Beyond the Surface: The Deeper Healing Power of Massage and Conscious Touch
Towards the beginning of my formal Massage Therapy training, one of the instructors made mention that in addition to learning how to be a massage therapist, that many students report feeling “changed” by the process. That giving and receiving that much nurturing touch on a regular basis over the course of 7 months created a healing and transformational effect.
To be clear, the massage training program I undertook in 1996 was focused on “therapeutic massage and neuromuscular therapy”. We were taught the foundations of Swedish massage for stress reduction and relaxation, along with an emphasis on clinical approaches to pain reduction and restored muscular functioning.
“How will this ‘change me’?”, I thought…
A Bit of History
6 Years prior to even a thought about Massage school, I had become quite fascinated with the concept of “Energy”. At that time, a roommate shared with me that he could see the “aura”, which is the energy field that surrounds the human body. Sparked by a deeper curiosity for “what was possible”, I began a ravenous self study of “all things metaphysical”: Psychic phenomenon, intuition, chakras, crystals, natural healing methods, and, above all, ENERGY as a means of healing.
I admit that, at the time, my entry into massage school had very little to do with interest in “pain reduction” or “massage”. I was a “closet energy healer”. I was interested in Energy healing, but I had never really met anyone who did it. I felt like an outcast, and was afraid that my “strange beliefs” would cause others to mock me. I thought “I can’t just tell people that it is possible to heal them with energy. They will think I am nuts.” I went to massage school because I thought it would be a “socially acceptable way” to touch people, so that I could further explore the possibilities and powers of energy healing.
How will this ‘change me’?
“How will this ‘change me’?”, I thought… How will someone pushing on my sore muscles and making the shoulders less tense “transform” me?
But it did. Through the course of that 7 months, without trying, I began to feel more focused and more joyful. I began to have greater clarity and motivation in my life.
My relationship to my body began to change. I became more interested in nurturing it through exercise and better food choices. The initial shyness of having my body “seen” and “judged” by others began to dissolve, and I found myself instead feeling that my body was “worthy” and “beautiful”. I became more comfortable “being me”.
I became more confident in life.
“HOW?” I began to wonder.
Certainly, it is fair to say that part of it was that I found something that I enjoyed and that I was good at. That explains some of it for sure. But it was also more than that.
Something was changing. Something was opening. And I had no clue what was coming.
A Reminder From the Universe
As I finished up massage school, I had developed an enthusiasm for massage. I imagined that I would “change the world” with neuromuscular therapy, and eradicate muscular pain patterns from everyone I touched.
It seemed promising. The fresh enthusiasm of a new direction. The positive feedback and support of clients and my teachers. I started out with a bang!
And then my client bookings went from 10 one week, to 5 the next week, and then to 2. And then nothing. I was baffled and confused.
And then I received a referral from a chiropractor that I barely knew. The new client was a young man who was having severe shoulder pain, and the chiropractor thought a neuromuscular approach would help. He was a good client. He was committed to getting better, and was willing to do whatever it would take.
I suggested a series of regular Neuromuscular therapy treatments. So he came once a week for 4 weeks. Each time I pulled out my greatest Neuromuscular methods, just as I was taught in school. Doing just what my instructors had praised me for being so effective using.
And after applying the “miracle pain relieving methods”, he would share his feedback: “Yeah, it feels a little better, but it still hurts a lot.”
Not the feedback I was hoping for.
It was then I became just desperate enough to “come out of the energy healer closet”.
I sheepishly began to explain “There is this energy healing stuff I have been playing with and teaching myself for the last 7 years, but I have never really used it on anyone. If you are open to this (read “if you don’t think I am crazy”), then I would be willing to offer you a complimentary session to see if that may help. I don’t even know if it will work or not…”
To my luck, he was already familiar with such concepts, and was open and willing to try it. He came for the session, and I did everything I had taught myself to do. From the outside perspective, I was just waving my hands around some, and putting my hands on him other times. But in my own inner experience I was shifting energy within his aura and in his body.
When we were done, I shyly asked him how he felt. And to my surprise and excitement, he told me that what I had just done with Energy alone had helped him more than all 4 of the previous Neuromuscular treatments combined. The pain was almost completely gone!
After he left, I felt excited. And I also remembered in that moment why I had gone to Massage School to begin with: I wanted to become an Energy Healer. And this experience forced me to reconnect to that deeper desire and re-sparked my quest to learn more about energy healing.
A New Understanding of Energy Evolves
Over the many years since, I have studied a broad range of Energy Healing methods, and experienced their power to transform and heal, and of course used them with my clients.
