“What’s the Alternative”
By Susan Clark – Style Magazine,
Sunday Times, London
Question: Can you tell me anything about a therapy called the
Metamorphic Technique? My friends rave on about its effects but don’t
seem to be able to explain how it works.
Mrs S Gill, Walsall
This is one of these “secret” hands-on therapies that devotees
deliberately keep quiet about, not least because skilled practitioners
are few and far between and if the secret of how brilliant it is ever
got out, none of us would ever get an appointment.
I am happy to spill the beans because it was this little known technique
that dramatically changed my life for the better and set me on the road
to improved wellbeing. A spin off from reflexology, the technique was
developed in the 1960’s to help treat autistic children. Good
practitioners describe how they simply “hold” the energy while the
clients own life force gets to work to eliminate the emotional blocks
that are preventing them reaching their full potential.
The theory is that from the very moment of conception, traumas are held
within the memory of every cell in the body and that until these
memories are released, you cannot move on and fulfil your life’s true
These releases are triggered by a gentle foot, hand and head massage
that may make you want to go to sleep or may leave you feeling
re-energised and raring to go. This is not a talk therapy (which makes
it popular with men).
I like it because it gets results – fast – and because you cannot
sabotage the process by over intellectualising what is going on.
ElinorMalcolm finds something afoot with the Metamorphic Technique in an
article from The Hill Magazine, August 1996.
In the years when complementary therapies have moved rapidly from
the realm of the wildly if Alternative" to a mainstream role in
every high street beauty salon, one treatment has retained much of its
Since its development in the 1960s, the Metamorphic Technique (MT) has
become quietly popular with, and quietly indispensable to, an ever
growing number of people. Perhaps part of its low profile is due to the
fact that it remains bemusingly difficult to explain - even when one
has, as I have, experienced treatments and become convinced of their
MT operates on two basic premises: that emotional trauma experienced
from the moment of conception - can be held in the body; and that the MT
practitioner, by working on the "spinal reflexes" on the feet,
hands and head which correspond to the gestation period, can help to
free blockages caused by that trauma. The practitioner acts as a
catalyst, "kick-starting the life force": this allows the
patient to access their own innate healing ability - their "wise
guide within" - which, when freed, is a powerful tool for
Sceptics will by now be muttering darkly about spooky psychobabble~ but
documented claims for MT's effects range from enhanced self-confidence
and dramatic improvements in allergies to profound beneficial effects on
mental and physical handicaps and the medical profession (as reported
recently in The Sunday Times) is sitting up and taking serious notice of
MT. Doctors might not be able to explain why it works: many are just
coming to the reluctant conclusion that it does.
Magi Traynor has been practising MT for several years after training
with Gaston St Pierre, founder of The Metamorphic Association. She
currently practises at the Lee Everett Consultancy in Brackenbury
Village, where I went in search of further elucidation and to experience
the technique for myself.
Magi's personal view is that, if we imagine our life as a river, MT
helps us to "go with the; flow". After the Duchess of York's
recent, highly publicised philosophising
on this very theme, the analogy may well draw an unfair degree of
derision - but the image is a powerful one. The river (our life force)
is strong, but rocks and boulders (lessons to help us grow) lie in our
path. Magi's view is simple: "If we can stop hanging onto the
riverbank and go with the flow, we can steer our way around the rocks
and boulders. Work on the feet helps us to let go of the river bank;
work on the hands helps us to handle the rocks in our path; and work on
the head helps us understand their purpose."
So what does it feel like? The MT practitioner's touch is lighter than
that of a reflexologist; the feet and toes are worked with gently, using
stroking or light massage at seemingly random points. I personally found
the sensation profoundly relaxing and lapsed into a chilled-out silence;
other clients of Magi's apparently sit and chat throughout the whole
process, finding it energising and uplifting. Her view is that you get
what you need from the treatment.
Although MT's effects are generally gradual, and can include anything
from experiencing a boost in confidence to a reduction in nervous
tension, Magi's own casebook includes at least one woman who gained
immediate - and delighted - relief from chronic back pain. As for me,
after a few sessions I have to admit to feeling a lot more at one with
life; and I don't think it's just coincidence. If you get what you need
from MT, after my last session my "wise guide within"
correctly identified that I urgently needed a tryst with Mr Sheen and a
hoover: I shot home and, with a dramatic surge of energy, cleaned the
house from top to bottom an action as rare as it was profoundly
Down to MT? Who knows. But I'm certainly happy to go with the flow and
see where some more sole searching takes me...
