Giving the Body What It Wants

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

barefoot, natural movement

This Sunday, I’ll be teaching a class on feet and how we can take care of them (and everything above them) with natural movement. As I look forward to this event, I thought I’d share a bit of my background and how I became so passionate about what I do.

It seems like all body therapists get their passion from going through a healing journey themselves. I’m no exception. Healing is so transformative, requires so much patience and trust—in your body and in those helping you heal—that it isn’t surprising how many people who have healed well make it their life’s work to help others achieve the same.

As I was nearing graduation from my 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. I thought becoming a body therapist meant I would know better than to injure myself in this way!

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. What really started to open my eyes were the accounts of people who fixed their feet issues simply by taking their shoes off. I had thought barefooting was about being in touch with nature, but even more than that, I learned it is about respecting the proper mechanics of the foot.

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. Of course, 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 how other ways of reclaiming natural movement could help people restore their health for real. 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. By taking her two-year training course, I learned how to take care of my body by giving it what it wants: natural movement.

Today, my feet feel awesome. Although I haven’t run another marathon (I will one day), I feel confident that I will never experience plantar fasciitis again. I know I can trust my feet to take me where I want to go. 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!