Grad Chronicle – Natalie Durkin

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Natalie Durkin, LMT

I attended Semesters 1 & 2 at TLC during 1999-2000. My immediate passion became working with clients for pain management, sports performance, and rehabilitative/restorative bodywork. In my first years starting out, I continued to work part-time in corporate office environments while completing my licensing requirements and building my practice.

In the Winter of 2002 I was laid off from the corporate job, which although terrifying in the immediate, it was the springboard I used to get serious and make my career as a full-time, sole-proprietor massage therapist come to life. It’s been nearly 15 years since I started, and I’m still at it!

Through the years, I have worked in most aspects of the therapeutic massage industry, ranging from outcalls, to chair massage at ABIA, to contracting for chiropractors and acupuncturists, and even worked with fellow massage therapists to create online support tools for less-experienced LMTs. I have worked with NCAA Basketball MVPs and Olympic Athletes from disciplines ranging from swimming, diving and beach volleyball. Let’s not forget countless weekend warriors and ultra-stressed office workers.

I have been in private practice for the last 10 years, and currently see my clients at my studio located on 11th Street near the Capitol. I also teach and compete in Tai Chi, training students of all levels, and have won Tournament Grand Champion at competitions. I currently enjoy incorporating aspects of Tai Chi postural alignment into my client education suggestions.

My advice for new therapists? Hang in there, stay focused, and provide excellent service. Be accountable in your business practices as well as having healing hands. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or to let clients go who aren’t a good fit; there is enough work for everyone. Consider joining a networking group, or using a professional coach when starting out. Most of all, never ever lose sight of the help, peace-of-mind (and body!), and well-being that you provide to folks on a daily basis. You are awesome and your clients love you!

N

READING EMOTIONS THROUGH THE ENERGY BODY

by Jim McCormick

CLIENT: MALE, 45, Engineer, healthy

ZB FRAME: “I WANT YOU TO HELP ME REMOVE MY DOUBT.”

ZB SESSION:

The client didn’t specify exactly what doubt he wanted to get rid of. He was not really open to doing a lot of processing about it verbally. When he asked for that frame I immediately had a lot of doubt. Could I really deliver on that request? Was Zero Balancing really able to help clients in that way? I hadn’t really done it before.

I debated internally whether to accept this frame as the final goal for the session, and finally decided to go ahead with that as the frame, despite my reservations.

I began the session in the typical ZB way evaluating the body sitting and what I found was unremarkable. I certainly had no clue about how to help his doubts.

However, when I went to his feet to do what we call a half moon vector I was astonished. I began to feel or sense energy pockets or energy patterns within the energy field of his overall body/mind that had a signature of doubt. The overall field had patterns like the silvery light of the moon on the sea at night. Within that field were different areas were darker and less clear. It hit me that these were the areas of doubt. They caused me to read “doubt” like you would if you were talking to a person who had doubt – there was an vibration particular to that emotion. As I went through the Zero balancing protocol working with the whole body I felt many such areas.

Having not had that experience before, I wasn’t sure, but I decided to act as if these denser, different areas were in fact where his doubt was residing in his body and in his energy field. When I put “fulcrums” through these areas, or put traction to pull energy through these areas, the quality of the patterns changed. The difference between these areas and other areas of the body lessened. The whole field felt smoother and more congruent and coherent, and more uniformly lit up..

By the time I finished we hadn’t said a word, but I felt his system was much easier, lighter, and more integrated. He came off the table and felt lighter and clearer and over the next days continued to feel clearer and to experience less doubt.

What was most remarkable about the session was not even so much this particular outcome, but the learning I experienced from doing the session. From that day forward I started to pay more and more attention to the quality of the blockages that I found in people’s body. I learned that I could feel the signature of any emotion or any sensation in their bodies. Each emotion and sensation had a particular energetic signature which was unique and which I could learn to read.

