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How I found my passion for Massage + Movement

barefoot, natural movement

Many bodyworkers develop their passion from going through their own healing journey. I’m no exception. Healing is so transformative and requires so much patience and trust—in yourself and in those supporting your healing process—that it isn’t surprising that people who have healed well want to help others achieve the same.

As I was nearing graduation from massage school, I was also preparing for a marathon. Midway through my training, I developed a case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I had all the usual symptoms, and for a while I couldn’t even put my weight on that foot. Not only was I devastated about the outlook of my performance in the upcoming race, but it caused me to question all that I had learned in massage school. At the time, I thought I already knew so much about the body and that I should know how to avoid such injuries. I have come a long way since then.

Looking back now, however, my injury could not have happened at a better time. The pain inspired me, more than mere curiosity had, to learn how the body works, and ultimately set me on the health journey that I am on today. I knew from my massage training that injuries like plantar fasciitis don’t just come out of nowhere. So, I set out to learn what I was doing with my body to cause this inflammation and abuse of the bottom of my foot, as well as to find methods to support its healing.

I started with a good, old Google search. I found a lot of exercises, stretches, and ideas like rolling one's foot on a frozen water bottle. It felt encouraging to have some strategies that I could use myself immediately and for free. What really started to open my eyes though, were the accounts of people across the Internet who described completely fixing their foot issues simply by taking their shoes off. I had thought barefooting was simply about being in touch with nature. I learned it is simply the way feet are designed to work.

The best thing that came about from my search was discovering the work of Katy Bowman. By the time my marathon was over (which I completed, slowly, painfully, but with an occasional smile!), I had begun my massage career. Soon I was facing the same problem of body therapists everywhere: clients who would gain blissful pain relief after their massage…for a few days to a week. By the time they came to their next session, their symptoms had flared up again. I didn’t want the benefits of my work to be so temporary. Inspired by the success stories of people going barefoot, I started wondering what other kinds of natural movement could help people restore their health. How are we meant to move as humans? If we adapt our modern lifestyle to include better ways of moving, can we mitigate or altogether avoid injuries that have become widespread and seemingly inevitable? Finally, I came across the website of Nutritious Movement. Here I found the work of biomechanist Katy Bowman, who had been asking the same questions I had, and then had researched, taught, and written about the body for years. Since then, I have taken many of her trainings, as well as followed the work of several similar teachers. I learned a new way of looking at the body, its movement needs, and how movement can be used to prevent and treat many injuries and diseases.

Today, my plantar fasciitis is a thing of the past. I still deal with injuries and ailments, as humans do, but the many trainings in movement and bodywork that I have done have given me many tools to nourish my body as I can. And like others who have healed well, I want to share what I have gained with others. I still have much to learn on my health journey, but I have a lot to look forward to, and I want the same for you!

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