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Aly George: Become the Good for Others


Aly George poses for a photo with her brother, Mack.

By Lisa Bakewell

Aly George was one of the winners of ABMP’s Massage Is for EveryBody 2023 contest. As we get closer to celebrating Massage Is for EveryBody, July 14–20, 2024, we wanted to share more of Aly's story, which exemplifies the inclusive values of this campaign. Please join us in celebrating Aly!

“I have always wanted to be something good in the lives of others,” says Aly George. And she has—her whole life.

George grew up helping to take care of Mack, her brother who is 15 years her senior. Mack was born with Down syndrome and suffered heart complications. Mack was considered “low functioning” by the medical field due to his limited speech and learning abilities, George says. Plus, Mack didn’t like touch. Or so George thought.

“I saw brilliance in him,” recalls George. “Mack sat for hours creating elaborate stories, intricate artwork, and assembling puzzles. It was a daily routine.” But one evening, while observing Mack, George noticed him stretching his neck—something she hadn’t seen him do before.

“I decided to try something new,” she says. “I asked my brother—as he sat in his chair hunched over his creations—‘Mack, do you ever hurt after sitting all day?’ He nodded. ‘Can I rub your shoulders?’” Mack agreed.

“Shoulder rubs became the way my brother and I bonded. This was the spark that ignited my passion for massage therapy.”

Although Mack was one of the driving forces for George becoming a massage therapist, it was her desire to help people who may not otherwise care for themselves that ultimately propelled her into the profession. “This included my brother,” she says, “but also many of his friends in the Special Olympics, who were treated very differently from others.” She says it also included the friends and adults in her life “who never seemed to care for themselves.”

Today, George’s main career goal is to integrate her bodywork practice with that of mental health professionals in her area to help mend the body-mind connection that’s so important for healing trauma. And it’s a connection that George knows personally.

George was diagnosed with PTSD after practicing massage for a few years. During what she describes as a scary time in her life, her body started breaking down. Overnight, she could no longer do the work she loved.

To help combat her symptoms, George enlisted the help of a psychologist who suggested somatic massage. She says after a couple sessions, she started to notice profound changes. “I was sleeping better, and my flashbacks and nightmares were less frequent. Perhaps most astounding of all, my physical pain was dissolving. I could stand up straighter, walk farther, and breathe deeper. I noticed sensations in my muscles and organs that were entirely new to me. I realized I had never before understood what it meant to feel my body. It was incredible! How had I lived without this?”

Through somatic massage, George began feeling safe in her body and learned to trust it again. She also learned to read its signals. “Throughout my daily life, I could sense when I needed to move differently,” she says. And once she gained control of her nervous system, she was thrilled to realize that her chronic pain was gone.

Today, George is free from her PTSD symptoms and has successfully helped others heal too. “It occurred to me that if body awareness was the key to managing so many symptoms, I could help others find the same relief. I dove passionately into learning somatics, so I could pass along this powerful healing modality to those who needed it.”

George says she is in talks with counselors and therapists in her area about creating treatment plans together for clients with PTSD. “Someday, I would love to bring my practice into creating a health retreat—providing massage and teaching others about safe touch, massage techniques, and somatic education.”

She openly offers massage to differently abled individuals. “I try to encourage more awareness and inclusivity through my practice,” she says, “[and] I hope to open up the world of massage to these groups that seldom receive it. Because I believe massage is for everyone.”

George also believes that “it’s never a bad idea to ask someone if they would like safe touch.” In fact, it’s her philosophy. “Touch has been found to communicate emotions much more effectively than words,” she says, “so massage is especially good when someone is nonverbal and doesn’t express or receive the same way others do.”

For more information about Aly George and her services, visit Read her winning 2023 Massage Is for EveryBody essay at

Related Content

• Massage Is for EveryBody is ABMP’s annual celebration of massage therapy and the philanthropic efforts of our members. Read more about the event and the guiding principles that drive it.

• Read the winning essays from 2023’s Massage Is for EveryBody celebration.

• Enter your essay or video submission for the 2024 Massage Is for EveryBody event.