Massage can at times be a mystery . . .
The part of massage that is welcoming for some is simultaneously a challenge for others — Touch! There is an old song that says “sometimes when we touch, the honesty is too much.” Within touch there is healing, but it cannot be entered into without opening ourselves up to an intimacy that can be a bit uncertain. This intimacy can come only with the assurance and expectation of an absolute boundary of trust. Let’s explore some aspects of massage based on characteristics of T.O.U.C.H. These are my personal perspectives, and certainly not all-encompassing.
Massage is first “therapeutic.” Your desire may simply be for a relaxing break from the tedium and stresses of the week. And your only goal is to enter into a quiet place and space for the sole purpose of letting everything go — for an hour . . . or more. This requires no justification, permission, or excuse. It is simply “you time.” The same things that are propelling you to seek asylum may also call for some deeper or more specific work. A modicum of discomfort to remove some of the deep-seated knots often pays off in the long run. Can’t decide which you need? Perhaps a ‘relax-apeutic’ massage that incorporates elements of both relaxation and therapy would fit the bill.
Massage should also include “openness.” Your professional massage therapist will purposefully allow adequate time for an intake session that explores your desires for the session, what you can expect from your massage, and addresses any questions you might have. Many clients feel vulnerable in a massage setting, particularly during an initial visit with a therapist new to them. We always schedule time to frankly discuss such issues as draping, modesty, and your right to make adjustments at any time during the session.
Truly effective massage involves “unity” of two individuals with the ultimate goal being achievement of a positive end result. For the length of the session, both therapist and client cast aside all thoughts that are outside the room and focus on melding their efforts. Breathing, vocal expression and touch merge. The application of touch goes beyond the routine as the therapist intuitively finds the right means to nurture healing — the therapist focusing on visual and audio hints, and the client actively or passively conveying her body’s reception of the touch.
In massage you find elements of “compassion.” True massage is so much more than mere manipulation of muscle. It occurs in an environment that allows for expression of feelings brought forth by release of stress and tension; many times this release results in tears or laughter. Though not a common experience, such manifestations of emotion are joyously received. Neither client nor therapist should be embarrassed or overly concerned about this, but should honor the source of these feelings.
The ultimate goal of massage is “healing.” When adopting a holistic approach, healing goes far beyond the mere physical aspects. Massage affects the entire person on a physical, emotional, and perhaps a spiritual level. When we enter this synergistic agreement, a wondrous thing happens. Change takes place that defies explanation and provides a pathway for healthy living.
Therapy, openness, unity, compassion and healing are only the beginning elements in a wonderful massage. Over time the benefits will be even deeper. If you have never experienced the joy of massage, perhaps today is where your journey begins. For those that have been absent for a while, this may be the time to come back.
And maybe for you, like this anonymous client, you can truly say that “your massage felt like you cared . . . .”