This morning I received a massage from a wonderful practitioner with whom I trade sessions.
As I laid on the table and prepared for the session I was aware of beginning to let go. I had created a mental goal, or desire to be able to release the energy that was preventing me from moving forward. I have been feeling somewhat stuck lately.
I did not actually communicate this goal to my friend, but simply placed myself in her capable hands trusting completely her ability to tune into my physical and spiritual needs.
As she began to work, I again became aware of the intimacy involved in this process of giving and receiving a massage, and why people either shy away from this form of healing or tend to form an attachment to and stick with a particular practitioner they feel they can trust.
The work of a massage or bodywork practitioner involves intently focusing their attention and energy on “reading” the structure, workings and energy of the physical body – watching for responses or reactions to their touch, gauging the appropriate depth of pressure for each area of the body, looking for areas of sensitivity or pain, tension or holding, sensing the changes that are taking place and continually adjusting the manipulation accordingly while at the same time remaining completely neutral and non-judgmental of each client.
In other words, becoming intimately aware of that person – body and soul – and accepting them as they are. This depth of focus is demanding and this level of intimacy is not easy for everyone to manage.
On the receiving end, a client is granting their practitioner permission to address, examine and manipulate their unclothed physical body, and placing their physical and spiritual wellbeing in their practitioner’s hands which, even for the most self-assured individuals, can create a sense of vulnerability and/or exposure.
This dynamic requires a great deal of trust and respect.
An often unspoken agreement of mutual respect is created.
Back to letting go – this is something required by the recipient of a massage, whether it be letting go of tension, stress, pain, discomfort, negative energy or all of the above. It is much more difficult to let go or surrender if there is no trust or feeling of safety and security.
I know there are many people who see massage as a fairly mindless, simple occupation, not requiring much skill, effort or concentration – an easy way to make a living – but I would invite those people to think again.
Certainly, there are some practitioners and clients who may treat it as a perfunctory rub down and there are definitely differing degrees of skill and dedication to be found as in any profession.
However, the majority of practitioners who are sought out over and over again for their skills and reputation are those who recognize, respect and protect the intimacy of their work. They give of themselves and their energy willingly and view their work as a “calling” and a profession that demands their highest level of integrity.
In the right hands, there is no limit to the depths of healing that can safely be experienced!