First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

Portland, Oregon's Cancer Survivorship and Bodywork Zine by Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Self-care and massage therapy

It’s never been about learning a certain bodywork technique. It’s never even been about making a glut of money. Though a good, honest, sustainable living is part of the business plan. I decided to go towards the massage and bodywork field because it seemed a life best suited for self-care. In fact, self-care and personal growth are at the very heart of the profession.

Pappy always said I should have been a dentist. Well, as a bodyworker, I get to play with the pterygoids, lengthen zygomaticus major and uplift the palatines. The biomechanics of the craniomandibular junction and the plate techtonics of the cranial bones is a complicated Rubik’s Cube, to be sure.

The myriad of tensional patterns of the superficial muscles of the temporomandibular joint. Image from 3D4 Medical’s NOVA Series: Muscle System Pro III on the iPad.

It’s such a beautiful day in Stumptown. The sun is warm and lawn mowers are buzzing throughout the suburbs.

Ever since my fisticuffs with cancer back in 1991, I have had to manage my energy levels. Fatigue is one of those major, often long-term, side-effects of treatment. Irritable bowel, another one of those weird gifts from chemotherapy, used to make giving a 90 minute massage a matter of question. Visceral massage and a little interoceptive awareness does a tummy good. Now, giving a long session is a source of personal happiness.

Over the past few years, I have found a level of health that surpasses my constitution in high school. I have more energy, movement, vigor and joy in my body than since I was a child. It’s really quite marvelous. I was once limited sharing my kinesthetic gifts. Now, even though I might work long hours, I still feel good in my body at the end of the bodywork day.

Now then, my long days are not packed days. Part of my self-care has been to remove myself from much of the hustle and harried rush of the work force. I’m just not allowed to indulge in stress and worry. Yes, I still have stress in my life. However, I choose to spend my time and resources managing it. This means filling my days with meaningful experience.

The pendulation rhythm of standing bodywork with Hamid Shibata Bennett, LMT, CAMT (OBMT #301), Portland, Oregon. Photography by Cammie Toloui, LMT (OBMT #17119).

So, what do I do for self-care?

Upon waking, I enjoy the morning light. I lay in the quiet, breathe and stretch, snuggle with the pups and take some time to be grateful for this life. Throughout the day, I sprinkle in moments to savor. To fully enjoy a sensory experience. To slow myself down, setting the pace for the autonomic nervous system; simple moments of mindful awareness. I eat good food, get lots of rest, move my body, get my creative on, enjoy the company of amazing people and smile often. A lovely self-care program.

I figure, most folks are in a rush of stress and they come to me to find a rhythm in their breath a bit slower than the usual. A step away from their chronic stress pattern. I can’t do my job, if I too am in a rush. Presence in the moment is just part of the career description.

I find moments of meditation while in line at the grocery store. Or walking down the road and watching a bird take flight, soar in the heavens and land on a distant telephone wire. I find moments of awareness, to breathe, to listen, to enjoy.

Outside of the din, there is a quiet here. Explore and find, my friend… Explore and find…

Hamid : )

Bonus video!

We can take time every day to slow ourselves down and indulge in a moment, where there is nothing else to do but watch and breathe.

I shot this video with the Panasonic GF1 and cobbled it together in iMovie on the 24″ iMac. The music is Slow Tick, recorded years ago in 2002 on a Yamaha MT8XII, cassette 8-track recorder. I had spent one immersed, creative week recording the album Beyond Time’s Breath: A Rather Peculiar Auditory Hallucination.

The liner notes read:

Sometimes an album just happens. Ya really don’t mean it… Ya just start messing around with microphones and plunking a few notes and hit record and a week and a half later you’re left with an interesting collection of sonic scapes that maybe the universe would enjoy hearing…

A series of accidents piled upon accidents creating something beautiful…

This is A Watched Pot: A Meditation on Water. Enjoy the day!

Just finding First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog? Check out music, videos, photography and more in Stumptown’s Massage & Bodywork Zine! Dig it!

Self-care nosh for the kick back massage therapist
Preverbal cognition
Myofascial pregnancy massage

12 comments on “Self-care and massage therapy

  1. Liza
    May 7, 2012

    Lovely, Hamid. Just reading this makes me feel more present!

  2. Pam Makie
    May 7, 2012

    Beautiful Hamid,
    A watched pot, sort of like our heart beating, and all the fluids gushing throughout our body, and then on the outside there is music happening…very multi layer….just like every moment of life. In Jin Shin Jyutsu, (a “healing” art), my teacher Mary said once, “before we made music, music made us”. You may like JSJ. Pam

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2012 by in Massage and Bodywork and tagged , , , , , .

Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Hamid Shibata Bennett, LMT, CAMT (OBMT #301)
Advanced massage therapy and bodywork
3810 SE Belmont ST
Portland, Oregon 97214

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