Massage Therapy as Myth, Miracle and Method


Massage Therapy has drifted in and out of man’s perception in a very cyclical movement between personal and impersonal approaches to health and wellness. Throughout history there have been periods of time where man was treated as part of a group, denying his individual nature and needs. During this time, massage therapy declined as did many other types of treatments that required personalized healing. Now, bodywork has come to the forefront of many medical and complementary views of healing. I think this is very important because we are beginning to become aware of the need for comprehensive therapy in treating our bodies. We are a very complex organism, threading the organizing element of mind throughout the intertwined dependence of body systems. Bodywork is a combination of treating the physical body, the emotional structure and that which is interlaced with and dictates the functioning of the body, the mind. And in acknowledging this interrelationship, we must realize that every experience we have throughout our life, leaves an impression not just upon the mind, but within the body structure as well.

Every experience therefore necessitates, by the very nature of the experience, a reaction. A reaction that is based in the nervous system resulting in muscular movement which brings about changes in posture, stance, direction and comfort. These changes can be positive or negative, resulting in relaxed ease of movement or restricted painful limitations. All of these life experiences pattern the body and we react to future experiences based on the current pattern that we have developed for ourselves.

Bodywork is a re-education of the body and mind. It teaches us to deal with things in different ways, to respond to each experience in new and untried ways. Because no matter how many times you deal with the same types of experiences, you will tend to react in the same way, the same path, the same tried and true, because that is the product of your learning.

There are many things that determine our development, since we are constantly in a state of change from the moment we are born until the time we die. The only thing that is constant in our life is change. The expression of our genetic makeup is shaped by our environment, our choices and our experience. In many of these instances, we are not even aware of our reaction or our development. Most of this expression and change is initiated through our tactile sense, through the power of touch. Infants in the earliest stages, learn about the world around them and about themselves by bumping against that very world and sensing the distinction between within and without. For we experience not just the touch, but the thing we touch or are touched by.

Without this essential method of earliest development, we cannot grow, change, experience. And as adults, many of us have limited our tactile senses allowing only controlled touch. Many adults may not even experience any touch at all. Massage Therapy restores this essential communication system and in so doing, restores the natural harmony and development of your nervous system, your physical structure, your very life.

Karen Clickner, N.D., L.M.T. is the founder and director of ISIS Holistic Clinic & The Waters of ISIS Body Purification Spa in Brookline, MA with offices in London and Geneva.