Touch is the mother of all senses. - Ashley Montague.
At its core, health care is a ministry, not an industry. If we lose sight of this essentialcharacteristic, the worthy goal of affordable quality [health care] for all will once again get trampled in the melee over money. - Joseph Califano, former Secretary of Welfare (now Health and Human Services) during the Carter Administration.
That exquisitely human contact we know as massage is in essence a universal birthright of our kind.- Raphael Tuburan
Enough, if something from our hands have power
To live, and act, and save the future hour. -
Widespread interest in the spiritual aspects of massage
What kind of massage do you weave and what kind do you serve?
An unusual benefit of massage
Pennsylvania recognizes four kinds of massage
Widespread interest in spiritual aspects of massage
The following comments are excerpts from replies to A. Schatz's Letter to the Editor (in July/August, 1995, issue of Massage) which invited responses from readers who are interested in the spiritual aspects of massage.
I'm writing to applaud this most recent effort… I feel strongly about the spirituality of my work… I have been leaning more and more toward this [spiritual] avenue of approach. - B.R., Pennsylvania
I am a Christian [massage therapist] who truly believes that God has blessed me with the opportunity and vehicle [with] which to minister to others through touch… I have found myself attracted to the concept of healing the whole person, or body, mind and spirit. In my practice and personal life, I have come to realize that without spiritual and mental healing, anything I do in the physical realm in only a temporary fix. The tools I lack is the knowledge base to back up these concepts as shown in the Word of God… I would like to offer my appreciation for your effort and devotion in this area. - H.J., Michigan
When I am giving a massage, I feel a power working through me that does the work. I am merely the vehicle for the energy to flow through and "touch" the client's deepest true self. - D.L., Kansas
I would like to strengthen the spiritual side of my massage and emphasize spiritual healing of mind and body. - G.T., Pennsylvania
Jesus heals with love and was always tender [in] touching those who needed His love.Because He is, I am. H.W., Wisconsin
I feel that I am already practicing spiritual massage. Prayer is always included in my massage session, and I feel motivated by spirit much more than by my knowledge of anatomy and physiology. Thank you so much for creating this organization so that like-minded people can connect and feel supported in our pursuit of God-centered healing and living. - J.A., New Jersey
In 1975, I had a Near Death Experience which ended with the "light" telling me "it was in my hands." It took 12 years for me to go to Esalen for some massage training 'cause "nice girls don't do that." … At Esalen, the resident spiritual healer … accepted me as a sister. - H.N., Indiana
We are interested in membership in the Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry to ministry. Our approach to massage encourages students to begin the journey of healing themselves, while learning a way to share their love and gifts with others. - L.U., California
[I want to be a member of the Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry] because my higher self said "yes" when I asked the question. - M.T., Pennsylvania
Over the past three years, I have undergone a whole spiritual transformation of my life… During this healing time, I was led from the inside to take the training for Reiki and Therapeutic Touch, and am… interested in the network you are establishing that relates bodywork as a spiritual modality. - W.M., Wisconsin
I am a Catholic … massage therapist… I am already doing [spiritual massage], just by my own "inner call." … I know I am moving in the direction that God calls me for my vocation and my life's work. - L.M., Florida
I am a full time massage student who is interested in the connection between the mind and the body - specifically the spiritual aspects of healing. I recently decided to learn more about massage therapy as I have known for a long time that I was a spiritual healer, but didn't quite know how to use my talents in a materialistic society… Hopefully, once I graduate from massage school, I will be able to incorporate what I have learned regarding the physical aspects of healing with the spiritual aspects. I am sure there are many massage therapists and professional health care workers, in general, who connect with their clients and patients, not just on a physical level but also in a spiritual way as well. - W.A., Alberta, Canada.
