I remember as a psychology student, we had classes about different types of psychotherapy. You know: psychoanalytic, behaviorism, gestalt, psychodynamic, existential, transpersonal… I remember reading some studies comparing the effects of different therapies. You know what the conclusion was? That none of these therapies was more effective than other because what had the real healing effect was in fact therapeutic relationship – this special bond created between therapist and client, rooted in compassion, careful listening, non-judgmental attitude and acceptance. It was more important WITH WHOM and HOW than WHAT KIND of psychotherapy.
What is the healing factor in massage?
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about this in context of massage. What if, in fact, what is truly healing is “massage relationship”, this very special bond between massage therapist and client?
I received some massages that were technically very good, but at the same time they were “automatic”. There was no aloha in these massages, no connection, compassion or listening. I usually felt good after these sessions, but that feeling was quickly fading and it was not an experience to remember.
I also got massages that were sometimes not the best in terms of fluency and technique, but they were full of care, attention to my needs, acceptance, love and aloha. These were always the best massages, deeply healing not only my body, but nourishing my whole being.
I gave massages that, despite being technically “correct”, didn’t have “the spark”. Something in the relationship between me and my client was missing. We were not for each other. These clients never came back – I hope that they found massage therapists that they had a flow with.
I also gave massages that were not my best when it comes to technique. Sometimes right after I finished I would think “Oh my god, this was the worst massage I ever gave”. But then my client would tell me that it had been the most beautiful and transforming experience of their life. Because aloha was there. Because love, care, compassion, respect were there and they made the touch really meaningful and healing.
I wonder what your experiences are. What were your massages to remember? And why?