|June 2008 CHEO Spotlight|
Charles West, LMT
CHEO Board of Directors, Knoxville Publicity Chair
Instructor / Practionionner: Acupressure, Touch for Health® Kinesiology, meridian balancing, Myoskeletal Alignment Technique, stress relief, essential oils. Offering workshops and classes, open to anyone. CEUs for LMTs.
Q and A's with Charles West:
Where are you from? How long in Tennessee? I grew up just North of Atlanta. I came to Knoxville in 1966 to attend UT and graduated a few years later with a BS in Music Education. I realized in my Junior year that I did not really want to be a Band Director or teach kids. Although I had some interest in adult education, I got distracted and managed the UT Music Hall for a year, worked at the University Center mostly as the audiovisual specialist, then owned a bowling, billiards & darts specialty sporting goods store which included a sports bar for a while. I got into massage in 1994.
What brought you to Alternative Health and the field/product you're involved with? The quick answer is "I got into massage by accident." That's also the long answer. In 1992, I fell off a ladder and broke both my heels. Fortunately, they were only simple breaks, not serious enough to require surgery. Unfortunately, it was still 3 months in a wheel chair with casts up to my knees. Afterwards I quickly worked through crutches and walking cane, but my feet and legs were usually sore and achy. A Chiropractic Assistant I knew offered to massage my feet and legs. Curiosity turned to serious interest. In 1993, I got a chair massage from Steve Citty at a health fair and knew that I wanted to do that. After training in 1993-94, I took the entrance exam the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) required at that time and was admitted to AMTA. I also joined the Tennessee Massage Therapy Association, a non-related state organization.
Initially, I only wanted to do chair massage on employees at work. In real-world Tennessee at that time, massage at work was still not generally accepted. I looked around for other opportunities to supplement the limited chair work. In 1995, I heard of an opening at Halls Chiropractic, and I've been a part-time, contract therapist since that time. Over the years I've also worked in several fitness centers. A few years ago, Steve Citty and I joined with Kathaleen Moriarty King to rent a suite in West Knoxville under the Massage Associates banner while still also working independently. Kathaleen and I are still there (we're looking for another therapist to fill an empty room). My room is large enough for teaching small classes.
In 2002, I began studying Touch for Health® Kinesiology at the US Kinesiology Training Institute (USKTI) in Chapel Hill, NC, and became a Touch for Health® Kinesiology Association Certified Instructor/Practitioner in 2003. I'm still the only one in Tennessee. My BS is in Education and this brought me back to teaching. I continued training at USKTI in the Professional Kinesiology Practitioner program which Dr. Bruce Dewe had developed in New Zealand. This summer, I'll go through an International College of Professional Kinesiology Practice Instructor Training Workshop in Canada. I look forward to offering the new K-Power® workshops this fall. Kinesiology basically uses muscle testing as a biofeedback mechanism from the body along with various techniques to balance the body structurally and energetically. It incorporates Western physiology, Chinese meridian work, and other reflex and energy techniques.
To better understand the meridian system and get more into acupressure and Asian modalities, I did a month-long, 200-hour Acupressure intensive in 2006 at the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, CA. It was a fun month with classes almost every day. Since then I've been playing with the mix, exploring the recipes, and using kinesiology to assess and balance. For me, Taoism and Quantum Physics agree that we are fundamentally energy, and we can work with that vibrational energy at different levels. My bodywork now includes rubbing the muscles and working with the underlying vibrational energy.
Many of the things I've learned are easily understood and usable by anyone, and I enjoy teaching them to people. One of the key ideas of Touch for Health is that "You are your primary health care provider." All healing is self-healing. There are no healers, only facilitators, which is how I view myself. Showing people how to improve and enhance their own health and well-being has become a key part of my work.
What services do you offer? My bodywork includes acupressure, kinesiology, the MyoKinesthetic System™ and Myoskeletal Alignment Technique®.
I incorporate amma, shiatsu, tuina, and jin shin styles of acupressure, as well as, sound, color, essential oils (aromatherapy) and other techniques to assess and balance the body (muscles, meridians, chakras, etc.). I use muscle testing (kinesiology) either actively or passively on every client. Various neuromuscular techniques, some osteopathic, are also used to balance structure. I teach workshops. Some are open to anyone and some are for Massage Therapist continuing education.
What are 5 things you think the public needs to know about holistic health but doesn't? You are your primary health care provider. Your doctor is not. You make the primary, day-to-day choices which effect your health and well-being. Your body and your mind are not separate. You are bodymind. Structure affects function affects attitude affects mood affects behavior affects physiology affects structure...
How would you like to see this organization grow, change or expand? How would you like to see medical and alternative health in this country grow, change or etc. Of course, I'd like to see more CHEO chapters around the country. I'd like to see people take more responsibility for their own health. I'd like to see fewer rules and regulations from government and insurance companies, more freedom to choose any primary physician, even an acupuncturist, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Naturopath, Homeopath or chiropractor. I hope that the Osteopathic Physicans which will soon begin coming out of Lincoln Memorial University's DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine will have a significant positive influence toward holistic health care in Tennessee.
If you could have lunch with any person, living or deceased, who would it be and why? I'd want to sit down with my parents again. There's always more to say that didn't get said.
What do you like to do in your spare time? What do you do for fun? I like walking, reading, watching science fiction TV & films, tai chi, surfing the net, and learning more, especially about bodywork, which is fascinating. I like keeping up with politics - I've been a member of the Libertarian Party since 1976 and ran for Congress in 1988. We have gone to DragonCon in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend for several years. It's a science fiction & fantasy convention which is up to about 30,000 people now - about half in costume most of the time. I carry my camera for the amazing costumes - some extremely accurate & detailed, some very creative, some hilarious.
Are you married, have you ever been married, etc.? Kids? Pets? Diane and I have been married for over 25 years. I could see us growing old together. We decided on the Monday before Thanksgiving in 1982, made discreet plans, got married that Friday, then called everyone to come to the "reception" at the bar and bowling pro shop that I owned and operated inside a bowling alley. Our daughter, Anna, has graduated from college with a degree in Japanese Language and Culture which included a year at a Japanese university. She speaks and writes Japanese which has inspired me to learn Chinese. I'm having fun doing that, even if at a casual, slow & irregular pace. Three cats let us live with them.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five or fifty, I see myself doing bodywork and showing others how to do bodywork. I like what I do and, while I look forward to more flexibility, I intend to keep learning and doing till the end. I just had my halfway to 120 party, so there's a lot of fun years left.