Giving and receiving Zero Balancing bodywork sessions

I’m currently running a special in my bodywork/changework practice in Austin, Texas, for Zero Balancing: The first session is pay-what-you-wish ($25-40 range suggested), and follow-up sessions are only $45, down from $60, through June 15, 2016. If you’re interested in benefitting, go to my website and book a 45-minute session.

Come in, receive the session, and pay afterwards, deciding if you want to buy a package of three ZB sessions for $135 or just do the one session. You can buy as many packages as you want at this price, but only through June 15. You can rebook single sessions for $45 each any time before then as well.

I recommend getting three sessions 7-10 days apart to help train your body to retain the changes, and then come in as needed for maintenance (monthly or when you feel you need it). But if one session is all you can do, I invite you to come experience it!

Continue reading

When the healer needs healing: chronic pain in a sacroiliac joint

There’s an old saying that people go into healing professions to heal themselves.

I believe it’s true. I went to many healers seeking healing of my own body, mind, heart, and spirit. All of those healers helped me, and none hurt me.

Could I have saved myself pain, time, and money by knowing which kind of healer I needed most for what issue? Yes. I didn’t have a guide, just my own knowledge and intuition and willingness to see what worked.

For the longest time it never occurred to me that I could become a healer. I liked the people who worked on healing me. Their work seemed more interesting than my jobs in government and technology. They were obviously caring people who had honed various kinds of healing skills, and the healing work seemed to be an extension of who they were, not just a job they did.

When I finally began to think about what I wanted to do in “retirement,” healing came to mind…and here I am, in a new profession, offering massage therapy, bodywork, and changework.

For 19 years, since a car wreck on April 24, 1996, I have had semi-chronic pain in one of my sacroiliac joints. In the accident, my lap belt held, my shoulder belt didn’t, the air bag didn’t deploy, there were two head-banging impacts (I was knocked unconscious), and my sacroiliac joints took the brunt of the trauma when my upper body tried to separate from my lower body.

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Last week I got the help I needed to know how to fix it.  Continue reading

In praise of reflexology and reflexology sandals.

Last Sunday, I took a reflexology workshop at the Lauterstein-Conway Massage school to further my bodywork skills. It was awesome. Although some people are very ticklish, most people love having their feet worked on, so it was great to expand my knowledge of the body and to begin to develop new skills.

I learned how much just working on the feet can do for the whole body. I now know of two very experienced massage therapists/teachers who begin and end with the feet. I’m changing the way I work to do this myself.

You’ve probably seen those charts that match parts of the body to parts of the feet. I had a massage client on Wednesday who told me she was feeling stressed and in need of support for her adrenal glands, makers of stress hormones. When I got to the adrenal points on her feet, they were very tender.

In reflexology, we ease up on the tender places but stay longer, gradually increasing pleasure as good energy returns.

I do find it miraculously wonderful that points on our feet can affect our glands, organs, and other body parts remotely.

One of my fellow students at the workshop was wearing sandals with little nubs on the insoles. Reflexology sandals! She said if she doesn’t wear them, her back hurts. If she wears them, her back doesn’t hurt. That’s a pretty solid testimonial.

My back is fine, but my feet have been hurting — not in the typical way of tired, overworked feet but of feet needing more stimulation, now that I’m back working at a computer to recoup financially from a year off work.

As I’ve posted before, sitting all day is not healthy. I get up and walk around, but it’s not enough.

So I bought myself some reflexology sandals, and I have to say, I love them! They feel great, the little nubs pressing into my soles with each step. They’re very casual (could work as beach sandals or shower shoes) or I’d be wearing them all the time.

(I once had a nubby bathmat that was pure heaven to step on in the morning. Wish I’d saved it when it wore out — could have cut it into nubby insoles!)

I rarely write testimonials for products, but I want to let you know about these, since this blog focuses on wellness and health.

The sandals are made by Adidas, and the style is called Adissage. And actually, I would have preferred a less flashy style without the brand name, and it would be nice to have nubs where the round logo is in the heel. Ah, well.  I’ll compromise on the looks because the feel is so great — and maybe someone else will design a pair that matches my taste.

You can get them at Footlocker, Academy, Amazon, Zappos, and other places for $20-30. They’re available for women, men, and children.

I bet your feet will love them as much as mine do.

Next week I’ll be working from home most days. Can’t wait! I’ll either be barefoot or wearing these.

