Archive for March 2nd, 2008

Keri Fothergill – Facilitating balance through bodywork


Massage therapist Keri Fothergill, hails from the UK and arrived in the US after a two year stint in Reykavik, Iceland. A firm believer in ‘have massage table, will travel’ she can currently be found visiting the homes of her solid client base throughout Orange County, California. She professes ‘never to give the same massage twice’ instead she listens for her client’s needs and acts accordingly.

Keri, what kind of massage do you practice?
Therapeutic bodywork that is both relaxing & deep combing acupressure, trigger point therapy & hand ear foot reflexology to alleviate tension/stress throughout the body.

Can you expand on the ‘therapy’ aspect behind massage/bodywork a little more. Why is it good for us
Bodywork facilitates & encourages the body to reach a balance/equilibrium between the physical, emotional & mental. Often in the current fast pace environment the body does not get a chance to rest, rejuvenate & repair. In addition many of us are sleep deprived. Thus we become more prone to illness, stress & injury.

Bodywork is a time out for the body…..individually tailored & specific to the client’s needs. It has many benefits from increased muscle length & joint range, circulatory/lymph system stimulation, immune system support & emotional release. And finally stimulates the feeling of “well being”

Do you find today that ‘bodywork’ tends to replace the term ‘massage’? Bodywork sounds invigorating and massage sounds pampering, is there really a difference?
Both terms tend to be used loosely to imply the “laying on of hands”. Generally massage would imply relaxation whereas bodywork has a stronger therapeutic emphasis. It often integrates modalities to achieve a specific goal whether that be pain or adhesion reduction, muscle balancing or posture re-education.

Often the location & environment will dictate the term used. The spa setting tends to favor “massage” whereas the sports clinic may prefer “bodywork”.

Posture re-education?! How does that work? How often do you have to have sessions to see a difference
Repeated bad positions, poor body ergonomics lead to shortening of muscle groups. This results over time in asymmetry of the musculo-skeletal system which can cause pain & tension. Bodywork & fascial release can target & decrease these altered forces.

Repetitive sessions will induce change over time. More frequent work will bring about faster results. The success rate will also be dependent on whether the condition is acute or chronic & also if the bad body habits are acknowledged, addressed & eliminated.

Ouch. Is it ever too late to start getting bodywork?
Never! I work with a broad spectrum of ages from children to elderly. The technique just gets modified depending on age

That’s nice to hear! So you actually travel to client’s homes to work. Do you believe that it is more beneficial working this way?
Definitely better for the client…. it’s far more convenient as it involves no travel for the client & they often relax more when in a safe known environment. Also, having therapist continuity develops rapport & trust which enhances the end result.

Someone, I know recently had acupuncture and were asked to think about the painful area ‘positively’. How important are our thoughts during bodywork? Don’t some people go to sleep!?
The mind is a powerful tool & plays an important role in bodywork. If a client is not receptive or open minded to a certain technique or modality the effects will be decreased. Thus sessions should be tailored to the individual & this changes day-to-day depending on life circumstances. A good therapist will pick up on non verbal subtleties which often indicate a client’s needs, relaxation over deep work & vice versa.

Sleeping on the table is the biggest compliment a therapist will ever receive it indicates total relaxation. The client has “let go” & reached a peaceful place in a comfortable environment.

Why are we asked to drink lots of water after someone has worked on us?
Bodywork releases toxins into the system. The deeper more intense the session the greater the release. Also first time receivers experience a more profound reaction. Water helps the body flush these toxins out.

You are very discerning about where you go and get bodywork yourself. Can you recommend some places to go in other cities?
Being a therapist it is often harder to receive without analyzing the technique, delivery & environment. I will often look for value & the 60 min session always wins over 50 mins. The smaller establishments often provide better services & at better price.

But sometimes being totally pampered in elegant surroundings is just called for!
– Locally Dana Point Marriott, delivers a solid service.
– Equinox Beverly Hills, good too.
– Taman Spa Whistler village, awesome Indonesian spa.
– Dorit Baxter NYC, no frills but good solid treatments.
– Sanctuary Scottsdale…a spot for the stars comes up trumps for pure indulgence & pampering

Thank you Keri!

If you live in the OC or are planning a visit to the area, Keri can bring her massage table and expertise to you by contacting her on 949 637 2096 or at

Wherever you may be in the world, please share your favorite therapist or spa details in the comments section on this page, and if this is a completely new concept for you, ask around and get a referral for a good massage therapist in your area.

If you committed to regular therapeutic bodywork, what would change in your life?

Don’t forget to visit with us on Wednesday when we will be talking to Athena Katsaros about her valuable work with the Business Council for Peace.

© The Red Barn Cooperative