Previously, we examined the American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia’s (AOBTA) definition of Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) using three styles of bodywork — amma, shiatsu, and Jin Shin Jyutsu (October/November 2004, page 114).
While developing a somatic healing practice, I found meditation and Buddhist teachings gave me incredible support in developing a logical approach to health and healing. The result? Insight Bodywork™, a young branch on the well-established tree of Dharma Medicine.
Energy healing is often discussed as a new, somewhat unexplainable therapy. Truth is, energy work is an effective bodywork that is as ancient as healing itself.
Studying many Asian bodywork forms is like learning a martial art. The practitioner practices the sequence, or kata, over and over until it is so embodied that the form can eventually be forgotten and the appropriate response will arise when needed, without the intervention of thought or will. The zen archer no longer shoots the arrow; the arrow shoots itself. This is the way of mastery.
We recognize the importance of good beginnings and a solid ground. To ensure the best results, it is always worthwhile to establish a firm and developed foundation. Without deep, well-established roots, a plant is weak and growth will be stunted. In the human body, the hara is our home. Home is a reference point.
Massage & Bodywork: Tell me briefly about the incorporation of spirituality in your own bodywork.
Barry Kapke: My approach to bodywork is definitely influenced by Eastern views. My practice and teaching of forms such as shiatsu, nuad bo rarn (traditional Thai massage), Breema bodywork, and Swedish massage, and incorporating aspects of other approaches such as Ortho-Bionomy, Trager(R), Dzub-Nyin (Tibetan Ayurvedic massage), yoga and Theravada Buddhism, have led to my rather eclectic formulation of a way of working I call Insight Bodywork(R).
In massage and bodywork, there is an elephant on your tables and chairs, in your spa rooms, and, in fact, everywhere you take the profession. Not the trunk and peanuts kind. No, this animal is metaphorical in nature, yet an animal, nonetheless. Strangely paradoxical, this elephant is the backbone of many modalities and to many of our lives, yet is often avoided in the name of privacy, sacredness, and because we just don’t know how to talk about it. The subject of which I speak is none other than spirituality.