First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

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

A massage therapist goes to Md Anderson Cancer Center

I really dig how they have a swooshy red strike-through on “Cancer” as part of their logo.

I ponder the thumb drive in my hand. And, I realize that storage capacity has come a long ways from the 8″ floppy disc and the data cassette.

In February, twenty-thirteen, I attended Md Anderson Cancer Center‘s first annual Integrative Oncology Conference. Everyone got a thumb drive, copies of all the presentations, in Houston, Texas.

First annual. This is the launch point of Integrative Oncology. Western medicine has seldom been so open.

I flew down to Houston sitting beside my doggie splashing in the mud at the delta friend, Tracy Webb, physician’s assistant at Compass Oncology. I keep hearing Compass Oncology mentioned on NPR. Keen.

Compass splurged for the rental car. Taking Care Portland graciously paid for the $150 attendance fee. I took the hit for the $541 Southwest Airlines plane ticket, $80 a night stay at the Marriott, plus food. Totally forgot my headphones, so I picked up a decent quality pair for $25. Since I was traveling, I so enjoyed using my iPad to use my mediation practice apps. Brainwave and Pain Killer 2.0 were such grounding tools that I used every morning and evening, watching breath mechanics in the quiet.

So, the Marriott was freaking awesome. Such a deal! Close to Md Anderson, within waking distance. And, the nicest, most charming, insightful staff I have had the honor of meeting.

I stroll into Houston, Texas with my Vibram Spydiron’s , still muddy from a jaunt around Elk Rock Island. Figured if there’s one pair to take, it’s gonna be these minimalist shoes on my hobbit feet. Dig the mid-foot abrasion plating and enhanced cross-lateral traction of the sole, while retaining a high amplitude of ground transmission. Keeps me sensitive to environment while handily tacking into any substrate with confidence and glee.

For luggage, I went minimalist too. I took my orange day pack, super lightweight with pockets in the waist belt, big enough to tote around my Panasonic GF1, a small micro four third camera, with the 20mm 1.7 lens. Though, I really didn’t take photos down there, choosing to immerse myself in the sensory experience.

I don’t do suit and ties, even when hanging out with doctors. Technical fabrics, compressible clothing, couple pairs of pants. My tooth brush and iPhone/iPad charger and that’s about it. What more do I need for a three night trip?

Pappy used to say we had trick shooters and Texas lawmen in the family’s history. My first time in Houston felt just a bit like stepping into another world. I got off the plane looking for a Stetson. Only saw one fella wearing a cowboy hat the entire trip. Bygones.

“I wear a fez now. Fez’s are cool.” -Dr. Who

Driving to the Marriott, I soon began to realize the scope of Houston’s medical knowledge, housed in the mammoth scale and beauty of architectural design. Tracy had said that Md Anderson was one of the top three cancer research centers in the United States. Yeah… I believe her. Driving through Houston showed me a cross section of Western Medicine, practiced in it’s highest form, with all the funding to back it up. Md Anderson’s campus makes OHSU look like a shoe shine shop. And, that sprawling complex up on the hill saved my life back in 1991; got nothing but fondness for our northwest medical treasure. Down in Houston, I have never seen the like. Felt like Buck Rogers waking up in the twenty third century, sans Twiki.

I was quite chuffed to be attending this conference, as massage therapist from Portland, Oregon, For the first time, the oncology community is bringing massage therapy, acupuncture, nutrition, meditation and music into the discussion of cancer care. Western medicine only considers evidence-based approaches. There must be enough solid, peer-reviewed research that shows a level of efficacy beyond the percentages of placebo to recommend a modality in cancer care. Md Anderson Cancer Center is creating a compelling model for integrative oncology. Yeah, I had to be there!

Massage therapists, acupuncturists, mind-body practitioners, nutritionists, musicians… Ya’ll get in on this!

I’ll be sharing more about the Md Anderson Cancer Center’s First Annual Integrative Oncology Conference soon! Go to our home page and subscribe to First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog… The Cancer Survivorship and Bodywork Zine and feel the pendulation.

Hamid : )

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

A massage therapist goes to NCNM
First Contact… And, sound therapy for cancer survivorship
The four C’s of consciousness

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The complex skeletal anatomy of the feet. Screen capture from our friends at Pocket Anatomy for the iPad.

Bonus video!

How do you explore your range of motion? Here’s a video I made hanging out in the kitchen, exploring the motion of the anatomy of the hands and feet. The music was recorded on the iPad 2. The tune is Emerald, plunked on Lucky, the three-quarter size Fender that rarely stays in tune.

I invite you all to explore your own… Range of Motion

6 comments on “A massage therapist goes to Md Anderson Cancer Center

  1. Miranda Blake
    June 13, 2013

    Just so you know, the Society of Integrative Oncology has been having conferences for about 10 years – also w/ medical doctors, researchers, nurses, physician’s assistants, massage therapists, etc
    Check out

    • Miranda… Oh, how interesting you brought up Society of Integrative Oncology. Just talking about them with Cancer Connection Idaho. They hosted Lorenzo Cohen last year and had 475 folks come out to his talk. We were chatting about getting him to do a tour of both Portland and Boise. He’s a Reed College grad, so how hard could it be? : )

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  4. Bruce Schimmel
    November 1, 2013

    Dear Hamid, Glad you could experience “Doctors’ Disneyland,” as we at the Texas Medical Center, in which M.D. Anderson is but one of 42 institutions, call it. If you stayed at the Marriott, you probably missed most of the other wonderful institutions in TMC. My office is in the Institute for Spirituality & Health, which has been part of TMC since 1954.

    My wife received a miracle cure for Inflammatory Breast Cancer at M. D. Anderson. She was given an experimental drug that knocked down the tumor 47% in 3 weeks. When she left, she had gone from stage 4 (stage 5 is “dead”) to 0 cancer.

    I, too, was pleased that M. D. Anderson is using massage therapy as part of its protocols. I would like to know whether you have any information regarding the next conference like the one you attended? I would also like to know how massage therapists are being integrated into the medical community in Portland, as well. Do you know whether I can get the same materials you received on the flash drive?

    Thank Partner,

    Bruce “Yippie Kaiyo Kaiyay” Schimmel, L.M.T.

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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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