If I found a place of held or blocked energy in someone’s body, I began to feel more deeply and more curiously into the vibration. I paid more careful attention without trying to change it. Just to be with it. I would ask myself, or ask their system, “What is the emotion or sensation being held there.” Trying to feel what the emotion was. Fear had a very different vibratory quality than anger or than grief. Initially I started paying attention to the major emotions, (fear, grief, anger, joy) as they were the strongest and clearest, and therefore the easiest to feel. After some time I realized any sensation that a person might be experiencing could be felt through it’s own unique vibration. If someone had indecision; agitation; indifference; guilt; lack of motivation and many others, all of these sensations showed up in their energetic field and could be identified and then worked with by me as the practitioner.

Sometimes this meant just continuing to do the bodywork – but maybe with a different quality to my touch. If someone had fear, I might continue to work in the same places and do very similar treatments but I might do it with a very different quality of touch. I learned that not only could I “read” an emotion in someone through my hands, I could give an emotion with my hands. I might touch with the same quality anyone would use if you were to pick up a small frightened child you wanted to comfort – you would hold them in such a way that they felt safe and secure. So for an adult client with fear I would do the fulcrums with that quality of touch and found that it created much greater positive change in the client. Clients with major fears calmed down, without ever saying anything to them about their fear.

On the other hand, sometimes this opened up a whole new avenue of healing for the person. I might say to them: “I can feel a sensation in your body – I think it is fear. Are you feeling afraid?” One early person I said that to replied, “Only a mountain of it.” This led a huge outpouring of feeling and tears from her. We had a long conversation we’d never had before about her fears and this led to major changes in her for that session but also over time. The possibility of verbally processing emotions discovered through the body/mind connection via touch opened much deeper avenues of healing and change for people and led me to work in very different ways.

And, this was but one of hundreds of such sessions where the person’s experience is palpable in their body and in their field and working with this vibration takes a person way beyond helping their reported symptom to helping them connect to their core selves and grow personally.

So, the request that I help someone with their doubt, led to major revisions in how I worked and how much more I was able to help clients. This continues to be a major way of working – and allows the same Zero Balancing protocol to be performed in many different ways that mirror both the physical and the emotional experience of the client and actually help them progress faster and deeper in their lives.


Learn more at the Touching the Whole Person – An Advanced Zero Balancing workshop with Jim McCormick on Thursday – Sunday, October 30 – November 2. CLICK HERE to register today!

Hooked on Acupressure

by Dr. Gayl Hubatch OMD, LMT instructor

I use acupressure for everything – from my own muscle stiffness after a workout, headache or trouble sleeping to giving hour-long treatments in my professional clinic. When my spouse or daughter has a headache or allergies, they are always asking for my ‘point holding”.  Acupressure relives pain and sinus pressure instantaneously. It’s quite remarkable really.

My daughter’s in her 30’s now and it was her birth that actually led me to Chinese medicine. I had such a profound experience in giving birth and feeling such dynamic life force moving through me that I pursued the question: “What is Chi (Qi)”. It’s been a life long learning as now my practice is 30 years in the making. Time flies.. I must be having fun! Studying Acupressure led me to massage therapy in Eugene, Oregon and then to qigong and Chinese medicine in Santa Fe, NM and then Austin. My acupuncture practice in Lakeway is 20 years old this year!

The purpose of teaching Bodymind acupressure is to share my passion with qi and help others to learn how to access the intricate and powerful web of the meridian system with only their hands and intention. Accurately locating acupressure points is important but more importantly is cultivating intentionality and the use of conscious breath. This upcoming class will give you a real experience of qi and practical techniques to use professionally and personally. You will be hooked!


Learn more about acupressure at the Mindbody Acupressure with Gayl Hubatch on Sunday, October 5. CLICK HERE for more information.

Myofascial Techniques for the Thorax and Diaphragms

by Liz Hoffmaster

Let’s look at the rectus abdominus (RA) muscle and a role it plays in our lives. We are a culture obsessed with core work. In truth, 95% of all abdominal core work is done with severely or mildly bulging abdominals. You have to wonder why one would want to do this? The result is a rectus abdominus that is a half inch thick and the underlying support structures….transverse abdominus (TVA) and our precious rotators, internal and external oblique (IO & EO)…… thin and unable to do what they are supposed to do. This causes many problems, not the least of which is that other muscles can’t do their job!