Spread Your Wings
Times article 13 September 1998
Metamorphic therapy is a well kept secret that can transform your life
in weeks I came across the Metamorphic Technique via a cryptic but
enticing recommendation from a friend, who revealed virtually nothing
about what was involved, but stressed the transforming effect it would
have on my life, if I was ready for it.
Intrigued, I booked a session with one of the country's top
practitioners, Audrey Pasternak, at the trendy Life Centre in West
London, to find out.
As I sat on the massage couch, having first removed my shoes and socks,
I immediately felt that I was in safe hands. With her elegant outfit and
chic, understated jewellery, Pasternak could easily pass for a
distinguished actress or an antique dealer. Indeed, before discovering
the technique seven years ago, she had a long successful career as an
As I launched into a series of questions, she told me in a no nonsense
tone to leave the journalist outside the room and enjoy the experience.
Like most people who find it, I realise now that I came to Metamorphic
Technique still looking for something that would help me realise my full
potential. Despite intensive therapy, all kinds of workshops, and a wide
range of alternative treatments over the years, I felt something was
missing, and that I wasn't achieving or enjoying life as much as I
Not a lot actually happens during a Metamorphic Techniques session.
The practitioner - works with her hands, stroking and lightly massaging
the tips of the toes and the inside of the foot, between the big toe and
the heel, for about an hour before moving on to the fingertips and,
last, the head. It is the head massage that feels most intense, and
though you can, if you want, chat through the first stages of the
session, this is the time to close your eyes and feel the energy
shifting inside your body.
The principle behind the Technique is that the light touch stimulates
your life force and activates the self-healing process. As Pasternak
puts it, the client does the work with the practitioner "holds" the
"But how on earth does it work?" you persist. "It just does," is the
response, "in the same way a tiny seed has the innate intelligence to
grow into the flower it is supposed to be, and knows exactly when to
The Metamorphic Technique was developed in the 1960s by the respected
naturopath and reflexologist Robert St. John to help mentally
handicapped children release their emotional blockages. Through his work
he discovered that the nine months spent in the womb are mapped out
along the spinal reflexes (which are located mostly at the sides of the
feet, but also on the hands).
He passed his findings on to the British-based Canadian practitioner
Gaston Saint-Pierre, who, in 1979, set up the Metamorphic Association,
of which he is still the director.
Metamorphic Technique has slowly and quietly gained respect from not
only those whose lives have been transformed by it, but from doctors and
specialists impressed with the results for conditions ranging from
dyslexia to eating disorders.
As well as reporting significant changes in the way they see life and
how they feel about themselves, it is common for those who receive the
Technique to change where they live, their job, and their relationship -
sometimes all three at the same time.
At the end of my first session, I sobbed uncontrollably, without
knowing why. Pasternak assured me I would get through this and told me
to be gentle with myself.
For a few days, I felt spaced out and tired, which is a common
after-effect. Though sessions are recommended once a week, I found I had
such strong reactions that I needed a longer break in between.
I have had several sessions now, and have started to notice subtle
changes: I don't feel guilty about putting myself first, I steer clear
of difficult (emotional) situations, I make space for myself and, most
of all I've stopped giving myself a hard time.
Instead of doubting, I now trust who I am.
The trauma a baby might experience in the womb can range from the
physical to the emotional.
Metamorphic practitioners believe these experiences create the
emotional patterns that carry on through our lives and which, if
negative, manifest themselves as illness, addiction, stress, emotional
problems and depression.
Men are particularly attracted to the Technique because they say it
provides all the benefits of intensive psychotherapy without the
agonizing process of being probed about the past and the present.
In fact, you can spend the whole session with your eyes closed and your
mouth shut, not having to utter a single word.
One of Pasternak's male clients, a television producer who prefers to
remain anonymous, says he started the Technique after a relationship
ended and he realised that he felt stuck in every aspect of his life.
Ironically, the woman he had just parted from had been going to
Pasternak for a year, during which time she changed dramatically for the
better, and lost what he calls "that fundamental sadness".
Rather than invoking radical change, he describes his transformation as
less dramatic, more like a reversion to his natural self: "I finally got
it together to change my home, and my work as a producer changed too. I
have now started a new relationship and, for the first time in my life,
I find that I don't put up blocks or create trouble.
