In Africa, pre-natal massage and compassionate touch during the childbearing years have been around for centuries and has always been much more than just a pampering session.
In this month when we celebrate African Traditional Medicine Week (26-31 August) I thought it fit to look at the integral part of massage in maternity care as both a touch therapy and a ritualistic tradition .
And so the new year has kicked off!
Can you believe it is just a month ago that we were rushed off our feet trying to finish a hundred and one things before going on leave?
Can you remember how our tempers flared and our relationships unraveled as our nervous systems were run ragged?
How we kept saying to ourselves to hold on and to keep going until suddenly it was holiday time and we could switch off!
And then just as abruptly it was all over and we are back on the hamster wheel and the whole cycle starts again.
But what if I told you we get it the wrong way round every year?
On 20 October every year we mark World Osteoporosis Day.
It gives me an opportunity today to talk about a fear often expressed about how safe it is to receive massage when afflicted with decreased bone mass.
Well, here is the answer ...
During the first week of October we celebrate Older Persons Week and on 1 October it is the International Day of Older Persons.
The theme of the 2017 International Day of Older Persons, is Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.
In my work as a massage therapist, I come into contact with older people very often and I am always impressed with the knowledge, skills and wisdom they have accumulated over the years.
At the same time it saddens me that society and often, older people themselves do not value or apply what they know to improve our world.
The widely held image of older people as sickly, boring, worthless and decrepit cannot be further from the truth. Older people are just that, old. And mostly they are wise with incredible skills of adaptation. Rather than being a burden, they can make a rich contribution to our lives.
Aging is not “lost youth” but a new stage of opportunity and strength. - Betty Friedan
Here is how I know:
(It is b)etter to feel bad for a moment saying no – and stop it – than to get harmed.
― Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
Massage can be an effective tool for victims of violence and abuse to regain confidence in their bodies and to learn self-compassion on their road to healing.
There are many ways in which massage can facilitate the process. In the two previous blog posts in this series, I looked at how massage helps:
This time I discuss ways in which massage offers a safe space for victims of violence and abuse to learn to set boundaries.
To improve our health and wellness we have got to take action.
But the last thing we need is to add yet another chore to our daily to-do list.
So here are a few ways to gently introduce wellness into your workplace and your life.
I seem to myself, as in a dream,
Very often the only thing people who had suffered abuse want to do is to escape their own bodies as though their body betrayed or turned against them.
Massage can bring people back to themselves to create a healthy and nurturing self-connection and help them create a compassionate relationship with themselves and with their bodies.
Read here to find out how massage can help bridge the body-mind gap caused by trauma.
Massage can an effective tool for victims of violence and abuse to regain confidence in their bodies and to learn self-compassion on their road to healing.
There are many ways massage can facilitate the process. In the next three blog posts I will look at these three ways:
In this the second post on massage for survivors of violence and abuse, I discuss self-knowledge and self-love as a step to reclaim their bodies and their lives.
To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.
I was reminded of the words by French philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir recently with the tragic death of Karabo Mokoena, allegedly at the hands of her ex-boyfriend.
As a massage student, and for many years after receiving state registration, I volunteered at the Helderberg Crisis Centre where I massaged adults who had been raped or had experienced sexual assault or abuse as children.
The aim was not only to help clients relax but also to introduce them to positive touch as a component of their healing process but massage also helped them regain confidence in their own bodies and encouraged self-compassion.
How does positive touch such as massage therapy help salvage abused people’s self-confidence and nurture compassion for the self? We will take a closer look at the topic in a future post.
But let's first establish what we mean by self-compassion.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia
Each year in May, Mother's Day makes her entrance swathed in frills and flounces – flowers, chocolates, perfume and body products wrapped in all hues of soft pink and purple.
And every year, your mom or granny accepts her gift with gratitude and grace.
But what if this year, you touched her heart with the gift of touch? What if you gave her a voucher for a massage?
Body-mind or mind-body? If you are struggling with physical and mental pain and feel that the dominant health paradigm’s dualistic approach to mind and body seems inadequate to explain anything, I want to talk to you. Join me under the tree in my garden for a cup of rooibos tea and let’s talk massage and SomaSense!