MY NAME IS DAVID RODDIS, and the letters S.T. after my name denote “Shiatsu Therapist,” the qualification I earned through my studies at the traditional-style shiatsu academy Kokoro Do Jo, in Toronto (my personal style has evolved and I no longer do pure shiatsu).
I had taken a several years’ break from bodywork, and when I became dissatisfied with soul-destroying work in offices, I decided to revive my skills. I retrained right from square one, starting in 2005, graduating in 2007.
I call myself a “bodyworker” because I find the term “masseur” comes with too much baggage and too many preconceptions, restrictions and assumptions.
I’ve been interested in what is often called “holistic health ” for many years, from my early teens, in fact. I began to explore this path in earnest around 1985, in London, England, where I began my training at the British School of Shiatsu.
The alternative health bandwagon had not yet left the station; I keenly remember going to purchase a futon from a company whose workers I discovered in a vast room in a former Victorian warehouse, sewing the futons painstakingly by hand.
“Futon” hadn’t yet entered the language and no one would have known what you were talking about if you’d used the word. Now “futon” is something you buy at Hudson’s Bay, or Wayfair; it’s something that became a joke in the popular sitcom-mockumentary “The Office.” (When it is discovered that the hapless boss, Michael Scott, sleeps on a futon, the employees react with smirks and giggles. It’s a given that anyone who’d sleep on a futon in middle age is a loser.)
THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH MASSAGE as it is practiced according to so-called “ethical” standards. The problem is that there is a no-go zone for touch, starting at the navel and extending down to mid-thigh, the area encompassing the groin, the genitals, and the butt. And the problem is not that this area must or should necessarily be touched in every session and with every person. The problem is that this area is “forbidden,” considered to be shameful, and it is unthinkable, on penalty of being considered unprofessional, inappropriate or worse, to acknowledge this blind spot.
As a gay male, I have had a lifetime of dealing with the idea that my sexuality is “shameful,” and this additional shame is in fact a layer added to the basic puritanical view that the body—specifically nudity, sex, and erotic touch—was wrong, bad and shameful in itself. (Masturbation, some of you may recall, was once commonly termed “self-abuse.”) So you have the North American puritanical rejection of bodily pleasure, plus the added shame of being “gay.” Double oppression. Something like:
Brad: “Whenever I masturbate, I’m filled with self-loathing.”
Dirk: “Me, too. And it’s over so quickly!”
So it happened that, about six years ago, I began to incorporate erotic touch in my sessions, always at the request of the client. This was a bit scary, even bewildering at first, having been taught constantly that to breach those boundaries was wrong. Around this time I attended a weekend-long workshop run by The Body Electric, which provided the structure and rationale I had been looking for; this was a revelation and a huge influence on my work.
With more research, I discovered a wealth of instructional videos produced by Joseph Kramer, founder of The Body Electric and a pioneer in what he termed “sexological bodywork.”
I immersed myself in hour after hour of these recorded sessions that proved that sensual and erotic touch could be respectful, professional and ethical, yet also playful and positive. Shame-free, in other words.
I developed my personal techniques and style by drawing on everything I’d learned, including the essential lessons and techniques from Body Electric and Kramer’s sexological bodywork, and that is how I continue to learn and develop.
Some quick facts about how we work together:
- We have a brief chat before we begin the session. I tell clients: “Be in charge of your comfort. If at any time my touch doesn’t feel right, for any reason, let me know.”
- This means that, at all times, you, the client, are in charge of the session.
- The primary goal of a session is to get out of your mind and into your body.
- The session is a safe space to explore sensual touch outside the anxiety-producing “performance” demands that guys get hung up about. There is no “right way” or “wrong way” to be, and it’s not about “getting off.”
- The session has nothing to do with your sexuality. There are no judgments to be made or “boxes” to fit into. Self-identified gay, bisexual and straight guys all have enjoyed and benefited from my work.
- Receive touch disrobed. I would never force any requirement on you; wear loose shorts if you feel more comfortable—but it rather defeats the purpose of the session to “hide,” don’t you think? I’ll show mine if you show yours!
- I do not use a massage table. I continue to honor my shiatsu training by working with the receiver on a futon, which means that you and I are on the same level. It’s a sense that we’re working together, rather than you being “worked on.” It feels intimate and safe.
- This set-up also facilitates the basic shiatsu technique of using my body weight, rather than force, to give comforting or stronger pressure as needed. This protects you from injury and conserves my energy.
- I always incorporate some therapeutic massage, and you will always leave the session having had a professional treatment.
- I am a trained professional with thirty years of experience who has successfully completed training in Swedish massage and two rigorous courses of Shiatsu training, all of which courses were specifically designed to confer professional qualifications on their graduates; as well, I have completed other for-interest courses as personal development.
- However, as the information on this page should suggest, please note that I am not an RMT.
Ready to book? Check my general availability here.
Then TEXT 647 767 0752 (preferred) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fantastic massage, excellent care.
David is such a sweet and nice guy, I cannot recommend him enough!
– BiCurJM, Toronto
I arrived about 15 minutes early and David was ready to go. I had originally booked 60 minutes but had extra time and was able to bump it to 90. This was the best 90 minutes I have ever spent in Toronto. Closing my eyes, it felt like he had 40 fingers – that is how good he is. I left totally relaxed and rejuvenated at the same time. I will be booking another session the next time I am in the city!
– intom8ting, Toronto
©2019, David Roddis / bodyworkToronto.ca All rights reserved.