everywhere. And so for example, very often, if someone has been coming to me say, for headaches, it’s not uncommon that I’ll put my hand on their foot, there’s a part of the protocol where we work with the foot. And in that moment, I’ll go, oh, my gosh, there’s their headache. I can, it’s right under my finger there. And occasionally, on very fortunate days, the client will in that moment, go, oh, my head, it just got better. And then my intuition, if you will, is confirmed. I don’t say anything to the client, who knows if I’m right or wrong, doesn’t really matter as long as the person feels better after the session. Now, I would imagine that having a physical therapy background and a background in acupuncture allows you to assess the person’s energy at a higher level than someone that didn’t have those backgrounds. I don’t know, I’ve received acupuncture. I’m not an acupuncturist, I don’t have any, any training in acupuncture. Certainly, as a physical therapist, my hands know the body. And so as I started learning about zero balancing the where you put your hands and how you use your body, that came to me perhaps a little bit easier, took me a long time to really feel energy. And I find when I teach that if we come from structure, we often get the structural side of things a little more quickly. If we come from energy, a lot of acupuncturists also use zero balancing, they get the energy part right off the bat, the structural part is sometimes a little bit more challenging for them. However, in the end, we all get to where we need to get to.

Diva Nagula 12:08
Sure. And can you describe what it feels like to assess a person and feel a blockage? Do you feel heat? Or what is the sensation that you typically are feeling when there’s an imbalance that’s occurring?

Linda Wobeskya 12:27
It’s a great question. That sensation varies depending on what part of the body we’re in. So let’s say for example, I’m looking for held energy on a rib and feeling along the rib, and I come to a place where the rib feels different. That’s the first thing that’s going to help me figure something out, does it feel the same as the rest of the rib? And then how does it feel different? Well, sometimes it feels a little harder, if you will. We think of bone as being hard. However, bone is really living tissue, so maybe part of the bone will feel a little more resilient and then I’ll get to a little section where it just goes there’s not quite as much give there. So that will tell me that there might be stuck energy there, sometimes. And I’m going to preface this by saying that it can be hard to talk about energy. For me, sometimes it feels dull or it feels gray, if you will, and it’s not that I see the color gray. That’s just the best word I have to describe how it feels. Some people say it feels like there’s a little pea there, like there’s a little extra bump there. And then as we use the tool that we use to invite the energy to shift, we call it a fulcrum a fulcrum creates an opportunity for change where there wasn’t one before, right, if you take a piece of wood and put it on a fulcrum, you’ve got a lever, what will happen is the feeling will start to shift. And sometimes it’ll feel softer sometimes it might feel a little warmer than it was before. And that’s how I know something has happened. If I’m looking at a joint, for example, we work on the hip joint, and we do an evaluation where we internally rotate the joint and we roll the leg in we roll the leg out, we roll the leg back in, and we’re paying attention to how it feels as the ligaments are just beginning to engage as it comes toward the end of the range of motion. And that ligamentous engagement also has certain qualities to it. So how is it coming to a stop. Well, is it like the brakes in your car? Is it coming to a nice gentle stop? Is it coming to a sudden stop? Or does it simply feel like it ever stops at all. Both the sudden stop, and the not stopping is indicative of an imbalance. And then I know that I need to do a fulcrum there. We work with the foot, there’s another way that it feels that the foot so there’s multiple different signals that we’re looking for where the person’s body is telling us, okay, here’s a place where their energy structure could be in better balance.

Diva Nagula 15:42
And I’m sure this is where the expertise comes in. But I mean, I’m an osteopath. And so for me, I’m used to seeing things from a structural perspective, that are out of place or out of balance. So for me, it seems like if there is a restriction, then we have to put things back into place that there’s less restriction. But that is more from a structural perspective, but you’re looking at it from an energy perspective, or is it one of the same for you?