Number one on the dance card is the diaphragm. RA stops it from full excursion in the torso, primarily in exhalation. Why? Because an overused RA keeps the anterior ribs high, and they can’t fully drop down as you breathe out. This drop naturally allows the diaphragm to fully rise up in the torso. This simple activity promotes parasympathetic activity, and allows the neck and shoulder to relax. How many people do you know who lie on their back and you notice their ribs are stuck up in the air as you work on their neck and shoulders and marvel at how tight they are?

So one of the most important things you will learn is how to quieten the rectus abdominus. In turn your client’s neck and shoulders will thank you.


Learn more at the Myofascial Techniques for the Thorax and Diaphragms workshop with Liz Hoffmaster. CLICK HERE to register today!

How to Choose a Good Massage Therapist

How to Choose: 5 Characteristics of a Good Massage Therapist

good-massage-therapistDo you hop from massage therapist to massage therapist or feel like you’ve tried them all but can’t settle on one? Maybe there’s a good reason! Finding a massage therapist who is the complete package can be challenging, and depending on what is important to you, may seem near impossible.

Since the benefits of sticking with one massage therapist are so great, consider using these five characteristics when assessing the quality of your massage therapist the next time you find yourself on the table.

Massage Training:

Your massage therapist’s education will be important to you the second their hands come down on you on that massage table, so before you get that far, save yourself the time and money and do some research. These days, it is common to find most of the information you’ll need about your LMT’s background on their website. However, there are still a few tech-stragglers in this industry and also those who consciously choose not to advertise online. If this is the case with the massage therapist you are considering, it is in your interest to call or email them ahead of time to ask for more information about their training. Since it is possible to be injured by your therapist on the massage table, and it is absolutely possible to waste your money on a so-so massage. Don’t risk it!

Professionalism:

Another assessment you can start to make before you climb on the massage table is the level of professionalism of your massage therapist. Does she have a website, and if so, is it well done and comprehensive? If there is no web site, is their correspondence with you professional – is it timely and official? If so, this indicates they recognize they are running a professional business and are interested in earning yours, which usually indicates you will receive good customer service all around. If not, they may not be a dedicated massage therapist or have too much else going on in their business or private life, which could indicate you will be chasing them around for appointments in the future. Save your energy! There are plenty of other massage therapists out there to choose from.

Massage Atmosphere:

Atmosphere is an interesting assessment tool. Is the space easy to find, clean and comfortable? It should be! As a massage therapist who runs a private practice, your therapist is in charge of his or her own space. But even if your massage therapist works for a spa or chain, how the contribute (or detract) from the atmosphere matters, too. When you meet your massage therapist for the first time, are they calming and welcoming or frazzled and rushed? Do you feel like they are in charge and comfortable in their surroundings or just ready to get through the massage? Even if you don’t invest much belief in energetic bodywork, a massage therapist who is late to a session or uncomfortable in their surroundings can sure churn up some air. If this happens, take your time getting undressed and on the table to allow the massage therapist some time to settle down – massage therapists are people, too, and sometimes things happen. If the atmosphere doesn’t improve when your LMT returns, you may have a problem going forward. Your massage therapist should not only be able to control the atmosphere both physically and energetically but also recognize if they are contributing to the potential dysfunction. Skip the turbulence!

Mindfulness:

Your potential massage therapist’s mindfulness may show up in their professionalism and even more so in how the affect their atmosphere, but certainly when they begin talking with you about your session and then lay their hands on you, you should be able to tell if they are being thoughtful about what they are offering you. Do their hands come off you frequently only to reengage somewhere you weren’t anticipating? Did they address the areas and concerns you asked them to? Was anything about the session rushed – do you feel rushed even just lying there on the table? Whether your LMT’s strokes feel jumpy or if you catch yourself feeling jumpy, this is usually an indicator your massage therapist is not truly “plugged in” to what he or she is doing and how your body is responding to their work. Mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools a massage therapist has in this line of work.