I'm interested in … the spiritual nature of massage. My partner and I have been in business for about seven and a half years and are both aware that this subject is not given enough attention. - H.M., Florida
I am a massage therapist… As a Christian, I find massage the perfect situation to care, pray, and listen to people. - W.C., Connecticut
As a massage therapist delivering … energy, my work is very spiritual in nature. My studies have taken me through the "Healing Touch" program… Both modalities originated in generations past. I am … considering theology training as an addition to my current work. - B.S., North Carolina
I have been a [massage] therapist since '93… People say I'm a natural. Lots of people get healed. I quit going to church … after going to Bible College for a year. It seems that the more religious people get, the less spiritual they become. I have found massage to be a priestly profession. Depression, suicide, stress, etc. are what I understand and can deal with through massage. I do lots of physical therapeutic massage, but I think a real "Biblical Priest" should be an anointed massage therapist. - G.D., Alberta, Canada
I am a bodyworker, having spent the past three years as a self-employed massage therapist. I'm a devout Episcopalian, and have been called a "healer" when I work on people. I was called to do this work by God. - R.S., California
I am a newly certified massage therapist, a Christian who embraces the Full Gospel of the Bible, which includes the practice of anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I don't yet know how my spirituality will affect my massage practice. - G.C., Virginia
It was great to read your letter in Massage magazine about the religious origin [of massage]…Since my interest in massage came to me at a very difficult time in my life, … I feel that the massage training was a gift from God. My life had already been changed … when I gave my life to Jesus and in massage school… I started asking Him for the Gift of Healing through my hands. I really believe He wants to give us gifts, and if I didn't ask I wouldn't receive. So, I asked. - P.C., New York
I am a true believer that bodywork and spirituality go hand in hand, and I am excited at the possibility of joining a network group to expand on this aspect of massage. - P.M., California
I feel very strongly about the spirituality of my [massage] work. - A.P., Pennsylvania
I am a Franciscan woman, religious, working 7 years in the ministry of massage. I'm always interested in deepening the spiritual level of massage. S.D., Wisconsin
I'm so glad the spiritual basis of massage is being recognized and reestablished… I long ago recognized that massage is of God and that the 'anointing with oil and laying on of hands" mentioned in the Bible must have been massage. I enter each massage session by giving it over to God for His healing through me and my Christ. It is beautiful… I use … Swedish techniques which have evolved into my own unique massage… Since I open it with prayer … and keep the prayer open through the session, it usually takes off on its own much to my and my client's … delight… It is always a beautiful confirmation to learn others have been led by the same guidance within relatively the same time period. Those called will, I hope, come together in work, around the country and the world… for massage and its yet undiscovered gifts to manifest themselves in spiritual healing. I am not highly educated in the formal sense. Nevertheless, God has called me … to do this work at this particular place and time… I believe massage is included in "his sun" in Matthew 5:45. - C.M., Arkansas
Massage is clearly a tool, a technique, a path for spiritual awareness… altering our mind-state, shifting our consciousness, and gathering in spirit. D.D., Florida.
What kind of massage do you weave and what kind do you serve?
For some people, massage is essentially a sequence of physical manipulations. Some knowledge of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology may be useful depending on what kind of massage the practitioner does. Manipulations require the expenditure of kinetic energy by the practitioner. Kinetic energy enables us to push, pull, throw, carry, lift, run, and do other things that involve movement of our bodies and other objects. However, massage also includes subtle energy^ interactions between practitioner and client. One "sees" massage very differently if one considers the subtle energy interactions of the practitioner and client along with the manipulations. Subtle energy involves feelings such as intent, attitude, empathy, love, hope, satisfaction, anger and resentment.
These are the subjective, qualitative aspects of massage. With these aspects, massage is asmuch art as it is science.2 As art, it involves the "dance" of the practitioner, the "sculpting" of theclient's soft tissues, and the final light "nerve [brush] strokes" on the client's skin. In these respects, massage is the creative expression of abstract, subjective and qualitative feelings that are the quintessential nature of the artist. Karen Carlson integrated the art and science of massage in Come Dance With Me3 which is concerned with the dance of the massage practitioner. Every massage practitioner should be an artist who dances while she weaves. If you observe her giving a massage, you see her choreography.
Massage also has spiritual aspects which were first reported by Carlson and Schatz who integrated Swedish Massage with Harry Edwards' spiritual healing. The spiritual nature of massage is receiving increasing attention.4,5
Weaving a massage
Weaving is a metaphor for giving a massage. Just as weaving is a process, so giving a massage, is a process or soma..6 The soma is the movement in massage, like the operation of a watch is its soma or movement. The watch and its movement are integrated. However, the watch can exist without its movement, but the movement (soma) cannot exist without the watch. In a massage, the practitioner and the client are somewhat comparable to the watch. The massage is the soma. The practitioner and client can exist without the massage, but the massage soma cannot exist without them.
