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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

The Sliding Scale of Bodywork

Apr 30, 2021 05:56PM ● By Shae Marcus

by Matt Preston

Bodywork is one of those practices that most people kind of know about, but are never quite sure what it exactly means. From assuming it’s just one’s body—at work—to involving deep meditation while fasting in the mountains of Tibet, how it’s thought of can certainly vary. It also depends on the motivation in seeking out such work and the reasons that lead such people to do so.

Take Tony for example. About 12 years ago, he wasn’t married, had no kids and was in pretty good shape; karate being his main go-to activity when it came to working out. He wasn’t exactly like that one guy from that one karate show on that one streaming service that everyone was talking about, but he was close. Currently, however, Tony’s a little softer. Now that he’s been married for 10-plus years, he’s spent the last year as de facto teacher to his multiple kids, all under 10.

Now, he believes that he’s still in pretty good shape as nearly 40-year-olds go, but every now and then he’ll talk about the “good ole days”. He actually started doing karate as a kid with his dad, so it was also a bonding experience as well as a great physical and mental discipline. Lately, though, he’s finding that his strength and stamina aren’t what they use to be, but still good enough to indicate he’s still ready to get moving.

 It’s at this point that necessity and opportunity may meet in the middle, and he could share the practice with his kids. Better yet, they could all go to classes with his wife, and maybe even with their grandpa, too. It’ll help to have the time of course, but each person needs to be able to make it if they want it enough.

Valerie is also someone who would love to focus a little on herself, but in a different more meaningful way. In her mid-20s and single, living in the big city and working in public relations, she actually makes sure she doesn’t neglect her self-care. She eats healthy enough and runs on the treadmill in her apartment building’s gym, doesn’t go too nuts on the weekends, and will even do the occasional mud run when she’s feeling ornery.

That’s just it though, she’s been feeling a little too ornery lately. Like any job, hers doesn’t always go smoothly from day to day, and that’s when she’s able to get there on time if the trains aren’t delayed. And sure, a spa day here and there isn’t a bad way to compensate, but the relaxed feeling doesn’t usually last that long once she’s out the doors; especially considering she needs to get back on the train.

 Reiki could be exactly what she’s looking for, without even knowing much about it. Sure, it takes her hippy friend Stardust to give her the hard sell this time, as the little tidbits the latter was dropping over the last few months regarding it weren’t really helping. But after a particularly long week, Valerie was more open to the alternative practice, and gave it a shot the next week.

Now she’s not exactly going to start hanging dream catchers in her apartment or donning bohemian pants, but Valerie will find the work involving her energy to benefit her body big time. And while her friend is more than happy to take some of the credit, Valerie defends herself that when they’re living in the big city, it’s not exactly the most conducive atmosphere for relaxation. Luckily, it’s the opposite for Kelsey and Pete, as they live in a suburban town within driving distance of many beautiful natural wonders.

A large wooded area that leads to a hiking trail up to low lying mountains and/or a fresh water stream that goes on for a bit before it gets to a picture-perfect lake are some examples of how the late 30-something newlyweds could find their heaven on Earth. But when they’re nearly middle-aged, both starting new jobs and freshly married, they don’t engage nature the way they’d like to.


And it’s not for lack of trying, at least on Pete’s part. They both break the stereotypes as Pete wants to go to these places while Kelsey tends to be more of a homebody. Granted, she’s not against it, but they both work full-time jobs and spend a good portion of their free time working on their creative pursuits at home.


However, sometimes bodywork involves more than just a “person’s person” or even their energetic makeup, but the actual body of the planet. The natural world has a way of bringing a certain peace, tranquility and perspective to anyone looking to engage. And what better way to relax and or jar loose some creative energy that’s been stagnant than exploring these stunning areas. That’s at least Pete’s logic, when after multiple working weekends in a row, he’s able to convince his wife and best friend for them to do just that.


In the end, at least in the case of bodywork, it’s good to know there’s not just one way to approach it, let alone define it. At least as long as you don’t ask Mikey down the block who owns his own bodywork and repair auto shop. Now that guy has a very solid understanding of the term and will very colorfully describe it to you if you let him, but that’s for another article.


Matt Preston is a creative and professional writer from Gloucester Township in South Jersey. Writing is one of his passions; body, mind and soul wellness one of his goals, and belief in destiny his continual motivation. His website and podcast can be found