Continuing education in the massage profession often focuses on the acquisition and refinement of tools (usually techniques, sometimes specific body parts or strokes). Tools are important, but don’t guarantee proficiency by themselves. It is how tools are used that differentiates, that creates mastery. (Think of the best bodywork you’ve ever seen. If you mimicked them exactly, would you get the same results? Probably not as often as you’d like.)
How we use our tools means how we use our bodies: With what range of qualities are we able to touch our clients? What range of depth can we contact? What level of sensitivity can we bring to bear? Are we comfortable in ourselves as we work? Are we examples of what we are trying to evoke in our clients, or is it a case of “Do what I say, not what I do!”?
Whether polarity or NMT is your focus, your body is the chosen
conduit for what you bring to your clients. The quality of that conduit makes
a huge difference in how the work is received and perceived. The quality and
mechanics of our touch is the most important fact in a long and fruitful practice
as bodyworkers. It guarantees the most effective and efficient use of our
available tools, allows us to work more consistently, and stay comfortable
and healthy year after year, as the inevitable lessons and learning continue.
The state of our own structure even effects our own perception and learning as we work. If our bodies are receptive, sensitive, and listening, we will learn more about what the client needs as we touch more and more bodies.
There are many places to look for clues, to find out more about what ease and grace around the table might look like. Some structural and postural approaches have good ideas as well as the martial arts, dance, and some other somatic practices. Every person will have a unique mix that speaks to him or her, but everyone needs to pay attention to the same major signposts as they travel along the path of the practicing bodyworker.
Dameron and Annie have 30 years of bodywork experience between them. Dameron has a Rolfing and Movement practice and teaches in Brunswick. Annie has a Rolfing & Movement practice in Damariscotta and Belfast and teaches at the Downeast School of Massage.