Bear with me... There are a few pieces to bring in to preface this video.
As a Rolfer™ I see alot of bodies and therefore alot of tattoos. (The places I've worked, Maui and Seattle, have lots of people of all ages with gorgeous ink.) What I love best is when people have great stories of their tattoos and what they mean for them personally.
In Rolfing® Structural Integration work, I also see many clients with trauma histories. Trauma is a fact of life – almost everyone has experienced some form of trauma, whether a difficult birth, being fired from a job, losing a loved one, having a surgery or a sports injury, etc. It is now commonly known that trauma makes us lose touch with our bodies, as part of our being retreats from the overwhelm of the event. Many clients come to Rolfing work with the particular goal of reconnecting to those frozen parts of their bodies and/or psyches. Others don't have this goal, but find themselves remembering events from the past as their bodies receive work in an area that had experienced something traumatic. [Of course, if you have a significant trauma history that is affecting your emotional state currently, it is good to do more than bodywork – to see a psychotherapist or trauma therapist trained to help unwind these impacts. One particularly effective form of work is Somatic Experiencing™, which uses the body and one's felt sense as a doorway to gently release trauma. Peter Levine, the founder of that work, was originally a Rolfer, but developed Somatic Experiencing as his work led him into a profound mind-body-spirit-integrated understanding of trauma, the body, and the nervous system. He's written a good number of books; a good place to start is this one.]
Now to pull these thread together! This blog post was inspired by this video, about Molly Ortwein, a woman who underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer. Ortwein found that tattooing her chest with a design that held alot of meaning for her helped her feel good about her body and scars after her surgery / breast reconstruction. Like many tattoos I see on my Rolfing clients, hers is deeply personal, deeply meaningful. Listening to her speak, it seems that getting the tattoo was a way for her to reverse the impact of a traumatic event through an empowering act. (She has started an organization to help other cancer survivors connect to tattoo artists, if they want to follow her example.)
Note: Because you see her chest in the video, some might consider this NSFW.