Changes in the material body and in the body's energy field (energy body) can be viewed as the warp and woof of a massage. The loom is the conceptual framework which involves the intuitive, artistic element of massage. The tapestry that is woven is the massage. The massage practitioner is the weaver who creates a unique design for each massage tapestry while she weaves it literally by hand. Because each massage tapestry has to fit a particular client's unique needs for well-being and health at a particular time, the weaver has to create the design not only for each massage but also during each massage.
The design of each massage is unique because it has to "fit" a particular client and no two clients are identical. Even the same individual is different before and after a massage. A person who gets two massages, one right after the other, is not the same person for each of the two massages. She is different when she gets the second massage because she has already had the first. The two consecutive massages, one right after the other are also different. The manipulations may appear to be the same, but the subjective, qualitative aspects are different. The same client also differs from one time to another during each massage because changes in her material body and energy field (energy body) occur during that massage.
Therefore, no two massages are identical. Every massage is a new massage. It is unique because the time-space which a particular massage occupies never existed in the past and will never exist in the future. For the same reason, every client is a new client every time she gets a massage, and every practitioner is a new practitioner every time she gives a massage. This is the philosophy of change. Heraclitus (c.535 through c.475 B.C.) of Ephesus, the Greek philosopher of change, wrote, "You cannot step into the same river twice, for the second time it is not the same river." He viewed change as the essential nature of everything, and the reality of change was the only reality. There is nothing which does not change with time. The history of progress is the history of change. But the history of progress is also the history of controversy.
Massages are like tomatoes
Some tomatoes look alike, but they're not. No two tomatoes are identical. No two massages are identical. Massages may look alike to an observer. But clients know they're different because they feel the difference. That's why each client prefers one particular practitioner to others. Douglas Graham, M.D., commented on this in 1902 as follows: "Dr. Playfair says he never troubles himself as to how massage is done, and he thinks the details are not of much importance… [But] Let Dr. Playfair or anyone else become the patient and he will be very apt to think in a short time that the details are of considerable importance."7
The history of massage, especially in the United States at the turn of the century is fascinating. It is unfortunate that students in massage schools are not introduced to the rich tradition of their profession. Many massage therapists know the name Peter Ling, anglicized from Per Henrik Ling, and that's the extent of their knowledge of the history of massage
To most of us, the tomato is a very ordinary vegetable. (Botanically, the tomato is a fruit.) It's red or yellow when ripe, and varies in size and shape. Many people eat tomatoes, fresh and pickled. Others don't like them. And that about sums it up. But the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who won a Noble Prize for Literature, saw the tomato through the eyes of a poet. Can you see Pablo Neruda's tomato in his poem Ode to the Tomato which is translated from Spanish?
After you read this poem, consider the difference between Pablo Neruda's tomato and an ordinary tomato. Can you see massage through the eyes of an artist? When you massage your clients, do you give them an ordinary tomato or do you serve them one of Pablo Neruda's very special tomatoes?
Ode to the Tomato
by Pablo Neruda
The street drowns in tomatoes.
It's noon, summer.
Light breaks in two tomato halves
and the streets run with the juice.
In December,8 the tomato cuts loose
invades kitchens, takes over lunches,
settles at rest in side boards.
with glasses, butter dishes
and blue salt cellars
It has its own radiance, a goodly majesty.
Too bad we must assassinate
A knife plunges into its living pulp
and red viscera.
A fresh, deep red inexhaustible sun
floods the salads of Chile,
and beds cheerfully with the blond onion.
And, to celebrate, oil - the filial essence
of the olive tree - lets itself fall over
The pimento adds its fragrance
and salt its magnesium.
We have the day's needs.
Parsley flaunts its little flags.
Potatoes thump to a boil.
The roast beats down the door
with its aromas.
It's time! Let's go!
And on the table, belted by summer,
tomatoes, stars of the earth,
stars multiplied and fertile,
show off their convolutions.
And their canals and plenitude
and the abundance, boneless,
without husk or scale or thorn,
grant us the festival of ardent color
and all-embracing fragrance.
An unusual benefit of massage
The following report tells how massage helped an individual with a very unusual condition. It is quoted from Michael Polanyi's book Personal Knowledge. Toward a Post-Critical Philosophy (University of Chicago Press. 1964. page 296). The author was Chair of the Physical Chemistry Department at Manchester University, England.