"R had therapy for a couple of years and that definitely cleared some
problems, but the Metamorphic Technique seems to work at a much deeper
level. You get the benefits of therapy, a relaxing treatment, and your
whole energy slowly change
Your Inner life Force
The following article by
Jane Alexander appeared in the Daily Mail on
1 January 1994 and produced flood of interest in
New Year is traditionally the time for resolutions and brave new
deals. But how many good intentions stay the course through January,
let alone the rest of your life? Sometimes we need a little extra help
to get the ball rolling.
The Metamorphic Technique might do just that. It's neither a therapy nor
a massage, it's not healing and, its practitioners insist, it's not even
a treatment. Of all the practices in complementary medicine, this is
perhaps the most mystical and unexplained. It asks for a suspension of
belief, a casting-off of logical explanations, and invites you to
put your trust in your own inner life-force. Thousands who
have experienced the technique affirm that life is never the same once
you step onto the metamorphic path.
The technique was developed in the Sixties by naturopath and
reflexologist Robert St John while he was working in a school for
mentally handicapped children. Changes his work brought about were not
deep or lasting enough, he thought. He carne to the conclusion that not
only are all the parts of the body represented in the foot (as
reflexology teaches) but that our passage through the womb, from
conception to birth, is also mapped out on the side of the foot, along
the points reflexologists call the spinal reflexes. And he carne to
believe that our ailments, and the characteristics we carry through
life, are estab1ishcd during the time in our mothers' wombs. By working
on the feet, he found he could release blocks and facilitate
'transformations' both on a physical and an emotional level. One case in
particular stood out. A woman carne to him with a six-week-old Down's
Syndrome baby. St John taught the technique to the mother and after a
year of sessions the child was normal. The extra chromosome which causes
the syndrome had not disappeared; it was simply no longer
Gaston Saint -Pierre, at the headquarters of the Metamorphic Association
in South London, learnt metamorphosis from St John and in 1979 set up
the Metamorphic Association as a registered charity. Despite a pile of
testimonials from orthodox doctors and complementary practitioners,
clinics, schools and institutions, he insists that it is not the
technique itself nor the practitioner which brings about such results -
it is the life-force working inside the person.
"Practitioners are merely the catalyst," he says. "It is
a case of loosening a structure to enable the power of life to take
Getting to grips with how the Metamorphic Technique works is extremely
difficult. Saint-Pierre likes to use metaphors to explain the
principles. He says we are all like seeds which have, inside, the
blueprint of a plant or a tree. We need a catalyst in order to grow.
For, the seed it is the earth; for us it is our own inner life-force.
Saint-Pierre is a still, quiet man with a twinkle of humour in his eyes.
He takes no case history, and does not ask for details about your life.
Instead, he simply invites you to take off your shoes and socks and lie
or sit on a large window seat liberally scattered with cushions. Placing
my foot on his lap, I lay back and closed my eyes while he started work.
His touch is light and fluid: sometimes it felt as if he were gently
polishing my foot; at others, as if he were almost searching for
something. Occasionally he would yawn. This, he explained, was not
because he was bored or tired but because blockages were passing through
his hands into his body. Yawning, sneezing, or even burping apparently
allows the blocks to disappear harmlessly.
Some people report that during a session they 'see' scenes from their
lives or that they can re-experience emotions from the womb. Nothing
like that happened to me, but the whole experience was very enjoyable
and I found myself half-dozing and half-waking. After about half an
hour, Saint-Pierre worked on my hands and then finally on my head,
leaving me feeling very relaxed yet surprisingly energized. It's hard to
see how such a simple technique can instigate profound changes but
people swear it has transformed their lives. Some find new relationships
or end outdated ones; some move house or change their jobs~ others are
prompted to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Often, Saint-Pierre says, it
nudges people to seek the help they really need.
The work with handicapped children and adults has continued, and
metamorphic practitioners also work on a voluntary basis in hospitals,
in schools for children with learning difficulties and even in prisons.
More recently, Metamorphic Technique has been given to people with my
and AIDS and has been taught to their friends and family.
Although he and a large network of practitioners all over the
country will give private sessions, his real desire is that people will
learn the technique themselves to practise on their family and
"I could teach you in five minutes", he says. "It can be
done by anyone. And there is no need to go into deep meditation - you
can talk or watch television while you are doing it. It can easily be
integrated into people's lives."
He particularly likes to teach parents because he believes it can help
to bond families together. Metamorphic Technique given during pregnancy
and particularly during labour can, he promises, ease labour, often
producing a quick and simple birth. Many midwives are learning the
technique - a few simple touches to the newborn baby's feet will
instantly calm the child, he says.