Called to Massage

William Hunter, owner, Holistic Bodyworks Denver

By Jed Heneberry
[Inspiration & Insight]

After seven and a half hours of brain surgery, 10 days in a coma, and months of chemotherapy, it was during a massage that William Hunter heard a voice tell him, “If you live through this, this is what you need to do for the rest of your life.”    

Hunter had undergone surgery to remove “the most malignant form of brain cancer there is.” The surgery left him in a coma; when he emerged, the prognosis was dire—maybe three months, maybe 10 days.

Soon after, Hunter began chemotherapy, and also started receiving massage five days a week. “It was the one nice thing that happened in the entire day,” Hunter says. “For one hour a day, I had a massage and I felt OK.”

The routine continued for months—chemotherapy, massage, and “lint rolling my body until there was nothing left to lint roll”—when one day Hunter heard the voice break through, urging him to seek a new path. Fifteen months after surgery, Hunter was declared cancer-free; he immediately enrolled as a massage student at Colorado’s Boulder College of Massage Therapy, where he met his future wife Stephani. Today, the couple run their successful massage practice, Holistic Bodyworks Denver. After 18 years as a massage therapist, Hunter can look back at the journey with a fresh perspective. “It wasn’t my first choice of a career,” he says. “It has become more of a calling.”


By Jed Heneberry

ABMP Assistant Editor |