6 Questions to Michael Stanborough

1. When and how did you decide to become a bodyworker?
1978. I was living in Sydney and thought about going to the osteopathic college that a friend of mine was teaching at. But I also wanted to travel and live where I could ski. So I ended up in Boulder, Colorado at the Boulder School of Massage. At that time it was one of the foremost schools in the world and attracted students from all over the place. It was a very exciting time – I think we all had a notion that massage was a path to “change the world” for the better. One body at a time.
2. What do you find most exciting about bodywork therapy?
Getting to have authentic contact with people.
3. What is your most favourite bodywork book?
My own. And after that “Job’s Body” by Deane Juhan. Wow. What a great book. His writing style and the breadth of his wisdom are both inspiring.
4. What is the most challenging part of your work?
Finding the pathways to the mind through the body – not so much challenging but it’s something that makes the work fascinating and at times, profound. In some sessions there is whole symphony playing, not just a few nice instruments and this is simply delightful.
5. What advise you can give to fresh massage therapists who wish to make a career out of it?
1. Get an electric height adjustable table. Today!
2. Go to Pilates classes and get the core strength thing happening.
3. Work at about 50% of maximum output. No heroics trying to do the perfect, life-altering massage.
4. Charge more than enough – think rent, taxes, super, holidays and so on. Too many people charge too little.
6. How do you see the future of massage therapy?
More evidence-based. Some of this will be good. I fear it’s going to come at the expense of the “heart and soul of massage”. Touch for healing and nurturance will be replaced in some measure by touch is informed only by a scientific rationale. I’d like to see a blend of both these streams –evidence-based and the more humanistic approach – but the current climate seems pretty much oriented towards the former.