Stephen Opper

Stephen Opper practices Manual Medicine and teaches Natural Movement System in Asheville, North Carolina


              As a passionate student of the body, I have learned from many skilled teachers and from many traditions:  I am trained in martial arts from several different lineages, bodywork from various perspectives, movement arts, anatomy, and awareness, all of which are heavily influenced by my studies in: anthropology, evolutionary biology and comparative morphology, animal tracking, naturalist studies, Chinese medicine, and Daoist cosmology.     Additionally, I hold a B.A. in Ethnoecology from Warren Wilson College.


              While I have studied with many great teachers, I have also encountered divergent and even opposing views on virtually every aspect of the body, as well as many dogmas which I mistook for "truth" until I encountered their limits.  Eventually, I learned to stop trying to do “this technique” or “that art”, and simply study the body itself, slowly, steadily, from the outside in, and from the inside out.    In order to evolve and test my understandings I have continually returned to the laboratory of my own body, my clients, and my students


               Bodywork and movement are flip sides of the same coin, and they both function on a continuum from injury rehabilitation, to wellness/maintenance, to performance.    By virtue of the fact that we live in a physical body, everybody benefits from some sort of physical maintenance.  There are unique benefits and limitations to both skilled bodywork and to a personal practice, and doing both has a synergistic effect giving better results than either one alone.


               Ironically, some of my greatest teachers on this path have been my injuries.  They have forced me to continually re-evaluate everything I was taught and thought I knew. They have humbled me, frustrated me, spurred me on, rewarded me with deeper understanding, and brought me to some great teachers and mentors along the way.


                I continually look for the simplicity underneath the seeming complexity of the body, and I share this understanding and continuing exploration through my bodywork practice (Manual Medicine), through my movement art (Natural Movement System), and through general body teachings.