We had the good fortune of connecting with Abbie Britton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abbie, how do you think about risk?
At the essence of my active being has always been risk taking. By this I mean I listen to a small voice beckoning me inside, listen closer. Then I go for it. My profession, which is realigning human beings through bodywork has been a drive since I was a small child. I noticed I could tell where people were off by, for example, how their glasses tilted on their face. I was blessed with high education, from a family of intellectuals and attorneys. I was not supposed to be a therapeutic practitioner. We didn’t do that. My mother inspired me: She became an academy award winning actress when family destiny demanded she become an attorney. Her father said to her: “We Parsons do not leave New England. And she left.” She taught me to be a maverick. All aspects of my life have been about the drive to heal. Having practiced bodywork for 40 years while being a journalist I went to graduate school at the age of 60 and received my Master’s Degree in Yoga Studies and Yoga Therapy. Many said “don’t do this, you are too old, the cost is too great.” I found myself with 20 and 30 somethings studying in India. Risk taking takes me into the vortex of inspiration and joy and satisfaction. We have a saying in our family “never look back.” At this stage of my life my capacity to do what I am afraid of keeps me on top of my game. I will continue to leap off any cliff without a spear.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a bodyworker, psycho-somatic therapist who specializes in treating the ravages of trauma, addiction, pain and injury through a hands on bodywork method I developed called Britton Rx (www.brittonrx.com). I have been in practice for over 40 years. I use all body modalities to unwind the source of dis-ease. From manual therapy (on a massage table using breath work, manipulation and guided visualization), to intensive physical training and yoga. I have an M.A. and special certificate in Yogic studies and therapy from Loyola Marymount University and have studied extensively in hospital settings in India. What sets me apart from the cliche ‘healers who abound in L.A. is that I am expertly trained in both the allopathic and alternative medicine fields. The combination of my high credentials, deep intuition, scientific approach and 40 year experience fixing bodies on every level make my practice unique. I am a clinical practitioner who is comfortable and happy working with the traditional medical arena, and in the more authentically esoteric realms. I am an expert in bodywork, physical training, trauma & substance abuse recovery. I have an ability to generate diagnostics, provide profound treatment and oversee ongoing program management. My areas of focus in are: Chronic pain, Trauma, Sports Injury and Substance Abuse Disorders. A complete team player, I believe in referrals and inspiration from other practitioners. I come from a family of intellectuals. So stepping outside that arena was shameful for me at first. I was an Ivy Leaguer, an intellectual like that. I was a journalist for 25 years all the while executing my bodywork practice, essentially in the closet. I was afraid to come out to my mother as a healer, in fact refused to call myself a “Healer.” Then one day I took the plunge and told my mother. Shockingly she was thrilled and is my greatest support. My business is entirely word of mouth. I do not treat people who want a “massage”. I began by studying dancers in motion and at the Art Students league watching what would happen to bodies when they got tired in poses. I spent a huge amount of time with professional athlete’s particularly in the NFL as my son was a starter for many years. I was a dancer, runner, speed skater and horse trainer and this contributed to my body of knowledge. Every person has gifts they are born with. These are unique for each of us. Listen to your joy and develop it. The satisfaction is immense even when there is shame and terror involved in claiming I AM THIS.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hands down, without Covid-19, The Olympic Baths. This is a true Korean bath with varying hot mineral pools, infrared and traditional saunas and steam room and therapeutic treatments of all kinds. I recommend the Akusuri Scrub. Make a day of it. The food is spectacular. I take all friends in town there. Bikram Yoga. I am a huge proponent of the therapeutic benefits of this 26 postures and 2 pranayama (breath work) practice created by Bishnu Gosh, the brother of Yogananda, author of the seminal text Autobiography of a Yogi. The heat softens the tissues and the postures address all the bodily systems. There are two remarkable studios that I go to. Hot Yoga Pasadena directed by long time yogini Val Sklar; and Stretch Burbank, directed by the incredibly knowledgeable Liz Baghayi. The community closeness is what makes these great. Everybody becomes a friend and we all care about each other. I practice with my entire family and always bring friends to classes. Odyssey Bookstore. I am in love with bookstores. Not the huge franchises, but small stores which specialize in second hand books. One of my favorite books ever for my work is The Thinking Body by Mabel Todd. I could not find it anywhere and found a first edition at The Odyssey. The place is snuggled on an odd corner of Cahuenga and Chandler Blvd. There are cats, on the old oak counter, there are comfy chairs and owners who rarely speak a word as their heads are filled with prose, poetry, history and Shakespeare. My son Augustus spends a hundred each time he goes. It’s a secret place for eggheads–where wisemen fish. Daichan. Japanese Soulfood. Another secret gem on Ventura Blvd in Studio City. My whole family goes here for every single birthday. The husband and wife owner and their son. named Daichan, shout Hai Mommy to me when we arrive. They do not take reservations. We have watched each other’s families grow over 25 years. Daichan is the size of a shoe box and there is not a single spot on the wall that is bare: Covered with Japanese iconography in sculpture, painting and prints. The food is traditional Japanese and it is inexpensive, fresh, creative and so yummy. The service is fast and we always eat way too much. Fryman Canyon Hiking. Off Laurel Canyon, there is an uncrowded parking lot (1.00) and an immediate up hill trail that is slightly grueling but doable by anyone. It is dog friendly on leash. A Thanksgiving day hike with the fam is essential. Mostly locals and always full of smiles. There are views of all sides of the valley. C street, Ventura. I am a surfer and this is my favorite spot. It is a right point break and world reknowned but feels very local. Surfing can be competitive and aggressive, but at this break all are friends. Much better than Malibu because the atmosphere is friendly and the parking lot is full of surfer’s vans. It’s an hour drive straight up the 101 freeway, get off at California Street. There is a long boardwalk with benches to sit and watch the surfers who own the water. There is a sectioned off part of the beach for swimmers. Seals and dolphins show us all how it is done.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am a mother first and my two grown sons are the source of my inspiration. My oldest, Eben Britton is a retired starting Right Tackle in the National Football League (Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars). My youngest, Augustus Britton is an accomplished journalist, screenwriter and novelist. The are my heart and inspiration. My mother, Estelle Parsons, shows me what human beings are capable of. She supports me in everything I do. I am a pack person. My dogs have taught me what to practice: An excited hello, to give a snarl to create a boundary, take multiple naps and enjoy food, sleep close to your pack, be loyal. Moxie, grizzly, Caroline, Leeloo, Dutch
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