Beverle Deerfoot

MT has had a long and storied career

By Brandon Twyford
[ABMP Member Profile]

When Beverle Deerfoot, ABMP’s first 30-year member, discovered her joy for bodywork, her varied and eclectic background in using her hands meant she was well-suited to begin a career in massage. Deerfoot trained in classical piano beginning at 7 years old, and by age 9 she was playing improvisational gospel piano for her church. Going to art school at University of California, Berkeley in the ’60s introduced her to the joys of weaving and eventually led to a position teaching weaving in a school for the blind. “Talk about sensitive touch,” Deerfoot says. “They could see with their hands.”
After receiving her first massage in the early 1980s, she began to think that perhaps massage therapy was a career in which she could use her sensitive and responsive hands. “I always think about it not as me finding massage, but as massage finding me,” she says.
Deerfoot has worked continually as a massage therapist since becoming licensed in 1984, except for a three-year period in the ’90s when she was ordained as a Buddhist nun in a monastery in England. When she returned to the United States, in addition to practicing massage, she helped establish a Tibetan Buddhist center in Reno, Nevada, where she still lives today. Now semi-retired, she spends much of her time immersed in her art, mostly painting. “Art is my meditation these days,” she says.         
As a therapist, Deerfoot has worked in chiropractic offices, spas, salons, healing centers, hot springs resorts, as a hospice volunteer, and in her own private practice. She served on her local licensing board for a time and proctored practical examinations for massage licensing, “which was an education in itself!” she says.
Deerfoot offers a bit of advice for therapists: “Study as many modalities as you can so you can find the ones that really light you up, then study those very well and practice them wholeheartedly. It is all about love! For me, the most important thing in massage, or in any work, is that you love what you do. If you love what you do, people will be drawn to you, and you both will benefit!”