Perspectives: Learning the Vocabulary of Touch

In the early 1970s Fritz Frederick Smith, a doctor of both osteopathic medicine and a physician, developed a powerful body-mind therapy called Zero Balancing. This hands-on therapy uses skilled touch to address the relationship between energy and structures of the body.

One of the major contributions within the health care system that Zero Balancing has to offer is the understanding and application of “INTERFACE” which is a specific therapeutic touch that is used. InnerDialogue also uses the interface method when utilizing dialogue, cranial work, constellation work and other natural modalities. Before clarifying the importance of this method, it is important to understand the other therapeutic touches used in other approaches and therapies.

The different types of touch used in healing and the fundamental relationship of touch when working with energy gives us a General Vocabulary of Touch:


As we talk about these different ways of interaction, or ways of being with one another, you’ll notice we are speaking of boundaries – and the boundaries are different in each case.

The interface maintains clear energetic and structural boundaries, establishing a clear working relationship of conscious touch (and also dialogue). There’s no sense that the boundaries are merging. With interface, you know where your space ends (energy/structure) and the client’s space begins (structure/energy) – where client’s body ends and your body begins. Both you and your client are clear about who is responsible for what. You’ll often see interface in healthy work relationships, People are respectful of each other’s boundaries; they give each other clear requests and clear answers.

Is the deliberate blurring of the boundary between your energetic body and another’s. In the area where we’ve blended,neither person is sure who is who. And we aren’t clear where responsibility or authorship lies for what happens within that blended experience. Sometimes that blending is appropriate and natural – maybe we’ll sing songs together, put an arm around each other, share something inspirational, just hang out – we blend our energy in a shared experience. And, at other times, it may not be appropriate. We may get blended into another person’s project or issues without realizing it – or they get taken into ours. We’ve lost our boundaries; and we may begin to feel uncomfortable or used or depleted, and not understand why. 

This is when the practitioner directs or allows their energy to flow into their client – one person is the giver, the other the receiver. Some people go through life habitually giving of themselves to other people, energetically and in every other way. Mothers may do this to children; husbands may give this way to wives, or wives to husbands – it can go either way. One person is giving all the time. At times, streaming has an advantage. But people who go through life continually and unknowingly streaming tend to burn out; and their constant streaming may actually not be good for the receiver, may be a burden. At the end of the day, a mother who only streams to her kids is exhausted, and the kids may all be on overload because of it.

This is very different from interfacing with the children. When you interface, it doesn’t mean that you’re less attentive, or love them less – you just have very clear boundaries. So you’re in a better position to see what’s good for the children, what’s good for you.

This is opening yourself up to forces beyond yourself so that you become a conduit of transmission of these forces to others. But here, the energy is passing through the giver rather than coming from the giver, as with streaming. In streaming, the source is our own “energy bank.” In channeling, by contrast, we are the conduit from some other source. One problem inherent to channeling is that if the channeler is not energetically clear in his or her own body, the conducted energy may pick up distortions of the channeler and pass them on to the receiver. The energy that leaves the person may not be as clearest as that which has entered. To channel reliably, one usually needs to have done a lot of winner work (self development) to clear personal fields. Distortion can be a difficulty.

The value of working at interface
When the boundaries are unintentionally lost, blending or streaming may occur. This means that your energy field and that of your client’s can merge resulting in the possibility of picking up things (pain, emotions, sensations, psychological patterns and beyond) from them. Or the energy will stream from you, depleting your own reserves and/or allowing the client’s energy to come into you, thus taking on their problems. Both of these if unintended can be potentially harmful for us, the practitioner.

An all too common problem for people working in the health care field is “Burn out” . One of the main reasons for this is losing the clear practitioner/client boundaries. When we have a clear interface we will not pick up anything from the other person and with the clarity of this conscious touch we, as practitioners will become clearer in ourselves and at the same time eliminate being drained by our clients.

Learning touch skills will help you to:
1) Understand and be able to use touch more skillfully and appropriately in the treatment room.
2) Develop the sensitivity at your fingertips.
3) Develop clarity and focus of mind.
4) Learn how to energetically connect and disconnect.
5) Understand how energy gets exchanged /transferred.
6) Develop an instinctive rapport, (donkey/donkey).
7) Maintain yours and your clients well-being.
8) Stimulate an on-going curiosity and discovery.
9) Develop a greater understanding of energy and movement within ourselves, our clients and globally.

If you like learning more about interface and how to bring it into your personal, professional or relationship life, contact me

An Interview with Dr. Fritz Frederick Smith and his book: Inner bridges: A Guide to Energy Movement and Body Structure.