Your Health

Bodywork as art brings new healing to old pain

Angelo dela Cruz has created a novel form of sports massage that may convert even the skeptical. I am no stranger to bodywork. You name it, I’ve tried it. In one case, I even named a technique. After my friend Ida Rolf had been calling her work Structural Integration for 40 years, I suggested she call it Rolfing. I approach new bodywork methods with skepticism — I’m not inclined to willy-nilly enthusiasm. But dela Cruz amazed me. My right hip has been a source of discomfort and low-level nagging pain for several years now. Yoga, massage and physical therapy have not helped much. With just one session, dela Cruz relieved my pain, not permanently, but significantly. I walked in with pain and walked out pain-free. Now, six days later, I am again feeling some discomfort in my hip, but less.

Dela Cruz, who graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in anatomy and physiology, studied massage therapy at the Body Therapy Center in Palo Alto. His technique stems from the Hendrickson Method of Orthopedic Massage and Manual Therapy and the Primal Reflex Release Technique. From these methods and from his study of Eastern and Western philosophies, he has created an amalgam of bodywork techniques.Dela Cruz considers bodywork an art form. "Because of my expertise in anatomy and physiology, I can work with the body more as a finely crafted art piece," he said."What I do goes way beyond massage. I bring the body into its most natural balance state," he said. "That helps people out of pain and improves the performance of the body."Some local athletes view dela Cruz as their secret weapon. Dela Cruz believes in using the natural technologies of the body to bring relief from sports injuries, especially lower back and knee problems.

Dela Cruz gives his clients self-care instructions to minimize dependency on his treatments. He works to eliminate mechanical and neuromuscular distortions in the body. Rather than working directly on the sore section of my hip, he worked on the muscles that attach to the hip. He eliminated tension almost magically. He taps on tension points, triggering release. Other techniques in his repertoire include limb movement similar to the Feldenkrais Method, transverse-friction massage and muscle-reflex techniques. His hands are sensitive to what is going on in the body, triggering relaxation. During and after the session, I was noodleized, that is, as relaxed as a pile of cooked spaghetti.

Dela Cruz performs his bodywork at Focused Individual Training (FIT) at 600 Rancho Shopping Center in Los Altos. Sessions are $80 for 25 minutes, $150 for 50 minutes or $190 for 80 minutes. For more information, call (408) 504-1617 or visit

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