As I too am at home, I have been watching a few continuing education videos about massage the last couple of days. Massage is my passion:) Most are offering a Western approach, talking about muscles, tendons, fascia, blood vessels, nerves … all things you can see, you can “test” – oh, how we love to see the numbers and percentages in the West! Yet now too, there are lots of comments by the instructors of these videos about how you can “sense” something, how something mysterious seems to be at work.
Most notably, they are not quite sure what to make of stress and its influence, and what to make of the phenomenon of “pain”, which does not necessarily correspond to an acute malfunction of a particular physical system. That is my observation as well based on my experiences over the past 10 year working with clients of all walks of life. For example, if we talk about the realm of muscles: sometimes a tight muscle hurts, sometimes it doesn’t. If the rule was that tight muscles hurt, some people should walk around screaming all day. That is how tight their whole body is. Also, some people with little muscle tone hurt equally, and in the same “problem areas”. And why are we still hurting 10 years after a particular injury which surely healed up by now?
All this is what I sensed intuitively at the end of my massage school training. There just has to be more to massage than squeezing muscles/the pure physicality of it all. And there is. I reached for the ancient oriental wisdoms to grasp the invisibles, the intangibles, 10 years of continuing study and practice so far.
This wisdom holds, for instance, the impact of your emotions on your organs and your health, the effect of unresolved conflicts in your life on your wellbeing. The last aspect of “you” affected is your physical body. Un-ease, discomforts and pain offer a marvelous alarm system which tells you: Wake up! Pay attention! Something in your life is off! Yet we tend to just address the symptoms, expecting a quick fix, provided by someone else, and, yes, most of us wait until symptoms appear seemingly “out of nowhere”. Surely there must be something we can do to prevent these symptoms manifesting in our physicality. Of course there is!
The ancient sages also have a different view of what they call the “pain body”. It is fascinating. It is quite challenging to pinpoint all this with words, as indeed, one “senses” all of these mysterious forces at work within us, inviting us to become aware of and explore our other multitude of senses.
One crucial way to prevent symptoms and pain, is regular stress relieving massage. I love the one I practice based on Ayurvedic principles, working with meridians and chakras, specifically designed to do just that: inviting your body to let go of tension and relax. If one already has symptoms, such a massage will also alleviate discomfort and unease. You will experience a relief of pain and gather energy within you to address the underlying situations in your life. If one does not address those, one just recreates the pain and discomfort.
Now throw in our current circumstances. The worldwide stress upon all of humanity is enormous. This collective stress constantly amplifies our own stress. Our current isolation also demonstrates how we all need touch! These times of isolation and deprivation of human contact more then ever demonstrate this. Without meaningful human contact, and trust, and love, we cannot thrive. We can also not thrive without physical touch. A nurturing relaxing enjoyable massage will satisfy this essential human need. It is crucial to our wellbeing.
We will adapt to our circumstances and find ways to give and receive massages again now that restrictions are being lifted. Careful screening, sensible precautions and private settings are key.
Enjoy your next massage!
In loving synergy,