The Physical Facilitates the Emotional
I came to massage through treatment of injury. The doctors had failed me. The massage therapist kept me in the workforce...a big Ahh Haa moment...so that is what massage is! Yet it was going to be a long time before I understood the culture of massage even though I was an unwitting recipient.
The first subject studied in the Remedial Diploma course at Swinburne University of Technology was Relaxation Massage. Essentially a gentle form of Swedish Massage incorporating Effleurage, Petrissage and Tapotement. The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems and the effect of massage was described. Still the culture of massage was not mentioned.
I now know massage is largely a woman’s world. Attend a massage conference and easily nine out of ten attending are women. Women are more likely to seek out massage treatment than men. Usually not because of injury but because they do not “feel” well...it is an emotional thing. A principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine is sickness and ill health is often the result of emotional excess...90% of illness is due to emotion.
Stress causes tension...physically tight flesh blocks energy flow leading to pain with a feeling of heaviness both physically and emotionally. Rhythmic massage softens physical tightness, reduces blood pressure, activates the parasympathetic nervous system enabling energy to move once again. Energy and emotion are tied together and reside in our physical being. Good energy from positive experience buoys us up. Bad energy from trauma can be black and heavy, and needs to be cleared and released.
Returning from COVID lockdowns several cases have presented suffering high levels of anxiety. Apart from thorough massage for these cases, my work includes meditative fascial release techniques used in conjunction with relaxation, visualisation and breath work to elicit release through cranium (Third Eye and Crown Chakras), brain and spine, as well as, the diaphragm (Plexus Chakra) which is linked symbiotically to the throat (Throat Chakra), the sacrum (Sacral Chakra) and the heart (Heart Chakra). Knowing this is an intense experience causing the deepest levels of relaxation, I did not realise the full extent of the therapeutic value until receiving feedback from a client.
This client experienced a traumatic emotional event in her life ten years prior still weighing heavily on her heart. She was unable to shift it or deal with it. It was a constant. I am not a counsellor. I am not a psychologist. I do not enquire about her past or her troubles but I do feel the physical effect it has on the body...I know the signs through the musculature of the neck, shoulder and chest. After several treatment sessions, we progressed to Clearing the Heart. This is a physical treatment releasing fascial tightness directly over the heart in the chest encouraging blocked heart energy to flow once again. Hence, enabling blackness and heaviness in the chest to move, be dealt with, be resolved and, in a sense, exorcised. The physical treatment facilitates the emotional. In her words she was “able to make a decision about it and it was gone.”