On the rare occasions when my mother could sit and rest, she would offer to rub and arm or a leg. It was light effleurage and felt wonderful. Sometimes my sister would get in line and we would all sit on the couch with a leg or arm in hand. We called it tickling but it was nothing like the tickling my siblings and I tortured each other with.
Many years later I learned that touch is a basic need. It’s right up there with food, water and air. It’s a survival need. Do we ever get enough? Take time to get your touch needs met. Many other cultures understand this need and are free to express their affection without fear publicly.
My first massage was when I was pregnant. I recall it was difficult to find someone who was willing to offer this back in the early eighties. I went in feeling like a beached whale and came out floating like a feather. It left a great impression on me.
I don’t think I got any other professional massages for a very long time. I’m sure I considered it an expensive luxury. I was in my late forties when I learned about a shiatsu school right in my backyard. It got my attention through an ad in a free health publication.
My next step was to take a free introductory workshop. I was hooked. Signing up for the first class I was silently calculating how many sessions I was going to get in my ten week class. One thing lead to another and I completed the beginning level. I never dreamed it would be more than a hobby.
Miraculously, a number of things lined up so I could move to the intermediate level of training. We were encouraged to start working on friends and family. The first time someone offered me money I was kind of shocked. The next thing I knew I was invited to practice at Nancy Floy’s Heartwood Center in Evanston IL.
One thing lead to another and before I knew it I had graduated. It was some time before I got certified. I have been in private practice since the mid nineties. I consider being involved in healing touch one of the greatest gifts this life has bestowed on me.
The power of touch has been recognized for centuries by traditional Asian medicine. Many other countries include massage and bodywork in their healthcare systems. There are many kinds and can have different purposes. My practice is a kind of midwifery for the soul. There are five elements and they have many correspondences. Feelings are associated with each meridian/organ system.
My hope is that I can continue seeing clients into my nineties. By giving I receive and by receiving I give. This is the energy exchange of all life. Learning to follow my heart has lead me on many interesting journeys. Consider how you give and receive touch in your family. A monthly session of massage or bodywork could be one of the best things you could do for your health and well-being.