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What Massage Therapists Do!
Have you ever thought what massage therapists actually do? Ideally, they provide a safe, warm and comfortable environment. There are soft clean linens, warm aromatic oils, background music, their knowledge of how the body works, warm hands and a sincerely caring touch that guides you into relaxation of those tired and stressed muscles.
Why Do We Need Massage?
It is difficult to imagine the overwhelming scope of what just living day to day can do to our health and well being when we make the trained reactive acceptance to be in stress. We have been educated to deal with negative stressful events in many ways, but our first inclination is to react. Research indicates that the negative health effects of stress may be due to what has been called Accumulated Emotionally Reactive Stress Syndrome (AERSS). This means that the more emotionally negative issues that we are faced with and react too, the more we retain and accumulate stress in our physiology. Stress has been linked to a growing number of illnesses. Attached to all negative events there remains a direct connection to the emotions that either occurred at the moment of the event or shortly thereafter. Each emotional event can present us with an opportunity to make a choice of how we perceive that event. When we react we begin our walk down the path to being stressed. When under stress, we may exhibit a variety of indications that we are under stress, such as anger, frustration, increased anxiety, physical discomfort, higher blood pressure, shallow or hesitant breathing, insomnia, depression and much more. The important thing to remember is that our society has been raised in an environment that bombards us with things that have negative tastes, smells, images, sounds, music, violence, corruption and news etc. All of these touch us emotionally and place our physiology into a sympathetic nervous reactive state. Our Fight and Flight reactions release the stress hormones and the body goes into a defensive posture. Blood goes to the extremities and muscles tense up and as long as we retain the emotion connected to that which initiated the stress, our muscles will remain tensed up and our immune system’s ability will begin to decline. We might choose to do things that we normally would not do, such as make attempts to hide or escape from the cause of our stress. On the other hand we could choose to do things that lead to a happier outcome, such as listening to uplifting music, accepting the situation as an opportunity to learn and even receiving regular massages. According to internationally known trauma recovery therapist, David Bercili, “the body is a living organism designed to resolve even the tragic of life’s experiences”. What if we accepted the root cause of our stress as an opportunity to learn and revise our method of dealing with it?
Can Massage Really Help?
Research from a large number of sources compiled over the last 50 years indicates that receiving a massage on a regular basis can assist in the release of the physically retained symptoms of stress. There are many styles or application techniques of massage. Some, like Sports Massage, are specifically designed to deal with physical trauma. Others provide for a very spiritual outcome and some are very emotionally relaxing. The important thing to remember is that from birth to death we all crave touch. Sincere and unconditionally given touch promotes and enhances our general sense of well-being. It returns our bodies to a natural state wherein the Spirit / Mind / Body connection can begin the process of healing from within.
The Power of Music
There are a large number of studies that indicate that music has power. Music has been used as a background element in massage since massage was performed on the participants of the first Olympic games. You may wonder why music is being used more and more in the medical and mental health community. The answer is, “because music has a direct impact on our emotional state and our emotional state has an impact on our physical state. It has the power to initiate changes in behavioral patterns. It can manipulate the way we express our patriotism, Love, joy, sadness or anger. It can soothe or excite us. Today most Massage Therapists play some sort of relaxing music while giving a massage. Many of our nations hospitals and nursing homes retain the services of Certified Music Therapists. Doctors often play music in the operating room during surgery. It has the power to calm and inspire us at the same time or create a negative effect on our emotions. Research has shown that Music/Sounds that expresses fear, anger, violence and profound sadness negatively effect our stress levels, our learning abilities and then our sense of health and well being experience a decline. On the opposite side of the spectrum, music that is enjoyed, joyful and uplifting has the opposite effect. That brings us to a question. Is it the vibrational qualities in music that interacts with the our emotional vibrations that gives us the opportunity to experience some level of emotional healing which will facilitate an improvement in our general health and well being?
The Vibration of Music & Our Health
Like everything else in the universe, we are in vibration. Within our bodies the movement of fluids, the bio-electrical-chemical impulses from our brains activate movement internal and externally. Hence, we are always in a state of vibration. We create musical vibration by exerting a force that is applied to an instrument designed by nature or man to produce a sound that when arranged a certain way creates music. Be it a stick hitting a hide drum or the stroking the strings of a harp, the sounds of music are simply vibrations traveling through air and contacting our bodies. Most of us have been to concerts or been stuck in traffic beside a car with what seems like a 100 speakers. We literally feel the vibrations of the music that is blasting out at us. Our car and even the ground vibrate. It can be very annoying and that is a negative emotion which can trigger a stressful reaction. What if those vibrations were coming from music that we enjoyed listening to and it was also uplifting? Uplifting usually means different things to different people. There are many factors that can determine what is uplifting. When the subject is musical preferences in our modern society, our entire individual cultural history, which would include our patriotic persuasion, age, religious beliefs, geographic location, parental and peer influences can have a huge impact on what we see as uplifting. What remains is the simple fact that a variety of studies show that uplifting musical vibrations trigger a parasympathetic response in the nervous system and music that is not uplifting can trigger a sympathetic reaction in the nervous system. Many of us would not even shop the way we do without the influence of the background music we hear in the super market or mall. Have you ever noticed that many commercial advertisements have a piece of music that is usually geared towards giving us a feeling of just how “happy or healthier” we would be if we bought that product. It is our natural desire to be emotionally happy and healthy. This “positive emotional input” facilitates the activation of our desire to be happy and healthy and the result is that we may buy the product or service. Our physiology wants be well and to receive relief from the ravages of Accumulated Emotionally Reactive Stress Syndrome (AERSS). Listening too or feeling the vibrations of carefully selected music can enhance the ability of the immune system’s energy to facilitate better health and well being.
The Magical Combination – Musical Vibration & Touch
Although usually played in the background, music provides us with a wonderfully joyful method of providing massage. Just listening to it lifts us up emotionally and therefore physically. Imagine what it would be like to actually feel the vibrations of music during a massage! We would become totally immersed in it as we willingly surrender to the power that will allow us to begin the healing process from within. This process can be initiated by combining of the vibrations of Music, which is provided by utilizing the Acoustical Touch System (ATS) (Patent Pending) and the synchronistic application of a massage technique that is called Vibrational Attunement Massage(TM) (VAM). The ATS transmits the vibrations of the music through the massage furnishing and applies it directly to the physiology. This induction of music that is uplifting and enjoyed by the recipient creates a strong desire to enter a deep state of relaxation while retaining the ability to be aware. Depending on the musical selection, which could be very active or very sublime, the recipient could express great joy or fall asleep. It has been noted that drooling and smiling are common responses when playing lively music. After the music begins to send out the vibrations, the Massage Therapist who has been certified and trained to utilize VAM begins to apply the synchronistic touch in concert with the music. In a way the recipient becomes the orchestra and the therapist becomes the conductor. The exchange of energy actually benefits each of them. The recipient goes into a state of deep relaxation and the therapist uses less energy during the session. Both are happy and re-energized at the end of the session and the therapist, because they used less energy to perform the work, are really ready for the next recipient. When one works within music there is a very different perspective. Most who have received only 15 minutes of VAM have used only one phrase to describe the session, “WOW that was amazing”.
©Dustin Fox 2005 All Rights Reserved