Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2021

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m p.co m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 91 Not Just Getting By A Conversation with Art Riggs BY TIL LUCHAU Massage and bodywork practitioners are getting older, just as the nation as a whole is getting older. That means: Like it or not, we—along with our clients, friends, and families—are learning about the joys and challenges of aging, as well as how to help, care for, and accompany each other into the process of getting older together. On the occasion of my own 60th birthday, I initiated a series of conversations with colleagues, mentors, and friends about the challenges, richness, losses, and learning that comes with their own aging. Massage and bodywork pioneer Art Riggs started us off. His bio says that "a lifetime of hard physical activity and high-level athletic pursuits, including ultra-marathons, led him to bodywork—first as a grateful recipient, and later as a student." A teacher since 1988, Riggs's popular Deep Tissue Massage textbook and DVD series were adopted by massage therapy programs worldwide. As a result, his teaching has influenced tens of thousands of massage and manual therapists in the decades since. This excerpt of a longer conversation (Episode 32 of The Thinking Practitioner podcast) has been edited for clarity. Listen to our entire conversation (or read the transcript) at a-t.tv/ttp-podcast-32-art-riggs. Til Luchau: Last week, you came to my virtual birthday party, where I celebrated turning 60. I decided I wanted conversations like this for my birthday—with people I admire and respect, and who have had an influence on the way I think and what I do. And you're high on that list. And there's a question that I'm still trying to formulate— something about getting older . . . technique | THE SOMATIC EDGE Art Riggs: Oh. I've had a lot of practice at getting older [laughter]. TL: OK, good. Because I'm going to get more practice too, like it or not. So, maybe my questions are: What do you know about taking care of ourselves as we get older? How well do you do? What is challenging for you? What helps? AR: Boy . . . I have a lot of physical issues. A lot of injuries. As far as people getting injured while they're working, I think it's because they are trying to make things happen, rather than letting them happen. But I think there's a fine line between accepting your limitations as you age, and Dylan Thomas's poem "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." Tossing in the towel and saying, "Oh, I'm too old. I'm doing this. I just need to lighten up." I think we all have to have something to look forward to with growth. And I continue to get better at bodywork. I'm always looking for something new; you and I discuss things, and lightbulbs go on. I still remember some of the things Art on Carmel Beach, with Oblio (1975), Sasha (1993), Sophie (2000), Ella (2013), and Yuma (2020).

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