Some bodywork approaches are direct and targeted on shifting a specific element of the body. This is awesome for dealing with recent injury and singular or specific pain. My work is more like the culture change approach of bodywork. Slower, based on deep listening and working with the body, my training and interest is in shifting deeply held (sometimes generational and historical) patterns that show up as pain, anxiety, stress, and disconnectedness. I have seen energy and lines of energy that connect people to other people and living things since I was a child. I studied shiatsu and massage briefly in my early 20s before leaving because I just wasn’t ready. I was first exposed to craniosacral therapy when my daughter received this support as an infant. I have studied craniosacral therapy for 15 years and have learned through two different approaches The Milne Institute and Upledger. I am going to be studying biodynamic craniosacral therapy through Body Intelligence in 2018 and 2019 and am currently working to build a cohort of people of color and Native people, queer and trans-identified people to enter this training as a cohort. I am also trained in the Global Somatics process and have learned from Generative Somatics T1 and T2. And finally, I have apprenticeship experience in Somatic Experiencing. My primary approach, craniosacral therapy, comes out of an osteopathic and Scottish “bone setting” tradition as a western european indigenous healing approach. It works with the same biological/energetic process (the cranial-sacral link and its rhythm) as Chinese Medicine’s governor vessel and the path of Kundalini through South Asian or yogic traditions. The other training I have comes out of western understandings of the body and mind and movement as well as recent western understandings of the nervous system and trauma. What this means is that I am studying within the cultures that socialized me as those same cultures work to catch up with indigenous and traditional practices from around the world. When you receive bodywork from me, you keep your clothes on and can either lie on a type of massage table or sit up in a chair. Our work would be some mix of light and heavier touch, your own supported and deepening awareness of what is happening “inside” your body, some mix of talking and silence, and occasionally and only if you are open to it, some movement.
In January 2018 I shifted my practice towards a mix of individual sessions and group sessions. I am not currently taking on new clients for individual sessions. Group work, or healing circles, are designed to support an interconnected network of care combined with skills-building related to hands on healing work and deep listening. For more information about these circles or for any other information about my practice, you can email me at raffo95 (at) gmail.com.
I am of Italian, German, Irish, Anishinabeg, and French-Canadian descent. My people were farmers, stonemasons, union members, and tradespeople. Across all of my family lines are histories of assimilation, passing, and disconnection from home, family, land and history. Some of us were always here on this land and some of my people have been here for 2 and 4 generations. I began to study bodywork in 2005 and struggled to feel that this work was as political relevant as the community organizing I had done for years previously.
In 2009 I attended the Healing Justice Practice Space at the US Social Forum in Atlanta and it changed my life. For the first time I found movement people, radical people, social justice people, who were interested in the places where systems of power and oppression were held in the tissues of the individual body as well as within systems and communities. I am interested in this work, work that refuses to separate how we individually connect with life from how we collectively claim our lives. I work towards the end of the medical industrial complex and want to lift up practices and traditions that have been co-opted or forced into disappearance. I have worked collaboratively on workshops applying body and movement practice to collective movement building.
I am also a writer and community organizer. I published Queerly Classed in 1995 and Restricted Access in 1997. Other pieces that feel connected to how I do my practice include Healing Justice at the US Social Forum, Resourcing: On Fundraising as building community and sustainability, How I Became Italian, and White Noise.