Looking back on a year full of changes

This past year held a lot of change for me. The previous year, 2010, was a year of sitting in meditation daily, and I very nearly accomplished that. It was a year of contemplation, exploring my identity, waking up, and getting clear.

The changes in 2011 helped my external life — how I live in the world — match up better with how my energy and identity had changed after all that meditation.

Changes to the blog

This blog had gotten 5,000 views in January and is ending the year with nearly 27,000. Readership really accelerated. I felt like I hit my stride in the second year, and I want to keep getting better. I currently have 156 followers, which includes WordPress and email subscribers as well as Twitter followers.

I redesigned and renamed the blog (from The Zafu Report) at the beginning of 2011 and stuck with the same template, albeit changing the photo often, for the entire year. I broadened the topics from mostly posting about meditation and yoga to posting about wellness and aliveness. I began including posts about healthy eating and reviews of movies that I’ve found inspiring and expansive.

My intent for 2012 is to be more personal in my writing. I noticed that those are the posts that get the most views, likes, and comments, not the reposts. I will still share the juicy information I come across, but I’ll also tell you why it’s meaningful to me. I’d love to have more comments from you.

Selling my house and moving into a trailer

My house was on the market in January 2011, and I closed and moved out in late February. I immediately bought the vintage Spartan Carousel that I’d had my eye on online for months. I put household stuff in storage (what remained after paring down) and moved in with dear friends until I could get the trailer here.

I found my trailer park in March.

First, I waited to get a title from the state of Washington, and then I waited for flood waters to recede so the trailer could be loaded on a trailer and hauled here. That finally happened in June. We got it set up, repaired, installed cork flooring and an HVAC unit, and I moved in in August. A friend donated a washer and dryer, and I got them set up in my shed in October.

Trailer life is good! I am enjoying living here a lot, and it’s great to have a paid-for, portable, recycled, streamlined, vintage home. I’ve had friends do two house blessings here, and I’ve done some landscaping. I’ve seen deer and a fox in the park, as well as lots of birds. My neighbors have been very unobtrusive.

The only sad part is that my cat, Mango, did not adapt well to trailer park life, and he went back to live with my former roommates, who love him, and we all have joint custody. I see him every week, and he still loves me.

It’s also been a bit of an adjustment, moving from the center of the city to the edge. I do more driving. I listen to music and NLP CDs a lot now while I drive.

My intent for 2012 is to install more window coverings, have a deck built, and get a chimenea and some bird-feeders for viewing pleasure. I look forward to doing more landscaping and gardening. I’ll see what my budget allows in terms of further improvements.

Teaching and studying yoga

I taught restorative yoga weekly through July at an acupuncture clinic. Although the class size was small, that teaching experience was invaluable. I worked with private students and substituted at a lunchtime yoga class — the one I took when I was working — and taught a restorative class in a studio for Free Day of Yoga. Did restorative yoga by invitation on a friend’s moving day.

I did two workshops in 2011 with nationally known teachers, Shiva Rea in January and Judith Hanson Lasater in February. In the summer, I began taking classes from Anusara teachers and later picked up a sweaty vinyasa flow class for a more challenging workout. I love working with accomplished teachers — I’m there to learn more about teaching as well as about yoga.

I’m signed up to take Yoga Anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff in January 2012.  I’d love to combine my love of yoga with my love of massage to work on yogis and help prevent and heal yoga injuries.

Practicing changework

I started this year serving as an assistant for NLP master practitioner training by Tom Best of Best Resources/Texas Institute of NLP. That ended in April. I served as program director for the Austin NLP meet-up for a few months and later co-taught an NLP class to women in prison. I attended Metaphors of Money, a workshop with Charles Faulkner, in the fall.

I offered NLP changework sessions this past year, and some of my clients had some wonderful outcomes, reaching major milestones and fulfilling long-time dreams. The sessions played a role in their success, which is pleasing, of course, and my clients already had a lot of resources when I worked with them. It was fun.

I attended two weekend sessions with Byron Katie in which she demonstrated The Work. I use her method of inquiry on myself often and with clients.

I did a lot of reading and personal experimentation with two healing practices, the trauma releasing exercises of David Berceli and shaking medicine taught by Bradford Keeney. Each has tremendous value.

I practiced the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) every day in January as I waited for my house to sell and found it helped keep me calm and centered. I’ve since taught it to others.

