Explorations in the Theory and Practice of Massage Therapy and Bodywork
I have been practicing massage and bodywork for 17 years in Downtown Seattle. I graduated from Seattle Massage School (now Ashmead College) in 1988 and began a practice in a health club in 1989 in downtown Seattle. Since then I have built my practice and taken many classes along the way. My most intensive study has been through the International Zentherapy® Institute which is a combination of Structural Integration (based on his training with Ida Rolf), meditation and using energy in the practice of bodywork. Other classes I have taken include Reflexology, a Leon Chaitow workshop, Deep Tissue, Somatic Unwinding, reflexology and a few Feldenkrais classes.
My life before bodywork was a career in the commercial photography industry that was always stressful. (Everyone needed everything yesterday!) When I realized I was putting in all these long, hard hours to pay for the owners year off while he built his own sail boat and sailed around the world, I decided there must be a better way! I found myself in massage school within 2 weeks and the rest is history.
I started this web site in 1999. It was initially a project to set up an apprenticeship program for massage therapy here in Washington State. I was gathering information to put a program together, when I realized how many “hoops” you have to jump through to become approved, accredited, etc, etc. I am not much for politics and credentials – so this is what has come about – A website with free access to all the materials needed to be a massage therapist/bodyworker.
Also, through the years I have seen many friends take up massage, only to give it up later. Even after graduating from accredited schools and passing all the exams, they were not able to succeed in business. They didn’t realize how much was involved other than the hands on part. Marketing, business planning, billing and managing a practice were such a struggle. With that in mind, I am hoping to provide support for all those who have chosen to explore the art and practice of massage and bodywork while maintaining a business.
At that time, I was also feeling really burned out from practicing massage for 17 years. I read an article in our local AMTA chapter newsletter by Jack Blackburn (www.jackblackburn.homestead.com – see articles section) talking about the hidden addictions in doing bodywork and the issues we are faced with as caregivers. I went to the AMTA convention specifically to meet Jack and took a 3 hour class that he was offering. The result is the current state of this website and my sister site www.massagepracticebuilder.com. I wish I had found supervision about 15 years ago, as it would have greatly reduced the stress of the process of starting and building a practice. I often think though that I wasn’t ready back then for supervision and I was too involved in collecting all of this knowledge and too busy figuring out what to do next. I also think that many massage therapists are unable to really look at these issues because they are caught up in the same thing…collecting techniques and knowledge to give them self confidence. Well the news is massage is 10% technique and 90% who you are!
I have rededicated my websites to educating massage therapists about the process of supervision and peer supervision groups. I really feel that the future of the massage profession depends on our strengthening our community and preserving the core of all modalities and that is touch. Supervision and peer supervision groups will be instrumental in providing a forum for such a community.
I have found that one of the first things people really need before they can really start understanding the influence they have on clients, is that they need clients. They need a viable practice to sustain them financially. With this in place, a committed therapist can then take the necessary steps to deepen their practice through the community support of peer supervision groups. With that in mind I am updating the website to include even more information. When this information is assimilated and passed on, it allows wisdom to become the basis of a healing practice.
I also believe that a successful massage (or other healing) practice, is really because of the therapist and who they are. It is not what technique you know or how many hours of education they have. It is 90% who you are and 10% what you do. Supervision and peer supervision is also the way to support the therapist in their process of healing.
I am also intentionally designing this site to be as simple as possible with short load times, and no fancy backgrounds to distract from the information. I don’t have any background in computers. It has been a “learn as you click” project so that also requires simplicity.
You may use what information you take from this site, but I would appreciate a credit where possible.
Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, or any other feedback.