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Structural Integrator & Massage Therapist with Balance Chiropractic

Mesa Massage Therapist, Gary Rowden, LMT

Gary Rowden, LMT

Gary Rowden KMI, IASI / LMT, NCTMB

My path to becoming a Massage Therapist and Structural Integrator was a long traveled road. At 25 (1990) I had a back injury during a hiking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon. It was pain like I’ve never felt before. Like knives jabbing me in my hip bones and searing sharp electrical pains moving down my legs which also made my feet feel tingly and numb.

The only choice it seemed doctors were giving me was pain pills and surgery, but I wanted no part of that. Being as stubborn as I was back then, I decided to bite the bullet and laid on my stepfather’s floor for about a month or so writhing and sobbing in horrible pain. There were no more tears left.

Eventually whatever was going on with my lower back subsided enough to allow me to get up and stand in gravity, but I felt so weak and cautious about every movement and breath I was taking for the next six months or so. As I gained more stability my lower back felt as if it would snap in two like a dry twig in your hands as if you bending it and my legs felt so heavy and sluggish. Being so young at the time and feeling like I was run down, I got myself a gym membership and started simple by doing aerobic style workouts (which led me to a love of long distance bike riding) as I had gained quite a bit of weight during the healing process. My energy levels started coming more and more and I was feeling my age again along with confidence and eventually transitioned into weight lifting & training.

Healing myself from that burdensome injury was the ground work to becoming a massage therapist and Structural Integrator as I made exercising a lifestyle for preventative maintenance with my body but it would be another 12 years until the fateful decision to enroll at Ashmead College of Massage Therapy in Vancouver, Washington.

A Bodyworker’s Education

The summer of 2002 I enrolled at Ashmead College of Massage Therapy with the thought pattern that I already knew a lot about the body due to my past experiences. “BOY WAS I WRONG” The school had many Canadian Massage Therapists/Teachers whose training in their country is more time invested and complex. That knowledge and know how permeated throughout Ashmead. There was an excellent balance of science and art of massage and bodywork which fueled confidence and creativity. After graduating in June 2003, I immediately enrolled in Ashmead’s advanced training in Clinical Sports & Massage Specialty Program. Where my teacher/ mentor (Jeremy Sutton) a Rolfer himself taught us to slow down when touching people and provided a clearer vision of the body and its structure in terms of posture and pain. He also introduced our class to Tom Myers “Anatomy Trains” which peaked so much curiosity about the possibilities of treating people more holistically through manual therapy. I graduated from that course in September 2003.

I moved to Arizona in March 2004 to be closer to my sister, but would struggle for another 2½ years, but never stopped studying and remembering my education from Ashmead and Jeremy (Sutton). In July 2007 I took a job at a corporate massage establishment. The very thing I did not want to do in my career, but I so wanted to be a full time Massage Therapist. So I swallowed my pride and put all my training to practical use on the masses. Sometimes be careful what you ask for, you just may get it! Six months into the job, not forgetting about what we were introduced to in Jeremy’s class, I bought Tom Myers’ “Anatomy Trains” book. Started reading and studying, putting what I was comprehending from the pages to practical use. This began a three year transformation into a Structural Integrator including several continuing education courses in anatomy trains (80 hrs total from April 2008 to Feb. 2009) and years of practical experience with many people with pain and postural issues.

In November of 2009 I enrolled in KMI’s 500 hr Certification course in Structural Integration. I got certified in December 2010. All the while working at the corporate establishment with new vision and touch which culminated into better results for my clients.

In June of 2011 I was at a point where I wanted to be working with another medical professional and leave behind the constraints of corporate rules that would not allow me to practice certain techniques that are crucial to the process. I found that level of respect and comfort with Dr. Sam Hallows at Balance Chiropractic where he openly invited me to work together and share ideas and treatment strategies for our clients. Thank you Dr. Sam for having an open mind to Structural Integration and to our clients for their business and trust.

Philosophy

First of all I would like to thank all my previous, current, and possibly future clients for their willingness and experiences in life for allowing me to practice “Structural Integration.” You all are my best teachers. Every person that comes into my therapy room is an equal partner in their healing. I always strive to go to the Point of Resistance only within the body and its tissue with the cooperative movement and breath. Releasing layers of tissue in order of superficial to deep and to integrate these layers together to build stability and adaptability to the whole structure of the body. Most importantly to aid in the empowerment of an individuals awareness/consciousness of their body in the long-term to help change certain (energy robbing) postural patterns that may be causing long-held chronic pain. Continually working towards structural alignment, ease and generosity of movement, adaptability and tolerance and the singleness of purpose while maintaining multiple levels of perception. In essence it’s a working partnership to free the binding and shortening of connective tissues or as we refer to as the “fascial system” and to re-educate the body inefficient and energy sustaining patterns.

What Next?

Visit our tab on this website dedicated to explaining Structural Integration along with link to a useful website. Give our Mesa chiropractic office a call today and let us help you live a long healthy life.


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