Marianna Frantz, CTP, LMT

Massage/Bodywork Practice

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

      And so when I work, I'm home. I started walking the road to home in childhood, although I did not know it then.

      In those early years I attended church regularly, and especially enjoyed the occasions when my denomination conducted a special communion service that included foot washing.  This was a reverent ritual through which members of the church made a public gesture of humility together with a symbolic statement of their commitment to service.

     Each time I observed this ceremony, I longed to participate as the adults did.  The wait to become old enough to do so seemed endless.  Part of my fascination as I watched was about the feet themselves.  Something about this part of the body seemed to beg for special appreciation, but I had no real understanding of what I was feeling.  I did feel, though.  I felt powerfully drawn to something  mysterious and wondrous.

     The memory of that time and those feelings returned many years later when, in pursuit of a second career, I began training in massage therapy.  Early in the study of the human body, I found myself again intrigued by feet.  The complexity of their structure and function filled me with such awe that I knew I was encountering a wonder way beyond anatomy and physiology. I knew without a doubt that I had found not a second career but a calling.  My calling!  My heart  knew I had found the road to home.

     Starting then and continuing still, my passion has  held steady for connecting the physical realities of the body with the spiritual realities that are its counterpart.  The body itself constantly reports that there is no separation between the physical and the spiritual. (see side bar for more)

     More and more I have learned to trust in myself what my masterful teachers modeled:  that I can rely on the information the body transmits to my hands.  Over time confidence fosters competence, which supports me in offering my experience and sharing my joy in this way of honoring the body.

 

                    There is but one temple in the Universe, says 

                     the devout Novalis, and that is the human body.

                     Nothing is holier than that high form.  We touch 

                     heaven when we lay our hand on the human body.

                                                            --Thomas Carlyle,

                                                          The Hero As Divinity.

MIND/BODY/SPIRIT

     My comment about there being "no separation between the physical and the spiritual" has its basis in what I experience as I conduct a session.  I feel more than the physicality of the body.  A variety of sensations enter my hands such as heat - cold - ripples of movement - prickly sensations.  Sometimes I feel numerous fibers within a muscle shifting position together in a flowing movement. This can happen whether I'm doing Reiki, Trager, Swedish massage or deep connective tissue massage.

     These healing sensations are not produced by the body's tissues.  They are caused by ENERGY--a non-physical current within  tissue that I call SPIRIT. This energy exists outside the body as well as within it. When I teach the Trager Mentastics to a client, I am teaching them to feel that current of energy by doing subtle body awareness work that can change body habits.

     Recall experiences you have had when you felt that somebody was "in your face."  This is an example of you feeling your own energy, and feeling it invaded. It is not a physical experience--yet you do not doubt that what you are feeling is "real."

     These "real" sensations also are evidence of healing on an emotional level. The field of Body Psychology tells us that the tissues hold the stories of our lives on all levels. The Trager Approach recognizes that by calling the work Psycho-physical Integtration as well as an "approach" to life that can be preventive medicine. Chronic Pain is an example of physical pain that often has  emotional/psychological/spiritual components that we can more easily understand, but all pain and traumas can be worked on from any or all levels.

     This emphasis of Mind/Body Integration was already being taught (ahead of its time) in the early 80's when I attended and graduated from PMTI (Potomac Massage Training Institute) and became a member of AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association).  When I became a practitioner of the Trager Approach and a member of USTA (United States Trager Association), that emphasis and focus on "real" sensations was even more refined by using movement to go deep into the tissues to feel that non-physical current. That is why clients have described my work as "MARIANNA'S AWESOME BODYWORK."

     Bodywork methods help us learn to live in our bodies with more awareness, pleasure, and freedom. It's never too late to release old patterns.  I work with a group of practitioners called Hands-On-Elders offering low cost clinics in the Northampton, Massachusetts area.