So why did I decide to name my massage therapy practice ‘Practical Bodywork’?
For entirely pragmatic reasons, of course.
On the West Coast, where I got my training, everybody names their businesses things like ‘Soul Harmony,’ and gets away with it. On the East Coast, this is openly mocked. I wanted a name that I could pronounce in front of a loan officer without cringing.
More importantly, I wanted to emphasize my conviction that taking excellent care of yourself on all levels–physical, mental, emotional and spiritual–IS practical.
What is impractical, in my view, is waiting to address your health until you have an incapacitating problem, then going to a doctor. This doctor may spend 8-15 minutes examining you, then order expensive diagnostic tests, which your health insurance (if you have it) may or may not pay for. Then a treatment is prescribed which may or may not alleviate your symptoms.
What you usually don’t get, unless you have a truly extraordinary doctor, is: a place where you can talk about everything that bothers you, no matter how long it takes or how seemingly trivial; a treatment environment that relaxes you, instead of sending your nervous system into ‘fight or flight’ mode; uncritical acceptance; and most of all, a treatment that feels incredible and nurtures you on multiple levels.
I am not suggesting that massage therapy is a substitute for medicine. Habitual self-care simply reduces the need for medicine.
This may seem obvious, except that on so many levels, ‘self-care’ is perceived as either self-torture (low-fat diets, punishing exercise, teetotalling) or self-indulgence (spa treatments every week.) My practice is founded on the notion that self-care is just that–listening to what your body needs, and providing it.
Much hoopla has been spouted by the media in recent years, touting the ‘holistic’ approach. In many places it has come to be seen as a synonym for ‘flaky.’ When I am working on a client, however, it is self-evident that she must be treated as a whole. I can’t work on her musculoskeletal system without affecting her nervous system, her immune system, her circulatory system and her myofascial system. Treating these systems has a profound effect on her emotions, her thoughts and her energy level.
People are infinitely greater than the sum of their parts. I do my best to address and honor that.