STUARTS DRAFT-The client came to Andrea Collins complaining of a bad back and numbness in his feet. After she performed Zero Balancing on him, he stopped going to his back doctor because ZB was easing his pain. Another client had such knee pain he could not walk up and down stairs. After a session of ZB with Collins, his family was astonished to see him walk up and down the stairs without difficulty.
“I think first and foremost, the No. 1 benefit from Zero Balancing is relaxing,” Collins, a National Council on Strength & Fitness certified personal trainer, said. She has been in the fitness field for 20 years, and became a personal trainer 8 years ago.
Despite having lived in California and Europe for 15 years, Collins said she still chose to return to Virginia 18 years ago, where she and her husband settled in Stuarts Draft to raise two daughters.
“This is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Collins, who grew up in Middlesex, Va., said.
She left California because she wanted to get away from the traffic and hectic lifestyle, which is easier to avoid in Virginia.
“I guess my life in general, I’m moving toward a more peaceful existence,” Collins said.
And that’s where Zero Balancing comes in. Collins, who holds a bachelor’s in international business from Sonoma State University and a bachelor’s in French from a French university, has chosen to devote her career to being a personal trainer and one of only 520 practitioners in the world of Zero Balancing.
Her journey with Zero Balancing began five years ago when a friend encouraged her to give it a try.
“The effect was so dramatic that I became passionate about it,” Collins said. She charges $60 per session in her home, and usually $75 per session in a client’s home. She said a practitioner of ZB in Hollywood charges $400 per session to go to clients’ homes.
The challenge with ZB, Collins said, is explaining ZB. The best way to explain ZB is for a person to experience it.
ZB targets the body’s skeletal system, while massage therapy targets muscles.
“[ZB is] about balancing your energy with your structure,” Collins said. “In ZB, I will probably touch every bone in a person’s body.” But she does not touch bones in inappropriate areas.
Most of the human body’s pain comes from the spine and the pelvis, Collins said.
“Our bodies are so smart. Our bodies are compensating all the time.” That is when we feel pain elsewhere, such as in the foot or head.
ZB loosens ligaments, opens joints and “allows energy to flow through your bones,” Collins said.
ZB helps with physical and psychological problems, Collins said. ZB is able to “put a person in that meditative state in 10 minutes,” that they normally would get from meditation or prayer. According to Collins, the more a client has ZB sessions and the more receptive they are, the better ZB works for them.
“It will put the person in an altered state,” Collins said. In that altered state, it is “impossible” to think about your phone bill or your child who is failing school or any other stress in your life.
In that meditative state, Collins said our belief system is less well held, which allows the body to be open to physical and psychological healing.
She said she enjoys the outreach opportunity it provides, especially the recent opportunity to perform ZB on residents and staff at Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry Inc.
“People just love it,” Collins said. Regular clients come to her once a month. Collins still goes to Charlottesville once a month for her own ZB sessions.
Collins said she believes that our minds control 99 percent of our bodies. Laughter, exercise and relaxation are helpful.
She has seen ZB help clients who have migraines or stomach and digestive ailments. Each person, Collins said, experiences ZB differently. One client told her that he did not think she would be able to help him relax, but she did with ZB, and that was valuable to him.
“My goal is to educate people about what it is, and help people feel better,” Collins said. She has a dream of opening a wellness center, probably in Waynesboro, someday.
After 9/11, Collins said that one of the practitioners of ZB performed sessions on the rescue personnel in New York City.
According to the Zero Balancing web site, the Zero Balancing Health Association is based in Columbia, Md. ZB was founded in the 1970s by Dr. Fritz Frederick Smith, and joins eastern healing ideas with western medicine.
Trained in osteopath and acupuncture, Smith learned that by incorporating both into his medical practice, he began to see a relationship between how energy moves through the body’s structure. ZB finds a balance in a person’s energy by focusing on the bone, which is the strongest part of the body.
“Clear their skeleton, clear their bone, clear their internal world,” Smith said in a video on the web site.
ZB does not treat symptoms, but treats “the whole person,” Smith said.
Collins said she trained with Smith in Maryland to learn ZB.
Collins said “we live in a pretty stressful culture [now],” and a lot of people who do not feel well still have to get up and go to a job they dislike every day.
“I love my work. I love helping people move and feel better,” Collins said. “I love to help people eliminate pain in their body, and achieve things they never thought they would do.”
For more information about Zero Balancing, or to make an appointment with Andrea Collins, call her at (540) 294-1608 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca J. Barnabi is city editor of The News-Virginian and can be reached at (540) 932-3568 or email@example.com.