What does your body awareness tell you? Despite various aches and pains, mindful body awareness can help you know your wholeness. Your beliefs and habits, and whether you feel power over them, either feed and replenish you, or eat away at you. You may think, how do I change that when I can only focus on pain from my back or shoulder or hip? However, body awareness does not increase your pain. It can lead you to change your bodily experience.
At Integration Massage, I may first teach you Body Mapping. Then you will know where your knees actually bend instead of where you believed they did. This releases pain and tension from every step, from your feet and ankles, up into your hips and back. Or I may teach you how your shoulders and arms are connected. So that your exercises can strengthen muscles instead of creating knots.
I may reflect back to you your body metaphors, such as “feeling left out” so you understand what you are doing to your left side. Or how “deep seated grief” makes it hard to get up from sitting. And I may gently hold those areas of your body, or other areas with contractions around specific emotions, as you breathe new life into them, using the Emotional Tone Scale.
Mindfulness in movement combined with mindful massage increases body awareness and releases tension patterns. Perhaps you stopped moving recently? Perhaps you became habituated to pain? Put up with discomfort, figured you were “just getting older”? This is one of the myths of aging that is easy to overcome. It reflects beliefs about limitations that do not bear witness to your wisdom. The rounded shoulders and collapsed chest, the knots in the legs or back that just won’t go away, are not signs of “inevitable” decline. They are more signs of helplessness, of not knowing what to do. With mindful body awareness, these symptoms are easy to release. Joy is found in the body’s wisdom, like a buried treasure waiting to be discovered.
Mindfulness as Connection
I understand the need to occasionally zone out, to let go, and get some relaxation and nurturance from human touch. So I am grateful to provide that to you. However, I am also aiming for something that restores your self-respect and self-confidence, in addition to pain relief and relaxation.
Did you know that the nurturance of massage stimulates oxytocin in me as a massage therapist, as well as you as a recipient? This means that you feel held, mentally, emotionally, physically and socially. And I feel the heart benefits of offering this healing connection to you. The neuroscience of compassionate touch therapies extends beyond the skin, beyond the nervous system, into a person’s whole life, and further.
One elderly client asked, “What right do you have to give people pleasure when there is so much suffering in the world?” His wife said this question was more about his lifelong stoicism, that he felt he didn’t deserve pain relief. I told him that I believe that relieving one person’s suffering could have ripples to thousands, that compassionate care extends through us to others. He was then willing to receive.
Mindfulness in Relief of Suffering
The suffering I see as a massage therapist is when people feel trapped and helpless to overcome longstanding pain or limitation. Mindfulness looks at relief from suffering as a choice to be present with what is. It suggests self-compassion rather than stoicism. And this creates the possibility of movement, of change. Body awareness through touch therapies contributes to both physical and emotional healing. It reframes perception of limitation to perception of empowerment.
Thomas Hanna, in Somatics challenges the myths of aging. He says those myths are a cultural acceptance of powerlessness to change our bodies. We hold habitual muscular contractions, habits we don’t know how to undo. These can even be holdovers from childhood. But we can get free and reclaim our lives when the therapist is not the “fixer”, but the facilitator.
I teach you how and where you are holding tension, and how to release it. I stimulate your body’s self-corrective reflexes with Ortho-Bionomy®. Neurological massage and posture training support your brain-body balance. I give you feedback from what I sense through my hands. Thus, I become the witness to your body awareness, to your empowerment in knowing your body.
Call me if you want to integrate sensation with emotions, beliefs and the breath to release tension, and to increase your sense of empowerment over your body: 503-708-2911.