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Sustainable Bodies: The Importance of Paying Attention

Can we give the same attention to ourselves, a nurturing attention, as we do to our gardens, forests, oceans and earth? How do we find sustainable resources for our bodies in the same way we are looking for sustainable ways to continue life on earth?

Most of us know to increase our exercise and improve our eating habits and to quit smoking. Iʼd like to suggest some health care, self care, sustainable practices that you can easily blend into your life.


Over the years my life and practice as a manual therapist has focused on body awareness, self-awareness and developing presence. It seems that many of us donʼt have time to cultivate self care that can make us calmer and happier. We prefer to go outward, not inward to look for answers. I think we need to do both.

In my bodywork practice I usually meet people who are ready to learn what I am talking about because of illness or a surgery or an injury, from a shock or a trauma, in the present or from the past. What helps deepen awareness for many is the discovery of the layers of trauma from other times in their lives, large and small, that contribute to the current discomfort. The body is ready to reveal the layers and shed trauma and injury when you deepen your body awareness mindfully, listen to your body and your inner voice, and hence self awareness or presence. Together we find these memories in the bodyʼs tissues. Cellular tissue memory is more accurate than our mindʼs memory and is more persistent in trying to get our conscious attention to address a situation. A repeated stomach ache or headache for example. In a session we work together on the layers of memory through touch and some discussion.

Some of these body situations are very bothersome, interfering with our lives, our workout regimes, our vacations. Sometimes someone elseʼs life interferes or intersects with yours and the total healing becomes complicated. Iʼm thinking of a car crash that was not your fault, the snowboarder-skier collision on the slopes, an incorrect medical diagnosis and treatment. There is a combination of gentle manual touch with appropriate dialogue intervention that can change your mind as well as your body.


More often than not, my prescription is REST, slow down and do less, go inward, take away the outer stimulation to find your own road to healing. Clients always want exercises to do at home and instead I say, drink more water and rest, learn to listen to what your body really wants to do. Donʼt do too much, whatever that truly means for you. Enjoy some quiet time with your body, the trees and the flowers, the book and the bed. Walk, donʼt run, on the same path for a day or two. The more you learn about and attune to your body, the more you will discover about yourself.


The studies that inform my practice are CranioSacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, Feldenkrais, and lymphatic and neurological work. I may suggest meditation or other somatic studies and practices that foster investigation of the body, our resource for living on this earth. These therapies beckon us to become attuned to our inner landscape: our bones, movements, fluids and thoughts.

We find that the integration of the inner and the outer, the body and the mind, transforms our lives. It kind of sneaks up on you: that suddenly you are happier, have less pain, can do a little more than before. Climb that peak, walk all the way down that street.

I make my studies and experiences available to clients via gentle touchwork and talk: self-discovery through the body and its ability. Learn a little anatomy, what is exactly going on in there? Learn to identify and describe sensation and thought, learn to rest deeply. Work with acceptance of what is, eliminating resistance to change, is a crucial part of the body-mind transformative process.

Reflect on LIFE. And what exactly is the hurry anyway? Be comfortable in your body, appreciate what is around you, just for a moment. What a change!!!

Judith Marcus, MA, LMP has been in private practice since 1984 specializing in CranioSacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation and Feldenkrais as well as other energetic and movement therapies, including yoga and Qi Gong.


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