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Massage Therapy is a powerful tool for treating physical discomfort and an increasing number of techniques have been developed that require and utilize the Massage Therapist's thorough understanding of anatomy, physiology and clinical pathology.
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The Body's Thirst For Soul Fullness

My client arrives exhausted, with rock hard trapezius and levator scapulae muscles and her frozen shoulders pulled close around her ears. As a trained massage therapist I know how to design a treatment plan to assess and perhaps relieve her physical pain. However if I take the time to look deeper, it is obvious that her distress goes beyond tight muscles.

Like so many of us, my clients underlying problem is a profound anguish of the soul. As she lies down on my massage table, I close my eyes and turn my attention within. I access my connection with the Source of infinite energy. I sense the earth pulsating beneath my feet and feel the power that spins stars and waves the ocean continuous with the force that pumps my blood and expands my lungs. I feel myself filled on the inside with an inexhaustible flow of potent Light. As I place my hands on my client I am awed by the sacredness of her Being.

As I petrissage her levator scapulae, I feel the untainted pure innocence of her essence. My hands acknowledge the part of her that is pristine, perfect and eternal, unblemished by her physical condition, rampant thoughts, emotions, self image or current role in life. Through her body I touch her soul. Her cells begin to sing in remembrance of their inherent Divinity.

In a place beyond words and thought, spirit recognizes itself in the meeting of hands and shoulders. Her body is imbued with increased aliveness. As her preoccupation with her current situation softly recedes to the background, she somatically begins to recall the vast magnitude of herself as a spiritual being.

Tension softens beneath my fingers. My hands deeply work the muscles of her back while my attention caresses her Divinity into wakefulness. My recognition of her spirit silently resonates her own remembrance. The adventure of life in a body, with all its joys and challenges, once again becomes fascinating.

We live in a powerful and exciting time in the world of massage. Many of us who've been bodyworkers for decades are thrilled to witness the growing acceptance of massage and hands on healing as an adjunct or alternative to conventional medical care. In the quest to capitalize on our newfound respectability, many in our profession have chosen to focus on the "medical model" of massage, accentuating the physiological benefits of bodywork in treating physical conditions and offering scientific explanation and evidence of it's effectiveness.

Massage Therapy is a powerful tool for treating physical discomfort and an increasing number of techniques have been developed that require and utilize the Massage Therapist's thorough understanding of anatomy, physiology and clinical pathology. While this is vitally important for the expansion and mainstreaming of our industry, the medical model of massage, like the allopathic medical model in general, sells the art of bodywork short if it addresses only the symptoms of the physical while ignoring the deeper potential of Soul Healing inherent in skilled touch.

In my 33 years as a professional Massage Therapist I've come to recognize much of the physical and emotional pain I encounter originates as soul sickness. In our often absurdly driven world, it's easy to forget the meaning and purpose of our lives. The amnesia of forgetting who we are and why we are here leads us to a frustrated, somewhat desperate search for fulfillment in illusory pursuits.

In our race to stay on top and make ends meet, compounded by living and working indoors and apart from the natural world, we can easily forget our connection to a larger reality. We often lose touch with the fact that our physical bodies are part of nature and our individual, seemingly separate selves are continuous with the infinite interwoven web of all life.

Our bodies panic while our precious lives become a senseless race to a destination we can't recall. Our futile attempt to control rather than participate in the life's dance creates chronic contraction of our bodies. Tense muscles and constricted breath minimize feeling and keep the desperate sense of lostness below the level of consciousness. Tightness and pain speak the body's longing for remembrance of its Divinity.

While my proficiency in massage technique may enable me to alleviate my client's physical discomfort, expansion of my spiritual awareness becomes mandatory if I'm to answer the deeper call of their soul. I must be able to transmit a palpable presence of authenticity, a present time genuine remembrance of spiritual meaning that is wordlessly communicated to the essence of my client through my touch, as well as my presence. The more fully I can drink from the Source of Universal energy and find the infinite within myself, the more deeply that fullness can be shared with my client.

As an educator it is my job to train future massage therapists in the mastery of technique, anatomy, pathology and business practices. However it is equally essential that students learn to open to the infinite source of energy within, tapping something palpably profound to share with their clients through the medium of touch. As a teacher I am constantly challenged to resist the temptation to be distracted by our crafts new found scientific marketability that demands focus on certifications, testing, licenses and mainstreaming. Complete training also teaches students to become a bridge to the infinite, embodying a sense of the sacred in their presence and their touch.

As massage therapists we make a commitment to ongoing fascination with the Mystery of Life. We learn to remain open and curious within the infinite unknowable potential of each moment.

When we view pain and illness as well as joy and pleasure, in the context of a larger perspective of the soul's awakening, we can help our clients evoke the vastness of their deepest self, cutting the roots of suffering at their source.

by Vajra Matusow - Reprinted from Open Exchange Magazine October, 2002