Imagine an ancient cave man coming back from a hunt with a pulled shoulder muscle from throwing a spear at a mastodon or a sore neck from sleeping on the ground. What’s the first thing that poor guy is going to do? Probably ask his mate or the local healer to rub it for him. Chances are he has been doing that himself ever since the pain began. To touch our pain is one of our most primal instincts, and to rub another’s aches is one of the most ancient healing methods, perhaps even wired into the primal part of our nervous system. Luckily, those ancient instincts are today deepened into a wide range of very effective techniques that feel great while also easing our pains.
I often tell my clients that when they have, for instance, neck pain, a poorly trained massage therapist will massage their neck. On the other hand, a well-trained massage therapist will know that problems in the neck are intimately related to tightness in the back, arms, head and upper chest. If those areas are not also addressed, the neck pain has a greater chance of quickly recurring. This is true for every area of the body. Lower back pain has a better chance of resolving if the legs get some good work. Arm or wrist pain is more likely to subside if the shoulders and neck get worked, and so on. It is an illusion to believe that the seemingly separate parts of us (like an arm or the neck), actually are separate and not intrinsically and unavoidably interdependent with all other parts. We are a body, not an arm; a being, not a sore neck. A good massage, while easing our aches and pains, reconnects our parts into one glorious whole.
by Jill Gerber, LMT, Certified Advanced Rolfer and Rolfing® Movement Integration Practitioner