First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

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

A massage therapist goes to NCNM

In January, Taking Care Portland was invited to speak at the National College of Natural Medicine’s 2013 Integrative Oncology Conference in Portland, Oregon. Of course we said, yes!

Steve Frost, fellow sound therapist and multi-talented musician, and I drove down together. We were told there were one hundred ten doctors on site and about forty watching the live, streaming webinar. I brought the smaller of my two Tibetan singing bowls. And, I made sure to wear my longest scarf. It’s in the details.

I had just strolled into the room, taking in the expansiveness of the huge space, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to greet Padeen Quinn, naturopathic physician and instructor at a local massage school.

Padeen asks, “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, they invited me to speak. Are you speaking too?”

“No, no!” she replied.

Padeen goes on to share with me that they had been talking about extra-cellular matrix all weekend. “That’s what you work with!”

Yep… Tissue architecture. Fascia. Tensegrity. This is my kinda crowd.

I spy Rose from the Divine Cafe food cart on southeast Belmont. She is the go to caterer for NCNM and offering food at the oncology conference. I go to give her a hug and say howdy. She offers me a gluten free cookie and life is all right.

A lecture finishes up and a fellow walks up to me. He points to the singing bowl sitting on the table in front of me.

He asks, “What is this? Are you going to play this?”

Yep. Turns out, this gentle fellow is Dhuval Dhru, MD and he is presenting right after Taking Care on an Ayurvedic Approach to Integrative Cancer Care. He goes on to tell me of a friend of his in Seattle that has a Tibetan singing bowl large enough for a person to stand inside. He’s experienced standing inside this singing bowl and observed every cell in his body, head to toe, feel waves of vibration, both surrounding and permeating inside of him. Maybe Taking Care Portland will have the budget for such amazing vibrational tools one day!

We have a wonderful lunch of local, organic food and we chit chat with a few more naturopaths. Then, Daniel Miller and MaryJane Hoadley, the Taking Care leadership team, show up. So awesome to know friends are here to back ya up in a new experience.


Then, Taking Care is up. Daniel grabs a microphone and introduces our integrative cancer survivorship events, which we had been holding at NCNM. He talks about how we are bringing nutrition, massage, acupuncture and sound into a long-term perspective to cancer care. The Taking Care Portland website is displayed behind us on the twenty foot screen. Oh… Now it’s my turn to speak. Pass the mic.

What can this lil massage therapist say to over a hundred doctors? Let’s see!

“Howdy. I’m Hamid Shibata Bennett. I suppose I’m here because I’m one of those examples of long-term cancer survivorship. There were nine documented cases before mine and I was the first to live beyond seventy-two months. That was ninety-ninety one; the year of the Gulf War. When we saw rockets over Bagdad in real time for the first time. But, my cancer history goes back even further. My history of cancer goes back to the atomic bomb.”

I tell them about my father, who flew small prop fighter planes in World War II. His favorite was always the P-51 Mustang. That was back when you had to raise the landing gear by hand crank. A different time.

I told about pappy witnessing one of the atomic bomb blast tests and his hair falling out years later. Lost it all overnight.

I tell them about his son, Dickie; the half-brother I never met. As family stories go, Dickie was one of the first nationally publicized leukemia cases.


Dickie was three years of age. He lived on the Air Force base with our father and his family. Dickie was quite bright and could identify the model of airplane coming in for a landing just from the sound. Yeah, bright. Pattern recognition seems to be a family trait.

Dickie became unwell. Spots in his skin. Puzzled the family doctor.

Grandmother found an article in the Reader’s Digest about this new disease call Leukemia. She showed the article to the doctor and that created action. The Air Force arranged to fly them up to Seattle, Washington, where all the “experts” in the field were. Such a new disease. They didn’t know much.

Dickie’s dream was always to fly. He lived on the airbase, knew his father flew, saw those prop planes overhead.

On the plan trip up, Dickie was pretty sick, laying with his head cradled by his arms. After the plane and taken off and gotten to altitude, Dickie looks up and asks our father, “Are we flying yet?”

Dad says, “Yeah, we’re flying.”

Dickie smiles big and lays his head down in his arms.


That was it. He took his last breath.

Dream, fulfilled.

Yep… Shared that with a bunch of docs.

I went on to talk about the current research on fascia. I talked about Donald Ingber’s work with tensegrity architecture and mechanotransduction, creating changes in intracellular biochemistry and gene expression.

I talked about Robert Schliep’s research on myofascial mechanoreceptors. The Interstitial receptors being the most numerous sensory receptor in the human body, appearing every three hundred microns. The low-pressure threshold Interstitial mechanoreceptors respond to the lightest feather touch and engage the autonomic nervous system. So, we can have an affect on respiration rate, heart rate, digestion, perspiration and salivation anywhere the hands touch.

I passed the mic to Sir Steve and I cranked up the singing bowl. Steve guided the doctors in a group sound awareness practice. We got a lecture hall full of doctors humming and observing positive change. So cool!

Twenty thirteen is just getting started…. Welcome to the dawn of integrative oncology… Massage therapists, musicians…. You are invited.

For downloadable presentations from the 2013 Integrative Oncology Conference in Portland, Oregon at NCNM, check this out.

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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12 comments on “A massage therapist goes to NCNM

  1. Pam Makie
    March 25, 2013


  2. M-D D
    March 26, 2013

    wow it is something

  3. dar w.
    March 26, 2013

    very cool that you got to do that!!!

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This entry was posted on March 25, 2013 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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