Body Learning Inside the Box

Rebecca Haseltine, a long time friend and one of the best bodyworkers anywhere, has been writing about her work lately.  She has specialized in the extraordinary, working for instance with the severely disabled.  She is an artist too.  She approaches the body as art, which means you don’t get sales pitches from her, you don’t get stock explanations either.

She interacts with consciousness as expression, allowing bodywork to happen at the subtlest yet most profound levels.  She also does group workshops and I would love to see her knowledge and experience more widely shared.

Most bodyworkers try to work outside the box, but Rebecca works with the box as it is.  Because of this profound wisdom, sometimes people find working with her confusing. That can be a big plus if you are one of those people who is nourished by not-knowing.

Yet I find this new writing Rebecca is doing highly accessible.  She has realized that her life’s work can only live on if she can figure out ways to make the intangible tangible.  I think many of us share Rebecca’s quest to find metaphors for our experiences of bodies; metaphors that carry ways of refreshing the perception-action mobius loop.”

comments from Scott P. Phillips on his blog, 3/29/16


“I was astounded at Rebecca’s ability to directly reduce the intense pain in my back and leg.  It went way with no pain for the first few days.  After a second treatment the pain went away permanently.  I don’t know how she did it.  There was no pressure and no discomfort from her treatment.  Amazing practitioner.”

–  Michael P.


“As a student, I’m always struck by Rebecca’s ability to meet so many different learning styles and to inspire her students to try new ones.  She approaches material through an intellectual lens as well as a movement lens, she explores learning through all five senses and in all 4 dimensions. I’ve experienced Rebecca sit with my confusion and hold space for exploration; just as often I’ve seen her respond to my or another student’s intent with the needed specificity and clarity. Rebecca meets her student’s curiosity with her own wonder.  She’s skilled in listening, understanding, and often answering questions, all the while maintaining a willingness to dive into material and experiences that lead to many more shared questions.

When I learn from Rebecca I’m always aware that she teaches from direct experience, inquiry and study.  I feel so grateful to benefit from the fruit of her living practice–her movement practice, study practice, writing practice, visually creative practice, teaching practice. What you ‘get’ from her is not only the exposure to the material she’s presenting, but examples and hints of how you might deepen your own understanding and practices with the material. What a pleasure!”

–  Katy


“My body work and classes with Rebecca are a life-changing journey. Her gentle guidance provides me with ever-increasing knowledge of my physical and emotional self.”

–  Kathy


“The magic Rebecca worked in a few sessions was incredible. Working with Rebecca is a lesson in working with yourself, becoming embodied, finding and seeing the connections between the skin, tissue, fluids, bones, organs, senses–all of it. She is a guide: she follows the flow and shape of your body to find the way in, the way out, the communication between what feels off and what feels right and then re-establish connection so your body can heal itself.

I had a giant cyst near my ovary, and it caused problems in the movement of my legs, the balance of my hormones– it felt like everything was off.

I was about to go in for major surgery and I was terrified.  I was so afraid to go under the knife, afraid of dying, of scarring, of doctors cutting what belonged to me.  In previous sessions with Rebecca we had created a map of my body by exploring organs and building my internal sense of where things were and how they felt.  In the last session before surgery we were able to separate what was me (my ovaries) from what was not me (the cyst).  I gave permission to my body to allow the doctors to cut out what they needed to and to leave behind what was healthy.

In the hospital I was lying around for hours waiting for the nurse to wheel me into surgery, I was bored.  Completely mind-numbingly bored.  I was surprised and overjoyed to find that the work with Rebecca had worked: I had given permission, faced my fears, and was now simply waiting for the surgery to be over, my body was ready, my mind was ready.  I am so grateful to Rebecca for that fearless moment.  The surgery was successful.  They fully and cleanly removed the cyst, leaving behind two healthy ovaries.”

– Sarah H.


“Inez is and has always been a very active child, involved in dance and basketball outside of school, and intense, co-ed games of tag, kickball, and soccer in school. In late February of 2013, an unfortunate landing made in an attempt to tag a friend resulted in a foot injury.  After a series of x-rays, crutches, “a boot,” several weeks of healing and with no evidence of an existing fracture, Inez could not bear weight on her right foot without excruciating pain.  In April, Inez was diagnosed at UCSF with Reflex Neuromuscular Dystrophy (RND) also known as complex regional pain syndrome, a rare condition that impacts feed-back loops between nerves that influence blood supply in response to pain.  The UCSF medical team recommended desensitization, return to full function, and no immobilization or other aid.  Essentially, Inez would have to walk “normally” and push through the pain to simultaneously  “re-train” her nerves and build strength in atrophied areas of her foot and ankle.

“After minimal and painful progress, we reconsidered our initial two options: to continue to work with her at home (accommodations had been made at school and she was no longer participating in dance, etc.) or admit her to a hospital program, which could involve full day treatments via aggressive physical therapy over several weeks— parents are not present for these treatments.  Not satisfied with either option and recognizing we needed additional support and provider input, we consulted with Rabia, a holistic chiropractic bodywork provider, who we have seen for many years.  She not only worked with Inez, but also recommended we see a homeopathic provider, Mary, and Rebecca.  These three women formed a team of healers that encouraged active involvement of Inez and us in her recovery.

“Rebecca facilitated and integrated body learning processes that involved engaging and exciting props and modalities, including brightly colored balls, fabrics, bands—her technique actively invited Inez to be an agent in her own healing, vitally important to the healing process as Inez had become estranged from her own body.   After each visit, Rebecca provided a summary of the visit and next steps, with recommendations for exercises to be done at home.  One of the most transformative aspects of working with Rebecca was that Inez came to understand that health and healing is not “something” that is done to you, it is “something” you do with yourself.  Rebecca’s approach was both gentle, but honest with Inez and guided her in helping her (and us) to understand her progress—that functionality alone does not mean full recovery.  We continued to work with Rebecca through the summer at a pace and frequency that Rebecca carefully aligned with Inez’s stages of healing.  Inez has regained full range of movement and has returned to all activities.  She has done so with an overall greater sense of self-awareness, an appreciation for the freedom movement brings, and with more thoughtfulness about the risks she takes as a person who embraces an active lifestyle. In addition, as she has endured other falls, minor injuries while at play, Inez continues to draw from her learning with Rebecca to self-respond to her pain and healing.  We do not believe such a positive, sustainable outcome would have been achieved without Rebecca and our team of “alternative” providers.”

–  Evan