Bound Bodywork is my project started on Bali during the winter of 2016. It aims to translate and share the therapeutic rope practice I have developed in Sweden. It springs from the Japanese rope art of Kinbaku infused with modern modalities working on trauma, consent and sexuality.
People often ask me why one would like to be tied or tie another person. The answer is always vulnerability – in the polarity between surrender and holding power. When done in conscious and loving way it empowers intimacy, healing and growth.
We are free to be bound and bound to be free
To be tied is to trust deeply, surrender and let go of doing, judging and that talking voice inside the head. But this does not mean being passive. Tying and being tied is a dance between two people were one is leading and the other is following. Both moving together.
To tie someone is a paradox between holding space and actively expressing ones power. It is a practice in deep listening and presence. And at the same time expressing desire through action. Practising bound bodywork is a co-creation of a playful and sacred flow.
Clear Intent and Sacred Consent
Another recurring question is the role of sexuality when doing rope. Being bound is common sexual desire, either the symbolic gesture of giving up power or the physical feeling of restriction. Some experience the play of power as part of their primal instincts.
While others use bound bodywork to challenge the non-consensually vertical power structure that society has forced upon us. The key is intent and consent. To be honest about ones intention and receive consent from both inside oneself and the partner.
Ultimately the intention can be anything from a deep meditation, a sexual exploration, an expression of beauty, a creative dance, healing a trauma, or a step in personal growth. No intention is right or wrong as long as consent has been established.
Rope and Trauma Recovery
Having an outspoken therapeutic approach to rope is something fairly unique. While searching around the world I’ve found only two people with similar ambition. Most of my clients has suffered abuse on sexuality and power. Most common are female rape victims.
What bound bodywork offers is a somatic exposure therapy working with power, surrender and sexuality. Facing old demons related to vulnerability and trust without being let down has potential for healing. All genders are welcome even if women has been most common.
I believe that holding a space of great presence, careful listening and loving guidance are key success factors learn over many years tying rope. Bound bodywork is not meant to be a replacement to traditional therapy but rather supplement and hands-on practice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is it?
Therapeutic rope bondage working with power and surrender.
Who is it for?
Victims of trauma and abuse related to power and sexuality. Anyhow suffering from emotional and physical stress. Explores of personal growth and conscious sexuality.
What happens in a typical first session?
First third: sharing tea and talking about the intention of the session – focus is on your background, physical and emotional limits and need.
Middle third: being tied based on the intention of the session – with one or more rope, either on the soft floor, or partly-to-fully suspended (in the air) in ropes.
Final third: grounding in the body and mind – can be in meditation, resting alone or in physical contact, drinking more tea or talking about the experience.
What is the intention of the session
It can be many many things, here is a list of examples.
- Learning to trust and surrender in a intimate and vulnerable situation
- Discharging trauma
- Letting go of control and being cared for
- Facing fears of losing mobility and being constricted
- Exploring a shadow or fantasy
- A deep meditation
- Facing intense sensations physical and emotionally
- Working with a specific body part like hands or throat
Will I be suspended in ropes?
Depends on the intention of the session. Being suspended in ropes is physically intense and sometimes painful. At the same time it is often described as floating and expanding. It simply depends on how the body processes the experience. If the intention is facing fears, challenging the body and surrendering to the intensity, then including suspensions make sense. However if the intention is softening and being cared for then such a strong sensation can be counter productive.
What is the background?
It springs from the Japanese art of rope bondage named Kinbaku (or Shibari) infused with modern modalities working on trauma, consent and sexuality.
Is it sexual?
Sometimes but usually no. It is sensual, loving and goes much deeper than “just sex”. Developing a healthy relationship to power and surrender in life in general helps in the relationship to sexuality too.
Is it feminism?
Yes, being temporally and consensually bound is greatly empowering. So is taking ownership ones own sexual expression. Trusting, letting go of control and showing vulnerability are acts of strength. Independent of gender.
Is it BDSM?
Yes and no. Bondage is B in BDSM. But BDSM is usually not practiced for therapeutic reasons.
Is it painful?
Depends on the intention. The intensity can be anything from soft to extreme. Most importantly the amount of pain is decided by the client.
Is it healing?
Empirically yes – from working with over a hundred clients.
Is it tantric?
Yes – as in using consciousness, polarity, breath and intention. Many clients describes it as working with energy blockages, dearmoring and kundalini awakening.
Is it shamanic?
Yes – as in the strong focus on ritual and guidance. A big inspiration has been Peter A. Levine’s book Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma.
Is it psychotherapy?
No – not in the traditional sense. It could be described as a somatic exposure therapy which is common when treating post traumatic stress disorder. Another big inspiration has been Judith Herrman’s Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror.
Is it dangerous?
It can be – if the session include suspension in ropes because they come with a risk of nerve compression. It can be mitigated with good communication and body understanding but never completely removed. Nerve compression from rope bondage can take up to three months to heal.
How do I prepare?
Most important think about your intention for the session. Avoid having heavy food up to an hour before. Avoid using perfume or other strong smells.
What do I wear?
What you feel comfortable in. Many people like to feel the ropes on bare skin. Underwear is required.
How long have you been tying?
For about fifteen years. I’ve been teaching for eight years and started to offer therapeutic sessions two years ago.
How did you learn?
I learned the Japanese way of tying from workshops and private lessons mostly in Berlin and Copenhagen. I’ve been Japan several times and met some of the masters but due to language and culture I actually developed more in Europe. In general bodywork related to sexuality, trauma and personal growth is much more a European thing.
Who inspires you?
Felix Ruckert and Yukinaga Max for tying. Peter A. Levine, Betty Martin and Judith Herrman for bodywork related to sexuality and trauma.
What is your background?
I was team and organizational coach working in global tech company in my previous life. I’m also a certified medical massage therapist and spent the last ten years exploring my own personal growth.
Are there many people working with it?
No, sadly not. I know less than handful people around the world (Berlin, Copenhagen and Koh Phangan) offering rope bondage as a healing modality. It’s more common that bodyworkers focused on sexuality use BDSM as a general tool for working with trauma and the sexual shadow. But this is without the deep focus on the Japanese inspired way of tying.
If there are more questions I should include please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org