Linda Wobeskya 16:12
So that’s another really good question. So one of the hallmarks of zero balancing is that the practitioner is neutral, the practitioner does not have an agenda, meaning nothing is supposed to be somewhere else. And this is no judgment. I mean, physical therapy certainly looks at the body in a very similar way. We look for asymmetries and things like that, or muscles that maybe don’t have enough flexibility. In zero balancing, one of the foundational principles of zero balancing, is that we hold the person in neutral. Zero balance was developed by an osteopath, Dr. Fred Smith. And one of the things he says in one of our manuals is, if you hold something in neutral, with high regard, it will naturally move to its highest state of health. So as the practitioner, I’m not sure where that person should be. I just know that where they are isn’t in balance. So I’ll do the fulcrum. And whatever happens, by definition, is they are in a higher state of health afterwards.

Diva Nagula 17:34
And how do you measure that state of health?

Linda Wobeskya 17:38
So first of all, I personally, I measure it on how the person feels. So when someone first comes to see me, before they lie down for their first session, I say our first goal is that you feel better when you get off the table than you did when you lay down on the table. And that’s the question I ask them, when they get up, Do you feel better? Now I can often already see that they feel better. Their face is much different, their face is more relaxed, their eyes are sparkling. And very often, one of my favorite parts, I can see more of who they are.

Diva Nagula 18:21 Interesting.

Linda Wobeskya 18:22
So it wasn’t that they didn’t look like who they were. However, they’re more of who they are

Diva Nagula 18:27 Unmasked?

Linda Wobeskya 18:29
They’re unmasked. And this is kind of one of the not so secret weapons, if you will, zero balancing brings us closer to who we really are. And that’s one of the main ways that it heals people.

Diva Nagula 18:48
And I guess so when you’re doing your adjustments or your energy healings over the area of the body that might be stuck. Do you talk to the patient while you’re doing this? Or do you assess what their status is during a change? And is that how you get feedback? Or just because of your experience, you kind of already know what’s going on and you know what’s helping and you know what’s changing?

Linda Wobeskya 19:11
There’s a couple different parts to this answer. So in the classes we teach, there are certain feedback signals that the practitioner is looking for that tell us that energy and structure are reorganizing. For example, a person may stop breathing very briefly, they’ll go into an apnea or they’ll go into a very shallow breath pattern. And then that will complete by having a big deep breath. We call this a working sign. So when that happens, I know that things are shifting. If someone’s eyes are open, they’ll generally track our eyes are sort of tracking around the room and the eye will just stop moving. There’ll be in like a fixed stare. And then it’ll start moving again. So These are the visual signs that we look for, I don’t usually talk to the person other than to ask them if something feels good. So I’m calibrating my touch, so that I am touching the person in a way that feels good. This is another hallmark, another principle, is that we calibrate our touch. When we touch and zero balancing, we are touching both the energy of the person and the structure simultaneously consciously.

Diva Nagula 20:37
That’s can be a big change for a patient.

Linda Wobeskya 20:40
Absolutely. And the second piece is that we stay at a very clear energetic boundary, there is no exchange of energy. So I know where I stop and they start. And this creates a sense of safety on an instinctive level.

Diva Nagula 21:00
So you don’t absorb their energy and they don’t absorb your energy?

Absolutely. Right. My nature is I am extremely energetically sensitive. It’s just sort of genetically, I don’t know where this came from, it’s always been true. And zero balancing, I don’t know that I would still be practicing, if I hadn’t stumbled across zero balancing, because I was bringing people’s stuff home with me all the time. And this really helped me stay at that boundary, which we call interface. So when someone is lying on the table in a vulnerable position, and they are being touched on a very deep level, because we’re touching both their energy and structure, and I can’t think of anything in people that isn’t either energy or structure. So we’re really touching all of them in a very safe well boundaried way. This alone, the healing potential is huge!

Diva Nagula 22:08
Kind of brings to mind… So studying a little bit about trauma and how trauma is stored in people’s bodies, in tissues, in bones even. Is this something that you often face when you are treating your patients? Are you able to distinguish whether the blocked energy is due to trauma that’s stored? Or if it is trauma that’s stored? Are you able to alleviate that and remove that trauma from their body?

