wandering the web with a hankering for depressing, hard news ? apologies, but you won't find it here. this place pops with what's positive in our little nugget of southeastern pennsylvania.
01 February 2012
( massage-- in an introspective light )
by jennifer hetricka
a near fatal car accident eventually led judith gabriel to a new career away from her several decades as an english teacher at hamburg area high school. instead of helping young people with the gift of appreciating language, literature, and speaking, she switched into a mode of lending a literal hand (or two, actually) in allowing people of all ages to communicate better with their own physicality through the massage and bodywork expertise that saved her from a lot of chronic pain and discomfort in her own life, years ago.
a broken back and whiplash brought gabriel to know a massage therapist named dorothy blessing. after meeting, blessing told gabriel that her vertebrae were desperately out of alignment from the harsh accident and that she needed to see a reputable chiropractor to correct the issue that was affecting so much of her quality of life. as time went on, with the shift in how she treated her body, improvement began to reign, wholly, in fact. the more massage she had, the less chiropractic she needed.
knowing how the different modalities of bodily care had brought her back into the first decently pain-free part of her life after suffering for so long, and once a person in the field told her she had serious potential in helping others, gabriel took coursework to receive her certification through the former pennsylvania school of muscle therapy in king of prussia. with 25 years of teaching english under her belt, she has 23 years on top of that as a licensed and certified bodywork therapist.
gabriel operates out of alsace township in berks county, but she practices efforts well beyond massage. she also focuses on acutherapy, rebirthing breath work, reiki, reflexology, and intuitive bodywork.
“we are chemical, electrical, mechanical machines, producing byproducts like lactic acid—which can be toxic if not eliminated from the body,” she says about life-stresses built under skin.
“it’s an exchange of energy and cells staying in the body, appearing as congestion,” she continues. what many people call “knots” in muscle-areas are almost like little rocks or pebbles, she says, in tactile depiction.
but gabriel reveals that the term doesn’t quite live up to the reality of what muscles are coping with. instead, she describes the problematic spots as continual states of contraction brought on by different factors of the body falling out of its healthier form—life’s snowballing stressors from all sorts of starting points.
“muscles listen to your thoughts,” she explains. “the body is doing what it’s supposed to do. stress and thoughts create emotions, causing a physical reaction. it’s a physical feedback loop. and whenever the mind thinks something, the body reacts.
”this would explain why some people seem to feel like they’re in perpetual states of anxiety and can’t get away from the heavy way of weighted stress, not realizing that they are trapping themselves in this repetition of misery by their own behavior.
given how much massage and related forms of alternative therapy have bumped up the quality of gabriel’s days for years now, she says she has trouble accepting when people act as though massage is a luxury because from her experience, it is a natural part of what people owe to themselves to balance out the stiffening details of existing today, especially with the fast-paced habit of how so many never really stop to take time for themselves to just breathe or even relax, intentionally and mindfully.
“the amish and mennonites have always done massage and chiropractic because they don’t want to get sick,” gabriel elaborates about how certain groups of people have a lot of reverence for health-hugging approaches to a better life.
and one element people need to remember after a massage is to drink plenty of water, as the act of a massage dislodges toxins—hovering hard within muscles—dumping them into the bloodstream. drinking lots of water assists in flushing out the toxins. but if water is not sipped in serious amounts after a massage, the body is likely to ache sorely because of those toxins ache sorely because of those toxins staying locked inside, jailed to re-poison it.
and for those who either can’t afford massage or for their own reasons don’t make appointments, gabriel passionately suggests at least doing something positive for the body and mind, in a physical effort.
“swimming often in a backyard pool or doing yoga will help,” gabriel says. hiking, taking long baths, and any kind of exercise are other examples of ways to gift de-stressing. “if you feel tight or tense, pain, or anxiety, that all becomes suppressed in the body.
”gabriel points out that depression is something strongly impacted by massage. “we forget, in our culture, how important touch is. and massage is really good for the elderly as passive exercise, too.”
“when people explore their bodies and themselves, it makes their lives rich,” gabriel adds, noting that a number of her clients have told her that over time under her care, they’ve started to realize and understand more about who they are as people, recognizing particulars in themselves that they never gleaned before her massage efforts spilled into their days.
also reach gabriel by phone at 484.525.6563. online bookings are available, and a detailed listing of all her different approaches to bodywork are ready for eye-scooping on her website.