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Cat Butler: Healing is Right At Hand

As a former bouncer for San Francisco night clubs, Cat Butler spent years observing people. She learned to read their energy. Is a situation going to escalate? Or calm down?


In that line of work, Cat learned how to hold her ground. “I know how to create a presence,” she says, “that will either keep people at bay or bring them to me.”


Today, as a massage therapist and bodyworker, Cat teaches clients how to heal their own bodies. The key is understanding a body’s vibrations. Its energy.



Cat is both a bodyworker and artist. She has produced one series of “hyper-realistic” anatomical portraits that look at anatomical structures with classical Greek gods such as Venus and Poseidon as models. That series is called “Embodied Beings.”


Art and science, as we know here at Anatomy in Clay® Learning System, go hand in hand.


New clients of Cat Butler Bodywork, she says, often don’t understand their bodies. They are frustrated, she says, because they don’t understand why they are feeling a certain way. What they are missing, says Butler, is the “emotional component.”

VENUS by Cat Butler. Watercolor and ink on paper.


Clients are forewarned. Cat Butler Bodywork treatments are not for relaxation. No. The treatments are “for seriously realigning yourself and getting yourself functional again.”


Cat’s work is full-body massage. Your body. And hers. She uses her whole body including “lots of forearm.” She is looking for tightness. When she finds it, the client might start “shaking immediately and things will start to release.” The muscles open. “Sometimes the quad is wrapped up to the opposite side of the leg and it’ll snap back. So, it’s really interesting.”


Cat calls it “structural integration.” The work is often painful. It’s both physically and emotionally challenging.


“I will all of a sudden get in one area,” she says. “I'll feel it in my own body like ‘this is something.’ But it kind of feels old to me and I think it's going to be pretty intense … I just think that people don't understand that all these emotions that we go through, all the trauma that we go through is in our own body, and it stays there. Your body is trying to protect you. It's holding these things for you. You know? It's telling you, ‘Okay, you can't deal with this right now. So, I'm going to take this and I'm going to put this way down as far away from your internal organs into your calf muscle.’ Right? Or ‘I'm going to put this into your lateral quad and we're just going to keep it there because I don't know how to process this for you.’ Your body speaks in a different language.”


That language, says Butler, is vibration. Her work seeks to get the body’s “vibratory tones” back to a level where they can function.


Studying anatomy is key to Cat Butler’s work. One day, searching online for a skeleton to buy for her office, she came across the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System. She purchased an Albinus model (the MANIKEN® Classic 3) and then took a class in Chicago to learn more about how to build structures on it. She loved the combination of art, anatomy, and tactile learning. “I need to get in there and touch it,” she says.


Building the muscles and tendons, studying insertion points and muscle striations in particular, Cat said she could “see the possibility of each muscle movement … on more of a holistic level. I loved it.


Not surprisingly, Cat has an interesting take on why hands-on learning works so well and helps store that information in the brain.


Essentially, she says, there is nothing like our fingertips in the human body. Fingers and hands are built to touch “raw data” and sense energy. Fingertips, she says, are built for detailed work.


Cat also urges everyone to use a different sense, too: listening.


“What I would tell people is listen to your body,” she says. “Listening to pain is not a bad thing. Right? The pain sensors going off in your body or telling you something are indicators that you need help. Something is going on. And that it doesn't mean it's some catastrophic thing, (but) something needs to be addressed and you can heal your own body. It's not out of your hands.”


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To watch the conversation on YouTube, follow this link.


To listen to the podcast online, follow this link or search for The Anatomy in Clay® Learning System podcast via your favorite podcast provider.


More about Cat Butler Bodywork here.


More about Cat Butler’s art here.

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