If the whole session feels “off,” unplug! Look for a massage therapist who can stay connected to what is going on in front of them. The quality of work from a “plugged in” massage therapist is worth it.

Consistency:

In some ways, consistency is the most telling characteristic of a good massage therapist. A massage therapist who is continually well-trained, always professional, who has your room ready and makes you feel comfortable and who regularly mindful of their work and your body’s response to it is a good massage therapist. Yes, every massage therapist runs late once, has an “off day” or a massage session that doesn’t quite turn out how they’d like it to, but if you are considering each of these five characteristics when assessing them, you’ll be able to tell if your massage therapist is dealing with a chronic issue or a one-off disaster.

Good luck on your good massage therapist hunt! Remember, if you find a good one, sick with them! Seeing the same massage therapist regularly has huge benefits , and that, in and of itself, will lead to a more satisfying massage experience for you all around.


Start your new career as a massage therapist today! CLICK HERE to see upcoming class schedules.

Want a great massage? CLICK HERE to request an appointment at the Student Clinic!

What’s Better Self-Employment or Massage Jobs

What’s Better? Self-Employment vs. Getting a Massage Job

A massage job, often massage jobs, or self-employment, I’ve done them both. But what’s better? Obviously, the answer depends completely on you – your needs and goals, your dreams – but I’d like to share my experience with you in an effort to shed some light on this debate. As someone who has a private practice, you may be surprised with what I have to say.

experience (1)Self-Employment: It’s Why Most of Us are Doing This

If we’re honest, most of us are in this industry to have control over our finances or time – and if you’re more altruistic than I am, even over the value of the services we provide – or all three! And self-employment with a private massage practice is key to meeting that need for control.

I went to massage school to work for myself. With young children, I needed to maximize my income and work as little as possible. Though I loved massage and moving and serving others, love for the work as a provider came later. I incentivized my internship clients to follow me into the real world, graduated from massage and started the rough road to earning money for myself.

Though it is a rough road, seven years later, I now have just the number of clients I want, make an income that serves me and have control over my finances, time and quality of the services and work I offer. It is very rewarding, and I can’t imagine going back to my “old life.”

Currently, I do not have any massage jobs. Self-employment is working really well for me. But this hasn’t always been the case, and I know this won’t always be true, either.

I’ll tell you why…

One Reason Every LMT Should Get a Massage Job

I believe every new and experienced massage therapist, both, need a massage job at least once, if not repeatedly, throughout their massage career.

You don’t know it all.

Five years after becoming a licensed massage therapist, I took a part-time position at local Massage Heights, providing therapeutic touch 20 hours per week to, usually, 20 different bodies with different needs. I went through internship in massage school just like the rest of you, and thought I was well-prepared for this industry. Until then.

After I graduated from massage school, I launched right into a private massage practice. That was the whole reason I went to massage school – I wanted to work for myself when I wanted to work. And I did. I provided your basic massage session to anyone who came looking for one while I worked a “day job.” But because I was just starting out, my clients were few in number and frequency, and as a result, the experience I had been building on during my internship stalled-out in the real world.

The lesson I learned? When it comes to being a competent massage therapist, running a private massage practice, which includes marketing, billing and scheduling, does not compare to just doing massage over and over and every day.
You can memorize human anatomy and physiology – it is finite. Eventually, though daunting for most of us, we can learn it all! But without hands-on experience, without first-hand knowledge of how a body responds to therapeutic touch, you haven’t learned how to be a massage therapist. Not really.

Massage chains can support your learning and gaining of experience to you better than any other employer – including you. Finding clients, bodies for you to work on, is what they do best. And there are always massage jobs with a massage chain.

In the end, remember massage is called a practice. After the classes and the internship hours are over, and when your state-issued massage license is in-hand, there is still a long road ahead. Use the tools available in this industry to get your hands on as many bodies as possible. And while you’re at it, build that private practice you started out to create. You’ll never be done learning, so there’s no reason not to start now!


Start your new career as a Massage Therapist today! CLICK HERE to see our upcoming class schedules!

