Intuitive Massage and Bodywork: A Winding Road to Healing
“Well, that was a hoot!” *Joan said as we wrapped up her first session with me. She gave no other indication of how she felt about the work before she paid my fee and left. She did not reschedule and I did not know if she had gotten much out of the treatment.
Intuitive massage and bodywork sessions often take surprising twists and turns. My role is to help facilitate the client’s inner journey. My intention is to support their connection with their own inner wisdom, in whatever form that may take. I see this process as a winding road that I follow alongside my client, but neither of us can see around the next bend or knows what will happen next. I often don’t know the result of a session until much later; sometimes never.
The practice is to be completely present with what is happening without attachment to the outcome. This isn’t always a comfortable situation for the mind, as we humans tend to think in linear terms of cause and effect. But the magic in healing usually comes, as it does in life, when we let go and surrender to the present moment.
Joan was referred to me for CranioSacral Therapy by one of my other clients. She was suffering from anxiety, lack of energy, moodiness and an explosive temper. Seeking stability for her mood and reactivity, she suspected there may be a hormonal component. She also wanted to advance her small business but wasn’t feeling energetic enough to achieve her goals. CranioSacral Therapy is indicated for hormone balancing and relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression and I felt it could help Joan.
I began the session with gentle touch and deep listening. I let my hands find the places of tension and resistance in Joan’s body and enlisted her help to identify what might be holding her body in those tension patterns. I asked her to describe any sensations, images, thoughts and feelings that were arising as I employed gentle CranioSacral Therapy techniques beginning at her feet and traveling up her spinal column to her occiput and head. Although dialogue is not always part of each session, in Joan’s case it was clearly part of her healing process. In other cases the body asks for and needs silence and stillness.
Joan described a rock wall which seemed to be holding back a great deal of water, although it was seeping through the cracks in many places. As the session progressed, the images she described became more vivid. She seemed to be uncovering many symbols and archetypes that to me suggested emotional patterns that may be limiting her capacity to connect with other people. I kept my interpretations to myself out of respect for Joan’s inner wisdom and in recognition of scope of practice as a bodyworker and not a psychotherapist.
Although it seemed like Joan got a lot of information from her session, I wasn’t sure how she felt about it. When I followed up with her a few days later she sounded busy and said she would get back to me later. Finally, about a month after her visit she texted to ask for another session and mentioned she wanted to fill me on some changes in her life. Upon hearing from Joan again I felt relieved, curious and intrigued and was eager to see her again and hear what had happened.
When Joan walked in the door I almost didn’t recognize her. Her eyes were sparkling and her energy was vibrant, playful and very alive. She excitedly shared about going to a work related conference and taking with her the rich imagery she had seen during her session. She told me she did something different this time: she gave herself permission to take time alone in the midst of a busy socializing and networking schedule, and as a result had the energy reserves to form a new friendship which would turn out to be meaningful for her on many deep levels, including professional, spiritual and personal. In fact, she told me she was leaving on a plane for a remote, exotic island the next day, where she would be meeting that very same friend and taking steps to advance her work in a new and exciting direction that she hadn’t considered up until that point.
Joan’s wall had been transformed from an isolating barrier to a beautiful, nourishing protective sanctuary where she could come and go as she wished. It was a deep honor to accompany her on that winding pathway to healing, and for me, a poignant reminder of the power of presence.
*The client’s name has been changed and the details of the session have been edited to protect “Joan’s” privacy.