A friend of mine asked if I did infant massage.  I told her that I do, but would rather just take a few moments with the parents for no charge and teach them to do it themselves.  The most important thing to know that especially in this case, intention is everything.  An infant and young child are tuned in to the parents’ (especially the mothers) nervous system.  Toddlers constantly look back at their mom to see or rather feel what kind of reaction that their bold behavior is getting.  If they would like to calm their child and have him feel nurtured, it is important to assume a calm and nurturing attitude.  The rest is a piece of cake.  Call or write with any questions.

In my experiences and studies I keep coming back to being present.  A phrase that keeps coming to mind is moving from the body.  Many have an awareness of their bodies and know where their challenges lie, but we don’t live in a culture that teaches us embodied awareness.  Instead of walking and really feeling how we are aligned as we walk for any extended period of time, we just go back to thinking.

I have a friend who at the age of ten while attending a party his parents were having decided that when people grow up, they think all of the time and he decided not to do that.  I college at some point he realized in dismay that he was falling into the same trap.  He has dedicated a good portion of his life to “non thinking” in a serious practice which does take a huge commitment, and I applaud him.

Unfair as it is, female therapists are preferred over males over 5 to 1.  The reasons vary from men not liking to be touched by other men, to women feeling more comfortable being touched by other women.  That being said, in some ways men have more weight behind them and theoretically can work deeper (but I’ll argue that unless someone is very very bulky), and some women find it “creepy” to be touched by another woman.

I had a massage by a male therapist last week, and I”ll tell you why I prefer women although the skill in a male therapist is usually as good if not better than average.  Firstly, men have had to learn to be very careful of not being sexual in our culture as sad as that is.  To me though, it is about feeling nurtured, and I have always felt more nurtured by women.  We all have mothers and when that caring female hand is laid upon my back, I just open up to receiving and healing.

People get massage from me because they are having some discomfort.  No matter what the discomfort in our lives we experience, to develop awareness is primary.  A teacher of mine points out that the most transformative agent we have is our “attention”.  We can train to keep it where we place it.  Sitting and walking and standing withan aligned spine for example.

As I studied more about tight groin and hip flexors, I began to learn of how the head of the femur actually pulls out of the hip socket.  When I began to feel pain in my hip and legs after I sat for long periods of time (cross legged while meditating) I began to get a sense of this.  As I slowly rotated my hip socket around each femur head I was able to isolate the pain and work with contracting and stretching very specific muscles.  Since then I continually try to draw my SITS bones together under me and push my outer glut muscles toward the center.  I also have found that being aware of my pelvic floor and SITS bones (and making sure they are under me and not out behind me) is imperative to keeping the hips and low back aligned.  It is also important to not just stretch, but also to strengthen.  More on this later.

Why don’t some people like massage?  I don’t know but I assume that they don’t find touch relaxing.  There have been many people who have come to me for a massage with no intention of relaxing, but to be relieved from pain, but 90% who I have helped to do that have ended up relaxing and feeling more refreshed and calm which I believe is component of healing (restoring circulation is primary).  Now there ary many people who say they don’t like massage because in the past the massages they have received have not been satisfying. Wheather too deep, boring, uncomfortable with the touch are a few I hear frequently.

Now if someone tells me she doesn’t like massage but loves to be touched or massaged by her boyfriend or husband,  that raises some questions in my mind.  I am hearing that she finds touch very personal.  If that is the case, I believe there is “hope” for her to enjoy all of the benefits of massage like those who do.  I would love feedback on this.

MS

Today I am working with a lady who has ms.  I have some experience and I know it is touchy.  Massage can have great benefits but frequently the after effects can stimulate the nerves in a non productive way and there is no way to tell while in the session.  These effects usually dissipate over more massages but people who have this terrible illness have made their body “their enemy” and aren’t willing to go through a pain curve.  My hope is that this does not happen but to prepare her for this possibility is necessary.  Namaste.

  The word spirituality is tricky and I am defining it as something that affects our well being or spirit and is non material and is usually used to imply a way of being that is slightly esoteric. 

The reason this comes up so frequently is that massage usually is relaxing and healing which implies a sense of well being.  To achieve this, good skill and technique aren’t enough.  The recipient gets much more out of it if he is fully present in a relaxed way, and the therapists job is to accomplish this by tuning into him and listening to his body/mind.  At some level we are talking about the nervous system, and many might add that it is intuition, but it goes much deeper.

It’s an engagement and connection that occurs and its that simple.  But to be that present is a skill and art, and many therapists of all kinds find classes and “beliefs” to help this occur.

Today I had a most gratifying experience.  Someone that I massaged yesterday called me and told me that whatever I did relieved a pain that has been in his neck for two years.  I was appreciative.  What “I did” was work in the sub scap area (the armpit area).  This work can be very uncomfortable for many people.  It is probably the most over looked area in the profession.  When these muscles are tight, they pull the neck, and keep the arm almost plastered to the side of the rib cage.  Thank you again Lloyd.

What works?  My answer is “I have no idea”.  Holistic implies a body/mind integration and the question is frequently asked in regards to a medical or emotional/nervous system problem.

Some things work for many people and sometimes not.  People who are suffering from chronic illness want to get better and are willing to try almost anything from different types of energy work to accupunture to going to “special people”.  There are so many different models of the body/mind from so many cultures that don’t integrate very well it is a field I have finally become comfortable with after much struggle.  That there is mystery in this world is one thing I have come to.  That staying open to possibility is another.  That getting our will’s out of the way to allow the process of the body’s natural intelligence and the technique being used can work together is one more.  Now stand back, trust in the process and TRUST your own sense of the effectiveness. Also, read my first article under that title here on my website to get an understanding of  the benefit being present(relaxed and aware).