Massage School | Success as a Student & Therapist

massage-school-success-balance (1)Success: How to Get the Most Out of Massage School and Beyond

Success in massage school not only means you learned how to give a good massage, but that you also understand how the human body works, what pains it and how it can heal through massage therapy. Also, since just about anyone is eligible to attend massage school, success during the education process also will mean your understanding and skills surpass the abilities of many other licensed massage therapists in the job market. Despite this, many massage school students find getting the most out of their education is harder than expected – but also that their hard work pays off in the future.

To get everything you can out of your massage school experience, practice these steps.

1. Be Prepared: Know what to expect. Massage school is not like high school. It is not a typical trade school. And it is not like college. In addition to required course hours and lectures and hands-on work, massage school also requires professionalism, intuition, experimentation, dedication and practice, practice, practice. When you register for classes, be sure you understand how the program works, and review your school’s student handbook to understand what is expected of you while in class.
It’s also a good idea to talk to existing licensed massage therapists about their experiences in massage school. Don’t just ask what they loved about it. Be sure to ask what caught them off guard, or what they felt unprepared for. Then make yourself ready!

This practice of preparation will serve you well not only in future job interviews, but also as you design massage sessions for your future clients.

2. Keep Balanced: Since massage school is both physically and intellectually demanding, it is important to keep mentally and physically healthy while in school. It is not uncommon for massage school students to be overwhelmed by project deadlines or practical tests and forget to take care in their personal lives and with their whole, personal wellness. Also in massage therapy, your body and mind are your tools, they are how you are able to perform your craft. They need to serve you well.

Furthermore, as a licensed massage therapist, whether you like it or not, you will often find yourself in the position of a “healthy lifestyle role model” to your clients. Practicing this lifestyle, which is often little more than a balancing act, while in massage school will help you transition into your professional role as a well-balanced, massage therapist.

3. Prioritize & Strategize: Can you identify what is most important in your life? Spending time on the things that matter most is not only a good life skill, it will also serve you in massage school. Do you need to take care of a looming work assignment or study for a looming anatomy test first? Is there any give on either deadline? If you have to get them both done, how are you going to make that happen? Is there anyone who can help? Be ready to get creative. Since most massage school students also often work or participate in other educational programs while in school, these issues are bound to come up.

When you have multiple roles, whether you also have to answer the phones and check out clients or address a chronic neck problem and a new issue with a foot in one session plus your non-work-life, there will always be more than one thing demanding your attention. Knowing what is most important will help you maintain your professionalism while getting things done.

4. Go, go, go: As with any educational program, being on-time and having good attendance is key to getting the most you can out of massage school. In massage school, each class and its assignments often builds on the next. Missing classes can cause you to fall more than anticipated – perhaps months to a year – since massage therapy licensure often requires a certain amount of hours taken in each subject. If your massage program, for example, only offers one program at a time or offers only one daytime class and one evening class, making up classes can often be daunting.

Professionally, licensed massage therapists are not only expected to be punctual but also have time in advance to prepare for their first appointment. So many massage therapists will tell you the appointment begins 30 minutes before the client even arrives! Similarly, it is important to not miss work frequently. A massage therapist who doesn’t show up to work on time or with consistency will not gain favor with front desk staff and managers who have to scramble to cover or reschedule clients.

Even massage therapists who are self-employed are accountable to their clients – a tardy or “missing-in-action” massage therapist does not keep clients, get referrals and grow their business.

5. Pour Yourself Into It: Name, if you can, something in life to which this statement does not apply: you will get out of it what you put into it. Massage school is not an exception. You will get out of massage school what you put into it. For this reason, go beyond what you are doing or asked to do and pour yourself into your class work. Investigate interesting topics you learn about in class, consider massage modalities you might be interested, get regular massage yourself, learn the history and follow massage industry trends. Reading current journals, articles and magazines during school will give you added insight into the curriculum that other students will not have. It will also give you a more comprehensive understanding of the material you are covering.

After massage school, pouring yourself into this work keep you a step ahead of your peers in the massage industry. Managers and clients, alike, will recognize not only your skill but knowledge, and both will set you a part.

