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INTERVIEW WITH DIANA HAYNES

Diana Haynes has been practicing various forms of bodywork for over 30 years. Besides owning her own massage school, she also developed Yogassage, a blend of yoga and bodywork. Out of her vast knowledge of massage, she has a special love for Positional Release. She is the author of the DVD's Positional Release and Chair Massage.

1. When and how did you decide to become a bodyworker?
I took my first certification in 1972 but it wasn't until I got a job in a physical therapy office some years later that I really saw the power of massage to help people heal on multiple levels. In that office, I worked 30 minute sessions 8 hours a day on patients with every type of injury, disability or disease. I discovered that massage dramatically improved their recovery process, eased their pain and gave them a sense of empowerment in the journey of getting well. I was hooked and started taking every advanced class I could find to further my ability to help these patients.

2. What do you find most exciting about bodywork therapy?
The fact that the gift can go so far beyond the technique that a person is applying. There is something so profound about the simple act of caring, the honoring of our hurts that goes straight from the physical to our deepest spiritual need. Massage can dissolve isolation as well as scar tissue and heal wounds that never left a mark. It's this psychospiritual dimension that excites me most because it doesn't even require words and yet can transform a person from the inside out.

3. What is your favorite bodywork book?
There are so many it's really hard to choose. I'd have to admit the 2 books that I've used most often over the years (other than anatomy texts) has been Ben Benjamin's "Listen to your Pain" and "Functional Assessment in Massage Therapy" by Whitney Lowe. These books helped me when clients described symptoms that I wasn't familiar with and wasn't sure if they needed a referral or if I could help them. They're both very user friendly and have good illustrations unlike some more medical text books.

4. Which part of the body do you find the most challenging to work on?
Knees have long been my nemesis, In part because some of the critical structures aren't reachable without a knife and the symptoms associated with knee injuries can be so variable.

5. What advice you can give to new massage therapists who wish to make a career out of it?
Know yourself and what skills you bring to a business besides your hands. If you don't like marketing or responsibility, you'll need to
find a position where that is done for you, but expect it to take a 50% bite out of your paycheck. If you really want the rewards and challenges of running your own business, get business training and find a good mentor. It takes incredible persistence, creativity and good planning to succeed at any business and massage is no different. I have seen brand new practitioners succeed and more seasoned therapists fail depending on their commitment to the business end of their business. Know what's right for you and then give it 100%

6. How do you see the future of massage therapy?
One of the things that I've always loved about massage therapy is that it keeps evolving and has so many facets that there's literally something relevant to every body. In the 60's massage exploded on the scene as an off shoot of the human potential movement and was largely focused on overcoming inhibitions and developing safe sensuality. In the 70's Gestalt therapy, Alexander technique, Rolfing and Deep Tissue emerged and dominated the Esalen community. In the 80's more scientifically based modalities like Neuro-Muscular Technique, Muscle Energy Technique, Cranio Sacral, Myofascial Release and several other osteopathic spin offs became popular along with Reiki and purely energetic approaches to healing. While the scientific & structural techniques remain strong, in the 90's I saw a blossoming of the Spa modalities - lymphatic, hot stone massage, peels and wraps along with the more exotic Thai massage, barefoot shiatsu and watsu.

Today the massage schools are covering it all and more practices advertise a plethora of services. The challenge I see, when you have a 1000 hours of training in multiple modalities, is how to choose what's best for this client today. Unlike the Starbucks client, who can clearly order exactly what they want, we don't have a clientele that typically asks for mostly neuro muscular with a little cranial work, foot reflexology, some energy balancing and - hold the foam. But that is the direction that I see - more choices, more sophistication and more broad appreciation of the manifold benefits of this art.