First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

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

Minimalist running and the sensate massage therapist

“Everyone begins life with an open mind… a driving curiosity… a sense of wonder” -Carl Sagan

A late Autumn morning in Oregon. All the world is new.

On the rocks, above the Willamette.

Soaking in the sun in a closed chain sway. Catching some vitamin D in the breeze. Birds in formation swinging round for a landing.

A breath.

And, another.

Sacrum in counter-nutation on the exhale.

False ribs rise, unfurling the diaphragm, like a prayer flag in the wind. Phrenic nerve lively.

Across concrete, down packed path, into soft sand. Turning rocky, splash in a pond, up the gravel, round the rocks, into the mud with a squish.

The diaphragm and phrenic nerve from Visible Body’s 3D Human Anatomy Atlas 2 app for the iPad.

I’m on my second pair of kangaroo leather Vibram KSO Trek’s. Wore them for two years, taking them through the muck of the Sandy River Delta, though the muddiest days in Forest Park. Up ten miles and back to Ramona Falls. Up to Cooper Spur on Mt. Hood. Singing at Tracy’s wedding. My favorite shoe ever. Hobbit feet. Step on blackberry vines with sensation and awareness, sans discomfort.

My left foot outgrew the first pair, busting the toe seam. I felt a bit like Hulk. My meta tarsals had begun to spread, increasing my adaptability to various terrain. The entire musculoskeletal structure superior to talus adapts to changes in the structure of foot and ankle. A complicated Rubik’s Cube, to be sure.

I found my second pair at REI. A larger size. Then, Vibram discontinued the KSO Trek. So, I’m gonna treat this pair a little nicer.


I had been running in the super snazzy Soft Star Moc3‘s, the modern moccasin. Soft Star are right in our backyard, in Corvallis, Oregon. So worth the drive just to meet the elves and step into the workshop. Alas, the Moc3’s are not a stomp in mud puddles kinda shoe, though that didn’t stop me from taking them through varied substrate. Nearly lost them in the knee deep muck. It takes a patient shlooop to wrangle loose. Superb ground transmission in dry weather. Love the elves at a Soft Star!

So, I found another minimalist running shoe to thrash. Picked up a pair of Vibram Five Finger Spydirons.

With nary a slip, the Spydirons gave me sure-footed grip with plenty of delicate ground transmission. The mid-foot abrasion plating was welcome, giving me a more percussive assurance on the rocks and an eased fore-foot strike. Leaves a fracking awesome foot print in the sand!


If this minimalist running shoe were a car on Top Gear, the Spydirons would be a Bowler Wildcat. Damn. I sure do love splaying my phalanges in FiveFingers, allowing the lateral and medial arches to discover differentiation.

In anticipation of the oncoming chill of winter, I just ordered the new FiveFinger Lontras. This is Vibram’s first FiveFingers that are water resistant! I snagged the second to last pair in my size. First impressions… They are difficult to wrangle into. And, the Velcro attachment is in a funny place that limits hook and loop contact to a minimum with my wide foot and high transverse arch. My first midnight run in heavy rain found them to be quite competent, keeping my feet dry and warm until I found a few tibia deep puddles. Post splash, my feet felt wet for a bit, but never got cold. After a short while, I no longer felt wet. In smaller puddles that don’t go higher than the heel, feet stay dry and warm, even without toe socks. Bring on the slush and snow! Hoozah!

There’s a proper Stumptown down pour. ‘Bout time to get into the rain…

I highly recommend minimalist footwear for the somatic practitioner to enliven the senses. You are cut off from a major concentration of proprioceptive sensing in the feet and ankles with shoes of thick sole and narrow toe box.

So, kick off your shoes and try some minimalist footwear! Get sensate!

Hamid : )

Just finding First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog? Deep dive with massage articles, photography, video and music in Stumptown’s Massage and Bodywork Zine!

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4 comments on “Minimalist running and the sensate massage therapist

  1. Pingback: A massage therapist’s top forty two of 2012 | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  2. Pingback: A massage therapist goes to NCNM | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  3. Pingback: Myofascial Mechanoreceptors | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  4. zoocitymassage
    December 25, 2013

    The shoe kind of remind me of Native Americans and moccasins.

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This entry was posted on December 15, 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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