Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Something More

When I first started with massage people tried to teach me about energy. I remember putting my hands on another’s body and trying to feel what others could feel. I could not. Others could feel the energy in my own hands better than I could. Years of training and exercises followed and slowly awareness emerged of something more than raw anatomy. At first I could feel and think of it only as heat and then maybe some sort of bioelectrical current.

Other therapists were talking about bad energy, about taking on other people’s energy and becoming overwhelmed. Apparently many colleagues had to give up their work because they became contaminated with the negativity of others. At one workshop the teacher was explaining ways to prevent unwanted energy from entering the body while working. The teacher went on to suggest that some people were not bothered by the energy of their clients. The idea was put forward that some people used the perceived energy of their clients as a diagnostic tool.

Years later I have found that I often have some sort of physiological empathetic proprioception while working. I will sometimes feel sensations in my own body as I work that don’t fit with my history or understanding of my own body. I have come to ask my clients about their own bodies regarding the locations I feel bodily and it almost always lines up.

The other day I had a sensation that did not belong to me when I was not working. I was listening to a woman whom I had never met. I could not see her as she spoke. It took me a while to guess at what was happening. When I had a chance I asked the woman. She explained she had a condition that affected the side I was inquiring about. I asked about the specific location and she drew a line on her body illustrating perfectly the path of the sensations I had when she was speaking.

When I would have these sensations while working on my clients I always assumed it was how my subconscious mind was communicating subtleties. Little things like posture or skin temperature may have been adding up in the back of my mind to form details I could not consciously grasp but could feel in my own body. I have been told that when a person watches another person perform a physical activity the observer’s muscles fire in the same pattern as the observed but often below the threshold of self observation. I imagine what I experience is something like that.

When the woman was speaking I was feeling information about her body. I feel confident making that statement. What I am uncertain about is how I obtained it. Was all the information carried in her voice? Did I observe people observing her and some how ended up with accurate second hand information? Or is all the information for all people available to everyone and it is simply a matter of choosing to tune in to a particular person? Not that it matters, but I am curious. Perhaps it is the same curiosity and focus on the body over all these years that has led me to this path in the first place.

I am by no means a master of this understanding. It is not a trick I can pull out of my pocket at will. And yet it feels helpful at times. And if nothing else it is at least interesting. It seems there is more to life than I had ever guessed. Thank you. I love you my friend.

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