"Some cases are reported in which children have been reared by animals, particularly by wolves; for example, two native children in India who were taken from a wolf's den in 1920 and lived afterwards in the Orphanage of Midnapore in the province of Bengal. When rescued, the children were animals, going on all fours, feeding on raw meat, lapping their milk, and havingmany other habits acquired from the wolves. They had no language, but howled at night like wolves. One girl, aged eight when rescued, lived for another nine years. After many months of massage she gradually learned to walk erect, but continued to run on all fours. In the orphanage she slowly acquired human habits, and she acquired a vocabulary of thirty to forty words, but never learned to form sentences.
"In the absence of human intercourse, these children formed such lupine concepts as the wolf pack, which adopted them, would have suggested to their budding intelligences. Their virgin minds did not develop a new set of intellectual interpretations in place of those which a traditional education would have stamped upon them. On the contrary, since they had not been taught the use of the intellectual tools which society would have provided for them, their mental development was arrested at the level of inarticulate children. Instead of inventing conceptual tools of their own they lost their chance of ever learning how to use such tools at all. And lacking the guidance of any set of human conceptions, they were overcome and ridden by blind fears and furies."
More information is in Polanyi's footnote: "A complete diary was kept by their rescuer, Rev. J. A. Singe, the Rector of the Orphanage. This and an account of other cases (including Kasper Hauser) by Professor Robert M. Zingg, were published under the title Wolf Children and Feral Man (New York and London, 1939)."
Pennsylvania recognizes four different kinds of massage
Four different massage modalities have been recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Two are secular and two are spiritual. The secular modalities are symptom-directed, medically-oriented massage therapy and non-therapeutic massage. The spiritual modalities are spiritual massage and co-creative massage.
The two secular modalities are described in the Physical Therapy Practice Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. According to this Act,"Physical Therapy' means the evaluation and treatment of any person by the utilization of the effective properties of physical measures such as … massage … for the purpose of limiting or preventing disability and alleviating or correcting any physical or mental condition…" This kind of massage is symptom-directed, medically-oriented massage therapy. "The provisions of this Act are not intended to limit the activities of persons legitimately engaged in the nontherapeutic administration of … massage…" This second kind of massage is non-therapeutic massage.
The two spiritual massage modalities are described in the articles of incorporation of the Church for Spiritual Healing and Health. This Church was established as a non-profit corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on January 4, 1995. Its articles of incorporation were amended on July 14, 1995, specifically to identify, define, and include spiritual massage and co-creative massage as essential components of the religious, educational, scientific, and charitable purposes of this Church. The Articles of Amendment include definitions of spiritual massage and co-creative massage.
Spiritual massage, also known as spiritual massage healing, is a present-day form of religious healing based on the anointing with oil and the laying on of hands set forth in THE BIBLE. Spiritual Massage Practitioners,SM Spiritual Massage Healers,SM Spiritual Massage Ministers,SM and Spiritual Massage TeachersSM consider themselves to be ministering spirits, sent forth to minister. (Hebrews 1:14) These service marks are registered with the Corporation Bureau of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For these and other reasons, spiritual massage is very different from secular massage therapy, secular, non-therapeutic massage, and all other kinds of secular bodywork.
Co-creative massage is a co-creative health science in which the practitioner works in partnership with members of the White Brotherhood and nature intelligences including nature spirits. Co-creative massage is therefore a spiritual massage modality. Jesus Christ is a member of the White Brotherhood. This information about Jesus is in Machaelle Small Wright's book MAP. The Co-Creative Medical Assistance Program. She also wrote Behaving as if the God in All Life Mattered. Members of the White Brotherhood are part of the Family of Man who live in different levels and dimensions of reality. Machaelle Small Wright points out that the White Brotherhood is not "some white supremacist/sexy organization… The name 'White Brotherhood' has been used for this group for centuries… 'White' is used to signify all the rays of the light spectrum. 'Brotherhood' is used to signify not only the family of all people " - [men and women] - "but also the family of all life." For these and other reasons, co-creative massage is different from massage therapy, non-therapeutic massage, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other secular therapies.
The following are members of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Spiritual Bodywork and the Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. All articles in these periodicals represent the authors' positions, and do not necessarily reflect the views of members of the Advisory Board or the Ministry which publishes these periodicals. Articles for which no authors are listed are written by the Editor.
