Massage & Bodywork

JULY | AUGUST 2019

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MIND OF AN MT The Epitome of a Beauteous Testimonial By Bonnie Carter When I first came across this quote in my reading of Robert Noah Calvert's book, it stopped me in my tracks. I was in awe! What depth of feeling. Poetry! If my clients fell into a depth like this Frenchman did in 1785, I would be a very satisfied and happy massage therapist indeed. As I revisit this incredible testimony to our profession, I sit here in my chair utterly speechless. What I intended to share now seems pale by comparison. Mind you, the studies, experiences, and teaching points I have acquired over the years are important to me and have deeply shaped my values as a professional and as a person. But I must confess, Savary's stunning account blows my mind, thrills me, and makes my heart swell. His depiction reminds me that inherent in the therapy session is capacity for profound change of body and mind. So, I choose not to share my wisdoms at this time but to keep the focus on this rich and extraordinary narrative from 234 years ago. Savary had a profound experience. Or should I call it an event? What Savary so clearly reminds us of is that massage and bodywork is humanizing (even in its simplest delivery) … "freed from an enormous load" and "truly lived for the first time," our "whole is given over to the most delightful sensations." Exquisite! Beautiful! It seems that he transcended what he previously knew as himself to become himself. His remarkable description brings me right into the room. I feel tangibly touched by his powerful transformation. The summary demonstrates how open he was to receive the therapist's intelligent touch, energetic skills, sensitivity, and understanding of the life processes of his body. Truly, Savary dropped out of daily life and dropped in to a life-positive feeling of pleasurable association. I dare to suggest he expanded to a connection with something greater than his usual awareness. Just because this narrative is from 1785 does not mean it is greatly out of context with the work we deliver today. I am going to go out on a limb here: keeping up with the unrelenting pace of 2019 is not modern at all. In fact, the front page of a newspaper in the late 1780s reports revolution in France and ratification of the Constitution of the United States. The world stage in the late 1780s was fraught with change and tumult, same as today. Conclusion? Massage and bodywork are just as, or more, a necessary requirement to counter the times. Positive therapeutic touch will always provide a vital service affecting every level of being. I am looking forward to finishing Calvert's book and sharing some of its contents with my clients. Maybe some of my clients would enjoy listening to the testimony read aloud to them. Perhaps hearing Savary's experience would widen their parameters to what is possible or tickle their curiosity. That might be idealistic on my part. I must confess, I don't recall having such a depth of relaxation when I am the client. At the very least, I would like to share what I want the most for my clients, which is for them to let go and begin a process for the body-mind to correct itself in its own time. I would also like to share my passion for my trade, my heart. Note 1. Robert Noah Calvert, The History of Massage: An Illustrated Survey from Around the World (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2002): 33. Bonnie Carter is an acupressure massage therapist with an energy-based, heart-centered practice. Her focus is to stimulate the natural self-correcting and harmonizing mechanisms for restorative health. She has a private practice (Grounded in Spirit, www.groundedinspirit.com), and she lives in Chicago, Illinois. Contact her at bonniecar@gmail.com. Mind of an MT provides a space for your voice in the pages of Massage & Bodywork magazine. Have your own insights or inspiration to share? We'd like to hear from you. Email editor@abmp.com. From The History of Massage (Healing Arts Press, 2002) "Perfectly massed [sic], one feels completely regenerated, a feeling of extreme comfort pervades the whole system, the chest expands, and we breathe with pleasure, the blood circulates with ease, and we have a sensation as if freed from an enormous load; we experience a suppleness and lightness till then unknown. It seems as if we truly lived for the first time. There is a lively feeling of existence which radiates to the extremities of the body, whilst the whole is given over to the most delightful sensations." 1 —Claude-Etienne Savary, a Frenchman, describing his experience receiving massage in Egypt in 1785. Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 15

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