In April 2007, 27 girls and boys aged 10 to 12 years walked an average of 1.5 kilometers to the Hout Bay Community Cultural Centre to attend the BodyTalk Access training course. Most of the children were residents at Imizamo Yethu informal housing settlement in Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.

The students received a picture-based manual for the course, rather than the word-based manual generally used for adults. In no time at all, the kids were practicing the techniques on themselves and their friends. It was incredible to see the visible difference in the children on the second day. Their facial expressions were more animated; they had more color in their faces, and there was a reduction in their visible stress levels. They also shared feedback on how they had slept more comfortably and awoke feeling energized. A higher level of course participation with more manageable behavior was also evident during the course’s second day.

Ongoing practice sessions were arranged with the children to encourage them to regularly utilize the BodyTalk Access techniques in all spheres of their lives. The known benefits of BodyTalk Access are far-reaching and include enhanced concentration and memory, reduced stress levels, relaxation, better utilization of available water and nutrition within the body, enhanced immune system functioning, and positive results in scholastic and work performance.

The children’s joy was palpable and invigorating. They were thrilled at being able to take home the picture-based manuals that they had helped to assemble and their certificates of completion. The two days provided many learning opportunities for the children, the Access Trainer, and her assistants. With the assistance of funding, regular BodyTalk Access courses for children and adults can become a real possibility for these disadvantaged communities.

Story submitted by Debbie Zacharias, Occupational Therapist