Ask the average person about the benefits of massage therapy, and they will surely be able to list off a few of its many perks, from alleviating the aches and pains of everyday life to lowering stress. Massage has become an increasingly popular service in today’s wellness-centered climate, with more people than ever seeking it out to resolve their physical ailments or to carve out the time to unwind. Yet despite the growing interest in the world of massage, energy work—one of the practices that complements massage best—largely continues to go unrecognized by traditional therapists.
At times referred to as “energy medicine” or “spiritual healing,” energy work involves moving above and beyond the physical to understand the aspects of the human energy field. By addressing the presence of our “life force” in a way that chooses to honor and awaken it, we can create holistic balance.
In fact, Lisa Saylan, A Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Master at SWIHA, states, "One of the most beautiful aspects of energy work is that it brings holistic balance to both the client and the practitioner. I find I am energized, relaxed and efficient when I provide Reiki as a stand-alone modality or if it is combined with massage. Additionally, my clients experience physical, emotional, mental and spiritual breakthroughs with the addition of energetics."
So what exactly does energy healing entail?
Using both hands-on and hands-off techniques, massage practitioners are able to manipulate the body’s natural energies with the intention of creating stability and restoring emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Popular energy modalities include reiki, acupressure, myofascial, cranial unwinding, polarity, shiatsu, Qi Gong, and other intuitive studies.
By incorporating these techniques in our massage practice, we generate the space for the following incredible outcomes:
1. We free up the harmful stories embedded in our client’s body.
Over the course of our lives, we inevitably start generating stories about ourselves: who we are are, what we like and dislike, what we are capable of, etc. While these ego-related creations help us construct a sense of identity, they can very often be negative in nature due to the past experiences and emotions which helped form them.
For example, a woman who spends her childhood watching her mother diet and struggle with her weight might find herself facing self-destructive stories about her own body as an adult.
The stories we create about ourselves are rarely accurate reflections of our higher self. Yet, they continue to persist because we affirm them through obsessive thought patterns and repetitive actions, planting them even deeper within the body and mind.
When incorporated into massage, energy healing helps us to loosen the roots of these stories within our clients, giving them the opportunity to try out a new way of “being.”
2. We address an under-treated part of the human body: the emotional body.
Traditional massage practitioners focus entirely on the physical body. They study and adjust muscle structures and soft tissues with the single-minded intention of bringing relief to the pain that exists there. Yet what about the pain that dwells outside of that space? Why focus solely on our physical wounds when so often they are accompanied by emotional ones?
Through energy work, we can shed light on issues that are overlooked
3. We tune into our clients on a deeper level.
While regular massage creates a meaningful bond through physical touch, massage which incorporates energy healing allows us to form a more profound connection with our clients through the use of intuition. Energy medicine engages the mind and body, requiring us to examine areas of pain which must be felt rather than seen.
In practicing energy modalities with massage on a client, we must ask ourselves where the scars of emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse show up. Guided by instinct, we can locate these problem areas and begin the significant process of rebalancing them.
4. We work in conjunction with a greater, more divine healing power.
While energy medicine is not affiliated with any particular subset of beliefs, practicing it certainly does open the door to our inner spiritual callings. A critical part of using this modality involves understanding that our life force is both mysterious and scientific—and that these two qualities may very happily coexist.
By getting in touch with the spiritual needs of our clients, we can better get in touch with our own spiritual needs. This noble desire allows us to be aided by and work in service of the Divine in what can ultimately be a transcendent experience.
5. We give our clients the ability to see themselves with greater clarity.
What greater gift is there than that of clear seeing? When we have the courage to directly face the emotional wounds that are causing us damage, we are able to allow ourselves to grow into the realm of what is truly possible for our future.
When we connect with our clients in order to aid them in releasing what no longer serves them, we are offering them expanded freedom and perspective. It is exactly this kind of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual liberty that changes lives!
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming trained in massage therapy and energy healing techniques, check out SWIHA’s Professional Massage Practitioner and Master Massage Practitioner diploma programs or stop into SWIHA’s Massage Clinic to experience the power of energy work and massage for yourself!