Resolving Delimas Through Bodywork
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InternatIonal Journal of therapeutIc Massage and Bodywork—Volume 3, number 1


Pamela Ellen Ferguson, Dipl ABT (NCCAOM): AOBTA and GSD-CI1; Debra Persinger, PhD2; Marianne Steele, AOBTA and GSD-CP3

1Private practice; 2Executive Director, Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards; 3Pacific Spirit (private practice), Bruhl Rohrhof, Germany

Pamela Ellen Ferguson and Debra Persinger, co-authors and co-editors of Sand to Sky— Conversations with Teachers of Asian Medicine (Bloomington, IN: iUniverse; 2008), interview Marianne Steele in Germany on her shiatsu and massage therapy work in various forms of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder. The interview was conducted in a series of e-mail exchanges and telephone calls during late 2009 and early 2010 and is intended for a future German edition of Sand to Sky.

KEYWORDS: Shiatsu, trauma, PTSD, U.S. mili- tary, lomilomi nui massage, transference, therapeutic bodywork

Pamela Ellen Ferguson is a Diplomate in Asian body- work therapy of the National Certification Commis- sion for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and a Certified Instructor of the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia and the Shiatsu Society of Germany. She is a licensed Massage Therapist and a Massage Therapy Continuing Education Provider (#1356) in the State of Texas. She has pioneered workshops on trauma and posttraumatic stress dis- order (PTSD) in Europe and the United States and has given volunteer shiatsu at Fisher House, land- stuhl U.S. military base, Germany. She is the author of several books, including the major textbooks The Self Shiatsu Handbook (New York: Berkley–Perigee; 1995) and Take Five: The Five Elements Guide to Health and Harmony (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan; 2000). German editions were published by Thieme/ Trias Verlag (Stuttgart).

Debra Persinger is executive director of the Federa- tion of State Massage Therapy Boards. She completed her masters and doctorate degrees at Kansas State University, after undergraduate and teacher training in her native New Zealand. Persinger is a popular presenter of ethics workshops at national bodywork conventions. She has published several works, includ- ing A Survey of Adolescent Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Sexuality and AIDS in New

Zealand (Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest UMI Dissertation Publishing; 1995) and a Study Guide and an Instruc- tor’s Manual to accompany J. Kenneth Davidson Sr and Nelwyn B. Moore’s Marriage and Family: Change and Continuity (Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon; 1996), co-authored with M.B. Bergen.

Marianne Steele is a Certified Practitioner of the Ameri- can Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia and the Shiatsu Society of Germany. She is also certified by the Wu Tang Physical Culture Association of New York to teach earth energy medical qi gong for women, and she volunteers as a shiatsu practitioner for the “Vaca- tion from War” program of the Committee for Funda- mental Rights and Democracy. Born in San Francisco, California, Steele lived and worked in Japan and Tai- wan from 1980 to 1990. She trained in shiatsu in Japan and Germany and has lived in Germany since 1990. Her Pacific Spirit clinical and teaching practice in shiatsu and qi gong is based in the Rhine town of Bruhl Rohrhof near Heidelberg. She is also under contract at U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg Campbell Barracks fitness center and at the wellness center of Heidelberg Army Medical Center to teach qi gong and give shiatsu and traditional Hawaiian lomilomi nui massage. She also volunteers in shiatsu at Fisher House, landstuhl U.S. military base. After years of practice in shiatsu, Steele trained in Hawaiian bodywork in Frankfurt with Jutta Hahr of Aloha International.

One of your major specializations is working with all forms of PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder], especially among members of the U.S. military returning to bases in Germany. Our German col- leagues are also dealing with symptoms of war- related PTSD as more German soldiers return from service in Afghanistan. What is your advice to your colleagues who may be new to this special- ized therapy?

A Berlin Shiatsu student asked this question be- cause his brother chose to go to Afghanistan to get away from their dysfunctional parents, thus escaping from an unhappy home into war.

InternatIonal Journal of therapeutIc Massage and BodyworkVoluMe 3, nuMBer 1, March 2010


KEYWORDS: Shiatsu, trauma, PTSD, U.S. mili- tary, lomilomi nui massage, transference, therapeutic bodywork