So massage school isn’t like any other education program you’ve participated in? You can do it! In massage school, you can learn how to give a good massage and be successful in business. Just practice these steps – prepare, stay balanced, prioritize, show up and be passionate – and your effort will show. Good luck, future massage therapists!

Massage Therapy as a Second Job: Benefits and Barriers

Diary of a Massage Therapist

education-checkboxSome of you know me already. My name is Jennifer Bonessi, formerly Shaw, and I’ve been a massage therapist with a private practice in Austin since 2007. You may also know, I was the Marketing Director at Lauterstein-Conway Massage School for several years. I have also worked for a massage chain but I also have experience in everything from childcare to cold-calling and sales, human resources and accounting. Currently, I am a blogger, freelance marketing consultant and yoga instructor.

Why is my job history relevant? Because, at one time or another, I did all these jobs while building and running a private massage practice. And, according to the American Massage Therapy Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), in 2012, so did 81 percent of all massage therapists.

While there is nothing easy about a job well done, it is absolutely possible to balance a second job and earn extra income as a licensed massage therapist. Like any job, there are barriers to success, but the benefits are worth it.

Benefits: How Much Do Massage Therapists Make?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get about being a massage therapist. People know what they pay a massage therapist to serve them, but often times, they don’t understand how often we work, therefore having no concept of our income potential as their massage therapist.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2013 the median annual wage for massage therapists was just shy of $36,000. The highest earning 10 percent in the profession made just over $70,000, and the bottom 10 percent made a salary $18,400 annually.

The AMTA reports in 2012, the average massage therapist made an annual salary of more than $20,000 working, on average, 17 hours per week. The average hourly wage was $31/hour, taking into account therapists who work for themselves and those who work in other settings.

Personally, I charge $70 per hour for a Swedish massage. Though I have often had my own space, these days I rent a room by the hour to keep my overhead low, and like the industry average, I’ve worked anywhere from 4-20 hours each week, depending on my life and the time of the year. I live off my primary, freelance income and use the extra income I earn from massage to take trips, build my savings and manage common life issues like, for example, a broken down car.

The extra income massage affords me, and the control I have over it, is really helpful to my family.

Other Benefits of Massage as a Second Job

  1. Benefit: If you have to take a second job, shouldn’t it be something powerful? Performing massage therapy to relax or ease the pain of our fellow humans is hugely rewarding. For this reason, often times after a session I don’t feel like I’ve worked at all, but I’ve earned some money and helped someone in the process.
  2. Benefit: Massage therapy, even if you work for a chain, is very flexible. Often times you can make your own hours, even with clients clamoring for certain timeslots. If I have something happening one evening of the week, I just take it off. If I need a boost in income before the weekend, I make sure I’m working!
  3. Benefit: During your massage sessions, you design the pace and movement of your time with the client. If you need to sit, there are plenty of things you can do while sitting. If you’ve already been sitting all day, you can move around.

Barrier: Time Management

As with anything, there are struggles anyone with a second job faces that do apply to this profession, as well. The most hindering barrier I experienced to having a successful second career as a massage therapist was (and still is) related to time management.

Being available to your clients is critical to success, and with a primary job that is largely controlled by someone or something else – a boss or a deadline – it is often a complicated matter to be readily accessible to massage clients. In my early days, I found myself begging bosses to let me work during my lunch hour, so I could get off an hour early for a session or take a longer lunch, so I could squeeze a session in between work hours. But I did it! And one of those clients I smashed in between other obligations is still with me six years later.

Those interested in earning extra income working evenings and weekends should know, whether you work for yourself or a massage chain, this goal is completely achievable if you choose to pursue massage as a second career. Even if you need to perform massage during the daytime hours, eventually, regardless of your schedule, you will build a base of regular massage clients with whom you have rapport and who understand your availability and will be willing to accommodate you just as much as you are willing to accommodate them.

