Albert Schatz, Ph.D., an icon in the massage profession, died Jan. 17 just days before his 85th birthday on Feb. 2.
--Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., author and lecturer
Understanding this statement pushes us beyond what is often considered politically correct. But to miss its meaning causes profound unhappiness.
Pearsall explains that certain behaviors and attitudes disconnect us from the world and from other people, and we end up isolated and miserable.
Q. I’m a Christian and a massage enthusiast. I’m intrigued by some Eastern-based therapies, but I feel they conflict with my religious beliefs. Can you help?
“There is but one temple in the Universe … and that is the human body. Nothing is holier than that high form. We touch heaven, when we lay our hand upon the human body.”
— Thomas Carlyle, Scottish philosopher
Looking at the evolution of modern massage therapy over the last 40 years shows both an exponential growth and subsequent factioning of modalities within the larger parent field. We need only look at the internally divided camps of certain bodywork genres (i.e., Rolfing and reiki to name but a few) to see a micro-cosmic representation of how an even larger gap has developed between structural work and energy work throughout the years. As a result of that chasm, the spirit once found in the union of structure and energy has been lost.
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.