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Community Highlights: Meet Katie Parker of Katie Parker Integrative Massage

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Parker, LMT.

Hi Katie, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Growing up, I would never have dreamed that I’d be working extensively with bodies as a licensed manual therapist, focusing on people’s health in private practice, and feeling as aligned as I do! I’ve come to realize that I am exactly where I need to be. People often ask me what style of bodywork I offer, and the truth is, it’s changed so much since I first studied the human body and began my practice in New York City almost 12 years ago. Once you begin spending so much time with yourself and others in quiet, healing spaces, transformation is inevitable, unless you are fighting it. It’s been a really beautiful – sometimes messy – journey, and it’s led me right back into a relationship with myself in ways I never could have imagined. I absolutely love what I do.

Since I first began practicing massage, I’ve also become a mother. We moved our family from New York to Nashville four years ago, and in doing that, I discovered a strong desire to build community here, to reconnect with nature, and to continue to become more aware of my body, my breath, the energy that supports all of us, and to share that with people I am in a relationship here.

I offer outdoor sessions to help all of us remember that there is a fundamental order within us, just as it is all around us in the natural world.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
One of the hardest things turned out to be one of the most beautiful and affirming things in my life. When Covid-19 became a household name last year, I struggled with the ethicality of offering sessions indoors. We didn’t know much about how the virus was transmitted, and all of a sudden, sharing space with people for long periods of time, especially in the intimate way that manual therapists do, felt uncertain. When I made the decision to move my practice outdoors, I had no idea how much it would change my life!

It was a very scary thing to do – making a big change like that in private practice always is – but the response was tremendous, and I watched clients that I had been seeing regularly indoors make huge shifts once we began outdoor sessions. It has been a gift to be reminded of how the natural world supports health and is literally showing us how to do it every day. All we have to do is listen and pay attention. That is not an easy thing to accomplish in our society today. There are many distractions, and whole systems have been set up to keep us away from developing a relationship with nature. I’m sure there will be times that I will need to bring my practice indoors again, but I deeply know that I will always return to the outdoor work to let it guide me.

We’ve been impressed with Katie Parker Integrative Massage, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our bodies inherently know how to express health. As much as the current narrative of massage and bodywork is that practitioners are here to “fix” you and all of your aches and pains, I have come to learn that my role as a manual therapist is to acknowledge the health that is already there and to follow it and allow it to reveal itself. The framework of my practice is an energetic modality called SourcePointTherapy™, and each body shows exactly what it needs within a session. The flow of my work is not a routine. Every session is different.

Massage therapists are often taught to DO so much. We learn anatomy, muscle attachments, directions of fibers, movements of each joint, pathologies, how the nerves innervate each muscle, and the intricate web of fascia that connects the soft tissue. I’ve continued my studies throughout the years and have a greater understanding of the viscera – our organs – and how they connect and influence soft tissue as well. Our bodies are absolutely fascinating! Working with all of these things in a session can bring great relief to our nervous systems, helping us move through acute and chronic pain, limited mobility, exhaustion, and anxiety.

There is also something going on in our systems that Western science is just now beginning to understand and give language to, and that is that there is a palpable energetic field that informs what is going on physically, mentally, and emotionally in our bodies.

My practice has come to acknowledge all parts of this. We are really connecting into – or reconnecting really – with our bodies’ inherent understanding of how to be healthy.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
Well, I believe we, as people, are all going to need to make incredible shifts. There must be a focus on reconnecting with the natural world and taking care of this incredible planet that has supported us, despite how much we take from it.

What I’ve come to remember from spending so much time outdoors, is that everything that is going on outside and all around us in the natural world is also happening within us on a cellular level. We are deeply connected to nature and to one another. Reconnecting with our bodies and developing a relationship with them is one way to try to begin to understand how to support our Earth, which is showing us, in many ways right now, that it is struggling to survive with humans.

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Image Credits:

Emily Dorio

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