Going to massage school

In April, I learned about hands-on healing from giving it, and that steered me toward massage school rather than acupuncture school (although never say never). I began studying at The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School in late June (the same day my trailer arrived!) and finished my academic work in early December. I’m currently working in the student clinic, gaining the required 50 hours of internship to get my license.

Meanwhile, I’ve worked on about 30 friends and family members and about 25 of my fellow students.

Besides my regular classes, I took a workshop on cranio-sacral therapy. I’ve gotten massages from my teachers as a way of learning, and I’ve been fortunate enough to trade Swedish massage for lomi lomi and reflexology sessions. The learning will always continue.

Once I’m licensed, probably in February, I’ll officially start my practice, although I’ve been doing bodywork/changework sessions for gratis for several months.

Continuing my own healing

I continued to do acupuncture with Patrice Sullivan and did my usual spring and fall cleanses, which I’ve posted about before. This year I finally cleared my liver and gallbladder of stones!

I continued receiving applied kinesiology sessions from Chandler Collins and hands-on bodywork sessions from Bo Boatwright to free up even  more health into my body and life.

I began working with Fran Bell, who gave my walk a makeover. I had been walking as if I was still injured long after my injuries had healed. Sometimes it takes help to change habitual patterns. Now when I walk, my body feels good and has energy.

Also in the past year, I resumed my practice of ecstatic dance, which I fell in love with in 1995. My ecstatic dancing was on hiatus for the past three or so years. My body craved yoga and more silence, stillness, and solitude. It’s good to be back. I feel like I’ve found a good community, Ecstatic Dance of Austin.

In May I had the initial assessment for brainwave optimization, and in June I did 10 sessions with NeuroBeginnings. The benefits continue to show up for months afterward. I feel more centered, myself, and content. I imagine 2012 will bring even more health and healing into my life.

Working 

I started the year jobless, living on my savings. When I realized I had no idea how long it might take to sell my house, I decided to do contract technical writing. The day I posted my resume, I was contacted by a recruiter. I worked at 3M for 3 months.

I’ve done some freelance work writing and editing website copy.

I’m holding a space for a part-time job in 2012 for financial security while I get my practice established.

Spiritual direction

In the spring, I joined my friend Thomas in watching a group of Tibetan monks destroy a sand painting they had constructed painstakingly and then walk in procession to release the sand into Lady Bird Lake. Very moving, a reminder of impermanence.

On the fall equinox, I realized that I felt as if I had finally fully arrived, or one might say, as if I fully occupied myself, as though I became fully present. Gratified. It’s hard to know that is even a goal until you experience it.

I joined a book group in the fall, studying the 4th way Gurdjieffian path as taught by E.J. Gold. I plan to continue with that in 2012.

I also began dating someone this fall after four years of not dating. I don’t know the future, but it totally feels very sweet and lovely to be in a relationship at this time with this man!!

My second Saturn return occurred in December. My astrologer said that for Aquarians like me, rather than age, I “youth”. So far, so good!

So that wraps up 2011, the year of big changes. I don’t do resolutions, but I check in with my intentions, many of which I’ve shared here.

Wishing you all many blessings in 2012.

Massage school classwork over; internship starting

This morning I finished my classwork (except for a couple of makeup classes) at The Lauterstein-Conway School of Massage.

I’ve been in the fastest-paced program available, called “the intensive”. My class started on June 27, 2011, and has now completed 450 hours of training. My 50-hour internship in the school’s student clinic starts on Thursday.

If you are in Austin and would like a $35 student massage from me, click this link to view my December internship schedule. You can also just call the clinic at 512-453-2830 and ask when I’m working and not booked. (Please note that these massages are in demand, and the clinic tends to book several weeks in advance. I’m doing 20 massages in December, 28 in January, and 2 in February, if all goes according to plan, so call soon.)

I want to thank those family members and friends who have let me practice on you during my training. I appreciate your patience and willingness (okay, I didn’t have to twist any arms), and I hope my practice benefitted you and enhanced your well-being. Actually, I hope you loved my touch. I’ve worked on about 25 of you outside of school, generally for longer than an hour, and several of you more than once. Thank you.

I’d also love to thank my classmates. Our class held together pretty well, with not too many drop-outs. We started with 28 and ended with approximately 22. It’s been a pleasure knowing you and working on and with you and receiving your work. I’ve worked on most of you multiple times. Thank you! I’d like to stay in touch.

