How to Get a Massage
Well, first you find a sensitive therapist. Then you schedule a session.
But there’s more to it than that.
I know massage has an image of being a very passive activity. And I know that despite one’s best intent it’s still super easy to fall asleep. I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with falling asleep. My take on it is that sometimes the session gets into something so…interesting…that the best way to unravel it is to reboot the system. Napping helps our nervous system organize new information…or new ways of looking at old information.
When you’re not napping there’s one particularly valuable thing you could be doing.
Close your eyes, and bring your attention to the area that is being touched.
Closing your eyes helps you notice more details because we can only take in so much sensory information. Since the eyes have a shorter path to the brain they tend to bombard our awareness with their information, so closing them will help you focus on the sensations going on in the body.
When I say, bring your attention to the area I mean deliberately shift what you’re focusing on, so that you’re noticing your body from the inside. In the same way we shift what we’re focusing on when we’re in the middle of a conversation and we suddenly hear an unaccountable noise in the distance.
Now that your there, focusing on the sensory information your body is giving you from the touch happening during the session, the next step is to notice every detail. Don’t bother about labeling it. Most sensations don’t have words to describe them anyway. We just try and find words and metaphors if we have to talk about them, but when you’re there, noticing your own details you don’t have to bother about words. Noticing everything is more like listening to a silent symphony. It shifts. What was the main thing one minute is replaced by something else the next minute. Each note doesn’t need to be understood, just heard.
This is important because it helps us shift from survival physiology to creative, thriving physiology, and reestablishes neural pathways that give us more volitional control over what’s going on in our body. I can see I’ll have to say more about that, right?