An Interview Snippet with Marty Ryan

This is a snippet of an interview I did with Marty Ryan (on the left, above) for my upcoming book.  Marty is a belly practitioner of more than 20 years, and is one of the best teachers I have had the privilege of learning from.  He is based in Seattle though he travels around a lot – so maybe you can catch him near you!  (Marty’s contact info for clients.  Marty’s contact info for practitioners wanting to take classes.)

This part of the interview is great because it provides such a wonderful insight into the creative ways we can assemble the groups or individuals who help us heal.

Spradlin: People have choices about how to go about addressing some of what’s happening in their belly.  Given that it can take a lot of resources to engage in this work (money, time, etc.) do you have thoughts about how people can sift through their options and decide where to start?

Ryan:  One way to answer this is to go clinical presentation by clinical presentation.  Another way to answer this question is: There are some conditions and some constitutions that feel better supported by one person [practitioner]. And there are some presentations and constitutions that are better supported by a whole posse, two or three or four practitioners.  And at some point that posse gets too big and they’re overwhelmed – like all the fertility patients we’ve ever worked on, they almost always go to overwhelm.  And so, the sifting through questions of: where is the best path? is as complicated as the last question we talked about.

So, generally, if they landed at my door or on my table I say, let’s start slow.  You know, it’s “least invasive first.”  Let’s not do 15 things at once, because we’ll never know what worked.

The time and money piece is significant sometimes.  And I generally ask for four sessions.  We will know something in four sessions.  Whether I am absolutely the wrong makeup, constitution, heart, hands, or I say ‘Wow, I never knew so much change was possible in four sessions.’  Then once we know that, we’ll make a plan.  Or, we may get to the end-of-the-rope piece and that’s where somebody else [another practitioner] needs to take over.  So that’s usually where I go.  If they land in my place, then four sessions, make a plan, and I have a lot of people in my posse who can help.

So, I don’t have percentages but there are a certain percentage of people who need more help than what I can do.  And I’m pretty clear on what I know I can change.  Sometimes I’m surprised, but mostly I’m not.

Spradlin: Yes, that’s interesting and not something I’ve thought about in such specific terms but you’re right.  Certain people just want me or just want their acupuncturist and others are just going to take everything they can get from any practitioner they can find.

Ryan: And that’s how they best solve problems.  That’s how they best sort of get to wherever they need to get to. They need a village – or not.

Spradlin: Thank you for everything.  I was so excited you were willing to do this and your enthusiasm is so helpful.

Ryan: I have to say that I love this project and I am so grateful that you have asked me to participate.


Once again, you can visit Marty at: Marty’s contact info for clients.  Marty’s contact info for practitioners.

Author Profile

Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.

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