Paying holistic attention to pain – Else Vistisen Therapy

Suffering from any chronic pain? Being aware of too high workload, with stress-related pain as a result, but not really doing anything about it? And what about the all too common problem with back pain (and that can seem so elusive)? You have perhaps tried, unsuccessfully, to cure your particular condition?

This is the moment to pay attention because there is remedy and someone that can guide you on a path to ‘enjoying a pain-free and fulfilled life’. Exactly this is the motto for renowned therapist Else Vistisen (from Denmark), who actively helps people in Asia since 1984, and these days in Singapore where she resides.

Residents there are privileged to be able to benefit from Else’s treatments and her unique therapy method, which is a combination of many modalities, methods and all other experiences she has gained throughout the years, hence deserves ‘unique’ description…

Also, not many therapists are the one that can actually help where many others, be it doctors or therapists, have failed. But Else seems to be the answer, looking at her ‘track record’.

Definition of pain
Based on the foundation she had built up over the years Else rebranded herself in 2015 into Else Vistisen Therapy, which revolves around a 3-step method that is “effective, intuitive and empathic”.

“I have become so intuitive that I have created my own therapy,” says Else, as we meet up at her suburban home clinic.

Pain caused from a hectic work schedule, strenuous fitness training or recurring pain that is unresolved should not be neglected, she states.

Her book ‘Pain Free’ brings up numerous cases of people with pain and their ‘healing journeys’ with Else, who is a certified occupational therapist (OT).

“When people see the book they think: arthritis, headache, knee pain… It’s not only that. Physical pain, mental pain… you can also feel social pain.

Everything connecting to where you feel you’re not good enough, not performing enough, or being a bit on the outside of society, can be felt as a pain in your body. And that’s where I know that I am capable; I can alleviate pain one small touch at a time.”

“I specialise in providing long-lasting pain relief and have successfully treated thousands of people from all over the world, transforming their health, lives and success.”

Occupational therapist

Her training as an OT, and an Emmett and Bowen Therapist, has given her a unique ability to provide an innovative practice. As an OT she is regulated by Singapore’s Ministry of Health.

Else has studied thousands of hours of neurology and anatomy. And while Else lived in many places, primarily in the Asia-Pacific, she learned about anything from qigong and acupuncture to the Bowen and Emmett therapies.

And herein lies what is so fascinating, and really grabs one’s curiosity about her treatments: seemingly effortless, the light touch of a finger or just gentle pressure using the thumbs and fingers are being used; the latter being the “Bowen moves” over muscles, tendons, nerves and fascia (a technique is described as a system of subtle and precise mobilizations). This she studied in Australia and has a diploma in.

There she also met Ross Emmett, who founded his own therapy. Here is how she describes it: “It’s based on a light touch at specific points of the body. And it’s usually a nerve receptor; like a light switch. So just by touching that spot, you can reactivate or desensitise the nerve. So it’s like working on a computer, using the nerve receptors as a keyboard. And then it sends messages into the hard disk, the brain, which then starts to figure out: O.K, this muscle here needs to release. This one here needs to tighten up the ship… So, very fast, within 15 minutes you can, just by the fingers, help to realign a client just by knowing exactly where the nerve receptors are.”

Else describes OT as being unknown and that it is very similar to being to a physiotherapist. The difference between the two comes with the rehab of the client. Examples of definitions are as follows:

  • An OT works with a client to help them achieve a fulfilled and satisfied state in life through the use of “purposeful activity or interventions designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, prevent injury or disability and which develop , improve, sustain or restore  the highest possible level of independence.
  • Definition of physiotherapist: A person qualified to treat disease, injury or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment and exercise.

“Sometimes I have known that I am not enough and there must be also a physiotherapist involved who can mobilise.”

Pain relief for high achievers
“I believe I have my speciality. I do not sell packages. If you come to me with a problem and there is no change after 1-2 times I would never ask you to come back. I then help to find somebody who can help you.”

“I have just studied so many other therapies, and I use them as I wish. I’m not just a therapist working with pain – I work with far more than that. I believe there is more to a treatment than just the applied therapy; it is about how you listen to the client; being intuitive and seeing what do they really need. But I specialise in acute and chronic pain relief for busy high achievers.”

“I am not exaggerating if I say that from one to three treatments 87 per cent of my clients are pain free. I have made statistics.”

Her problem is that when people turn to her with their pain they come with very high expectations and a recommendation from their doctor or friend that: “Elsa will fix it.”

“Quite often people have already seen other therapists or doctors before they see me – and have spent hours and hours and lots of money, with very little improvement. So when they come to me they expect it to be fixed in one go. It is my biggest nightmare when people come here expecting miracles. And it’s a huge pressure on me, because I also want to deliver.

But, I have good mentors too. They say: ‘When you have 87 per cent treatment success you are doing very well’. And there will always be some people that maybe will benefit more from acupuncture or a chiropractor, and I am the first one to send them.”

How can I help you?

She also highlights another differentiation: “If my client needs me two hours I give them two hours. And they still only pay for one treatment.  For me it’s about the outcome; not about how long time am I spending helping you. So I work very different from other people. I’m not saying I’m better but I cannot live in a system where I’m not allowed to be spontaneous. I aim to give the clients the optimal treatment according to their needs.”

Else sits down and gives the client a handshake and asks: ‘How would you like me to help you?’

“I am completely different with that. Those people whose advices I myself sometimes seek often tell me what to do. I would never do that. The clients I have are very personal with me. They have already seen the other ones and they know my philosophy. But they also know me to be very respectful and acceptant of whom they are.”

And there is no scepticism to overcome as those getting in touch have already heard about Else.

Using a three-step method she first does a full body assessment, which is followed by therapy during which she also differs in that she then continues here evaluation. Once she knows which muscle is tense she manipulates.

The sitting problem

In meeting all the people whom she treats Else confirms that all the sitting has become a hug problem.

“I just know that a lot of people have pain, more than before, I think. People have become so busy. First of all: they are sitting way too much, and are in front of computers and their phones way too much. Just by sitting you start slouching so we are getting more and more back problems. And we start to have neck problems etc. – so it’s increasingly becoming a problem for many.”

Some clients cannot even switch off their phone during the treatment, relates Else.

“We are so stressed – we’re never off! You can be reached 24 hours a day. And you may ask: what does that have to do with back problems etc.? Answer: A lot, because if you start to have a weak point in your body, if you don’t give that weak point a holiday – which is a physical and mental rest to reenergise and reconstitute – it’s just running off track.”

“Live a happy, well-balanced life and a lot of your worries will disappear,” is Else’s general recommendation.

“But we live in a world today where people are becoming more and more fanatic about diet, work (to be good in everything and effective), good looks, fitness… you name it!”

“I have three very high-achieving kids. I have to remind them repeatedly: ‘Listen, it’s time to step back and relax!’ These are today’s youth and I am seeing a lot of them as clients!”

“The lifestyle we have today is often one of the biggest problems behind a lot of pain. And often I try to take time off myself and think. I also have pain sometimes – everybody have. I’m a social person but I’m also a very private person and I don’t function if I don’t have also my alone time close to nature.”

“People nowadays so much forget there’s more to life than just being seen and found. I get so stressed when I hear about people wanting that. Who cares! Nothing’s perfect; just try to achieve a joyful and pain-free life, where you run your own agenda but not others’.”

“I do try to explain to my clients that they need to take some time off. I have certain philosophies and I have always led a very simple life, that is: you have to learn to make choices that benefit you. It’s a very simple sentence. It’s the same as: take responsibility.”

“I just want people to return to their best. That is my promise and my purpose.”

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