Your body has things to say. I am here to listen.
We have all been to see a doctor in a state of distress with hopes that we will be heard and helped. Yet I know I have left many such appointments feeling invisible and alone. Sometimes a lack of attentive presence when I am most vulnerable can even keep me from asking the questions I intended to. The healthcare problem is systemic, not personal, but it is damaging nonetheless. What we need is to be seen and heard. It is crucial to the wellbeing of every person alive.
One of the greatest values of massage therapy is just that: listening; dedicated, undistracted listening to you and your body for an hour or more. A massage therapist listens to the experience you are having in your body— from the moment you enter the therapy room to the moment you leave– with her eyes, her ears, her hands, her intuition. In turn, you are given the rare hour to listen to your own body, to key into sensation. No phones, no computers, no paperwork drawing you away from yourself or the therapist away from you and what you feel.
Why is it so important to feel what you feel? Keying into sensation is one of the best ways to modulate your nervous system. Most of us walk around all day with our sympathetic nervous systems habitually (and unnecessarily) engaged. Think of your nervous system like a muscle that can flex to various degrees. We may hold the nervous system in flexion subconsciously to protect ourselves from disappointment, failure, rejection, or physical threats like speeding traffic and crowded trains. But just like holding a heavy weight all day long would cause damage to your musculoskeletal system, holding your nervous system in a state of alert causes fatigue and stresses every bodily system. Over time that can be quite damaging. During a massage therapy session, we turn down that nervous tone and restore you to a state of rest so your body can recover and heal.
Massage is time and attention. Of course it is also relieving tension, improving circulation, restoring muscular balance to eliminate pain, and myriad other incredibly beneficial things. At times I am curious, however, whether the experience of being seen is in fact where the healing begins.
That being said, not every person is comfortable being seen. Some may feel vulnerable or even unsafe. I will always meet you where you are and never push. Some need a full-bodied deep tissue session, some need a gentle foot massage. Some need to talk about their experience and some need quiet. There is no right way to be on the table. I will meet you there.
It is no accident that I have chosen two careers that aim to provide human connection, that allow others to feel seen and heard. Alongside working as a massage therapist, I am also an immersive theater performer. Immersive theater is unique in that it is built to create an intimate and meaningful experience for each individual audience member through eye contact, direct address, and inclusion in the narrative. Recently I’ve been co-creating a series of workshops and performances for nurses that look at applying immersive theater skills of connecting authentically to the medical profession. I’m excited to have found this synthesis of my two professional lives.
Life can be chaotic. And our bodies hold our histories. I wish for each of you the time to be seen and attended to so that you may feel honored for your experience and restored to a state of peace.