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Vibromuscular Harmonisation

by Mark G. Lester(more info)

listed in bodywork, originally published in issue 82 - November 2002


Vibromuscular Harmonization Technique™ (VHT) is a new bodywork technique pioneered and developed by Jock Ruddock. Originally inspired by the work of Tom Bowen (of the ‘Bowen Technique’ fame), Jock’s technique is a highly effective and down to earth system of bodywork. Using a unique evolvement of the Bowen ‘move’ as its basis, the technique is much more than merely ‘advanced Bowen’; it is a fresh paradigm which has borrowed ideas and philosophies from a wide array of approaches including Myopractic, Kahuna, Aikido, Tai Chi, the Lauren Berry Method, Hypertone-X, Craniosacral therapy, Kinesiology and Zen. The services of Jock and his wife, Dr Ivana Ruddock a Veterinary Surgeon and University Lecturer, are in demand all over the world, teaching VHT seminars as well as their internationally recognized and acclaimed discipline for horses, The Equine Touch™.

Part I: Interview with Jock Ruddock

This interview with VHT practitioner Mark Lester was made during one of Jock’s regular teaching trips back to the UK.

How Did Your 30 Years as a Professional Wrestler Influence Your development as a Bodyworker?
Wrestling had a great influence on me and my development as a bodyworker. Forget the fact that it is all an act, every time someone hits you, twists your arm up your back, throws you over the top rope, breaks a chair over your back, it hurts. Injury occurs, Britain’s two greatest wrestlers, the British Bulldogs are now both crippled for life. The dressing room in any professional wrestling auditorium is like a network chiropractic clinic with massage couches or benches everywhere with wrestlers working on each other trying to help each other in any way they can. Over my 30 years in the ring I had many chiropractic, cranial, osteopathy, shiatsu even energy release sessions at the hands of other wrestlers. All, may I add, self taught, yet far more gentle and profound than many of the so-called professional treatments I paid for out on the street. Travelling the world for over 30 years I found that I was more attracted to the Japanese and Hawiian Kahuna philosophies of holistic bodywork than I was to the west or the Chinese or Indian side of that street.

What is the Vibromuscular Harmonization Technique?
VHT is a holistic non-invasive, non-diagnostic technique of hands on bodywork with the sole purpose in mind of training or re-educating the body to achieve the state of homeostasis. In the true perception and application of VHT the practitioner, the hands, the client’s body all become one. The practitioner focuses on not focusing on the problem, so the efforts of a holistic address therefore become effortless as there is no ‘practitioner healing influence or desire’ involved to fix a specific problem in the application of the procedures. In practical terms VHT is an evolvement and product not only of all my years as a bodyworker but all my learning experiences from various teachers and schools.

What Does a VHT Session Entail?
A holistic VHT session usually lasts from 25 to 45 minutes and there is no mandatory requirement for the client to undress, although some practitioners do prefer to work on skin or through towels. After preliminary questions are asked and observations noted relating to pain and range of movement, the client is asked to lie prone on a massage couch, is made as comfortable as possible and towelled to maintain body warmth prior to the work beginning and throughout the session.

The moves are performed using the tips of the fingers and thumbs as tools while an Aikido-like holistic body flow provides the physical energy source for the move itself. To watch a VHT practitioner in action has often been compared with watching Tai Chi as their body flows back and forward in harmony with their breathing and the application of the moves.

The skin slack is the vehicle that the practitioner uses to effect the move over the soft tissue in a series of pre-choreographed medial and lateral cross-fibre moves which appear to follow the main fascial chains running alongside the median line of the body, as well as to some great extent, specific acupuncture points that lie on various energy meridians. The address is presented to the client in a non-stop flow or dance as we often call it. A rest is only taken when a specific procedure has produced a noted reaction, in order to allow the client to recognize and process whatever is happening within the body.

