My name is Dale G. Alexander. I have been a Clinical Massage Therapist in Key West, Fla. since 1980. I have been a self-employed practitioner throughout my career. Though I have received some referrals from physicians, chiropractors, dentists, and attorneys… my practice has grown primarily from word of mouth recommendations over the years. Have done over 45,000 sessions in my career.
Usually 25-35 sessions a week. I am a generalist, meaning I work with all types of problems and with all ages, including babies & the elderly. My specialty is assisting those with chronic problems. And, have developed many additional specialties over the years, to the point that I have synthesized my learnings into a new paradigm of imagining how the human body ! ! ! ! really works, “The Inside-Out Paradigm©.”
In 2004 I purchased a small ofﬁce building and have endeavored to attract additional health related businesses to augment possible dimensions of care to our community and its visitors. Currently, an Intuitive healer, a Dr. of Chinese Medicine, a Hypnotherapist and EFT Practitioner, a Hearing Aid Specialist and a Realtor rent space there. I live exactly one mile from my ofﬁce. Itʼs a tough commute.
I love what I do because I see people healing every day. In each session I experience the satisfaction of kinesthetically feeling their tissues transform themselves as nerve & blood supply are restored. It is a true pleasure to sense an internal shift or bear witness to someone making a verbal declaration that unites the whole of their inner selves. I plan to work the full span of my life in clinical practice and teaching to our profession
My initial career out of college was as an Educator. Had had an extraordinary student teaching experience in Kathmandu, Nepal which shifted my perception toward a global perspective. Taught Middle School Science the 1st year. Had trained to teach K-12 in both Language Arts & Science. I moved into Special Education in my 2nd year of teaching. This opportunity came as a result of my co-major in Psychology. My new job involved working with severely & profoundly developmentally disabled youth… ages 6 -18 at a state institution.
These young people had never had someone even attempt to to teach them. It was in this context that I began to realize that I had a gift of sorts to communicate with my hands. They became my teachers is the real truth.During the following 4 years I completed a Masterʼs degree in Applied Behavioral Science with certiﬁcation in Counseling in the State of Washington and also completed a 500 hour Massage School there in Spokane, Wa.
The owner of the small massage school responded to my very 1st massage by stating with great gravity and sincerity, “Dale, you have no business doing anything else but working with your hands to help people heal.” I was deeply touched by the depth of his conviction.What had led me to attend his Massage School was a growing awareness that verbal Psychotherapy was not enough to assist people to re-thread their life experience and transform old beliefs and perceptions into a fresh palate of adult possibilities and choices.
Massage Therapy as a profession came to represent a bridge where I could legally assist people both physically & emotionally.I had been fortunate enough to read Ashly Montagueʼs seminal work Touching: The Human Signiﬁcance of the Skin the year that it was published while a freshman in college. His asserting that the “kinesthesia” was the ﬁrst of our human senses to emerge within our embryological development had ﬂoated in my consciousness for many years until I began to receive Rolﬁng sessions while still in intensive counseling as part of my Masterʼs program. The shifts that occurred within my awareness were astounding, integrative, and calming.
I had pursued psychotherapy because I recognized my own craziness and sought to better understand and to heal within myself. I had also had a series of brain injuries as a child including a 2 day coma. In depth bodywork appealed to my own healing journey as well as to share my unfolding skill sets with others. A foundational therapeutic premise began to form in my consciousness that transformational healing required “touch” to access the nervous system deeply enough to affect broad changes in perception and thereby in oneʼs choices and behaviors.
I selected the Soma Neuromuscular Instituteʼs program in Gainesville,Fla. rather than the Rolf Institute because of its emphasis on what appeared to be a more elegant & gentle approach toward unraveling the layers of the human fascial matrix and guiding people through the extensive journey of re visiting and re-weaving the meanings they had assigned to the events of their lives. Itʼs teachers were both clinical psychologists and one had sat on the Board of the Rolﬁng Institute. Their combined wisdom and experience were quite evident even in our ﬁrst meeting. I am grateful to have had such a thorough 1200 hour training under skilled supervision.
I was quite fortunate that the Fla. School of Massage was in the same community. Was able to test out of most of the curriculum and did night courses to complete their 1000 hr. program then attended the Fla. State License practical and written exam. Looking back to the beginning of my career, James Nesbittʼs book, MegaTrends and his notion of our culture evolving into a high tech / high touch dichotomy reﬂected my own notions of the future. Also, at that time, I envisioned 3 branches to our profession… a focus on the business of massage (tables, oils, supplies, et al), a focus on the relaxation & spa related elements or, to pursue a life path to develop multiple skill sets within my hands and perceptual matrix to evoke healing responses within the people who would come to see me.
