September 23, 2009

Giving Back: C.H.A. Holistic Health Fair

Last night I had my first time volunteering as a Massage Therapy student and the experience was wonderful! I donated my time to the Community Heath Action of Staten Island Holistic Health Fair and when I arrived I was shown to a room where two LMT's were set up. I was using my new chair, so my addition to the body work was more relaxation, circulation and release oriented. Jim, of Multicare Therapy Center in New Jersey, worked with a table to help alignment, pain and some of the more meaningful issues with each new body that walked in for relief. The other table belonged to a woman who was practicing Shiatsu as her gift to the event. Many others were there to offer their efforts in the areas of Acupressure, Reiki, Spiritual Guidance - as well as Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Screenings. The participants signed up for the treatments of their choice and enjoyed a giant spread of food too!

I just wanted to share a few things that I will take away from this first leap out to Giving Back as a Massage Therapist...

First - as I was working under the watch of Jim, it was great to get feedback from someone who has been a body worker for 15 years, and is seeing me work for the first time. I appreciate the attention and teaching I am getting at the Swedish Institute, yet I still hope to learn from as many people in the field as I can. So meeting new practitioners, and being in a situation where Jim could watch my technique and body mechanics, was a great way to "check in" with how I am handling myself thus far.

The second was how much I learned in my 3+ hours of working by having completely different bodies to work on! At school, we get used to working on our classmates. We get comfortable with them, and sometimes their bodies can become predictable with the amount of hands on classes we are active in. So each person that walked into that room for me to work on - was a brand new adventure! Every one of them gave me a chance to use my screening logic as well as gave my hands a new feeling of tension, temperature, structure and individual needs. My Shiatsu teacher last term would say that "Only after a thousand bodies would you understand how to listen with yours" and last night, I lucky enough to add some more to my journey.

The final lesson I gained from last night was how happy, how excited, how responsive and how grateful one can be to be touched. The power of touch - even if only for 15 minutes under a slightly squeaking ceiling fan - can be a wonderful way to connect. As bodies. As people. As a small snippet of the human condition taking time out to recognize the individual.

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