Gary Karp is a well-known speaker in disability circles, a tall man who sits erect in his wheelchair and appears relaxed as he talks, sometimes he even entertains by simultaneously juggling as he speaks. He’s now 57, having logged 39 years as a para in a chair since his accident at age 18, and he strives to keep his body in good operating condition, knowing how important his upper body is to his lifestyle. As part of staying flexible and strong, he has relied a great deal over the years on massage.
“My love affair with massage began back in rehab,” he says. “Whenever someone would come around offering a back massage, I was quick to take them up on it. It only lasted a few minutes, but it made a big impression on me, the tremendous release of tension, just luxuriating in that wonderful relaxed feeling.”
His interest in massage eventually led him to an extreme form of it — Rolfing (deep tissue massage). At the time of his injury, Rolfing was very popular at California’s Esalen Institute, known aro