First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

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

Massage, music and nutrition: Thoughts on Taking Care

Awareness of oneself. Therapeutic transformation over the long term originates from an observation, sans-judgement, of oneself. Right perspective goes a long ways.

The mindful step. Explore your proprioception in minimalist footwear! Photo by Hamid Shibata Bennett

June 1st, 2012

It’s Taking Care eve. Our beta.

There’s quite a bit more foot traffic compared to recent years, here along SE Belmont, in the 97214 of Portland, Oregon. Hawthorne, a few blocks to the south, has changed since back in the day. It’s getting commercial. Belmont is changing too, but it’s getting a character, a flavor in it’s diversity.

Across the street from Earth Body Wellness Center, there was once a one level, pink stucco building. Somewhere buried in the new construction is a door frame and corner of the old building. The structure has been transformed into ground-level storefront and two stories of condos above. They were clanging away for over a year. All of our clients here at the center were quite forgiving of the construction noise.

The dust has settled and new businesses now line the shops across from our humble wellness center. Silk Stone features perhaps the finest henna body artist I have encountered. Her work is exquisite. So many natural products and teas.

Jerusalem Cafe has been a most welcome addition to our corner of SE Belmont and 38th. Mediterranean cuisine just across the street. I am a huge fan of the falafel mezza. I get the personal size for lunch quite often.

I see a change in the corner. It’s a change that breathes a little easier, walks a little softer, grins that much wider. Just cuz life is good. And life is change. And so many folks, no matter where ya look, seem to be going through a beautiful personal transformation. It may not be without challenge. Yet, it seems be worth going through the effort of trying to live life just a bit differently from last year… Or the year before…

It’s truly quite remarkable. So many people going through change, with as much grace as they can muster. Neuroscience on an personal level. It’s not always neat and tidy. Sometime we need the support of a community around us. Folks that pay it forward, putting compassion, empathy and listening as their priorities.

I’m looking forward to Taking Care: Community Support for Cancer Care. I feel we’ve gathered some amazing talent; some gifted folk who just want to help out, with this rising tide of cancer on the horizon. We’re finding a way to care for ourselves so we can sustainably care for others.

How does a massage therapist prepare the body for receiving nutrition? Engage the viscera and the enteric nervous system! Screen capture from Visible Body on the iPad 2, displaying the organs with uterus highlighted. Visible Body is the first iOS app I have seen with both male and female anatomical models.

June 3rd, 2012

Dear Diary,

It’s freaking National Cancer Day! Believe in the power of the first take! Everyone is a musician! Ya got it embedded in your fascia… Tensional eddies, swirling vortexes in the microcosm. Down to our deepest, inborn, intrinsic knowledge; we are vibration.

Taking Care is here to remind us of your own innate power to transform, to heal within community.

Cuz, healing without community hasn’t gotten us very far, eh?

It strikes me… I would far prefer to play music to twelve, rather than twelve-thousand.

Taking Care was yesterday at NCNM in Portland, Oregon. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from both volunteers and guests. Cancer survivors were thanking us with tears in their eyes. We’ll do it again in September…. You betcha.

The first Taking Care has come and gone. And, I feel as if life is anew once again. There are folks in this town working in community to make a change. To foster transformation. To discover multi-faced, creative, collaborative ways to return a sense of wholeness and connection to our community. Spirited away.

Steve Frost, Marcia Muench and I played improvised music while massage therapists guided the autonomic nervous systems towards the parasympathetic. We used guitars, violin, drums, Native American flute, voice, Tibetan singing bowls and chimes. We had a lot of instruments with us! Touch and sound; combined, they create a powerful healing tool through sensory-rich experience. The haptic and auditory senses both engaged. What sort of crackles happen in the brain, eh? Does anyone have a functional MRI we can borrow and find out?

Waking up the phrenic nerve. An understanding of breathing mechanics is fundamental to working with everyone from the medically fragile to performance artists to athletes. Screen capture from Visible Body on the iPad 2.

June 8th, 2012

I could not be more proud and thankful of all the volunteers who made our first Taking Care a reality. Our co-producers, Daniel Miller and MaryJane Hoadley made it all happen. I’m grateful for the support and encouragement of Tonya Priestley, who told me that once you are diagnosed with cancer, you are a survivor. Thank you Tonya. You are amazing.

Dr. Louis Rose, ND gave an informative and engaging talk on nutrition and eating for cancer prevention.

Ashley Paquin of Whitebird Wellness was putting her masticating juicer to good use, providing us with some of the best green juice I’ve ever had.

The food provided by Abby’s Table was inspired, elevating anti-angiogenic good eats to an entire new level of foodie heaven. There were so many others working behind the scenes to make Taking Care happen. It could have turned into a Portlandia skit. Instead, it was beautiful beyond quantifiable measure.

Way to go, volunteer massage therapists! You all rocked! We had all been having the discussion of working with oncology massage and cancer survivorship from a viewpoint of presence, awareness, mechanosensing, breath mechanics, pendulation rhythm and listening touch. We also met some new friends from Ai Zen Sports and Pain Clinic. Thanks for joining us for the day, lads! Ai Zen got some chi flowing, yeah!

Looking back on the day, like a sunset after the rain… Yeah, the day was sound…

Hamid : )

Bonus music!

Hey man, is that Freedom Rock?! I’m listening to the iPad recording I made of the third Taking Care session. I’m releasing it as the official bootleg, streaming for free. Download the .mp3, if ya dig. Name your own price, starting at a measly five bucks. It’s fifty minutes of unedited exploration of intentionally therapeutic music, designed for meditation practice, pain management and mindful movement in glorious mono-phonic sound! I invite you to share this with your friends and family. Put it on in the background and see where your noggin wanders. Or, burn a cd and play it in your massage treatment room!

Bookmark First of Nine’s music site!

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

The four C’s of consciousness
Tensegrity principle and gene expression
Pendulation, trauma release and bodywork

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2 comments on “Massage, music and nutrition: Thoughts on Taking Care

  1. Pingback: Son of a Mustang Ford | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  2. Pingback: A Stumptown massage day | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

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This entry was posted on June 8, 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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