artist: anna ura

that afternoon after the mammogram, I have a massage session with the magical Hannah at the Three Oaks Academy, which is a marvelous massage school.  the woman who runs it is a friend of mine, Susan Stockton.  she has had me be the case study for one of her exceptional students to learn RBT, restorative breast therapy.

RBT is a therapy that was created here at the clinic to work with women who are dealing with breast cancer or  reconstructive surgery.  it encourages lymphatic drainage, miofacial release and helps minimize and heal the trauma to the body and the spirit after such an experience. my first meeting with susan was 2 days after I had my first mammogram and we have been on this ride together ever since.

the three oaks is located in a beautiful old craftsman style house in downtown boise. hard wood floors, plants and natural light everywhere. susan’s gentle giant healing canine, sugar bear, always stretched out on the floor in front of the fire place. one of my favorite artists, Anna Ura, has a gorgeous oil painting of stark winter trees hanging over the mantle.

it is a place of healing. it is full of love and caring that is deeply rooted in strong foundational knowledge and experience, as well as spiritual understanding and power.


after hugging everyone in hugging distance, I am led to a therapy room. natural light slips in thru the old leaded glass windows, diffused by the white wooden plantation blinds.. dark wood, plants, candles, beautiful art work. an angel image on an old rough piece of barn wood hangs on the wall. soothing music playing , the massage table warm and inviting with flannel sheets.

I undress and slide under the blankets listening to the birds outside in the trees and watching the light play across the sage green walls. it is warm, safe, inviting and an infinitely healing environment.

Hannah enters the room and instantly there is a sense of calm, of caring and of  intention. she holds my feet to connect to my energy before she goes any further. then she moves to my head for some gentle cranial sacral work. then as she as ready to do the RBT work, she asks if she might uncover one side of my chest to do the work. she asks.

the work consists of gentle, yet powerful pressing with the fingertips along the upper collar bone and upper chest area to stimulate lymphatic drainage. then as she begins to take the chest wall with both hands and lifting it up and pulling slightly, like you were handling pizza dough or the back of a basset hounds neck. this repetitive lifting and gentle pulling, feeling the muscles “unstick” from the ribs and bones. there is nothing aggressive about it. if feels like she is up to her elbows, reaching down into the depths to pull your traumatized inner layers up to the surface. to reunite you with the whole of your body.

In yoga we talk about the five koshas. the energetic layers of our bodies:

the food body or physical body

the pranic or breath/energy body

the mental body

the astral body

the bliss body

this work feels like it is pulling off the serran wrap that smashes the koshas together when they have been thru a trauma like surgery. I felt that I was being pulled up to the surface to bring light and breath and expansion to where there was constriction and fear.

she works both sides and when she is done you feel like a three dimensional being again. that space is being made for healing to continue to take place. to mend, to move forward.

I generally pass out into some kind of blessed out shavasana during my sessions with her. when I leave I feel restored and revitalized. i am blessed that i see her once a week and each session i feel it move the toxic sludge out of my body, my tissue, my heart.

I feel in my heart that there is a way to integrate these experiences and to create a more healing, caring and personal environment as women walk this road. not one side or the other. but a bridging of the two. it is in that bridging together that real healing on all levels can take place, and isn’t that what health and wellness is all about?