Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bones, Schmones. I Can Get To It
From Your Eye Socket

Liz treated me to an amazing massage yesterday, and now I can turn my head from side to side like a normal person. Her last words to me: "No computer today. Drink some water and take it easy. You can watch TV, but no computer!" I had been warned.

But I didn't listen.

I started this post yesterday after I returned home from my massage. I had finished two or three sentences before the lactic acid parade started making me queasy. I tried to write through it, but then my head started to throb. OK Liz, you win. I'm going to go lie down.

I've heard about the lactic acid and lymph rebellion occurring post-massage, but that's something that happens to other people. No, I really mean it. I don't have normal, predictable reactions to anything. My chemical makeup is off. My physiology is off. My synapses fire differently than the average person. I'm not like the other kids.

So the treatment yesterday knocked me on my ass. But it was worth it.

Every massage therapist approaches her or his work differently, facilitating healing using an array of tactics. Liz's technique is a very diplomatic--mixing up the easy gliding with more serious kneading and friction.

Beginning, as most massage practitioners do, with a series of gentle manipulations--gliding and rocking over my back, she persuaded my muscles to let their guard down. Increasing pressure as she stroked the length of my spine, then back up to the edge of my right shoulder blade, Liz traced the grooves and ridges, methodically reading them like braille.

As she alternated intensity and palpation, I felt twinges in varying degrees. It seemed like a muscular equivalent to, well-- crying. Not crying in response to pain or grief, anger or frustration. But the kind of outburst that punctuates relief or joy. Crying to release fear or despair, because there's no reason to hold onto it any longer. The twinge would sometimes open into an ache, and a pronounced poignancy resonated around the sensation. My body cried--off and on--in relief, in surprise at being touched, acknowledged, attended.


Liz is willowy, and probably weighs 80 pounds soaking wet, but her touch is firm, and grounded in her breathing. A determined woman, resolute in her work, she is unfazed by bones. "Your scapula is in the way. I'm going to go under your arm to get to the muscle." I've never had a therapist access my trapesius from my armpit before. But she got to it with a kind of manipulation that approaches bloodless surgery. Amazing.

She finished the session with craniosacral therapy--another first for me. Cradling my head in her palms, she administered light, barely perceptible touches to different points around my scalp, taking the'pulse' of my cerebral spinal fluid, sussing out blockages and irregularities. Then, supporting my left hip in one hand, and my head in the other, she held me like this for a few minutes, and though I didn't get sleepy, I disconnected for a couple of seconds in a kind of twighlight sleep.

Liz talked to me during the session, letting me know about the muscle she was going after and what it connected. I liked that. I liked participating in my healing, stretching at Liz's commands. I liked visualizing the red world under my skin, being reminded of how my body stays together inspite of everything I subject it to.

Relaxing is always good. Healing is even better. Getting to know my body like the back of my hand-- is a gift I didn't expect.


Blogger KlevaBich said...

Mmmm...color me pea green with rabid jealousy, as I sit here at work hunched over my keyboard. I've been craving massage, and never have had one before. There are massage practitioners all over town, but I guess I'm nervous about asking a stranger for a rubdown. Silly, ain't I?

Ask Liz if she knows of anyone just like her down here in Eugene...

3:26 PM  
Blogger Cindy St. Onge said...

I know what you mean. I spent many years wanting a massage before I received my first one at Brietenbush.
I think the trepidation about surrendering your naked body to the touch of a stranger is common. I'm nervous every time. Which is why my mind is thinking about everything but the fact that I'm naked in a place that isn't my home and being touched by not just a stranger, but someone I work with. I just tell myself that they see me as network of tendons and bones and muscles.

I recommend getting a referral from someone you know who has had a massage, or if you'r like me and have like two friends, neither of which has had a massage, then call your local naturopath or holistic healing clinic.

4:21 PM  

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