The latter was clearly my choice.Had wrestled with many aspects of my psyche as to how to use my verbal & touch gifts. Decided that money could not be my sole goal. In prayer, I decided that self employment was my most sane path and that service was a crucial part of my life purpose. I decided that I wanted to contribute to our collective comprehension of how the human body and psyche function together. This broad based decision still guides my career.Interestingly, my great-grandfather designed a car the same year as Henry Ford & George Chrysler yet, was just a bank teller & a bicycle racer, thus had no ﬁnancing to back his ideas.
He stayed in the game, however, continuing to design vehicles and in 1917 President Wilson selected his design for manufacturing all the parts for the trucks & trailers used during WWI. Our family fortunes skyrocketed in the 1920ʼs then fell into an abyss in ʼ29 like so many others yet, I like to imagine that his genetics live on in me to bring to our profession an expanded and natural understanding of how things work within our bodies.
My areas of specialization have evolved toward the many difﬁculties that accompany the aging process and often are the reason(s) that chronic somatic difﬁculties persist…. Cardiovascular disease, Cervical Stenosis, & Gall Bladder Dysfunction are among the top 3 stealth progressions that are so often overlooked by our profession. Another area of specialization has evolved organically from having my pelvis shattered in a car accident. So preventing hip, knee, & shoulder replacements is a passion of sorts for me. With some degree of sanguine humor, I am a living laboratory of the aging process at
Our profession is becoming more visible as the demographics of the Baby Boomers retire and genuinely desire to remain active into their sunset years. They have the desire and the resources to come to us if we have the hands on competencies to assist them. This is why I am teaching more this year and anticipate doing even more in the years to come. What makes a “hands on practitioner successful” is having the skill sets in perception & touch to make a difference in the lives of their clients.
I have been exceptionally lucky during my career. And, early on I made a commitment to ongoing education. I applied myself with great enthusiasm to learning everything I could of Dr. Hans Selyeʼs research and principles as to how the human body responds to stress. Much of my doctoral studies involved relating his ideas to neuroanatomy and to their practical application in bodywork. Many of his ideas are just now being discussed as if they were new concepts, especially the role of inﬂammation.My success is a result of seeking out exceptional teachers to propel me forward. And, I have had many.
Dr. John Upledger D.O., the developer of Cranio Sacral Therapy, is due the most credit as it was through him that I met all of the others whose combined inﬂuence laid a creative foundation for my own original ideas to eventually blossom.There, at his Institute I met Dr. Richard MacDonald. D.O, a superbly competent physician who mentored me, Dr, Jean-Pierre Barral, D.O., the developer of the Visceral Manipulation approach to bodywork and continues to pioneer the Manual Therapy ﬁeld with new and effective approaches, Lansing Barrett Gresham, the Founder of Integrated Awareness® with whom I still study today (he is a genius), and Frank Lowen L.M.T., another dynamic individual & pioneer who teaches in the Paciﬁc Northwest.
Each of these physicians and practitioners were exceptionally inﬂuential to my current capacity to comprehend how the human body & psyche interact in its integrated functioning. Another simple notion that has added to my success has been to view my clients as my “best teachers.” As they improve I can correlate what and how this might have happened and when they do not progress, I am stimulated to consider why not. Both represent the razorʼs edge toward greater comprehension and learning.
I literally feel the tissue texture transform itself beneath my hands in response to what I do as blood and nerve supply is restored… it is “truly satisfying.” This can take 2 minutes, 15 minutes, the whole session or even a series of sessions but more often than not, the clientʼs nervous & circulatory systems responds positively. Their symptom proﬁle shifts and their function improves. What a joy to participate in such a process !
There is little I dislike about what I do however, there is frustration when what I do does not turn the momentum toward healing for a client. It is a humbling and perhaps necessary part of working with clients who have real and complex difﬁculties. Then my task is to assist them to sort through the options of what could be the next step on their healing journey.
I believe our industry would beneﬁt by incorporating my imaginings that Cardiovascular Disease, Spinal Stenosis, Gall Bladder Dysfunction/Disease, and the genetic predisposition toward Anterior Shoulder Subluxation & Posterior Hip Subluxation are the most common underlying progressions of aging followed by Osteoporosis, Desiccation/Dehydration, Kidney troubles, and Cognitive Decline. The foundation for recognizing these progressions need to be taught from day one to all in our profession.