In What Ways is VHT Different to Other Techniques as Generally Taught in the UK?
In identifying any discipline or modality as being ‘different’ one must take the sum of all points into consideration, not just the physical but also the philosophy behind the discipline. The following points when collated give VHT its own total identity:

•    VHT is holistic in that it addresses the whole body supported by any additional work in an area of concern or as a response to what is presented.
•    VHT is a non-invasive, non-diagnostic, hands-on discipline. The practitioner observes the client and responds to what the client presents but there is no attempt at explaining or finding meaning in any particular set of conditions.
•    VHT is a superficial focused cross-fibre, soft tissue manipulation which makes use of skin and soft tissue tension followed closely by a muscular recoil.
•    VHT soft tissue manipulation involves two sequential aspects: a ‘challenge’ to stimulate the tissue and to promote client awareness followed by a ‘move’ which allows the tissue to recoil and return to its natural position.
•    The VHT challenge is unique in that it involves skin slack being drawn across the origin, insertion or belly of the muscle, tendon or ligament, to its edge, where a determined increase in tension distorts the soft tissue, setting up an equal and opposite counter acting resistance in it.
•    The VHT move itself consists of a cross fibre return movement ‘through’ or across the challenged muscle so that it is stressed to a point where it recoils and returns to its correct place in a ‘convulsion’ or vibration at its own predetermined natural resonant frequency. The practitioner immediately removes any contact so that the muscle is completely free to vibrate at its natural resonant frequency, which will be governed by the condition of the client and that muscle at that time and place.
•    The VHT practitioner will use no more pressure or stress in the mechanics of performing the move than that required to effect its perfect execution.
•    Both VHT challenge and move are performed using the tips of the fingers or thumbs on the skin surface with an inward focus. The motive power for the challenge comes from an Aikido breath flow utilizing the whole body mechanics in a ‘Tai Chi’ like fashion.
•    VHT is not classified as a therapy; it is a discipline, a gift, an offer, a suggestion to re-educate the client’s body. The client’s body is therefore free to accept or reject any or all of the address as the inner wisdom feels appropriate. The practitioner’s sole aim and outcome is to present the VHT move with ‘accuracy, integrity and focused intention’. The practitioner will never force any experience upon the client.
•    VHT involves choreographed patterns of moves with the freedom of flexibility and variation with no set pressures, speeds moves or sequences. These are open to choice according to the condition as presented by the client and to the intuition of the experienced practitioner.
•    VHT practitioners’ aims are to harmonize with the client, without sacrificing their physical, emotional or mental integrity.
•    VHT practitioners, unless they are qualified licensed medical practitioners, do not make any form of diagnosis, and do not make any claims to diagnose. If a VHT practitioner observes any unusual condition, or a client complains of any condition, the practitioner will instruct the client to seek medical examination and diagnosis from qualified medical professionals.

How Does VHT Work?
There is a new game in the ballpark called ‘Medical Chaos and Confusion’. I was first introduced to this concept in Hawaii in 1997 by Dominique Shelton a leading bodyworker over there, when I found that the ‘Less is Best’ syndrome adopted by Bowen practitioners was not working in all cases. While I was worried for some time that I was stumbling around out there on my own, it was gratifying to see other bodyworkers heading along in the same direction with the same beliefs and to find our work overlapping.

When we think of medical chaos and confusion, we often imagine a busy accident emergency room being run by a Dr Bean, queues of waiting patients, stretchers with bodies on them, IVs hanging out of their arms, being rushed off everywhere, or patients getting the wrong leg amputated. It’s time for all that to change. The medical chaos and confusion we refer to is a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of complementary holistic addresses and VHT is right there alongside it.

For the past five years we at IASH have been noting the remedial and therapeutic effects of the Vibromuscular Harmonization Technique and the principles of holistic confusion and chaos. Research into the chaotic nature of the muscular vibration signal revealed that it provided spectacular improvement on various levels. Practitioners in other fields of allopathic and complementary medicines are already reporting that a highly chaotic signal is extremely effective at relieving pain, and assisting the body in recovery.

At IASH we have long been looking for ways to describe what VHT in fact does and how chaos and confusion at a relaxed level can have a positive effect upon the body without being focused on any specific named problem. Our experience has shown that the medical chaos and confusion effect invoked by a total VHT session has a profound influence on the body which surpasses or compliments many other disciplines, or what some people want to call therapies.

