Ben's been trying to get disability coverage for about a year, and is now going through the legal system to do so (apparently this is all too common now in the USA - gotta love our managed care system). His body is in constant pain. He's seen doctor after doctor, been on almost every kind of pain medication their is, and the topic of conversation for he and his partner seemed to always be Ben's health situation. I'm sure with anyone with chronic pain, it's just not something you can ignore easily.
So, his physical therapist suggested massage therapy, and he called me.
I think that Ben became very interested once I started talking about the techniques of Esalen Massage, how long and connecting strokes integrate the body into a whole, and how just as we as humans are more than our pain, and more than just our body, with mind, spirit, emotion, energy, etc - that I approach massage in that manner. We talked a lot about how his pain was sometimes the only thing he and his partner talked about some days, and how he sometimes just wanted to feel "useful" and "whole" again.
While giving the massage, we both deemed that the topics of doctors, medications, sickness, and chronic pain (unless the pressure I gave was too deep) was off topic. We talked about cooking, his sisters, his cats, etc.. And you know what...after about a half hour, his shoulders released, and I was able to get to the muscles underneath the scapula. The range of motion in his arms and legs increased, and he started taking long and deep breaths, and he seemed to just "sink into" the massage table.
Ben commented on how I was never really "chasing" the knots in his body, because if I was running my arm or hands on his legs, I would continue the stroke up his back, across his shoulders, and back down again. He said I was the first professional (of any kind) he had seen that actually treated his body like a "whole" body. He liked how I held a point on his hip (GB 30) while my other arm and elbow traveled up his back, then kneeded his neck and shoulders, and that no one had ever done that. He said he felt nurtured and "put together" afterward. It was a great compliment.
Then after I helped him off the table, his cat jumps up onto the top sheet and sprawls out, as if to say "My turn!" It was priceless! I had to give his cat a couple minutes of massage too!
It was one of those great moments that I thought I'd share.