We are our clientsʼ best early detection team… the genetic pre-dispositions to the list above begin showing themselves between the ages of 45 to 65… the primary demographic that usually seeks our help as massage therapists… we need to refer them to medical care & testing when our instincts and training indicate that it is in !their best interests to do so. Most Massage Therapists are good listeners and genuinely care about the people they work with…clients truly value this.8. The rest of my days. I am home. I love what I do. I will teach until my voice fades. I will work with clients until I my hands are unable to do their best.
I have done some investing in the stock market imagining that the “market” reﬂects our biological systems… I was wrong… it is a rigged table for the wealthy… if you are considering this… get in & get out. Have a professional manage your retirement.
Mistakes… If you are offered an opportunity to step forward, go for it ! Was too shy to display my gifts earlier in my career… Was once offered the opportunity to teach with Dr. John Upledger in his SER II Therapeutic Dialoguing course & passed it up… was offered the opportunity to become the educational chair of the FSMTA and declined… I regret not having the courage to risk success in these venues. And, I feel at peace with my priority to attend carefully to my private practice, to my ongoing study & teaching in the ﬁeld, and toward publishing what I have found works for my clients.
Call Iris Burman L.M.T. She is the owner of the Educating Hands Massage School in Miami. She is a consummate educator in our ﬁeld and is best positioned to offer you advice on this subject.
Affording anything is a matter of priority… have had clients sell theirs cars so that they could receive ongoing & necessary care… If you feel the “call” to serve and to care for others, then follow it. I spaced sessions in my initial bodywork series so that it ﬁt my budget. You can do the same with your education. Informally apprentice with someone you respect as a bodyworker is one way to start. It may not lead to a license but your conﬁdence will be lifted. If you have the “touch”, you will be rewarded by others beneﬁting from your presence, energy, and evolving skill. Donʼt give up ! Seek out someone who believes in you !
Aspiring Massage Therapists…Develop your own philosophy of healing. People are drawn to someone who has thought this out and can describe it in simple language. Recognize that people are “hungry” for a quality of “touch” that is comforting, reassuring, and allows them to regain or maintain their health. Discover an orientation to “touch” that resonates down to the core of your being. “If it feels healing to you, it will to others as well.” Stay open to new ideas regarding how healing may be stimulated. The diamond of this subject has endless facets of illumination.
I perceive myself to be at the top of my skill sets and gaining momentum on comprehending how the human body really does work. Do anticipate that the revelations of my 34 years in this profession will continue to unfold additional ideas and realizations of integrating anatomical knowledge, physiological principles, and therapeutic techniques.For our profession, we have an exceptional opportunity to contribute to our culture.
Medical science stopped investigating the why and how of human troubles and deciphering the progressions of aging many decades ago deferring to the proﬁts of pharmacology. In 1991, I was poised to go to medical school and a Chiropractor client said to me, “Dale, you have a gift with your hands, it gets really easy to write prescriptions to make a living.” I chose instead to double down on learning and teaching manual therapy
I did a 2 year training with Lansing Barrett Gresham seeking to integrate energetic touch, movement training, and how to inﬂuence the brain directly.I encourage all who have formulated common sense models to publish their notions of human degeneration and their ideas to slow it down or turn it around as I have. My articles are archived at www.massagetoday.com and can be accessed by clicking on Columnists. Mine is the ﬁrst name & picture. Finally, a reward for sitting at the front of the class because of my last name for 12 long years.
Here is a list of the current The Inside-Out Paradigm© Courses I teach:
- The Progression of Cervical Stenosis & the Mobilization of the Shoulder
- Visceral Mobilization: The Progression of Gall Bladder Dysfunction/Disease
- Freeing the Heart: Releasing the Bodyʼs Central Linkage
- Resolving Low Back Dysfunction & Pain
And… coming soon…Preventing Hip & Knee Replacements
None of us can help all who come to our tables yet, with additional training we can assist many more than we ever imagined.
My passion is my career in Massage Therapy. I go to work each day. I teach. And, I publish what works for my clients. I love to assist my wife in her artistic endeavors with metal sculpture and house renovations. I do go ﬁshing every now and again. Am grateful & feel lucky to live in such a beautiful place as Key West, Fla. My own cervical stenosis prevents me from my previous athletic endeavors of my youth.
Trained for the 1968 Olympic trials. Swam 182 miles that summer. Peaked & dropped my times rather incredibly… yet, missed the cut-off by one second. Six of us dedicated ourselves to this pursuit. Only one of us went on to the participate in the trials. So it is with many endeavors in life. We might not reach the exact goal we imagined yet, what we learned along the way was worth the effort. I love what I do, day after day. Pray this is true for you… Blessings…
Dale G. Alexander Ph.D. M.A. BS.Ed. L.M.T. can be reached on his website at: www.dale-alexander.com