How Can This Medical Chaos and Confusion Work?
Chaos and confusion is unpredictable and destabilizing; it is the natural enemy of structure and order. It is now accepted that induced medical chaos and confusion breaks down old structures in the body which cause pain and restrict healing. Provided the body can be seduced into relaxation at the same time, the resistance factor is removed from the equation and the entire being can be opened to the positive overall effect of VHT.

The body normally defends itself against outside vibrational signals by anticipating them and setting up signals which cancel them out. This is how we can sustain our own emotions and thoughts. It is also why when a chiropractor asks us to ‘relax’ we tense in anticipation of the manipulation. If for instance a sound is repetitive, like heavy breathing, or snoring in the night, you can learn to filter it out. What wakens you? A sudden snort, or no sound at all, the unexpected unpredictable sound slipping past our pre-set barrier.

Think about moving into a street with heavy traffic, it is not long before you automatically filter out the sounds of the heavy trucks passing by. This is why predictable signals like those from certain therapies are sometimes of limited effectiveness – they have become predictable, and if one receives too many sessions, can be filtered out. Bowen practitioners often make comment that after three sessions the benefit seems to weaken and they must wait some time to treat again.

You can not fight against chaotic vibration because it is unpredictable. It simply goes past your vibrational defenses and softens all thoughts, emotions, and other vibrational structures, which shape the physical and emotional body. This is why people find it so profoundly relaxing, and why, after a treatment, they feel different, relaxed, clear headed, A big part of what they are feeling is the energy which is released when their ‘character armour’ and pent up emotions are dissolved and their ki energy becomes available for ultimate healing.

All bodywork is stress and so when a structured system is energized by unexpected, unresisted stress such as VHT, its chaos increases, as does its confusion, which allows it to reconfigure spontaneously into an altered state wherein it can address all established problems in a new and perhaps more positive and profound manner. It is therefore important that any stress bodywork with which the body is addressed should be non-invasive, thereby preventing the body itself from creating an equal and opposite resistance to the invasive frequencies.

The VHT effect appears to dissolves these old established energy blocks which are holding these problems in place, at various levels. Addressing the holistic body with VHT vibrations penetrates deeply into the body, repeatedly stressing rigid structures in unexpected ways, from all sides, breaking them down into instability, making them ready for addressing by the body’s own innate healing system.

VHT moves and procedures infuse the body with chaotic vibration impulses which resonate throughout the connective pathways of the body, fascial trains and meridians, connective soft tissue, neural pathways, meridian lines causing chaos and confusion levels, while also inducing holistic relaxation, encouraging the body to enter the alpha state wherein it is bereft of all critical and analytical properties. With the body in this state its innate wisdom is allowed to address stress structures and other problems that have been locked within the body for a long time.

Some More Unusual VHT Results
I think the word is not so much unusual but ‘amazing’. A few years ago I treated a lady called Valerie. Seven years before she had been the victim of a cerebral haemorrhage which had left her paralysed totally down the right side and after extensive physiotherapy and occupational therapy she had been virtually confined to a wheelchair. I was at that time practising what I refer to as Bowen technique.

There had been some positive results: there was an increase of movement in the arm and neck plus some movement in the leg. However after six months of regular treatment the improvement stagnated and I decided to switch her on to VHT. I do not know myself what happened but it appeared to jump-start the body’s healing ability into top gear. Valerie’s range of movement improved by leaps and bounds – no more wheel chair, her right side regained a full range of movement, she became self sufficient, more confident, exercized and lost over 125 lbs and has since had two holidays in Hawaii. Of course Valerie still suffers from a serious injury but she is no longer, house or wheelchair-bound and as she says, her quality of life has improved more than anyone had ever expected.

