I did some dreamwork for the first time awhile ago wherein I set the intention of receiving wisdom from my dreams (with a little ritual to make it more than a casual request) and I got some really clear, giant, banner-like guidance in the form of these words: Persistence, Patience, Respect, Resilience. They have been echoing and resonating ever since in various ways, and in one particular way I want to share with you.
I have a human body, too! I have my own struggles, strengths, weaknesses, challenges and successes. I need help, I need people to help me see what I cannot, and I sometimes flounder in difficult stuck places like everybody else. It often seems like I get one thing all figured out and another puzzle presents itself. Some worse than others.
For the past few years I have been working with a particularly challenging lower back issue that at one time made it painful to stand and cook, to work, to walk. As recently as last December I was in a lot of pain, unable to take short walks without suffering. I had to stop and think when I was feeling my most fragile and frustrated, “What is truly going to help me?” My gut told me that it was more active than passive- the bodywork I had received had only brought temporary relief and it felt to me like I had to build some new movement patterns with a practice of some kind.
To deal with this I had to quit an exercise routine (crossfit) that was making me feel great in many ways (and had helped me fix a problem I had been living with for 30 years) and switch to something that was more of a long-game (Pilates). I then had to put Pilates on hold for a month or so to step back even further to do some physical therapy (with Heidi Gans, who is fantastic). I had to slow waaaaaaaay down, feel the subtle movements of my habitual strengths, and commit to a practice of awareness that I then took back into my Pilates class.
Although I have longed for something that would just be “the answer” and make the problem disappear without me having to work at it so much, it turns out that persistence, patience, and respect have restored my resilience. Twice weekly Pilates classes for an entire year did pay off- I can walk, cook, work, and am considering getting back into more active cardio workouts again! The ongoing practices of tuning in, staying curious, being compassionate about my limitations and frustrations- these things make me stronger in more than just the physical realm. I am grateful to my dreams for their wisdom and encouragement!
A couple of years ago I was interviewed for a film about invisible illness by Mystère Poème-Dawson. Invisible illness is when you are not well in one way or another and the medical system can’t seem to figure out how to help you. If there isn’t a clear diagnosis or path of treatment, it makes you feel invisible. This in addition to whatever your original symptoms are can be pretty miserable. Mystère was stuck there herself and decided to make a documentary to at least build a sense of visibility. Check her film out at https://invisibleillnessfilm.com.
Sometimes my clients are working with stuff that won’t budge despite all their efforts- therapies both physical and emotional, diet changes, lifestyle tweaks… everything helps a little but the sticky stuff is really stuck.
Many years ago I was stuck in just such a cycle and a trusted colleague gave me a brochure for a shaman she knew. I rolled my eyes and threw it into a stack of stuff and kept trying with the therapy, the massage, the Rolfing, the acupuncture, and still, I was waking every night in pain. I got fairly desperate. I gave the shaman a call.
He could tell that I was reluctant/skeptical and he was kind about it, encouraging me to go ahead and allow myself to show up for the work since I had already gotten myself there and paid for it. He had a point, so I went with it, and we did some soul retrieval work together around a traumatic incident that had occurred a few years prior. I remember not knowing quite what to make of it, but thinking as I left about how spirit doesn’t often factor into health care in our modern world. From a pragmatic and less woo-woo standpoint, he had made me confront something I had been avoiding and had given me at least a metaphor to help me release it. And my pain went away, I began sleeping through the night again.
Since then I have seen a few other practitioners who I would generally fit into a “spirit” category- intuitive healers, a medium, shamanistic healers. Sometimes the work they do would feel weird to that earlier version of me, but I have surrendered at least some of the skepticism (when working with a vetted practitioner) and can allow myself to receive what they offer. Many times what they offer is help discerning the work I have to do myself, and I then have to go and do it. I would credit one such healer with basically giving me a list of beliefs that I had to surrender and some possible techniques that might help me do that. That list didn’t include but eventually led to the Somatic Experiencing work that I now practice.
I want to put this out there as a real and valuable tool for you. Mind/Body/Spirit is not just a catchphrase. I can usually help you with your body. Check my resources page for folks who can help you with your spirit.
At this time I am taking new clients with Regence Blue Shield, First Choice Health Network (Kaiser’s extended network), and United Health Care. First Choice and UHC clients book appointments from the regular service menu, as do L&I and PIP claims.
