Aston-Patterning is an integrated system of movement education, bodywork, ergonomic adjustments, and fitness training that recognizes the relationship between the body and mind for well being. It helps people who seek a remedy from acute or chronic pain by teaching them to improve postural and movement patterns.


Aston-Patterning assists people in finding more efficient and less stressful ways of performing the simple movements of everyday life to dissipate tension in the body. This is done through massage, alteration of the environment, and fitness training.


Seeking to solve movement problems, Aston-Patterning helps make the most of their own unique body types rather than trying to force them to conform to an ideal. Unlike Rolfing, it doesn't strive for linear symmetry. Rather it works with asymmetry in the human body to develop patterns of alignment and movement that feel right to the individual. Aston also introduced the idea of working in a three-dimensional spinal pattern. Aston-Patterning sessions have four general components. They are:
  • A personal history that helps the practitioner assess the client's needs.
  • Pre-testing, in which the practitioner and the client explore patterns of movement and potential for improvement.
  • Movement education and bodywork, including massage, myofacial release, and arthrokinetics, to help release tension and make new movement patterns easier.
  • Post-testing, when pre-testing movements are repeated, allowing the client to feel the changes that have taken place and integrate them into daily life.
Aston-Patterning requires more participation from the client than many bodywork techniques. The massage aspect of Aston-Patterning is designed around a three-dimensional, non-compressive touch that releases patterns of tension in the body. It is gentler than Rolfing. Myokinetics uses touch to release tension in the face and neck. Arthrokinetics addresses tension at bones and joints. This massage is accompanied by education about how new movement patterns may be established.
In addition to Aston-Patterning sessions, clients are also helped to examine their environment for factors, such as seating or sleeping arrangements, that may limit their body function and introduce tension. Finally, they may choose to participate in the Aston fitness training program that includes loosening techniques based on self-massage, toning, stretching, and cardiovascular fitness.


No special preparation need be taken.


No special precautions are necessary when participating.

Side effects

No undesirable side effects are reported. Usually clients report a diminution of tension, improved body movement, and an enhanced feeling of well being.

Research and general acceptance

Aston-Patterning is an outgrowth of Rolfing, which has been shown to be of benefit in a limited number of controlled studies. Little controlled research has been done on the either benefits or limitations of Aston-Patterning. Its claims have been neither proven nor disproved, although anecdotally many clients report relief from pain and tension and also improved body movement.



Aston Training Center. P. O. Box 3568, Incline Village, NV 89450. (775) 831-8228.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Somatic pioneers Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (Body-Mind Centering), Emily Conrad (Continuum), Joan Skinner (Skinner Releasing), Elaine Summers (Kinetic Awareness), Susan Klein (Klein Technique), and Judith Aston (Aston-Patterning), all hail from the dance world.
Training in musical interpretation and physical exercise including yoga, Alexander work and Aston-Patterning are also included.