Linda Wobeskya 22:38
Again, multi part answer, it is definitely part of the worldview of zero balancing that trauma is held in bone. Early childhood experiences held in bone. And it’s held as a vibrational form, which in its basic sense, is really neutral. And vibration is neutral person’s experience wasn’t neutral by any stretch. However, we can get our hands on it, because we are touching vibration, and we’re looking for a vibration. I may or may not know, the content of the health energy that I’m touching. I don’t need to know, for it to shift. Sometimes I do know, or sometimes I might get a sense of it. What I know, in my opinion is not that important. It’s not really about me. Right? And so sometimes I’ll get a sense of it. Sometimes I won’t. On rare occasions, again, a very special session. If I get a sense of it, and then the person speaks it, speaks what I’m getting a sense of. At that point. I may say, yeah, that’s what I was feeling too. Although I often don’t, it makes it more about me. I don’t it’s not about me. A lot of people use rebalancing to address trauma. There are a lot of zero balancing practitioners who work with trauma survivors. Personally, I work a lot with people with chronic pain. And very often underlying the chronic pain is trauma of some kind. And the real time experience in them in this moment in the present moment, of giving person an experience of safety, through touch. Touch doesn’t lie. You can’t lie with touch, I find goes a long way.

Diva Nagula 24:52
You mentioned two subsets of population that zero balancing would be appropriate for, one being a person that is suffering from trauma and another person that would be suffering from pain. So what other types of people would benefit from zero balancing?

Linda Wobeskya 25:09
I’ve had clients come to me for writer’s block. I’ve had people come, because they want to know themselves better. I have a client now who’s working on spiritual unfoldment and one of the things we do, it’s optional, and we often do it is it the beginning of each session, we ask the client to create an intention for the session, our term for it is framing, they create a frame for the session. And if you think about what happens to a photograph, when you put a frame around it, it both contains it as well as amplifies it. And it makes what the person wants more likely to happen. People may have all kinds of frames. So it may be a physical frame, I want my neck to feel free or or whatever people come who are grieving. It is particularly helpful for, how can I say it, living through grief? Not really the best word. But you know grief is grief. The thing that I really love. One of many things I love is that, regardless of why the person comes, they’re getting all these things all at the same time. So even the people coming for back pain are, all the levels of them, are getting addressed.

Diva Nagula 27:44
Fantastic. And for a person who undergoes zero balancing treatment, would they be able to obtain benefits immediately? Or is this something that occurs over a series of treatments? Or how does it typically work for a regular patient?

Linda Wobeskya 28:01
It’s quite variable. As I said, the first goal is that they feel better when they get off the table than they did when they lie down. And then ordinarily, what I say is that we’ve met the first goal. And I’m not any length of time that this relief lasts, I consider gravy. And I never know how much gravy we’re going to get, the the number of sessions that are required, if you will, to fully address the issue I often see related to the length of time that the person has had the issue as well as where the crux of it is. So let’s say for example, someone has sprained their ankle. And they’re coming and the zero balancing absolutely helps there sprained ankle. And there’s some structural issues there that are also helped by some pretty straight ahead Western physical therapy exercises. And so the tissue, but I like to say biology has its own sense of timing. And it the experience can be enhanced, I believe, with with zero balancing. So some people come for a couple of sessions. Some people I have one person who’s had, she’s been coming to me for 12 years. I’ve only been living out here on the West Coast for 14 years. She’s actually been coming for 13 years. She’s had 225 sessions. And her her whole life is different. And she initially came for pain and sometimes for somatisizing, where there would be really an emotional thing going on that she would be experiencing as a as physical pain and she doesn’t somatisizing anymore. It is Pretty amazing. And I’m not a psychotherapist. But my scope of practice. I just given her the ZBs.

Diva Nagula 30:07
That’s really fascinating. I’m also fascinated by you know, I haven’t heard of zero balancing before. But if I was to look for a zero balance practitioner, what’s the best way to go about doing so?

