|A Musical Rhythmic Massage Technique|
Some areas of our body are more resistant to opening up, loosening, and receiving the benefits of improved circulation and joint flexibility. In my thirteen years of professional massage practice, the shoulder joints, and shoulder blade area are two that pose these particular tension or “holding on” patterns. Sometimes, a complementary and gentling therapy that can assist in getting the muscle & joint in this “guarded” area to trust enough to let go, is music therapy. All of us innately respond on some level to certain types of music I’ve experienced that musical notes literally enter my ears, circulate through my brain, and come out through my hand movements, as if I am massaging those sound vibrations into the clients soft tissues. Since I already “have a feel” for how most musical rhythms move my own body, it is easy for me to introduce them into others bones and muscles, and observe the relaxing and loosening effect on them as well.
One way that I have been experimenting with recently, is to have a particular piece of powerful music in a small hand held tape player, similar to a Walkman, and when the “time is right” to lay it alongside the area of the of the shoulder joint or shoulder blade where I am endeavoring to free up some space in the recipients joint and musculature. One recent snowy Saturday morning, a massage therapist friend was willing to let me play around with this approach, and I had picked out a slow drumming sequence to start, and followed it up with a more vigorous pattern of percussion sounds. It so happened that these spontaneous drum sounds were ones I had recorded from a drum circle in Hot Springs’ Gulpha Gorge park in which I was a drummer also. It was very easy for me to “get into the groove” of those very metered rhythms, and soar over her scapular area with one hand, and circulate around the pelvic ridge with the other hand.
At one point, I gave a word of explanation to her, as I am prone to do with clients in general. I said: “These drum sounds are to help “open up your shoulder girdle, and then the knife portion of my hand will stretch the tissues even more. Also, I’ll be rubbing those soothing, harmonious sounds into the core of your bones, and to close, I’ll seal it off with more of these rhythmic notes.” She went for it, and what ensued was quite enjoyable to both of us, and at the end she responded: “that was very interesting.” In concluding the session, I struck out from concentrating on the shoulder area, and began doing “percussive” tapings all over her whole back area, at which point, she uttered: “that pelvis area really needs some work!” More intertwining ensued with encircling motions around the alternate shoulder joint, and hip socket area (opposite sides being worked at the same time to facilitate cross neurological balancing.)
At the very end, I ventured onto the backs of the calves, and thighs, and taped my way across the bottoms of the feet, and buttocks too. This I felt would return any “separated body parts” or shut off emotions into the whole of her integrated system. Only time will tell how effective this intervention is, and what further potential it has for helping us to move and posture our cells more freely each and every day of our lives.
Just recently another client, Marie, recently back from a trip to Nepal received some percussive massage from me over her lower back and legs, with the inspiring words: “let this beat help you flow more freely as you visualize yourself walking in a perfectly balanced way, accident free!” (Note: She had complained of having repeated bumps and bruises on her legs.) She commented later on how much she enjoyed this session. From my point of view, rhythm and massage are integrally wedded as therapeutic modalities, and the more aware both practitioners & recipients are about their intertwining, the better the outcome.