Table Time: Monk Wellington on Unlocking the Body’s (Hidden) Connections
Ever been on the massage table hoping to ease back pain, but the therapist addresses another area instead?
This week I sat down with Monk Wellington (yes, a Monk!) to get the scoop on why this is so. Counterintuitive, but true. What we think are seemingly unrelated parts are in fact, the key to relieving discomfort. Here’s a holistic moment: it’s time to stop fixating.
Monk, a member of our San Francisco spa Certified Massage Therapist team for 5 years, is a dancer and an artist, whose experiences have deeply influenced his bodywork techniques. His belief in mind and body integration is steadfast. Outside of IO, Monk can be found dancing at a studio in the Mission or studying Japanese or physics.
Monk, enlighten us. What does “unified/complete health” means to you?
Unified/complete health means always being aware of what goes in and out of your body and mind. Equal parts on both ends will always keep you balanced.
What do you do to take care of yourself?
Physically: I dance and run 2-3 times a week. I lift weights to keep tone. Being nimble is my goal, not bulk. I work with my hands a lot, so I ice twice a week, but that’s just preventative care.
Mentally: I love learning, so I read a lot. I try to meditate everyday. I love art, watching it or creating it. Not necessarily because of the community, but because it’s about expressing, sharing, releasing, which helps the body a lot. The body processes all kinds of information, and if we don’t let it out, it gets to the point where you need to see someone like me!
We all know that the mind-body connection is inseparable. What are some “hidden” places of stress/pain that we often overlook?
It’s different for everyone, but the place most are surprised they have tension is in their armpit. We use our arms everyday for everything, and massage focusing on shoulders definitely alleviates the back. However, what really helps the most is that funny spot underneath your shoulder that may have never ever been touched before.
What’s your secret to unlocking the lower back?
The lower back is where the pain is felt, however not always, but often times the source is the hips. The hips are at the core of the body, so if they’re tight, they pull on every thing else. When that happens, people often feel it in the lower back or in the hamstrings. Having tight glutes is the main source of sciatica, which can be felt in the foot too.
What is your IO favorite treatment?
The Four-Handed Massage with another therapist, because it’s a fun experience to share. It’s like dancing with a partner versus dancing alone.
We all have them, favorites. What are your favorite products?
1. In Fiore Pur Face Oil: my skin is a little oilier than average and this has helped me balance out my skin’s pH.
2. OM of NM Lavender Tangerine Salt Scrub: perfect for alleviating the mind and extracting toxins from sore muscles.
To close, here’s a poem of reflection, written by Monk himself:
“Science is the process by which to clarify reality.
Philosophy is the process by which to clarify the mind.
Art is the process by which to clarify expression.
Beauty is the process by which to remain undefined.”
- Monk Wellington
With Table Time,