During that journey the “mystery” of the “strange impulse to go to massage school” and why it “transformed” me became apparent: There is no separation between “Energy” and “Body”. As a massage therapist, I am not just pushing on muscles and restoring muscular function. Yes, those things are happening. Those benefits exists. But I am also moving energy both as and within the body.
Tantra teaches that the body contains many energy channels and energy structures (chakras, nadis, marma points, etc), and they are being accessed on some level even during a “basic massage”. Stress and tensions in the body block the flow of energy. And sometimes the mental and emotional stresses that we are not wanting to feel get lodged in the muscles, causing the experience of stress, tension and pain in the body.
Massage helps to open the flow of those channels, releasing not only muscular tension, but potentially the emotional and mental tension that was the source. This benefit is potentially there even if someone isn’t conscious of the energy.
But, by becoming conscious of the energy, the process can become even more effective and more intentional. All these years later, I still use massage as a healing method. I am very good at it, and most of my clients report how great they feel both during and after the massage.
But I don’t think of myself as “pushing on muscles” anymore. I understand that I am interacting with energy on the levels of the client’s body, emotions, mind and spirit. I also understand that even during a massage, a large part of the healing power and benefit to the client is created through an energetic connection and flow from me to them. It is my ability to touch them at a deeper level than just “the body” that really maximized pleasure, relaxation and the other benefits they discover.
As I massage, I am also allowing energy to flow. This helps to wash away energetic stress at the emotional and mental levels as well. The massage experience is an invitation to become more present to what you are feeling at the level of emotion and body. This deeper awareness helps you to become more connected to your Self. It helps you to feel more deeply which allows you to process the thoughts and feelings (even unconsciously), which further encourage the energy channels to open and the tensions to melt from the body.
Additionally, there is the factor of the human connection. Tantra’s teaching around “relationships” are focused on cultivating connection and a deep reverence for the Sacredness of both Self and Other. When we are being touched consciously in this way, even through daily activities, our deeper essence feels honored and free.
Through the massage experience with an energetically aware practitioner, there is sustained conscious connection and honoring which allows every level of body, emotions, mind and spirit to receive and to open. Each of these levels is given the chance to feel accepted, loved and safe. Being allowed to enter that space brings us back to clarity and to center. We feel our “Self” more clearly as the tensions that normally distract us are removed. It becomes safe and affirming to “be me” again.
Tantra teaches us that the Deeper Healing takes place when we clear the energetic blockages out of these energy channels within the body, and activate increasing levels of energetic flow in the energy channels. This forms much of the benefits of a great massage experience. A chance to turn the mind off, tune into the present moment through sensation and breath, and make space for energy to open and flow freely in the energy channels as tensions melt away.
So, the benefits of “Massage” go beyond just the body. There is also the effect of energetic connection and nurturing, as well as the general clearing and opening of the energy channels.
These principles can be taken even deeper through more specific energetic healing methods. When this understanding is skillfully used in an Ecstatic Union® Energy Healing Session, we direct even more intention towards accessing and clearing the energetic blocks at the levels of emotions, mind and spirit. Whereas the massage creates a more general opening and flow that can be likened to the more gentle effect of water washing away “blocks”, during an Ecstatic Union® Energy Healing Session the methods used are more focused, like energetic surgery.
The often more gentle “energy washing” of the massage will create healing and changes over time with regular application. The more energetically focused work of Ecstatic Union® Energy Healing can create more specific healing and transformation at deeper levels in a shorter period of time.
They are, of course, also two different healing formats with two different overall intentions. The massage includes the benefits of relaxation and unwinding tensions in a more general way while also giving the body a sensual treat. The Ecstatic Union® Energy Healing approach is intended more specifically to transform self-defeating patterns that block us from experiencing our fullest potential in life.
Everything is Energy, and Through It Deeper Healing Take Place
It has been through my own personal journey that I have discovered the Deeper Healing that can be created through conscious energy awareness. As I reconnected with my deeper desire to be an Energy Healer, I learned through direct experience that massage was included in that model of energy healing and not something separate. The Body is energy, and is energetically connected to the Whole of Being.
There is so much more to massage than what appears on the surface. Regular massages from an energetically aware massage therapist can create healing and transformation much deeper than just relaxation. It can remain a time of “self-pampering and nurturing” or it can evolve into a more conscious exploration of what is possible through the power of Energetic Healing. It can become a gateway into creating a life filled with greater joy and Vibrancy. A gateway into the power of Ecstatic Union® Healing, which brings transformation and growth at every level of your being, leading to an awakened experience of your fullest potential.
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