Still almost unknown in Britain, the Grinberg Method is the ultimate in holistic therapies – curing chronic pain, heavy scarring and deep emotional wounds.
Victoria Oldham is telling me how she too used to be a sceptic. 'When I first went and saw a Grinberg Method practitioner I wasn’t into that sort of thing at all. I was incredibly sceptical, but I was also curious. I went because I had had neck ache for a long time and then one morning I couldn’t turn my head one way. I was in Switzerland at the time, and someone told me to try the Grinberg Method, which is very well known over there. And I went and saw this person, and she gave me a foot analysis, and I was quite blown away by the things she said to me and the insight she had into my life.’
After two sessions Oldham’s neck pain had disappeared, and then she 'carried on going because my whole life started to take a different shape. I found myself seeing things differently. I found myself more aware of what I wanted in my life.’ Which meant abandoning her career as an artist and retraining as a Grinberg practitioner herself.
A decade on and it was I who was in the position of sceptic, with Oldham the practitioner. I had never heard of the Grinberg Method, and when I learnt that it was based, at its simplest, on 'reading’ the feet, not in the same way as reflexology but holistically – identifying patterns of tension or of energy rather than the state of specific organs – I was prepared to be unimpressed. But I went along to see Oldham anyway, and like her and many others before me was 'blown away’. She did indeed examine and manipulate my feet while asking me questions about physical symptoms and my more general wellbeing. Quickly she was pinpointing exact periods in my life when a significant event had happened – not the event itself but the impact it had had on me; she was disentangling assorted different versions of 'me’, some intrinsic to my character, some constructed and therefore unhelpful; she was identifying destructive patterns of behaviour and relationships. And on a practical level she was diagnosing how all these tendencies were being played out within my body – how physical and emotional experiences from my past were being held, locked almost, inside me. Then, over the course of the ensuing sessions, she showed me how we could work together – through breathing, through exercises, through her manipulations of my body – in order to unlock these long-held patterns.