• Jenny Walker

Embracing Change

What is it that keeps leading me back to the human form with such enthusiasm? This was my thought over breakfast today. It will be 17 years in September since I started working with massage and skin care therapy, and at a conservative rough estimate that is around 18,000 hours of giving massage in my lifetime. That’s quite a lot! And yet I still haven’t got to the bottom of how amazing our bodies are; in fact I think I just have more questions than when I started. Every time I go into the treatment studio I am struck a new at the fact that every single massage I give is different.

I have no set routine when I give a massage. I am fortunate to have been blessed with having trained under the best anatomists, massage therapists and professional people in my industry, both here in the U.K and in the States. From this knowledge base I have found a new freedom in the studio - I can listen to my client’s words and bodies, and work with them instead of making them work with me. Through intelligent touch, the ability to trust my intuition and wrap all of what I am observing around the foundational knowledge that I have of the human form, I am able to gently encourage my clients to unwind, relax and move to a new space within their body.

My heart tells me that I found this freedom in the dissection lab in Newark two years ago.

When I got to the lab in New Jersey I entered with around 25 days of experience with dissection; both in classical and layered approaches. Yet it was there that I really got to delve into the uniqueness of the human form. There is something about allowing yourself to be immersed in a subject for a long time, and I was blessed by 18 days with Gil Hedley leading our group through the exploration of the human form.

We had 9 donors with us for those three weeks and I can remember every one of them, as well as the teams working with them. We were treated to seeing the inner cosmos of each form and neither one was the same; they were all unique. They didn’t conform to the standard text books of anatomy; they had their own road maps and their own way of getting around. Although the books were useful to gauging where we were on the road map, the donors all had their own little tails and pathways that were their very own and they shared those with us and enabled our eyes to open and see new journeys and possibilities in our own therapeutic practices.

It was through this three week experience that I learned how to push my own inner boundaries away from the normal context of acceptability, and that applied not only to my personal life, but also my professional ideas. If the client I am treating has unique trails around their body, why would a standard massage work for them? Why should I treat with the presumption that the person under my hands has the same number of attachment points for elevator scapular on both sides of their neck, when in reality I have never dissected a neck with equal definitions?

The thing that leads me back to the studio with renewed enthusiasm each day is that I treat changed people every time I meet them. If we look at the last blog and the words of Ashley Montague

“ ….the skin as a tactile organ very much involved, not alone physically but also behaviourally, in the growth and development of the organism.”

This growth and development happens to each of us between treatments, so even though I may have been helping a client for a few years, each time I see them they are renewed and present with fresh questions.

Massage is never static because you are not static, and I am not static either. You are ever changing, in body, mind and spirit. So the way we work together has to be dynamic and ready for change. This is exciting stuff! I cannot wait to see how you develop and roll, walk forward and grow. You are unique, and so my approach should mirror this so that we can acknowledge the state change and be renewed.

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