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The TouchAbilities curriculum is a template, a model for teaching touch. We believe that when current practitioners, school administrators and students see the power and simplicity of this paradigm, they will use it as a source and reference for change. It is much more than a beginner’s massage program or a book; it presents perennial wisdom and is a dynamic blueprint for professional transformation. It is a BodyWork education tool designed to develop astute, competent, sensitive, aware and compassionate practitioners.

TouchAbilities fosters fine tuning of innate skills as it stimulates and exposes people to new ideas, options and possibilities. The curriculum is designed to cultivate intuitive, masterful practitioners. The foundational skills are core actions involving ways of being — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually — and can be varied/mixed/matched/woven in any way that fits any specific approach to teaching/learning touch.

Essentially, TouchAbilities is a neutral set of 26 foundational skills that can be applied in any combination or sequence. These basic skills are grouped together by their shared qualities into 8 separate components and form an alphabet of touch which facilitates and enhances a student’s ability to learn and master any specialty. Learning the essential elements common to all BodyWork modalities provides a broad view of what’s possible to accomplish as a BodyWorker.

The core ideas, themes and actions can be used in a variety of ways to stimulate and inform. We present a unifying, integral perspective which promotes creativity and honors the validity of any and all possible expressions of the 26 skills. Along with the 8 components, we introduce and emphasize key elements such as Presence, Ergonomics and Body Mechanics, and others that focus on Sensory Experience and Basic Understandings. We feel that these are some of the important parts of the gestalt/totality of a BodyWork experience.

Placed at the beginning and/or throughout a BodyWork program, TouchAbilities will enhance a student’s understanding of the philosophy, intention and prevailing modality of an already existing curriculum, and make it easier to learn other allied modalities that might be presented. With the freedom and confidence instilled by knowing a full spectrum of touch possibilities, beginners and seasoned practitioners alike will be empowered to explore and develop their own signature touch.

People already know how to touch — it is a part of their everyday lives. The TouchAbilities model promotes the refinement of inherent human skills and develops students’ abilities to touch within a BodyWork paradigm; to use themselves to influence and contribute to other people in ways that mutually enhance and benefit the you/me/we relationship. This program, which models a common source from which all things are possible, stimulates life-long learning and cultivates BodyWorkers who are independent, intuitive, critical thinkers.