Saturday, March 19, 2016

Holistic Health: Massage Therapy

A beautiful Louisiana sunset
I went to massage school at Health Choices Holistic Healing School in Hillsboro, NJ from 2002-2003.  It was a precious gem of a school which taught an integrated massage style focused on learning how to blend a variety of techniques into an elegant session tailored to each client.  At the time when I started I was in the end of my last semester of my undergraduate college, Rutgers University, where I was about to graduate with a BA in Art History with a minor in American Studies.  Learning about the history of humanity through its symbolic expressions was deeply enlightening to the budding artist within me.

But a love of looking at and contemplating art did not translate into a desire to work in the art world.  As graduation loomed large before me as I was beginning my senior year I decided to invest in some practical training and enrolled in massage school during my last semester.

Cat massage (photo from twitter: @lifeonearth)
Bodywork was work I loved to do.  I had spent the previous year working in a Fend Shui store as an assistant for a woman who became my first spiritual teacher, SuZen RavenHeart.  Trained as a social worker and interior designer she had also become a shamanic teacher and energy healer who did Feng Shui consultations and organized psychic fairs.  She trained me as a Reiki master-teacher and took me to countless ceremonies and healing circles throughout New Jersey.  I learned to think about having an energetic and holistic view of health, healing and living in the world.  Suzen was the one who pointed me towards massage school when I was looking for a way to bring my passion for healing and creativity into the world.

A journey grows

Massage school was so fun.  We sat in circles on the ground, learned through touch and sharing our experiences and the ways we process the world.  It was so refreshing to have this immersion into holistic perspective after years of living through the linear methodology of the academic system.  We studied a variety of massage styles always with a focus on learning to blend them into our own massage dance.  The main modalities were Swedish, Neuromuscular, Shiatsu and Polarity therapy and we also got doses of reflexology, sports massage, trager and more.  I learned how to create a healing space and navigate interactions with clients, start a business and manage my income.

Most of all I learned so much about how my body works and learned to really listen and experience who she is.  Our bodies are brilliant things built to be in blissful relationship with the natural world.

Lotus Love


I love being in that luscious healing energy which emanates from bodywork.  Learning to develop my own healing practice has been an invaluable tool for maintaining my own health and sanity and I'm grateful to be able to share in that journey the people who have been my massage clients.  Every session is different and I'm always learning new layers of depth in my healing practice.

My professional bodywork practice has waxed and wained over time.  Sometimes it's my full time work, other times it's more of a hobby.   At the moment I have a part time position working for a company which staffs the chair massage station at the Whole Foods in the New Orleans area.

See with your heart (on the road)

I didn't think I would like chair massage as much as I do.  It's a nice compliment to my art business as this situation does not require any more preparation than showing up and being ready to work.  People bring some real healing needs to my chair either for restoration, maintenance or recovery work.  Unlike making art, which has a long span of time between my actual art making and any pay off of attention or money, massage give me a quick feeling of accomplishment and service.

My bodywork training has deeply influenced my art making practices.  I make my color choices in my painting with half an mind on its aesthetic quality and the other half on how it may influence the quality of my bodies energy system.  Im drawn to make work that inspires and supports people in their personal healing practices.  My voice as an artist is constantly working to articulate the wisdom I have gained from my holistic health teachers.

A doorway to fairy magic


1 comment:

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