The Heart of Bodywork


The other night, at a lovely networking event, I was blessed with meeting another bodyworker, Allison Prettyman, whom I overheard speaking about some unexpected opportunities that had come her way. The lengthy conversation that ensued between us covered common questions concerning our respective feelings around confidence, adequacy, abundance, and fears. As I related my occasional concerns about being adequately skilled enough to work on people, particularly in the face of so many possible modalities, it came back around to a belief I actually already had, but was reminded of and expanded upon in my sharing it with her. That is, that the real potential for healing in the work that we do, the bulk of what we offer, lies not in our training or skill set, but in our connection with our clients.

The prevalent mindset among 'alternative' practitioners is that we - all of us- already have the healing capacity within. A fortunate few, through various awareness trainings or other bestowed gifts, can access this capacity at will. But for the rest of us mere mortals, it would seem that we need an external 'trigger'. I find it no small realization that the highest accomplishments of human achievement and awareness come out of a group effort.. collaboration, mutual support, community. I see this message again and again... after all, humans are 'social animals',  and if you subscribe to the idea that we are all individual manifestations of Spirit, then coming together in any effort is that much closer to re-creating One-ness.

I believe, in so many situations, what we humans are really seeking is connection, especially with a listening ear and an open heart. What does the therapeutic relationship offer to a body who is hurting? A safe space away (even if briefly) from the stressors of daily life; an invitation to lay one's burdens down and relax; a centered person who can receive the client's 'story' with detached compassion, objectivity and loving-kindness. And, hey, if they get some good bodywork along with that, that's just icing on the cake!

My statement to this new friend was that I believed the real healing power to be the heart connection we make with our clients. Knowledge of technique and proficiency in one's modality is very important, but we, as practitioners, should not underestimate what natural gifts we have as human beings that we bring into the treatment room.

(Many thanks to A. P. for reminding me of this..!)