Mary Brewster founded the Healing Arts Institute in 1988 and co-founded the Church of Spiritual Healing and Health, Inc. (1994). . In 1985, she began formal studies in the area of movement and bodywork at the Myotone Institute in Wakefield, MA. Her previous background had been in the area of music and theatre. Mary has her Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology. She is an ordained minister, practicing Somatic Education sm , which she developed. She has maintained her private spiritual health practice since 1987 which includes: movement therapy, bodywork, various modalities of energy work, and herbalism at the Healing Arts Center in Somers, CT. She teaches a Somatic Educationsm at the Healing Arts Institute as well as various workshops, seminars and lectures in the complementary health field.
Keith Goffe, M.D., is a Diplomate in the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Glenda Kuhl has a degree in theology from Marquette University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Australian National University. She is a national presenter on topics in adult learning, ethics in higher education, and career satisfaction. She has been a national board member of the American Association of University Administrators and a national committee chair for the Association of Continuing Higher Education. She is a philosophy teacher and has been a university dean for fifteen years. She is a co-creative health practitioner, a cancer survivor, and a long-time activist and consultant in natural health. She is now engaged full-time in the healing arts under the auspices of WingSpread, a private practice offering natural therapies for health, life and image.
Dr. Nai-shing Hu completed more than 9,000 hours of apprenticeship, in 1978, in traditional Chinese Medicine under Dr. Yang Guo-chai at the Chengdu Peoples Hospital. In July, l982, she received her bachelors degree in Medical Teaching and English from the West China University of Medical Science. She subsequently completed her advanced clinical training in Acupuncture at the Sichuan Province Research Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and her advanced clinical herbal medicine training at the Chengdu College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She then toured Europe and lectured on Chinese medicine for more than a year in Germany, England and Switzerland; and worked in Egypt as acupuncturist to President Mubarak's family. Before emigrating to the United States, Dr. Nai-shing Hu was promoted to Assistant Professor of Chinese Medicine at the Chengdu College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Sichuan Province. Since 1993, she has been practicing Chinese Medicine at the Chrysalis Natural Medicine Center in Wilmington Delaware. She is a registered acupuncturist in Pennsylvania, and is on the Executive Board of the American Herbalists Guild.
Alan Tillotson has a Master's degree from Goddard College for his work in Asian Medical Systems, and a doctorate from the Jin Shan School of Chinese Meditation in Taiwan. He has been a practicing herbalist for over fifteen years, and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. He teaches T'ai Chi, Chi Kung and meditation classes; and maintains a research library in natural medicine's clinical applications from around the world. He is co-author of the Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicine, and publishes and writes for the Journal of Well Being. He is the founder and director of the Chrysalis Natural Medicine Center in Wilmington, Delaware. He is a regular guest lecturer on natural medicine topics at the Thomas Jefferson Medical University sophomore class on complementary medicine.
Albert Schatz edits the Journal of Spiritual Bodywork and the Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter, has been involved in bodywork for 14 years, is an ordained minister, and has been doing healing for about 20 years. He has an undergraduate degree in Soil Science and a Ph.D. in Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry, has been doing research for more than half a century, and discovered the antibiotic Streptomycin. This was the first effective means of treating tuberculosis (The Great White Plague) and pneumonic plague which is the most deadly form of bubonic plague (The Black Death).
1. Schatz, A., and Carlson, K. The Integration of Swedish Massage and Therapeutic
Touch Swedish massage increases the human energy field. Massage & Bodywork
Quarterly. 10(2):51-55. 1995.
2. Carlson, K., Barbers, R.A., and Schatz, A. Is state regulation of massage illegal?
Massage & Bodywork Quarterly.10(2):51-55, 1995.
3. Carlson, K. Come Dance with Me. Copyright 1988.
4. Schatz, A.The church for spiritual healing and health. Spiritual massage healing.
Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 1(1):1-53, 1994.
5. Schatz, A. Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter.1(1):1-4, 1995.
6. Hanna, T. The Body of Life. Alfred A. Knopf. New York. 1987.
7. Graham, D. A Treatise on Massage. History, Mode of Application and Effects. J.B.
Lippincott Company. Philadelphia. 1902.
8. December is part of the growing season in Chile because that country is in the