by Alison Miller of www.AlisonBodywork.com in Jacksonville, OR
I have participated in Stephanie Shrum’s massage mentorship for the past nine months, during which time I’ve grown both in confidence and skill as a massage therapist. My involvement in the group has been the greatest gift I could have given myself as a healing professional. Stephanie is an exceptionally skilled therapist whose approach to the body is dynamic and multidimensional. As a teacher, she inspires and engages while bringing both humor and heart to her work.
In our mentorship, Stephanie shares the skills that make her work so effective. She helps us hone our palpation and assessment skills while teaching us innovative techniques. Stephanie invites us to feel the qualities and layers of tissue and muscle, noticing the quality of movement available in a joint, or how a particular holding pattern affects other muscle groups. She shares many of her favorite creative techniques. For example we have learned a Thai-inspired technique that skillfully employs the therapist’s elbow while gently using the client’s arm as a lever to address tension around the collarbone and pectoral muscles. Along with a repertoire of techniques, Stephanie shares the skills needed to improvise treatments to best meet the client’s unique needs. Foremost among these skills is kindness to our own bodies as therapists. By teaching us how to use ideal body alignment, we avoid stressing our own joints and muscles and learn how to work smarter and not harder. Through feedback from Stephanie and other colleagues in class, I’ve grown in my ability to be simultaneously present to myself and to the needs of my client.
Consistent with the name of her business, Co-Creative Healing, Stephanie teaches techniques in which clients are invited to experience the massage not only passively, but also to participate in the process of releasing tension. I have experienced how these interactive methods amazingly disarm and unravel stalwart pain patterns that have held on for years. I now can’t imagine a massage session in which I don’t incorporate these techniques.
Always present in Stephanie’s work and teaching are focused attention and nuance and an ability to listen to what the body is communicating and what it needs. In our mentorship, I’ve had the experience of learning that, in order to understand the body’s subtle messages, one must be sufficiently quiet, still, and tuned in, which is truly the only way to make doing deep, therapeutic work safe and effective.
In 2015, Stephanie is open to accepting one or two more dedicated therapist into this valuable program. Please call Stephanie at 541-497-0717 or visit her website for more details and video samples: http://www.cocreativehealing.com.