There is a movement in the massage world, generated by a small group of individuals, who would like to secede and/or change massage as it is currently accepted. Usually, I’m the one calling for reform, as long as it is change for the better (and the many) and not change because it makes me more comfortable. I realize that I am going to ruffle many a feather with my words, however, I believe they need to be written, and written now, so a better understanding of both sides can be given, so total anarchy and/or secession can be avoided.
They people for change want a massage modality that is completely scientific based, and anything that cannot be quantified will not be allowed within that modality. This leaves every modality that deals with energy or body work O.U.T. They would love Massage, with a capital M, to be that modality, and the other woo-woo qualitative stuff with massage, with a lower case m, to be called something else. Basically, it’s a revolution, and something we all need to look at, not because it should occur, simply because it’s trying to occur.
Let’s take a look at the history of massage, since that is where the term MASSAGE came from. Written documents began to describe massage around 3000 B.C.E. with Ayurveda, which began in the Vedic cultures of India. Ayurveda means the science of life, and they used quantitative scientific principles to formulate their modality. In Ayurveda, humans cannot be separate from nature, and there are 3 energetic qualities that govern each person. These energies must be in balance or disease occurs. Through the use of massage, herbs, yoga and meditation, health and well being return to the person. Hmmm…meditation, isn’t that a qualitative modality that has been proven to extend the well being and healthy life of humans? I believe it has.
Lets jump over to Egypt, where stone hieroglyphs depict people massaging one another- and where Reflexology was born. Zone Theory, born from Dr. William Fitzgerald in the early 1900’s, was as scientifically proven, as best it could at the time, to be effective as a means of healing. Wow, even without a fMRI or EKG/EEG machines, he could figure out that pressing tiny spots on the feet, hands, and ears could nudge wellness and health into happening. Imagine that.
Moving over to Ancient Chinese Medicine, Tui Na which combines massage and chi balancing, has been used effectively for over 5000 years. BTW- chi is another word for that mysterious flowing energy that can be manipulated with intention. They also invented acupuncture, acupressure, Tai Chi, Qi gong, just to name a few. Dr. Yuri Kronos was one of the pioneering scientists that proved the existence of chi, and many others have gone on to quantify his results, of a “network of cutaneous nerves” also called the “nocisensor system”, fluid energy streams (aka meridians) within the physical body.
While were at it, lets talk about Japanese massage- or Shiatsu. By pressing Tsubo points (energy points along meridian lines) along with massage, health and well being is restored. This modality is also thousands of years old, and if not scientifically proven, it does have an amazing track record of fact based results. Just ask any of it’s millions of users.
We can continue with the Europeans, Romans, Native Americans, eventually leading back to where we are today. In 2005, Dr. Jeanne Achterberg, did a study on Hawaiian Kahunas (shamans, healers). that scientifically proved distance healing has affects on people. The evidence is out there, and more will come as science develops the means for the experimentation.
Massage is, and always has been, a modality that incorporates all systems of healing for the body mind and spirit. Scientists themselves are stating that they do not yet posses the means for proving or disproving the bio-energetic field, however as this article states, that does not mean it should be dismissed as complete hokum.
So, let’s look at the reasoning behind the secessionists, why they want to ban all so called “non-science based” modalities. My belief is that they desire to be accepted into main stream medicine, and that with the inclusion of energy based modalities within the title of massage, that won’t happen. Let’s look at the facts, just in my great state of Michigan. Beaumont Hospital, Henry Ford Health Systems, and the University of Michigan ALL use holistic healing practitioners. So, that theory is a wash. Major medical centers are not only accepting- they are embracing- alternative healing for their patients- because it works!
However, my personal theory is experiential based, and caused quite the hostile reaction by a few in the old Facebook status lineup. Now, having been in the world of magic hands since 2000, I have been privy to some amazing experiences. This has been due to my very open nature, curiosity, willingness to experiment and acceptance of results, not necessarily the kind that can be proven with science.
So, here goes my theory on why the rift: whatever you push against, resist, deny in the outer world, is a piece of your inner world that you are not willing, ready or able to look at right now. Believe you me- I have fought hard, railed against a whole host of stuff in my life, only to have it all come back to- there is nothing outside of myself, so get over it. There are only two emotions from which all other emotions stem- love and fear. Love accepts fear rejects. Where’s the fear around this issue?
What could it possibly be? Perhaps a reality that is confusing, confounding, mind-altering, and beyond that which we can currently scientifically explain. That’s a big, big world, and it can be a very scary, erratic place when you’re living with only your left brain turned on. And, speaking of the brain, did you know that it’s not your brain (a bunch of chemicals that don’t think) that controls you (and everything that you experience in your world?)- it’s your mind? And what is mind? Your consciousness. And what is consciousness? Energy. Non- quantifiable energy.
Dr. Rudolph Tanzi and Deepak Chopra cowrote a fascinating book, Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness and Spiritual Well-Being (all quotes from this book). Dr. Tanzi, a Neurologist who is the “Rock Star of Science” writes: “in my field you can thrive by being a superb technician, carving out your scientific niche in the detailed analysis of very narrow aspects of a disease. You can make it pretty far in science by ceasing to speculate and obeying the dictum “shut up and calculate”. Hard science is proud of it’s status in society, but I have witnessed firsthand that this pride can extend to arrogance when it comes to considering the contributions of metaphysics and philosophy to develop scientific theories. The broad dismissal of anything that cannot be measured and reduced to data strikes me as incredibly narrow minded. How can it make sense to dismiss the mind, however invisible and elusive that it is, when science is entirely a mental project? The greatest scientific discoveries of the future often begin as pipe dreams of the past.”
Chopra writes: “We take for granted lots of things that would not seem real if you measured them by visible physical evidence, starting with music and mathematics and ending with love and compassion”. Do love and compassion exist? What exactly is music?Are they measurable? Nope. Well, then, they must not exist, according to the theory of if it can’t be scientifically proven…
And, one scientist everyone should know, on why the mind is not the brain, the brain is part of the mind- “the pioneering quantum physicist Erwin Schrodinger made a flat statement about this on several occasions. Here are three: “To divide or multiply consciousness is something meaningless, in truth there is only one mind, consciousness is a singular that has no plural””.
And, another famous scientist Max Planck- “who is credited with starting the quantum revolution more than a century ago, said something wonderful and mysterious: “The universe knew that we were coming”. ” So, even the great scientists know that there is a field of conscious energy, that some call God, that exists without proof. That our mind is connected to all other minds in a giant field of consciousness that never ends. And- it is THIS MIND that interfaces with the bioenergetic field and nudges it back to coherence and health, because that’s where we all want to go.
The fear that rejects energy work is different for all those who rally against it. Fear can be disguised as many things, including dismissing right brained intuitive experiences that the left brain cannot compute. However, to deny a whole side of life simply because it cannot be quantitated, that leaves a whole lot of qualitative experiences out. A balanced life includes both right and left brain activities, and it cannot be any other way.
So, secede if you want to, just leave my Massage alone. Go make your own modality, begin your own history, create a new name and gather your own followers. You’ll be back as soon as science validates what we already know…