Deep Connection through the Skin By Gaylyn Aitken
When asked to write this article on skin from the perspective of a massage body worker, I was excited, as my relationship with skin has evolved from merely massaging our most superficial fascia to effect a change on a deeper muscular level, to a profound awareness of the interplay within our entire organism.
Gil Hedly of Integral Anatomy said to the effect ‘the only thing that separates us into parts (muscles, bones, fluids, fascia) is the scalpel’. We started life as a single cell therefore every cell in our body contains the memory of that single beginning, linking our entire being together as family members. There is no movement that occurs to or within our body that doesn’t resonate throughout our entire being. The manner in which our most superficial fascia responds to touch will be mirrored in our deeper internal fascia… massaging the inner body through superficial contact.
This epiphany has led me to explore different depths, rhythms and motions in my bodywork. I’ve found the lightest of touches generated by compassionate awareness can oftentimes effect the most profound change deep within.
Our skin is the interface between the outside and our inner universe, responding immediately to stimulus and sensations. Recognising this within us allows us to approach a person with respect and not with intent to ‘fix’ or ‘heal’. A preset agenda will bypass the subtle messages transmitting through skin. The situation that arises from this is a manipulative push towards a determined outcome and a resistance response, felt as tension. This sets up a cycle of push/shove between client and therapist with the therapist being the ultimate loser as they expend precious energy trying to change that, which resists change.
Mechanical palpation and manipulative techniques in themselves can’t provide the needed respect and awareness of another’s situation to restore dynamic function.
The ability as a massage body worker to tune in to another’s experience can only be realised through compassionate exploration of one’s own humanity, finding answers and solutions within the intelligence of our own body.
The more we know of ourselves the more open we are to recognising the language of others’ needs. The deeper we delve into ourselves the broader our perspective becomes, increasing our flexibility for situational resolution.
In my personal experience it’s not enough to just massage someone and get paid, I need to get something deeper and more profound and this I’ve been able to do by approaching every massage bodywork as an opportunity to increase my nervous system coherency, open to the subtle messages transmitted from the being under my hands, moving to the rhythm of their primal choreography, creating space for them to spiral out of tension patterns and awaken memories of effortless fluid motion.
Gaylyn Aitken is owner of Kahuna Mist Massage and Movement. She offers Masterclasses for professional bodyworkers drawn from twenty years massage bodywork experience and her training with Abraham Kawai’i, Kahuna www.kahunamist.com