Advanced Massage Training: “Joys of being a Bodyworker”

A few years ago I wrote a blog piece and got this response from Stacy Liddle, massage therapist and physical therapy assistant.

“I wish to thank-you for this eloquent reminder of one of the joys of being a body worker. Sometimes it starts with that knot that just won’t go away and then becomes oh, so much more.”

When I first learned massage, I helped people feel much better.

But I didn’t feel like I fully knew what I was doing.  When people would ask which muscle I had worked on or why the work was so effective, I wasn’t deeply sure of my response.  My training, like many, didn’t really sufficiently emphasize anatomical details or the physiology of healing.

So I studied Structural Bodywork, an outgrowth of Rolfing, and took workshops with many people in sports and orthopedic massage.  After that I felt confident in my anatomy and was excited to have a positive, systematic impact on my client’s structure and movement.

But I found that there were those stubborn knots that didn’t release, no matter what I tried.  I also found that people sometimes stubbornly maintained movement habits that caused their tension and pain, even when I had suggested some great exercises they could do.

So I began studying energetic and psychological bodyworks.  This helped me identify the psychological and energetic roots of some of those stubborn knots and stubborn habits.  I was excited to help people address the psychological roots of these deeply held tensions.

But I quickly was out of my depth, since I was not a trained psychotherapist.  People needed, I soon realized, someone who could expertly interface with their life story – often a complicated affair that required quite a bit of talking and process.

So I didn’t know what to do!  I wanted to address pain and habits coming for both psychological and physical reasons.  It felt to me incomplete NOT to do so.

Finally in 1986 I was introduced to Zero Balancing.  Zero Balancing has a theory and practice that helps clients access that part of them that lies deeper than their problems.  It was so helpful to me to realize that there was a way with bodywork to access the fundamental health and sanity that we all have at our core.

ZB does this by going deeper than the muscles – our voluntary selves – and going to the core of the bodymind – the skeletal system.

Finally I felt I had the full tool bag!

To do the effective clinical work, we need to know anatomy and postural bodywork; to have a better understanding of the energy and psychology of the body; and to have a deeper understanding of the spiritual strengths lying deep inside the person.  Then we need the technical tools to help on all these levels.

And lastly we need to work on ourselves!  With each new thing we learn, we change – our compassion deepens, we learn new strengths within ourselves and we find new challenges as well.

It is, as Stacy says, one of the “joys of being a bodyworker”, that this learning never stops!