On whose shoulders we stand...
The whole TouchPro enterprise has deep roots dating back to 1980 when i first trained with Takashi Nakamura at a massage school in San Francisco's Japantown. The school was operated by Kabuki Hot Spring where I worked for the next two years doing traditional Japanese massage. Takashi guided me for two years as I took over the teaching responsibilities and ownership of The Amma Institute. Two other pivotal mentors from the early years were Haruyoshi Ito, who continued my instruction in all things Japanese, and Jim Cleaver, who grounded my work as best he could in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory.
Out of the school came my interest in creating a package for massage services that was more accessible than table massage. In the early years, when we were still working with stools at Apple Computer, innumerable students and teachers helped to test out the idea and reality of seated massage in the workplace, at events and in retail settings. In 1984, I began working on the first prototypes of the original massage chair with Serge Bouyssou. We later took the design to Jim Everett at Living Earth Crafts and two years later had a production model ready for sale.
During that time, we were also creating a curriculum for teaching professional massage on the new chair. That new approach, beginning in 1986, was taught in massage schools throughout the world and, now, in this online course. Feedback from all of the students and trainers over the past 30+ years has continued to refine our understanding and transmission of this work but particular thanks must be given to Gary Bernard, Iris Lee, Russ Borner, Michael Zimmerman, Justine Hutchings, Alisdair Burcher, Harris Fishkin, Candice Borner, Debra Rilea, Mary Cheers, Rika Rich, Alexis Leslie, and Niels Dahlrup for their early, deep and abiding contributions. Additional thanks goes to Kevin Yamada who continues to anchor TouchPro to the day-to-day reality of making a living while making a difference.
Finally, a word of thanks to all of the people who sat in our massage chairs and allowed us to do work we love while giving us the gifts and the lessons of caring, reciprocal touch.
My enduring love to all,