People want to know why I chose massage therapy as a profession. This is usually the first question a new client asks me. Massage therapy has always interested me. I am fascinated by the interplay between mind and body and how the states of mind can affect the state of our tissues. There is no denying the healing power of a good massage.
It all began back in the late ’90s at Yoga Vermont in one of Christine Hoar’s yoga classes. She was talking about human development: How, when we are at our earliest embryonic stage, the cells divide into three germ layers. The outermost cluster of cells is called the ectoderm. The ectoderm becomes the skin and the nervous system. The skin layer separates from the neural tube and migrates outward being pushed out by the other two layers that become muscles and organs. The skin and brain continue to develop together not only before birth but well into the first year of life. When a baby is held as an infant, she is building the neural map between the brain and the skin. Christine was explaining this to us as an example of why we need external adjustments to feel the correct alignment of a yoga posture. That our skin and brain are too closely related to self adjust. I had never heard this before. I was intrigued. I asked her where she learned this information, and she sent me to find the book, Job’s Body by Deane Juan. I devoured this book.
Dean goes further in depth on the subject of skin as the surface of the brain. He talks about the relationship between brain and skin to be like a lake, the skin is the surface of the lake and the brain the depths, and they can not be separated. He cites study after study about how touch is as vital as food. The one example that I find the most striking is in the 19th and early 20th centuries babies in orphanages would die in their first year of a disease called marasmus, a Greek word for wasting away. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the attendants that worked at the orphanages only had time to feed and change the babies and put them back in their cribs. When staff was added to provide enough time for the babies to be held daily mortality rates plummeted. Not only did the babies survive, they thrived! “Without tactile stimulation, no amount of food or medicine could produce a healthy individual.” I still find it amazing. This means when you are receiving a massage, the therapist is communicating with your nervous system through pathways put in place before you were born! This is just a small part of the skin chapter of the book, he goes into connective tissue and muscle in great depth as well, but that will be for another post. At this point, I was at UVM where I received my undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology, and at the same time, received my yoga teacher training. I went to Washington and Texas with jobs in wildlife rehabilitation while at the same time teaching yoga. But it was teaching that was my passion. Yoga and movement and healing. In 2004 I went to massage school to learn more about helping people feel and move better. And the longer I practice massage, and the more I learn, the more I love it.
I love that my clients are excited to see me every day. (and I am excited to see them).
I love that I am helping people feel better.
I love the physicalness of it; I love using my body in my work.
I love that I can have a positive effect on my clients soft tissue, energy field, and the entire nervous system.
I want to thank all of my clients who come to my office and allow me to do this work that I love.
Be well, Jill