What follows is the first in a series of blogs detailing the origins, benefits, and future of the revolutionary techniques being created by Nusta Spa owner, Brad Drummer.
I began my college career as a Pre-Med/Biochemistry major, but after a couple of years felt compelled to completely change the direction of my life and pursue a performance degree in acting and voice. Oddly enough, what put me on the path to eventually becoming an innovator in the massage world and the owner of Nusta Spa was the body work, vocal production training, and role acting classes I attended studying to be an actor. These lessons gave me tangible insight into the inner-workings of the conscious, subconscious, reflexive, and emotional systems that control our physical activity, and how those systems interact – usually without our knowing.
Many of my body work courses focused on how to shed the layers of effects that these various systems can imprint on our overall being as they react to the stimuli of the course of the day. For instance, when we meet someone, we subconsciously alter our posture, facial features, and attitudes to present to that person the being we desire them to see – and each new person we meet adds another “costume” if you will to our skeletal frame. Unless we remove these layers of personas, we can find ourselves at the end of the day weighed down and completely confused by often conflicting subconscious commands to our being that have never been dismissed. To shed these layers of motor neuron firing signals, I was taught breathing exercises, meditation, physical re-positioning, and massage.
It was here that I first developed my passion for massage.
When I left school, I moved to NY to try my hand at professional theater and was fortunate enough to land a role in Tommy Tune’s Grand Hotel on my first Broadway audition. My fascination with the human body and how massage affects its mental, physical, and emotional well-being soon led me to trying to help my fellow dancers and cast members overcome the aches and pains that accompany the profession.
As my acting career advanced (Phantom of the Opera, Damn Yankees, Chess, Rocky Horror Picture Show) so did the number of massages I performed. I was in the unique position of having a strong education in human anatomy and biology from my premed studies; a hands-on education into how conscious and subconscious thought, emotions, and primal human drives animate our physical being from my acting courses; an availability of hundreds of test subjects willing to experiment with ways to resolve their aches and pains without inhibitions or reservations from my fellow professional performers; and no one having told me that there was a set way to do so. I was blessed with circumstances that allowed me an understanding of how what we see, feel, and do culminates into what we are, and how the act of touch can reveal and manipulate many aspects of this.
By the time I was rehearsing Fiddler on the Roof in NYC in the fall of 2000, I had developed the foundation for the philosophy of the technique that would eventually come to be Interpretive Touch. Then a blessing in disguise struck me down. While learning a dance number in the show, I ripped my Achilles tendon, which led me to decide to take a break from performing to seek formal training in massage.
I sought out the most intense, diverse, and least biased curriculum I could find, as I wished to learn as many different approaches as possible. But because of my unique background, every technique I learned fell short either in its theory, its practicality, its effectiveness, and most often – its unwillingness to discuss the emotional and nervous systems as both part of the physical problem and part of its solution. The message delivered to the massage student was – “you are only trained to deal with muscle tissue.” Unfortunately, this is still being taught in schools today.
Herein lies one of the core differences in my approach to massage. It is unavoidable that our touching of another person will cause conscious and subconscious reactions in the nervous system, and primal responses in the emotional system. Understanding how these responses impact the physical tissue and how touching the physical tissue impacts the nervous and emotional systems will greatly enhance the effectiveness of any massage.
I graduated the school in 2003 with a wealth of new knowledge and experiences, yet not satisfied with any one technique – including my own. Even so, from the perspective of knowing what worked and what didn’t, filtered through my “acting class glasses” of our primal response to pain and pleasure and fear and trust – I felt I had been given new sight
I was more determined than ever to come up with the answer to what massage should be, and my heart was telling me it was not complicated – just so obvious and common sense oriented and inclusive of all that we are as animated beings that perhaps no one had ever expanded their viewfinder far enough to get the complete picture. Then again, it is very hard to believe that no one had ever put it all together before. For all our uniqueness, it is very difficult to have spoken a word that has not been spoken before. Still, it was not so much the ingredients that were brand new (though there are a few strokes never heard of before in my technique); it is the recipe of how they are combined.
So, I looked at the big picture, and wrote out a new recipe, and called it Interpretive Touch Massage.