I’ve greatly enjoyed my teachers at TLC, the apropos nickname for The Lauterstein-Conway school. Your personalities are so vivid, I’ve thought that someone should write a sit-com pilot set at a massage school and pitch it to Hollywood — and much hilarity ensues! Thank you for choosing to practice and teach massage, and for teaching me so much.

I’ve learned a lot about anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology — and I’ve really just begun a lifelong love. I’ve learned the basics of Swedish and sports and deep massage and Shiatsu, BMTs, ROMs, stretches, pressure points, and more. All have made their way into my work. In addition, I learned about business, ethics, energy work, clinical protocols, and so much more it’s hard to even remember at this moment.

I also want to acknowledge Awareness, in which you, I, and all of Creation exists, and recognize its internal guidance to this right-for-me livelihood and so many other things that are right in my life.

I want to especially acknowledge two people who work on me, Bo Boatright and Patrice Sullivan, as being instrumental in encouraging me to do healing work.

Bo asked me to work on him when he was injured. I only had reiki training at the time and had hardly used it, and that was all I could do, but I stayed with him and let the energy pour through. He recognized the quality of my touch and my heart connection, and I am finding that others recognize that sometimes too. Thank you for dancing with me, Bo.

Patrice has been the best role model ever for a learned, very skilled healer and teacher and a happy free spirit who does life her own unique way, and it seems to be working out extremely well for her. We’ve come such a long way together over the past few years in terms of health, relating, and getting my qi flowing well. Thank you for dancing with me, Patrice!

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m dreaming or awake. Is living the dream the same as being truly awake? Today I’m going for dreaming and awake.

Integrating massage, thoughts on pay-what-you-wish payment policy

This afternoon at massage school, we got to integrate all the styles and special techniques we’ve learned so far — Swedish massage, range-of-motion and stretching, body mobilization techniques, sports massage, and deep massage. (Later we’ll add some Shiatsu to that, and I plan to add a little cranio-sacral work as well.)

We asked our partners (fellow students) where their bodies were needing special attention. My partner had some tightness in his upper back (a 1 on a 1-10 scale), between his shoulder blades. I did the techniques that came to mind (raking the rhomboids, circular effleurage around the scapulae) and even made up some strokes.

Afterward, he said it felt good. That’s what counts.

I loved it. I am not a by-the-book person. This is where it gets really interesting to me. This is where we get to improvise, being in the moment and deciding how to proceed.

The basic skills are building blocks. There’s nothing wrong with pure Swedish. It’s pretty awesome — relaxing and therapeutic. It’s just that when someone has an issue, it’s great to have several resources to use to learn what works best on this person.

I want to learn a routine consisting solely of body mobilization techniques (BMTs), which are ways to jostle, swing, shake, rock, roll, and generally loosen up the body in a pleasant, rhythmic manner while the client is passively experiencing their body differently. BMTs can be done in 15, 20, or 30 minutes with the client fully clothed, so it can substitute for a chair massage. (It’s also great to integrate into longer massages.)

It will be nice to have something short and sweet to offer clients who don’t have the time for a full massage or who have never had a massage and would enjoy a fun little introduction.

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Today I heard about a massage therapist who operates on a donate-what-you-wish basis. It’s wonderful to hear about someone making a “good enough” living doing that. So many people have irregular incomes (artists and musicians, for example), and paying less when broke/more when flush works for them, and they really appreciate people who can work with the rhythm of their income.

Yoga studios have been successful operating this way (though usually with a $10 minimum). I know an acupuncturist who works successfully on that basis, and she is the free-est, happiest person I know and very good at what she does. She handpicks her clients.

I like that the massage therapist doesn’t have to think about how much to charge and wonder if the client can afford it. It removes some potential awkwardness and allows the focus to be on the bodywork and the relationship.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if all health care was like that? I imagine that in times past, when someone was a healer for their village or tribe, they never turned anyone away because they were poor. They took food, crafts, chickens, pay-it-forward, or whatever in barter. Healing was just what they did, in good times and bad. They rolled with their village.

What’s also attractive about pay-what-you-wish is that the massage therapists can hand-pick who they want to work with, and their clients become regular, long-term clients they can know well.

That sounds more fulfilling to me than “body in, body out” work with a lot of turnover in clients.