One of the common reasons I hear about why a person doesn’t get a massage at all or more often is because it is “a luxury.” Of course in school I learned all the physical, physiological and psychological benefits of massage so I can educate about things like reducing head aches and digestive disorders and increasing well-being . But as a client realized - there is much, much more.
My client is a successful, yet high-strung business man in a stressful job. Making moves, meeting deadlines, driven. Husband, father and friend. It didn't surprise me when he told me he had high blood pressure. But sure enough, the blood pressure came down and he went off his medication. (Yes, massage really does reduce hypertension!) What I didn’t know was how the stress was affecting his marriage and family. You know, coming home after an intense day – you don’t have a lot left to give - and everyone suffers.
Maybe his marriage was affected a little or a lot, I don’t know. But he wanted it to be the best it could be. He told me he would give her massages occasionally “that would last 10 minutes” because he was tired or... (yes my clients ARE and CAN be this open with me) just wanted to get to an end result, which of course we know that never really works! Why? Because she could feel that he was thinking about something else and trying to get to what he wanted. Basically going through the motions. Not present.
Some of you know I love the incredible Ayurvedic massage oil I use in my practice for all of its health benefits – and at one point I shared some with him. Maybe it was the oil... or maybe something just clicked but he told me after that there was a change. “I actually started to slow down and just enjoy this time with my wife...I felt more sensual.” So says high strung business man! He was inspired by his massage sessions with me to show her his love and care through touch. She was amazed with his "skills"and now asks “can you do that thing you do with the oil?” – love that!
While I have not formally taught him, I believe he learned more about a way of being with himself, not so much "skills." A feeling of being connected and complete that then overflowed into this beautiful gesture from husband to wife. It is not about giving a perfect massage, rather about giving from the heart. The Japanese character for “human being” is formed out of that a person and a person support each other. Let us support each other by also taking loving care of ourselves. Having a solid, fulfilling relationship with oneself and others is not a luxury. It is a necessity; we cannot live without one another.
Talk therapy doesn’t work for every couple. Sometimes there is more needed or something else altogether. Can you imagine taking what you experience with me in your massage sessions and sharing that with your loved ones? What would it feel like to reconnect with them through touch rather than words? Might you learn a new way of being that boosts confidence, sensuality and shows love to another? I am grateful to my client for sharing his experience with me - it confirms the circle - I give, you receive and the giving goes on - from you, to the world.