Pay Attention to the Magic

By Anita Smith
[Mind of an MT]

Your client lies on your table. He is in two parts. His mind. Filled with thoughts. He has so many pressures at work. Trouble bearing down on him from the home front. He can’t seem to get ahead and now there is a pain coming from his body that worries him.
His body. This thing that does as he wishes 24-7. The arms that work, steer his truck, and pick up his children; the legs that propel him through life; the organs that perform without so much as a single thought. This thing he doesn’t really know, his own body, is “letting him down,” and he hopes you can help. The doctors have tried.
He is in two parts. His mind and his body.
He lives in his mind. The place life is. He is very good at snap decisions. He is good at multitasking. People and events are sized up. Everything, in his mind. And then, you lay your hand on his back and his mind stops.
Stops cold.
As you begin working, moving with a good, firm, discerning stroke, over, up, and down his back, feeling the tone of his soft tissues, his mind stops. His mind is right there, under your hands.
He is slowly moving out of his busy, chatty, constantly talking mind, into his very own quiet, listening, truthful body.
That area of tension you feel on the right? He feels it now. Didn’t know it was there before. Interesting.
Here is the deal. Back when this man was a tiny embryo, a layer of his original cells called the ectoderm became both his skin and his nervous system.1
Hold on!
Think about that for a second: the central nervous system and the skin are made from the same embryonic layer of cells. That means the skin and the brain are connected, and when you lay your hands on this client and do the work you are trained in, every touch and every movement coaxes new feelings on the skin and new awareness in your client’s mind.
So, when you massage your client, know (take confidence in it!) that your skilled hands quiet their minds. This is something that just doesn’t happen out there in the world very much.
You bring your client back into their body. They once again become aware of themselves, which, as we know, brings many benefits to the body, mind, and spirit.
As you learn the basics of the human body, as you move through your training, pay attention to the magic. Even if it is as small and unnoticed as a layer of a cell dividing … and becoming.

1. Deane Juhan, Job’s Body: Handbook for Bodywork (New York: Station Hill, 1998), 35.

Anita Smith specializes in neuromuscular massage therapy (NMT) and works with people in chronic pain. She also teaches NMT to future LMTs. She lives in Belgrade, Maine, where she and her husband farm elderberries.