Part II: VHT – A Practitioner’s Perspective

My route to training in VHT was the result of a chance conversation after being recommended to talk to Jock Ruddock by The Institute for Complementary Medicine. I was initially wary, if not hostile to VHT as I already had been using the Bowen technique for six years with good results. However I had always felt there was something not quite complete in terms of what I already knew, so I decided to enrol on a course. By the end of the first day I could see that VHT added a new dimension to my previous training in Bowen technique. It gave me far more moves to use where a problem was not being resolved speedily, as well as leaving clients feeling they had had a more substantial treatment. For me it overcame some of what I had come to regard as dogmas concerning how the technique ought to be practised, and a somewhat different interpretation to the moves I already knew. However the most important thing it gave me was more flexibility. I was able to treat VHT as a technique in its own right, or use the material as additional moves to supplement the Bowen technique when the situation required it. In general my patients reported that they preferred VHT, the results were faster, and in many cases superlative as the following case histories

Case history 1: Herniated Disc

Guy, 44, suffered an acute back problem aged 30 later diagnosed as a herniated disc. He lived with a constant dull ache until 1994 when living in Abu Dhabi. At this point he fell and twisted his back and this resulted in constant pain during which time he was in his words, “practically impossible to live with… verging on the suicidal”, spending most of this time lying on the floor with an ice pack on his back. During this time he tried traction, lumbar punctures with cortisone, sclerosant injections into the back ligaments, physiotherapy, swimming, osteopathy, ‘old style’ osteopathy with cupping, Chinese massage, acupuncture, high dose prescription painkillers and painkilling injections. These therapies sometimes dulled the pain when his back was not acute, but nothing would help when his back was acute. Finally his back went into acute spasm one day in 2000, shortly after my training in VHT. After being recommended to see me, Guy was fitted in at very short notice and was very sceptical that he could be helped. He was only just able to walk up my stairs and lie down on my treatment couch. During the treatment however he felt the pain starting to move down the side of his body and back of his leg. He was able to walk to the station and take a train home. He awoke the next day to find the muscle spasm had entirely disappeared and over the following week most of the related pain went away. After three treatments he was totally pain free and he now returns every two to three months for preventative treatment. VHT was in his words “the first thing in 15 years that has really helped”.

Case history 2: Chronic neck pain

Madeleine had been suffering “excruciating pain” from a trapped nerve in her neck for almost five months when she came to see me in 2001. She had undergone an MRI scan which clearly showed a bulge in one of the vertebra in her neck and this was pressing on the nerve canal. A consultant told her that in her particular case, there were no real options for treatment. The condition might over a period of years get better on its own, but this would take several years, if it occurred at all. The pain was in her neck, shoulder, arm and hand. After three VHT treatments, the intensity of the pain lessened and she only needed to take the occasional paracetamol. She was sleeping better, had more energy and did not feel so ‘down’.

After seven VHT treatments she was, and continues to be pain free in her neck, shoulder and arm and the pins and needles in her hand/fingers have been greatly reduced. In her words VHT “has prevented me from suffering a great deal more pain which would have had the consequent effect of lowering my general health even further”. Since then I have been concentrating on some long-standing, chronic problems with her knees and hip and these problems have also greatly improved.

Further Information

Jock and Ivana Ruddock return to the UK several times a year to teach four-day VHT courses, open both to Bowen practitioners and newcomers, as well as Equine TouchTM clinics (VHT for horses). To find out the dates of forthcoming four-day courses in the UK you can visit Jock’s website at; email Jock directly at or contact his co-ordinators in England:
Lynn Palmer, Tel: 01458 860287; (Glastonbury); and Jo Fernandes, Tel: 020-7687 1026; (London); or contact Mark Lester (details above).


  1. Donald Glenn Prohaska said..

    Thanks for the great information about VHT. Sounds like a great method to help people. Some excellent ways that you have. Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings to you and yours.
    Donald Glenn Prohaska

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About Mark G. Lester

Mark Lester comes from a family that has been involved with complementary medicine for 50 years. He is a practitioner of Bowen, VHT, oxygen/ozone therapy, electro-crystal therapy, the Rife machine, nutrition and massage. He can be contacted at his clinic on Tel: 0845 017 0755;


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