By Behroze Khajotia
Pain is a gateway to bliss when skillfully handled, according to bodymind therapy, which offers realistic tools for healthy and happy living, say two students of Dr Paula Horan, who has introduced this therapy in India
In our practice, we find constant verification every day that bodywork is one of the most skilful approaches to dissolving `body armour`. Wilhelm Reich, a student of Sigmund Freud, coined the term `body armour` to describe the chronic muscular tension held in the body wherever unprocessed stress and/or suppressed unpleasant memories or emotions are stored.
Chronic muscular tension resulting from the unconscious suppression of unwanted feelings is manifested as stress, depression and commonly as lack of physical energy or `inner fire`. Bodywork helps release these through pressure applied to chronically tense muscles and by stimulating certain release points. This therapy frees the psyche and harmonizes the body and the mind. Body-mind is seen as one fluid continuum forming an uninterrupted feedback loop between body and mind.
Bodymind therapy offers a whole variety of realistic tools for healthy and happy living. The term `bodywork` implies that working on the body, particularly when done well, can be pleasant and beneficial even if it means experiencing the bit of pain that is being released in the process.
For practitioners, bodywork or massage therapy is a wonderful way of conveying caring, love and healing through the ultra sensitive medium of touch. It is a drugless therapy and a saner, healthier alternative to the mindless and often dangerous dumping of chemicals and toxins in the body through indiscriminate use of over-the-counter and prescription medicines and painkillers. Often these drugs only suppress the pain that our body sends us as a warning signal to tell us: “Something is out of whack in your life. Better attend to it.“
The early stages of discomfort in an illness can prove to be the capstone to underlying bliss by simply feeling through it. Incredibly, pain is a gateway to bliss when skillfully handled.
A complete body treatment at the hands of a skilled bodymind therapist is different and far more effective than what your untrained bai can do for you. A good massage therapist gives you more than a pleasant `body rub`. Thoroughly trained in anatomy, he or she can work with precision from the point where the muscle is attached to the bone to its insertion. Such precision can be used to correct sports injuries or to find a specific emotional release point. Most of all, a trained therapist facilitates your awareness of your own bodymind and puts you in touch with your deeper self.
Bodywork increases circulation, improves lymphatic drainage, and grants pain relief. Through the increased blood supply to the brain, migraine headaches may fade or even dissolve. Bodymind therapy has proven beneficial for a wide range of conditions including arthritis, muscle spasms, hypertension and back problems, even AIDS and cancer treatment.
Internationally acclaimed author and bodymind therapist Dr Paula Horan has been conducting a certified residential bodymind therapy course in India for the last two years. The course comprises four modules, beginning with the basic human anatomy followed by a step-by-step initiation into different modalities of bodymind therapy. The first module starts with Swedish and Esalen massage, the second focuses on Ayurvedic massage and Ayurvedic principles, followed by joint mobilization. The third module trains the participants in more advanced techniques of muscle sculpting and deep tissue therapies. The final module is exclusively dedicated to rebirthing, combined with the Gates Method of emotional release work, which helps process and release long withheld memories stored in the cells of the body to enable fuller, more joyous participation in life.
Personally, our training in bodymind therapy helped us acquire not just practical skills but also hone our sensitivity and shed useless mental and emotional baggage. Above all, we discovered what it really means to be present with ourselves or whoever we are with, even if what is present is uncomfortable. We have realised that bliss is the other side of pain. As Paula so aptly states during the training: “You can only take others as far as you are willing to go yourself.“ It is a great joy to convey the same relaxation and bliss to others. This is accomplished by simply supporting them in the discovery of what has always already been there, but may not have been noticed-the oasis of peace and harmony in their hearts in the midst of everyday life.“
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