Other Barriers to Massage as a Second Job

  1. First, if you don’t make an effort, you will not get any of the benefits this career can offer you. If you can’t market yourself, organize your business or struggle with time management, consider working for a massage chain or spa. The chains manage all the grunt work. You just have to show up!
  2. If you are shy about talking with others about your work, you may struggle. Since referrals and regular clients are the foundation of your success, people have to know what you do.
  3. Don’t get rusty, either! When business is slow be sure to practice. Because massage as a second job means you are likely doing it less frequently than your day job and certainly less frequently than a full-time therapist, you need to keep your skills in tune.

Massage therapy is a rewarding second career. If you are seriously considering taking on a second job, I encourage you to learn more about this profession by talking to your massage therapist and by interviewing the admissions counselor at a local massage school. Finally, take a hard look at your income needs and current work schedule. Massage is a great second career, and even though it is still work, you can do it! It’s work worth doing.


Start your new career as a massage therapist – enroll in one of our upcoming classes today! CLICK HERE to apply today!

A Brief History of Anatomy Trains

Tom Myers, the founder of Anatomy Trains, says: “I developed the Anatomy Trains during the 1990’s as a game for students to play when I was teaching Fascial Anatomy at the Rolf Institute . All the books you can find put forward the ‘single-muscle’ theory, but Ida Rolf kept saying, “It’s all connected through the fascia.” Other than invoking the image of a grapefruit or a loofah, how do you make this real?

“Just as an exercise to cement the students’ knowledge, I began stringing the muscles together through the fascia. This idea was initiated when Dr Jim Oschman gave me an article by Raymond Dart, anthropologist and Alexander Technique student, that linked the muscle in the trunk in a double-spiral arrangement (which shows up here as part of the Spiral Line). Using this as a base, I expanded Dart’s idea to the whole body, to help students see connections by stringing muscles together like sausage links – anywhere that went, or could go in some positions, in a more-or-less straight line.

“After a few teaching iterations, the whole project became so interesting that I started to systematize these connections, with the help of my friend Annie Wyman, and the picture of the lines started to become clear. I started to see the lines in assessing my clients, and then started building sessions around these lines.

“Moving toward publishing happened as a happy coincidence. One of my students (in my very small early classes for massage therapists in Maine) loved these lines, and said, “I’m going out to Hawaii to teach these lines to Lee Joseph’s students!” (His was another structurally-related school of bodywork.) I realized that if I was going to lay claim to this idea and have it come out correctly, I needed to write it down. At the same time, Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O. was forming the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, and was calling in his chits with all his old friends to get articles to start this venture off.

“These original Journal articles proved so popular that the publisher, Churchill Livingstone asked me to write a book on the idea. The book was published in 2001 and has now been translated into seven other languages – German, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Russian, and Chinese.

“After the original publication, I found earlier iteration of similar ideas – in the meridians of acupuncture, of course, but also in the sketches of Leonardo, in Hoepke, a German anatomist of the 1930′s, and in the work of Françoise Meziére in France.

“Later, it struck me – suddenly, like Saul on the road to Damascus – that the Anatomy Trains schema offered a logical lens through which to view Ida Rolf’s ten-session Structural Integration recipe. In other words, the recipe could be reconfigured slightly to unfold via a progressive opening of these lines. Thus, Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI) was born.

“Structural Integration (popularly known as ‘rolfing’) always labored under the burden that, when asked why the ‘recipe’ proceeds as it does, the answer is, “Well, Ida said…” The Anatomy Trains gives a logical reason for the progression of the SI sessions, understandable by professionals and the public alike. Students seem to agree, and the KMI Professional Certification has flourished since, with nearly 200 fully-trained practitioners in the US and abroad.

“Since 1998, I have taught more than 200 workshops in the Anatomy Trains. To my surprise, interest has burgeoned from the original audience of massage therapists to PT’s, chiropractors, yoga teachers, and personal trainers. Because the increasing demand outstripped my ability to be everywhere at once, we have created more supporting products and trained a diverse and wonderful Kinesis faculty to spread the Anatomy Trains ‘gospel’ – a systems-oriented view of our musculo-skeletal anatomy.

