“Take off all your clothes and get under the cotton sheet.”
He showed off the utility first. Stones on a heater set for 160 degrees, four percent hotter than the state regulated. With two quick pumps to his tool belt, he picked up and lathered a stone, I immediately exhaled when he placed it on my skin. I have been facedown on tables for the last year trying to get properly aligned. A combination of issues made me a multi-layered cake of bad posture, tight shoulders, tweaked hips, and tense hamstrings. I am a runner and an owner of this magazine, a creative agency, and a nutritionist. I live an independent life with very few visitors to my private quarters. Somewhere after the age of 25, my body decided to show me it’s rightful owner.
It started with my diet and digestion then slowly moved its way to the muscles and bones. I sound like a wooden floor being trampled on by a toddler in the morning. So many creeks and cracks that I’ve begun to take the matters seriously, especially if I expect to keep running long distances. I love this sport enough to know that I need to love my body even more in order for it to function properly. Yoga, stretching, and visits to the chiropractor have become part of a regimen with regular trips for a massage.
Back in New York, I would hit up Fision in Lower East Side for a proper rub down, cheap and easy. I never left there feeling renewed or revitalized. I just felt less sore than when I entered, and for the price, that was good enough. You never know what kind of pressure you are going to get with a stranger. One time, I had a guy almost rub the color off of my skin and he barely spoke English, so the only thing I could think to do was tap out every time it felt like he was going to burn his way through the epidermis. Alternatively, I’ve been asking loved ones with strong hands to come sit on me and play me like a Rhodes. Applied pressure on muscles without the kneading. Massages have moved out of the luxury category; they’re considered write-offs now. Forget the lust and all that kinky stuff, I’m not getting touched enough. My always moving, always speaking with actions body, needs to be rubbed for proper recovery.
Health education in America is mishandled and it is disheartening. I hate the fact that no one prepared me for the things that I am just now learning about my body. I think the most important piece of this health and wellness industry boom is access to information. Now that we have the research on benefits of holistic medicine and homeopathy, it is important to share these findings. One of our greatest efforts with UNDO-Ordinary is to create a platform to share this information that doesn’t live solely on the Internet but also chooses to exist beyond four walls by surfing on the tongues of the people who understand it.
Instead of creating more elitist division, we put people in rooms together and have round-table discussions. I usually moderate the flow of the room, which is a practiced skill. It is a method adopted from the Michael Lugering technique for stage and screen acting to control attention with the body. Subtle motions like fiddling with something or using other parts of your body to speak. It was at a UNDO-powered Come Talk To We event, where Sean Bartholomew first noticed my expressive yet taut body. He sat there in a cotton turquoise shirt, blonde tips of his hair poking from under a wide brimmed hat. Engaged in the conversation, he finished every statement with bold wisdom and a Cheshire-like smile. He later introduced himself to me and his practice while massaging my hand at the same time.
Sean Bartholomew is a Holistic Body Therapist who treats at The Springs in the Arts District of Los Angeles. With a technique that mixes hot stone therapy, reflexology, traditional massage, lymphatic manipulation and herbal heat wraps—he has found a new way to master the body. His practice changes lives while changing the future, one body at a time. I left our first interaction impressed with the amount of knowledge that I absorbed from our conversation and how weightless my warmed hand felt.
Four months later I booked my first session with him. I left his table feeling like a newborn making her entrance into the world, without all the tears and slime. The Bartholomew Method was nothing like what I had felt before. It was as if my body had been melted down to a soft putty and I was finally malleable enough to put back together. For my treatment, I received 60-minutes of hot stone reflexology, Meridian acupressure, cerebral spinal therapy, and heated wraps to reset my life. It then took me another 45-minutes to leave his office, because I was still in a trance. Bartholomew coaxed me through the entire process and I woke up the next morning feeling brand new.
Every person on this earth should experience a healing of such magnitude. Massages increase the blood and lymphatic circulation around the muscles. Through the help of heat, the soft tissue is relaxed to a sedative state increasing the release of nerves and deeper connective tissue. It’s a tectonic energy that affects the rest of the body. Toxins are squeezed out from the muscles fiber cell and exhausted with every slow and heavy breath. The Bartholomew Method is a processing system that takes several sessions to transform acute pain. A stretch for the pockets at over a hundred bucks a session yet worth every minute and then after.
In between appointments, I have made the effort to touch and rub myself more often and here is what I have discovered:
Foam rolling gets some of the pressure out and a massage ball is a secret gift from heaven. Don’t feel the need to get fancy either, a tennis ball will work just fine.
SCRUB IT UP
Take advantage of the blessing that is hot water. Indulge in a steamy bath with eucalyptus oil to open your pores and nasal cavity with fresh air. Breath the air and be still for 30 seconds. Massage almond oil all over your body before you lather up. Use a loofah or mesh square with a little brown sugar to scrub away the dead skin cells.
RUB IT DOWN
Lotion yourself every day. Google an ethnic beauty salon in the area and pick up some shea butter. Mix in your favorite essential oils and whip together to a fluffy consistency. Smooth on after a shower and run around in your home naked and let it soak in.
These have forced me to stretch more often as I have moved all couches out of my living space. I incorporate my work life into yoga floor positions. It’s been working.
Also known as the Gorilla Pose where from standing you bend your hips and knees as needed to touch the floor. Once there, lift toes and slide hands, palms up, under the feet. Stand up as straight as you can and feel the pull along your shoulder and back.
And if all fails, ask someone you love to sit on you.
Original UNDO Magazine Issue 6 Title: Touch My Body
Written by Nai Vasha
Photographed by Brian Tampol