To book an appointment that will be paid for with your Regence health insurance, please choose “Reduced Rate Session 60 Minutes” from the service menu on my booking site. You will then choose “Reduced Rate A.” as your provider- this is still me, using a different provider name so I can manage those sessions, which are offered at one/day. It may be several months before an opening shows up on the calendar, as those are popular sessions! You can also join the cancellation list (on the sidebar) for openings that come available.
For all clients using their health insurance, I ask that you have a prescription for massage from your doctor, regardless of whether your plan says you need one. Your prescription must include the proper ICD-10 diagnosis code/s and the number of sessions prescribed. Some Regence plans require pre-authorization for massage therapy treatment. Please click here to determine whether this affects you.
I no longer work as an Aetna or a Premera provider, but I can furnish you with the proper paperwork to get my work reimbursed at the out-of-network rate if you wish.
I get asked a lot who I get my healing and helping work from. I am lucky enough to have some great relationships going with a variety of folks who do different things, all of which are hugely beneficial to my health and well being. I have a quick-reference list here, but if you want more details about these practitioners, read on:
My most regular massage trades are with Christina Pappas, who works on Vashon Island and in Pioneer Square. She’s a craniosacral therapist and also does some lovely deep Swedish massage.
My friend Eve DeRooy is another excellent craniosacral therapist who also gives a lovely massage, and she has extensive training in trauma healing with Somatic Experiencing and the Organic Intelligence models.
Michael Hahn is someone I send people to when it seems likely that their finer structural relationships could use some attention. People who have had extensive gut issues or multiple accidents or surgeries… or sometimes folks whose problems just don’t respond to the work I do the way I would hope or expect- I send them to Michael.
For Structural Integration work I most often trade with Kate Bradfield. It is so lovely to get her eyes and hands on my situation and get some help!
My Rolfing mentor Ron McComb is still at it, practicing a few days a month in Seattle. Though I have not had a chance to connect with him for many years, he has been practicing for almost my entire life and has a ton of wisdom to share.
I’m currently seeing Jared Kohler for some unique chiropractic care- no popping and cracking, but tapping, vibrating, and stretching with precision adjustments of the atlas/axis of the spine, so gentle you hardly feel it happening.
I’ve also seen Mike Ross for the more traditional cracking business, though he does a lot more soft tissue work with Active Release Technique than cracking, and is very rehab-oriented. He is great for giving you exercises to do on your own.
For the past year and a half or so my body has been telling me that my diet could use some adjusting– not because of middle-aged spread, though that is certainly of concern- but because of discomfort and inflammation. I will be spending some time with Michelle Schwartz to help strategize myself into greater comfort again.
Gay at Kinesia Pilates did a series of private sessions with me that have been crucial in my current quest for strength and stability in my lower back.
Everybody needs help. I am so grateful to have these excellent practitioners to turn to, and always interested to hear who you go to when you need it!
More information about the work I have studied, and where I studied it:
As a quick reference to the people and places I go to get myself taken care of, or have heard great things about from trusted sources, I offer you this list. I have gone into more detail about them here.
Christina Pappas– Craniosacral Therapy, deep tissue Swedish massage
Eve DeRooy– Craniosacral Therapy, Swedish massage, Somatic Experiencing/Organic Intelligence
The team at Banya 5– for sooner-rather-than-later needs
Nan Schwarz– on Capitol Hill
Washington State Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Center– in the International District
Eric Spivack– also does Thai massage, on Beacon Hill
Don Andre– Renton and Columbia City, also works with apitherapy
Dean Chier, MD– Seattle Healing Arts Center has a great reputation.
I have had this dream for a reaaaallly long time to get a thing going with other folks who do healing work in various disciplines. I’ve spent hours working on business plans and crunching numbers and as yet the time has not been right and the plan has not become more than a dream, but I did get excited a couple of years ago and set up an LLC and bought myself some url’s. Thought I’d point them here for awhile, while the dream drifts around in the ethers… here’s the nutshell:
Thrive Together Healing Arts is a collective wellness center currently in the idea phase of existence.
Thrive Together sustains a field of rejuvenating energy, invites you to feel better just by walking in. It is a collective of offices housing 4-7 independent practitioners of varying healing arts, sharing resources where useful. It is peaceful without being precious, friendly and engaging and respectful in its presentation.
Underneath all the struggle and strain, we are doing just fine; this place will remind us of that.
We are a Limited Liability Company owned by one of the independent practitioners of Thrive Together Healing Arts. Although other practitioners are not owners in the LLC, collaboration, collective responsibility and respect are keys to sustaining the common goal of Thriving Together.