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Licensed, Massage Therapist

Jul 25 19

Massage Therapy – Intentional Medicine (part 1)

by linda

“It is conscious intention which confers potency in the life of each (person) ….”

~ Djwhal Khul, the Tibetan

For the therapist, the physician, the practitioner, the nurse, the minister – dedication of service and understanding of others, who are in need of healing, is a life’s commitment and purpose. For the patient, client, congregant, person – who seeks healing – the very act of seeking, showing up, participating in the process for resolving their own healing needs, recovery, and/or relief are steps that demonstrate intention and commitment.  The process of healing and recovery is an experience of those involved, who share a common purpose between them.  This shared commitment creates a bond.  The bond is like a trust.   Trust and dedication have their roots in the sacred.  This kind of sacred trust is the fertile ground for a professional, compassionate, healing experience to grow.

Just as, holistic medicine speaks of treating the whole person: mind, body, spirit; past-present, future goals; life style and life dreams – the relationship between practitioner and recipient needs also to be based in wholeness of intention and commitment to the healing process.

This type of professional relationship is also most helpful as a basis between the massage therapy practitioner and client.  Whether Individuals, seek the specific treatment that massage therapy may offer for stress reduction, relaxation, symptom or pain relief, etc –The intention for a positive, meaningful outcome is as important as the reason with respect to the process – on the part of the client, as well as therapist.

What is positive intention?

It begins with a decision and is followed by purposeful action:  For instance, I become aware of when I feel hunger and decide to eat. So, I prepare food and eat the meal.  This answers the question:   What is a meaningful outcome?  Answer: My hunger is satisfied.

What is positive intention, when reflected in mutual commitment to a goal?

Intention begins the same and is followed by action of those involved, according to their roles in the process. For instance, I feel stressed or have pain from an old injury.  I have not been able to successfully reach my goal of relieving this discomfort on my own and seek a massage therapist to assist me.   I contact a professional therapist, the therapist and I schedule an appointment.  I arrive at the appointment. I describe my issue.  The therapist listens.  Then, the therapist and I develop a specific treatment plan for my stated goal. The therapist applies this treatment during a therapy session and relieves my muscles stress and/or discomfort. As a result, I feel better.  It is a meaningful outcome.  This is an example of intention, mutual commitment and positive relationship, at the most simplified level.

Yet, without these simplest of essential components; the outcome can vary…

For instance, if I am hungry and go to restaurant for a meal, but the food is poorly prepared, the service is sub standard or, the cook didn’t show up for work – the result is dissatisfying and, I am still hungry. The same is true if I go to a Mexican restaurant and expect Italian food. Or, if I tell the server that I want a breakfast meal, but I really prefer supper.  Intention and positive meaningful outcomes need to have a solid foundation and be realistically based in order for satisfying experience to occur.  Whenever possible, a solid, realistic foundation is best between a therapist and client.

What happens if Awareness is dulled or there is Resistance to “healing” goal?

If the recipient of treatment is not fully conscious or the senses are dulled – healing can still take place.  If a patient in a hospital setting is receiving intravenous feedings because he or she is unable to ingest food by mouth – the basic nutrients are still being transmitted.  Life sustaining measures still occur.  Without these, the patient mortality may be endangered.  However, both patient and physician will agree; it is not the optimal circumstance.  Massage therapy is still beneficial even when conditions are not idyllic.  Specific therapy applications can be used  for folks, having sensitive conditions that are less invasive than the typical massage techiniques.  

Does this mean that is not good to fall asleep when receiving a massage treatment?

Absolutely not, it is fine to sleep if that is what you are accustomed to doing during massage sessions or portions of the session.  Sleep times are when very deep healing can take place.  On the other hand, some treatment techniques may require more attention and/or participation during the therapeutic session.

Overall, when client and therapist are able to intentionally commit to the process, mutually discuss and agree to treatment or combination of treatment and goals, the therapeutic benefits are magnified that much more and, the session results are enhanced for the greater well being of the client.

Woody Allen stated, “80% of life is just showing up” – I agree. And think – if 80% of those showing up, then positively devote 80% of their attention to the reason for showing up – something good will surely result.


(For more information on massage therapy; its benefits and applications, feel free to review prior blog articles in the archives or view web pages on this site. More specific areas of “intentional” healing will be addressed in future blog articles.)

*Reader comments are welcome.  Feel free to submit them in the “comment section” on  this main page.