Can Everyone Please Chill The &%$@ Out
By Aran Bright
Ok, at this point, I think we are all going to be at best mildly interested, but most likely generally disappointed, if aliens landed on the lawn in Canberra and started handing out hoverboards.
At this time of writing, the Great Leader of NSW is telling everyone to invest in brollies and wellies at the risk of imminent flooding, in the hope that this will somehow stop the ravaging effects of climate change.
The ABC told me today that we should sometime soon expect a solar storm that will wipe out communications and electrical power to most of Australia. Great…!
Oh, and by the way, there’s this horrible little virus named after an imported Mexican beer (and my favourite imported Japanese motor car, and no, it’s not a Corolla).
I give you, the Toyota Corona!
Oh yeah, and in case you missed it, world war three is starting its first season run on SBS. Frankly, I don’t think it is going to rate as well as the new spin off from Vikings.
So What’s This Got To Do With Massage?
Back in the BC times (before coronavirus), we used to discuss anxiety and how it can be helpful to employ strategies such as breathing and mindfulness to manage the symptoms of anxiety. (This was at a time when impending doom was most likely related to your favourite sporting team losing on the weekend or you might miss out on the latest release of the iPhone.) Nowadays, anxiety is normally considered a constant state of being and as normal as breathing, climate catastrophes and Scotty from Marketing shooting overseas in the middle of a crisis.
In this age of the new normal, we really need more powerful mechanisms to help us cope with anxiety. So, before you reach for a bottle of whiskey, a Valium or some Mullumbimby cookies, remember that massage therapy is an effective way to manage the symptoms of anxiety. (Source)
Massage is never going to resolve world war three, it won’t solve climate change, but hopefully, for a good hour at least, it can make you forget about the world’s problems.
But What About Me! (The Therapist!)
I am sure you are not surprised to discover that to deliver a high quality massage, you need to be engaged. This focused attention is, quite clearly, mindfulness. I don’t know about you, but my love for massage comes from the engagement and feedback I get from feeling my way through someone’s tissues. For me, it is a lot like surfing. I have to be fully engaged in the feeling and feedback I get from a client. I need to be feeling and listening at the same time. This allows me to get in the zone and “catch the wave” of client relaxation.
A little like surfing, you can’t force it, you can’t make the wave do what you want it to, it just is what it is, but if you get in the right spot, well, then the magic happens. For me, this is the same as massage. I have to be watching, listening, waiting and feeling what is going on, fully immersed in the experience. To help, I like to set up my treatment room with the right lighting, images, music and even smell.
Return to the Source
I used to love this hippy mantra. “Return to the source” they would cry in ecstatic yoga practices, doof parties and tomato condiment conventions. Find the oneness with the universe!
Whilst I used to think this was some kind of magical, mystical, other worldly experience, I now relate to this as instead just being present, being in the room. Hear the car drive past on the road outside, notice the creaking in the ceiling as the heat expands the zinc coated sheeting. Perhaps it is really listening to your client, and truly finding it interesting?
In this day where abnormal has become normal, we need to remind ourselves that some constants remain and that is when we can relax and we generally find ourselves in a better mental place than when we are heightened and anxious.
Now more than ever, we need to get back to simple, safe, engaged touch. Simple things, quiet things and kind things. Maybe, in this place, we may again notice that there is true, amazing beauty to be found right here, and right now, wherever you are.
Take care and chill the #%&@ out.
About the Author
Aran Bright started his career as a massage therapist in 2002 after graduating from the Australian College of Natural Medicine in Queensland. In 2006, Aran completed his Diploma of Remedial Massage and, in 2007, his Bachelor of Health Science in Musculoskeletal Therapy. Aran graduated from University of Queensland with a Graduate Certificate of Sports Coaching, completed a Certificate IV in Fitness and an Advanced Diploma of Myotherapy. He currently runs his own businesses, Bright Health Training and Brisbane Workplace Massage, with his wife, Sheree.