“In 2004, and again in 2006, we went into the dissection lab and came out with some revealing photo and video confirmation of the Anatomy Trains as palpable entities in the human body.

“With the advent of the extended faculty, the translations into a variety of languages, the interactive forum and application sections of this site, Anatomy Trains is rapidly becoming a world-wide participatory event in getting connected through the neuro-myo-fascial web!”


Register for the Anatomy Trains workshop on August 15-17 with Carrie Gaynor. CLICK HERE to register today!

Grad Chronicle – Amanda Jainté Shanteé Chaboudy

Amanda Hill copyby Amanda Jainté Shanteé Chaboudy

My recent story is a very happy one. Like most therapists, however, I was drawn to massage because of the suffering I have witnessed in my life, and the amplified desire to help others, and to find happiness in my work and life.

Since Memorial Day has just passed and my story is strongly linked to a Fallen Soldier, I would like to start with her story. Her name was SPC Nichole Marie Frye. Nichole was 19 years old when she was killed in action on February 16, 2004.

I met SPC Nichole Frye February 15, 2004, the day before she passed. She worked Civil Affairs at a desk 20 feet from mine at the Government building in Baquabah, Iraq. We were coming back from chow and we started chatting. I don’t remember specifics but I am sure I was telling her the do’s and dont’s since she was new. We ended up bonding over similar thoughts on hair and nails. We decided to try and have a “sleep over”. I know very girly and not very soldier like. I asked my supervisor if I could stay at the government building and hang out with SPC Frye. I told him that there was a convoy looking for a driver and I could come back in the morning. He said no. At the time, I was irritated that he said no but that decision saved my life. Thank you SGT Davis! SPC Frye, volunteered that next morning to drive in a convoy that was coming to my camp. Nichole was going to hang out with me at Camp Warhorse. I woke up to a massive explosion that next morning. An improvised explosive device had detonated at the front gate. SPC Frye was driving. My unit and the other units in my area of operation had lost soldiers but she was the first female. It changed everyone, especial me. It felt like I went from being surrounded by hundreds of comrades to having hundreds of over protective brothers.

Nichole and I had a lot in common. We both were cheerleaders in high school, both short with brown eyes and brown hair, and we both had loving families waiting for us back home. I wish I would have had more time to get to know her. She was very sweet and fun. All of these things made me realize how precious life is. Since then I make every decision considering that she didn’t get the opportunity. I told myself I can take my life for granted. Her memory deserves better than that. This is why I have 127 credit hours almost 5 different associates degrees. I knew that I needed to live a life doing what make me happy and will offer me the low stress life style I want. After getting my associates degree in Criminal Justice Law Enforcement I began to fill out applications.

For some reason I just couldn’t go through with it. I realized I hadn’t found that career that will make me happy. I knew I wanted to help people. When researching my next move I came across massage. I found Lauterstein-Conway Massage School. I am so glad I did! The instructors, the curriculum, and my fellow students were amazing. I had such a wonderful experience. I felt like my class became my family. When you walked in everyone would greet you. It was like walking into your living room full of your family. I never felt judged. I always felt excepted for who I am. It made for a very productive learning environment. It was really great to create such wonderful long-lasting relationships. I graduated in February 2014 and I am now employed at Mecca Gym and Spa.

Looking for a job was relatively easy. I got accepted at the first place I applied too. I feel very lucky to be working at such a great place and I know that without my training at the school I would not have been able to get hired there. Mecca Gym and Spa typically doesn’t hire massage therapist that don’t have several years experience. While Lauterstein-Conway Massage School offers a very specific curriculum, it’s consistency and quality of the training allows for there to be a positive expectation on what you are capable as a graduated from there. I think that employers like to know what they are getting in a therapist.

Once I started working at Mecca Gym and Spa my technique and style of massage, even after such a short period of time, has developed in a style that is unique to me but that is supported by the knowledge and support from Lauterstein-Conway Massage school.

It has taken me until the age of 31 to find my career. It’s been a long journey. Thank you SPC Nichole Frye for your sacrifice. Thank you to the support of my friends and family, and thank you to Lauterstein-Conway Massage School!