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Massage is much more than a client lying passively in her own world and a therapist just pressing on muscles. There’s an entire unseen exchange taking place, which both actively take part in. It isn’t something that can be measured except by experiencing it. It’s an exchange of emotions, of intent, of compassion. It’s an exchange of energy, however that is defined.
A massage’s intent can completely change how it’s received and felt by the recipient. If the therapist has her “heart” in the massage, the result is much more profound and more healing than if the therapist is thinking about paying the rent or the noisy neighbour. Seen from the outside the two massages would look exactly the same, but there’s a world’s difference in how it feels to both client and therapist.
The therapists aims to connect with the client during a massage in order to listen to the body and the signals it sends. By connecting, and feeling a deep compassion, it is easier to find those tense muscles and sore points. When the therapist is completely in tune with the client, intuition tells us very clearly where to massage, how long and how deep. This gives the best massages on both ends and the most profound results.
It is possible for both therapist and client to pick up the energy of the other. During the closeness of the massage emotions can be handed over. It is just like some of us can walk into a room and sense the mood instantly, and if we’re not careful, be affected and pick up that mood. As a massage is much more direct and intimate, this picking up of mood can happen much more easily.
This makes it very important that the therapist goes into a session leaving behind her own negative emotions and with the intent of healing and focus on the client. The therapist also needs to be aware of the possibility of picking up the energies of the receiver and detach herself from those emotions.
For the client all that’s needed is to be open-hearted and prepared to receive the healing and energy from the therapist. He should feel safe and trust that the therapist. Responsibility for the energy exchange lies with the therapist who has the experience and education to deal with it, and turn eventual negative energies into something positive.
There are many ways massage therapists deal with this situation. Most have a small cleansing ritual they perform before the session to prepare themselves and gather focus, leaving their own luggage by the door. During the massage there is often a focus on compassion and intent, and some even visualize being a conduit for universal love or energy. Washing hands before and after the massage also serves as a cleansing ritual.
What are your experiences with energy exchange during a massage?
Feel free to share your knowledge below so others can learn and benefit from it.
I totally agree with what you wrote Pia. While it might not be noticeable to an observer, there is definitively an exchange of energies that is more than just skin-deep during a massage, if both parties are open to it. The touch of skin to skin is a very intimate contact rarely experienced outside of the bedroom, and in the right state of mind, even a completely professional touch can be highly rewarding and energizing.
A deep, confident, priviledged relationship has established itself with my favorite therapist over the years; I feel in full confidence with her, I know I can tell her my darkest and most joyous thoughts. It is one of the rare places where I can truly be myself, without worrying about judgment, without needing to be careful to what I say or how I say it…. I can be me, nude, vulnerable, with my strengths and weaknesses, and I know she'll always be there for my well-being.
When she leaves me to undress, my therapist does a few Yoga asanas to do precisely what you said : Leave her luggage at the door. Whatever she does during that ritual works; During the massage, I can feel that she cares for me, wants to make me feel well, relieve my tensions, relieve my anxieties. I leave each session lighter, feeling well, having a better perspective on life. In fact, I believe I would probably feel just as good even if she did not put a finger on me during the whole session (reiki..?).
The good vibes irradiate from her. I've had many great massages over the years, but never felt so much “good intentions” coming from a therapist – and for me, that makes a world of differences.
Another minor detail that contributes to the whole energy exchange – I buy her services as a pack of X hours of massage. That way, the less relaxing aspect of the trade is dealt with only once or twice; The rest of the time I just feel like i'm visiting an old friend and I don't even think about money, which is an everyday concern for me. Makes me more relaxed, more in the mood to just be there and enjoy life.
It's wonderful to hear about other people's experiences and hear about it from the other side of the table as well.
One of the things I enjoy the most is when I feel like treating my friends and offer them a massage in return for a trip to the cinema or going out together. That's a time when I really can pour all my love and care into the massage and just give in pure joy. The informality of the situation and the closeness between us takes the massage to a different level than with a stranger. Perhaps also because it permits me to experiment with new ideas and techniques without having to worry if it's what the client expects or paid for.
I'm happy to hear that your relationship with your therapist is of such a quality. It serves to show how important it becomes for your wellness to have a regular therapist who can get to know you and tune in to your specific needs.