22 Body Benefits: Introduction Part 2

And so…

I sharply changed decisions and set my mind on becoming a Massage Therapist.

Since 2008, it was rare even after college, that I hadn’t been nose deep in an Anatomy book instead of pursuing any understanding of my past and the anxiety that came with it. I had spent the majority of my work life and  personal time on helping others feel better instead of confronting the repercussions of childhood sexual abuse and trauma.

I became addicted to the study and practice. Specifically, I was obsessed with curing every chronic case of headaches I came across (that was how my trauma used to manifest in me) so much that when someone wasn’t healing, I expanded my skills and studied Craniosacral therapy.

Even when that resolved the “unsolvable” cases, I needed more than just successful results. I couldn’t just stop at pain-relief and give the muscles the manipulation they needed. I had to become the best at it. I had to redefine my treatment one session at a time until I had such precision and grace of hands that my client was comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Doubt stained my mind until clients started sharing their testimonies:

…there were clients who assured me that they’d seen therapists around the world and that my touch stood out from the rest.

…there were clients who claimed that I changed their life because of the ailment they suffered with for years was gone.

…there were even clients who said I have miracle fingers because I fixed something that their medical doctor was baffled on how to solve.

It finally came time that I saw my quality of practice reached my goals.

I believed I was good, but i finally knew I was good enough to start my own business. Little did i know i was using the feedback as a coping mechanism for a deep-seated issue.

I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome that hadn’t been given recognition since it started earlier than the age of 10, when sexual trauma from a neighbor was discovered and put to a stop.

Because I never reached out and no one inquired, I never resolved any internal conflicts, and a pattern of being a victim emerged instead of being a survivor. I attracted more trauma into my life to the point where I unexpectedly became pregnant from a stranger at the age of 19. Although that night turned my life upside down, and the question of was it rape or not would linger, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. And still, the journey was a series of joyful ups and devastating downs.

I thought re-prioritizing from the outside in was the only way. Diving into the inferno of confusion and back up again with a small piece of clarity.

I started with hope when I pursued church again, which turned into faith. There, a new awareness developed around the battle between what I learned spiritually – that I am loved and that I am enough – and what I falsely learned via the world. Unfortunately, this awareness didn’t stop the pattern of abuse and self-neglect … it just kept me alive.

The trauma was still covered up,  it was still sabotaging my own boundaries and sense of well-being. Before I found a respectful partner, I repeatedly found narcissistic relationships and other detrimental behaviors/beliefs. I was burning out from the inside.

 It wasn’t my hands that were tired. It was my mind that was exhausted.

My family suffered because of it, even my son was being abused by these persons without my knowing, and our victory was jeopardized by the quadrupling affects of repeated trauma untold.

After time this pattern shifted through perseverance and a new self-respect, which I will dive into this essential step in recovery later in this blog.

It seemed I was ready for the entrepreneurial paperwork. I had been in a healthy relationship and there was light at the end of the tunnel for my family to start thriving instead of surviving. Except there was still a block, coping techniques were no longer counteracting the anxiety because there was the stress of starting something new. Thank God I realized this before investing hundreds of dollars into something I wasn’t ready for. I filed away my paperwork and started going within.


I wish I could say this decision that finally steered me (and not just my son) towards therapy was solely due to the abuse that leaked into my family, but it was dyshidrotic eczema that threw me over the edge.

The obnoxiousness of these tiny fluid-filled sacs on my hands, like several pimples jammed into one pore, brought awareness to yet another internal conflict: my primary source of happiness was work. 

Again, my family suffered.

I missed several days of work when my thumb became inflamed. I went in and out of panic attacks during those days when I wasn’t getting my regular fix at work. The infection eventually passed, but what was left were these blisters that would keep coming back.

It wasn’t the agony of the pain, it was the despair of  not reaping the joy that I tried to sew. It was robbing me of my false happiness, therefore my carnal reason for being here.

I magnified an old false belief, a nasty stronghold on my self-worth, that I had no value if I couldn’t put someone else’s needs before mine.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? A woman or a man who fails to put their needs first, like someone who  puts the oxygen mask on others first instead of herself, and reluctantly collapses from the lack of oxygen and prevents them from doing the work they are called to do and those who could have been saved ironically suffer?

As much as the experience brought me to the depths of depression, it also inspired enough courage to receive professional help, and to have enough curiosity to  ask the tough questions that reveal the problem at it’s root.

 What is keeping me from nurturing myself? Why is it so hard to take off the glove and look at the wounds? Why do I resist the reasons behind stress that affects loved ones around me?

So there I was, forced to confront my feelings, forced to acknowledge my despair, and forced to uncover my old pain because it was no longer acceptable that everyone else was suffering too. Therein lay the answer to healing from within and having fulfillment without depending on an outside source. Because we are built to survive. But we are also capable of building a foundation to overcome survival instincts in order to become a whole, self-propelling, and self-healing individual.

And thus, the journey spawned 22 Body Benefits, insight to intuitive and alternative ways to persist through the life of pain and trauma for physical, spiritual, and emotional wholeness.

With this blogs insight, you can have hope that:

  1. There is happiness that is self-reliant.
  2. There is peace after trauma.
  3. You can receive empathy without staying in the pattern of victimization.

Some might call bodywork their job, but it’s my calling as a servant to be a facilitator for the healing and recovering…

…and although we may be Massage Therapy’s biggest advocate, it’s not the only thing out there. Holistic medicine is my passion and I’m here to share it.

So this whole blogging thing isn’t just to express myself or practice my writing, it’s to  give your body, mind, and spirit something natural to choose from.

It’s not to pick sides, it’s to give you all the sides to pick from.


It’s holistic all around and  22 Body Benefits is what we’ll call it.

You may be my client, my friend, or a stranger off the inter-webs (Nice to meet you)…but i think it’s meant to be from the beginning.


Your friend &  Massage Therapist, 

Rachael Ann


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