Bev Boyer was 16 years old and attending Dixon High School in northern Illinois when a doctor finally pinpointed why she was frequently in pain.
Since she was ten years old, Bev had felt pain in her back but she pushed through, playing third base in softball and competing with the swim team, too. When she slowed with sports, however, the pain got worse.
After six years of complaints, a doctor finally said Bev had scoliosis, the technical name for curvature of the spine.
The diagnosis, as it turned out, was the beginning of a life-long interest in alternative health, alternative medicine, massage, and human anatomy.
Today, Bev runs the Colorado Learning Center of Human Anatomy, based in Longmont.
She is a frequent collaborator and teaches side by side with Anatomy in Clay® Learning System founder Jon Zahourek.
Since 2016, the non-profit Anatomy in Clay® Centers, Denver has hosted occasional “Clay and Cadaver” workshops that allow anatomy students a remarkable opportunity, to study anatomy using two proven techniques, alternating back and forth between building clay onto model skeletal sculptures and examining preserved cadaveric specimens. (View full album of pictures from a recent event.)
So, the anatomy exploration in these sessions involves both outside-in (dissection with the cadaveric specimens) and inside-out (building with the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System).
For Bev Boyer, the work goes all the way back to grade school, when she wanted to be a nurse, and even immediately after high school, when she worked in a chiropractor’s office.
The chiropractor taught Bev how to do ultrasound, how to set up patients with traction, and a bit about physiotherapy, too. As an employee, she also received free chiropractic care after her shifts or she would come into the office on her off day.
But pain from her back lasted until she received her first therapeutic massage. “That actually gave me two weeks of pain-free living, and that was huge to me,” she says. “I had lived basically six or seven years in a lot of pain (and) I was lucky I got exposed to that, and that’s truly what shifted me into alternative medicine instead of more the medical field.”
The bottom line, says Boyer, is this: “If you understand what’s going on with your body and you know what to do about it, then you don’t have to live in pain.”
The realization about massage led Bev to the Central Ohio School of Massage. It was in Columbus, in fact, that Bev first heard of the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System—three women who were going to open up their own school and they planned to teach anatomy using Zahourek’s system. “I was so jealous,” she recalls. “The Anatomy in Clay® System set them apart from the other schools in that area.”
After years of running her own massage therapy practice, including six years of doing sports massage for the Ohio State University swim team, Bev found herself at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy. Bev had spent some time in Colorado as a youth and also shortly after high school and she knew she wanted to live—and work—in Colorado. It was 2001.
At the time, Jon Zahourek’s Anatomy in Clay® System was well established at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy and Bev met Jon for the first time and ended up teaching at the school, too, using the system.
In 2011, she started the Peak Research Institute in Colorado Springs and then opened the second center, the Colorado Learning Center for Human Anatomy, in Longmont.
Her goal? To help.
To help a variety of “integrative” and “movement” practitioners become better at what they do.
“If we can show massage therapists where things are underneath the skin so that they can palpate the difference between a muscle, a nerve, a tendon, fascia, then they can be a better practitioner in their field,” says Bev.
Bev is certain that knowledge is power.
It’s important, she asserts, for massage therapists and any others who work with patients to know precisely what issue they are treating—and that’s in part to give the patient accurate information about what’s injured.
“Somebody comes in with a pain level of seven and you educate them about what might be going on, just maybe a couple of muscles that are in your shoulder that they can connect to and that they can go, ‘oh, that’s what that is.’ And they feel it in their bones, then their pain levels actually, they’ve decreased just by knowledge.”
Today, Bev teaches to massage therapists, the yoga community, physical therapy and Pilates instructors, acupuncturists, high school students and anyone interested in learning about human anatomy. She works in the Integrative Medicine Department for Centura Health at Longmont United Hospital. Bev also has an intern who is enrolled at the Philadelphia Osteopathic School of Medicine.
When the workshops come around to work alongside Jon Zahourek, says Bev, she relishes the opportunity.
“I just feel blessed to be here and a part of a system, to be honest, and I think that it’s an amazing opportunity for anyone to learn with the Anatomy in Clay® system, I really do. I truly believe that. I believe in the Anatomy in Clay® system, and I believe in the true form also, so it’s good to have both.”
We could not agree more!
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