Tuesday, 10 January 2012

From the Couch

There are, it seems, great lessons to be learned on holiday.  Trying to maintain some of the serenity experienced outside of my routine, whilst getting back into my routine is the challenge.  Whilst away, I took advantage of being 'time rich' and enjoyed exploring massage, trying different treatments experimenting with the different benefits each afforded.

"You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body."
C. S. Lewis

No two massage experiences are the same.  I am never the same person who gets onto the couch or, into the chair.  Different therapists have different approaches, and different days will require different emphases and variations in the pressure to be applied for the optimal treatment.   

My investigation took me from top notch spas with wonderful facilities, into practitioners' sitting rooms, and to the office of a charity which trains the blind and partially sighted the art of acupressure.  Treatments were accompanied sometimes by preparatory bathing rituals in sumptuous surroundings, and at other times by the briefest of introductions in broken English.  Each time, regardless of any language barrier, the therapist's warmth was evident. 

Massage can be a relaxing experience.  For me, the relaxation is a by-product of a treatment and usually follows a fairly rigorous work out during which I become aware of how much I am holding on to, and posed with a choice as to what it is that I can let go of.  The sense of release is often surprisingly powerful, and sometimes entails an unexpected cartharsis. 

"There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies."
Friedrich Nietzche

"Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies."  Frank Gillette Burgess

There is, I think, something very special about massage.  It stems from the power of touch, and contact between two human beings.  There is a mystical quality that defies articulation meaning that massage remains intriguing and alluring. 

What I noticed most starkly was the cumulative effect of having regular treatments.  Whilst I was mixing and matching, and didn't have the same treatment twice, there was a lasting effect and each built on the last and prepared me for the next in a process of opening, and growing.  With each massage, I developed a greater trust, for the therapist, the therapy and my process all of which, I believed, enhanced and deepened the experience.

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."  Jim Rohn

"What we feel and think and are is to a great extent determined by the state of our ductless glands and viscera."  Aldous Huxley

Having experienced different forms of foot massage, and reflexology, Indian head massage and acupressure I feel I have begun along a path stumbled across quite by accident, and am looking forward to continuing this exciting journey of discovery here in London.  I'm excited to have already realised one of my resolutions, by making an appointment and so turning my intention into action.   

"We must not cese from exploration.  And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." 
T. S. Eliot

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