Body Sense

Spring 2011

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The Healing Effects of “Massage Mind” Your Therapist Wants (and Needs) to Hear From You When you are on the massage table and trying to set off on your own journey toward “massage mind,” it’s imperative you let your therapist know if the singing whale songs are lovely but not your cup of tea, if the white noise machine is becoming obnoxious, if the fluffy blankets are lovely but a bit too warm, or if the fragrant essential oils are making your nose itch. Your therapist wants you to have the very best, most restorative, massage experience you can have. Communication is the key to making that happen, so do your part and speak up if anything is not right for you. By Karrie Osborn I used to sit at the edge of the ocean to find my rhythm. When planning my annual vacations, it was the water that called me—not so much to be in it, but to be by it. Maternal and soothing, the comings and goings of the tide was my “reset” button—you know, the one that allows you to deal calmly again with the world. Along came twins, and my exotic vacations were replaced with ventures closer to home. Being in a land- locked state, sitting by the ocean was no longer an option. How was I going to hit my reset button now? The answer was right in front of me—massage. THE STILLNESS As a massage enthusiast, I have learned about and tried a great variety of techniques over the years, but some of my most profound and restorative experiences on the massage table have come in the “stillness” of the moment. Massage therapist Bruce Hopkins calls this stillness “massage mind,” something understood by those who’ve experienced it, but difficult to explain to those who have not. The easiest analogy for massage mind might be the quiet state the mind enters into the moments before sleep, or the place of stillness one reaches during meditation. “Massage mind is immediately recognized by clients who are experienced meditators,” says Hopkins, who works exclusively with cancer patients in his Portland, Maine, massage practice. “It is the same mind-state that is accessed in deep meditation. And, as in meditation, practice makes getting there easier.” For Hopkins, helping his clients reach massage mind is paramount to his work. “When I am working, I am coaxing the mind to go deeper and deeper,” he says. “The music I choose reinforces the work: no melody, no loud passages, always changing, no repetition, interesting, but ultimately boring.” The massage itself mimics the music criteria, all with the intent of lulling the mind. Any deep-tissue work or range-of-motion tests, for 8 Body Sense spring 2011

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