The Art of Massage – May 2011
There are many different approaches, styles and philosophies behind the practice of massage therapy. In some places, and by some people, massage is considered a branch of what is termed the healing arts, while other people in some places consider that massage that can be regulated and standardized according to scientific methods and then this is the only legitimate forms of massage. Where does Raynor massage fit into this debate?
Raynor massage is based on movement of the chi or prana in the body. We believe that science does not understand and is only beginning to even explore, the nature of the chi or the life force and that is why the description of the life force in ancient oriental massage techniques is more of a poetic nature. The fact that science can’t explain or understand chi or life force, however, does not mean that this doesn’t not exist. It merely shows the limitations of science.
When we can accept the nature of life force we can see that massage becomes more of an art form than just a standard bunch of moves. An art form relies on subjectivity rather that objectivity , It relies on the perception and experience of the practitioner rather than an assembly line approach to massage, it is individual and even similar work will be unique to that time and situation.
So the most important skill than on the part of the Raynor massage therapy artist is to perceive the chi and its flow in the body. It means developing sensitivity to life force and feeling energy blockages in a person. It means tuning into a person as whole being of mind body and spirit. This is a skill that can not be measured in a classroom or a scholastic test. It is something that becomes part of a person’s being , a tuning in of their soul to the greater life force ( however we perceive that or whatever name we give that life force) and then being able to sense another persons life force. This is definitely more in the realm of art; in fact an esoteric art. It is an esoteric healing art.
Massage then cannot be learning set stroke and techniques. As a Raynor practitioner you must learn how to use these techniques in way that frees up the client from any blockages that they have in their body. This art form and requires skills in self development and awareness more similar that of a martial artist to that of a more intellectually based scientist or western medical practitioner.
The massage become more like a dance between the therapist and the client in a way harmonizing the breathe and using techniques and strategies that enable the client to release all their stagnant tension and blockages.
The practitioner must develop their art which means developing their perception. In ancient China, Japan and other Asian and Pacific countries the martial artist did a lot to develop their understanding of their own chi and how to use it. Similarly many of the best martial artists were also healers. Many jujitsu practitioners, for example, in Japan, also did shiatsu because the understanding of the human being gained through martial arts is similar to the understanding needed to do good shiatsu massage. It’s all based on the flow of the life force or chi in the person. Hawaiian massage is also considered more like a dance and spiritual interaction between two people, with the practitioner removing blockages from the person on a mind body or spirit level.
As martial arts have never been regulated in any country nor has there been theoretical exams required to be a martial artist nor should the art of massage therapy be regulated. Art is a subjective field and one person may like one form of art while another likes another. Regulation of art stifles creativity and undermines cultural interpretation, the essence of good art.
Regulation and standardization also stifles ingenuity, the process whereby a person sees a problem and asks how they will resolve it. This requires freedom. Freedom to work in a way which will release the individual persons blockages and help them to return to health and wholeness. Raynor massage is an art designed to relieve any blockages in the muscular and other systems of the body.
We can not say that massage just works on the muscles because the muscles do not work in isolation. Through the muscles blood and nerves travel, working into every system and structure of the body. The muscles and bones work very close together meaning that massage will affect the skeletal system. Practitioners of Thai massage and shiatsu were traditionally both massage therapist and chiropractor. Chi moves through the muscles also, therefore working on the muscles can impact greatly on the chi flow. The muscles in our digestive system, such as the small and large intestines and massage of these muscles will affect digestion and absorption of food as well as release of toxins which can then effect overall energy levels.
Massage should therefore be seen as a holistic art form that works on the entire mind body and soul. This is what Raynor massage is all about. It is a healing art.
Written by Brandon Raynor – www.brandonraynor.com