Linda Wobeskya 30:20
Well, you can certainly Google it. And a lot of us have websites. And there’s a zero balancing website, which is www.zerobalancing.com and there’s a section on the website called find a practitioner. And you can go in and do it that way as well. The people listed on the website are either certified in zero balancing or in the certification program for zero balancing. So there may be other people in the area who do zero balancing. They won’t be listed. However, you can also connect with a teacher, zero balancing teacher, they’re likely fairly dialed in to the zero balancing community in the area. And they may know of people who are also skillful who haven’t yet certified.

Diva Nagula 31:14
Okay, fantastic. Specifically, the clientele that find you, is it something that they typically are referred to see you or they just come across a Google search and find zero balancing? What is the mode that people find you?

Linda Wobeskya 31:32
Mostly word of mouth. Occasionally, someone says I did a Google search. Sometimes if it’s a fellow practitioner, they were at another class with someone who did zero balancing who you know, up in the hotel room, gave them a quick zero balancing session, and they said, Oh, my gosh, what is this? I want more?! And often, it’s someone who knows someone, and then oh, gosh, you know, I think my husband would probably really benefit from this. And then the husband tells the friend at work, and it goes that way.

Diva Nagula 32:08
Well, it’s definitely a modality that I’m very interested in pursuing, I’m always trying different things to optimize my health and optimize my well being. And this definitely seems to be very non invasive, and it seems very relaxing. And at the very end, if nothing else happens, I’m going to be feeling very relaxed, because I get 45 minutes for 30 minutes, just, you know, sitting and being quiet.

Linda Wobeskya 32:34
Yeah, we’re starting to do some research and working with a group in Austin, Texas called the Neural Synchrony Institute. And they’ve been using lie detector technology, putting the wristbands on both the practitioners and the clients. And taking a look at what the zero balancing is doing to the sympathetic nervous system. What’s fascinating in the graphs they show is that at the beginning of the session, prior to the session, the level and the clients readout is another level and the session starts and the practitioners read out goes up to the clients read out, and then they both calm down. Right, so the client was in a little bit more sympathetic nervous system arousal prior to the session, the practitioners calmer, and then the practitioners readout goes up and meets the clients. And then they both get progressively more balanced with regard to the sympathetic nervous system/parasympathetic nervous system balance. So it’s fascinating.

Diva Nagula 33:40
That is really fascinating. And I’m also curious if there’s any other metrics out there that can measure the objectiveness of the treatment modality that you’re employing when you are seeing a patient. And I wonder if their heart rate variability improves as a result of the session, that’d be an interesting thing to experiment with.

Linda Wobeskya 34:00
We’ve talked about that many times, I had a colleague who I was mentoring through certification, who was also a physical therapist, and she did a very kind of clinical study where she gave six people, the variety of standardized balanced tests. And then she gave each of them a zero balancing session once a week for six weeks, and told them not to do any other balance exercises or whatnot, and then she retested them at the end of the six weeks, and she didn’t do statistics, anything like that. It was obviously not double blind. However, five of the six of them improved on the standardized balance test, which frankly surprised me. I thought really? I don’t see that. The other thing that they’re taking a look at this, the neuro synchrony Institute is using EEG on people while they’re getting the session, having them wear these EEG caps and because our theory about how zero balancing works is that it induces a state of expanded consciousness in the client. And the practitioner goes into a state of expanded consciousness. And so these researchers are seeing if they can’t see it that shows up in some way.

Diva Nagula 35:19
Wow, that’s fascinating. That’s really some state of the art research that’s going on. So I’m really looking forward to seeing if there’s any other results that have come out of this type of research. I also wanted to point out, Linda, that if our listeners wanted to find out more about you, and maybe even see you as a patient, how can I find more information about you?

Linda Wobeskya 35:41
Well, I probably the best thing to do would be to go to my website, which is www.LindaWobeskya.com and that has information about zero balancing, it has a way to email me. It also has a schedule now button where people can go to my online scheduler. However, if it’s a brand new person, I ask that they call me first, just so I can talk with them and make sure that what they’re looking for is something that I can offer them.

Diva Nagula 36:23
Well, great Linda it’s been a pleasure having you on this show today. And I appreciate this great
interview, and I look forward to chatting with you further.

Linda Wobeskya 36:33 Thank you so much.