We are three-dimensional beings moving through space and naturally our muscoloskeletal design has developed around that fact.
So when you book a massage, keep that in mind and choose a full body treatment. Here is why:
In a previous post I explained that I will always recommend a full body massage over spot treatment because I believe the magic ingredient in massage is time. A full body massage gives us time to fully relax and benefit from the therapist’s touch.
But I also mentioned another reason why I prefer this holistic approach - our body’s mechanical design.
We are wonderfully integrated beings on all levels – body, mind and brain / spirit and we should honour that. But so often we don't, not in the way we use (or abuse!) our bodies and not even when we do take time to invest in ourselves by going for a massage.
When it comes to choosing between a full massage or a disjointed option, keep these two things in mind:
Just like any object in our observable world, we have height, width and depth and we function in the three dimensions explained by the theoretical physicist and string theory theorist, Brian Green:
By dimension, we simply mean an independent direction in which, in principle, you can move; in which motion can take place. In an everyday world, we have left-right as one dimension; we have back-forth as a second one; and we have up-down as a third.
We move in one of three directions or planes of motion:
1. SIDE TO SIDE
Imagine a line that divides the body into front and back halves. That is referred to as the frontal or coronal plane and involves movements that pull away from (abduction) and towards (adduction) the mid-line. This includes movements such as leaning from left to right, doing side bends or jumping jacks or lateral raises.
In our modern world, sitting in front of the computer most of the day, don’t allow us much opportunity to move on this plane. Unlike dancers and martial artists most activities do not require us to spread ourselves out wide and fill space.
Instead we tend to live our lives primarily in the other two planes of movement.
2. FORWARDS AND BACKWARDS
The sagittal plane splits the body into left and right halves. When we move along this plane, we move parts of the body forward or backward like when doing sit-ups, back extensions or biceps curls.
Or even when we run or cycle or sit at a desk.
We tend to spend most of our lives on this plane in flexion and extension. Even massage therapists who compared to other jobs, move around a lot, still spend long periods bent slightly forward.
3. TWISTING AND TURNING
The third plane is a horizontal plane rather than vertical like the first two. The transverse plane separates the body into upper and lower halves. When we rotate our bodies and our spines twist we are moving in the transverse plane e.g side rolling and swinging a golf club.
Although we get opportunities to rotate parts of our bodies fairly regularly, we tend not to do it evenly on both sides of our bodies. Using the computer mouse in either the right or left hand day in and day out, twists the body to one side only.
In our daily lives, we see ourselves often in very reductive ways. I want to explore motion, change and flux, whether we are looking in the mirror or seeing ourselves in our surroundings. The singular view of self contradicts the act of living. - Doug Aitken, American multimedia artist
Instead of reducing your body to mere body parts, a back massage only or just the the legs, experience a massage that will integrate your being . Your whole being is more than the sum of your parts.
The body always leads us home . . . if we can simply learn to trust sensation and stay with it long enough for it to reveal appropriate action, movement, insight, or feeling. Pat Ogden
In the next blog post we can talk about the way our muscles cooperate to effect movement.
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!