Learning from a Massage by Carol Reinhard, RYT 500
I have given myself the gift of a monthly massage. It has become, over the past few years, a vital part of my healthy life routine. Of course, getting a massage feels great, relaxes the body and heals the soul. I have realized recently that I am also learning some significant lessons that serve me far behind the time I spend on a massage table.
Lesson one: Cultivating a mind-body connection
In my first few massages I spent most of the time working to get my body to let go of trepidation of what was coming next and how I would feel after the appointment. It has taken time for me to come to a place where I let my mind and body connect at each moment and movement of the massage. This lesson has allowed me to keep my mind on the table and let my body fully appreciate the gift. This awareness permeates my day as I face the challenges and joy of life in a “senior” body.
Lesson Two: Honesty with the therapist
It is so easy to say, “I’m fine,’ when the massage therapist asks how I am. I realize the importance of expressing as accurately as I can the present state of my body… its aches, strengths and its needs. This honesty allows the therapist to tailor my experience to my needs. This same honesty improves my relationships and allows me to give and receive help as needed.
Lesson Three: Letting go
I almost wrote, “letting it all hang out.” Letting go for me is the same as being willing to sit with and experience my emotions instead of stifling them. I truly believe that we hold issues in our tissues. The process of a massage will sometimes surprise me with an overwhelming sensation that can vary from terror to a suffusion of security. As I have continued to move through my learning in massage, I have come to realize that letting the sensation rise to the surface and discharge is part of the massage experience and life experience as well. I realize for me “letting go” is another word for vulnerability. Now I am beginning to appreciate vulnerability instead of being afraid of it.
Lessons Four: Continue to process
Without regular massage appointments, I would never have learned how to work toward the wholeness I am beginning to experience. I used to aspire to perfection, now I understand the futility of that quest. I am learning that life is a process, not a product; just the massage is a process not an appointment.