Christian Massage
           Taking Back Touch with Holistic, Faith & Bible Based Massage Therapy
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Glossary
Below you will find a unique list of common massage and bodywork types (modalities) as well as common words used in massage (jargon) and medicine.  It is unique because we can explain these concepts using simple metaphors and christian concepts.  Our goal is for therapists to be better able to educate clients about how and why massage works, and how that healing works with, not exclusive from, faith.  Please complete the form at the bottom with suggestions for revision or addition to the glossary. 

Thank You - Jason

Most massage therapists are not doctors and are not allowed by law to diagnose any illness or prescribe treatments or medications; you should always consult with your doctor about any medical concerns.  In most cases, massage and bodywork are non-invasive and can be used in conjunction with conventional medicine.  You should, however, consult with your doctor and your therapist as circumstances due arise where it may be necessary to modify or not preformed specific techniques or modalities.  This site and the Christian Massage Network along with its partners and contributors make no claims of diagnosis, accept no liability and absolutely recommend seeking professional counsel.

 


 

Energy (Chi, Ki, Qi, Prana, Bioforce)

It is commonly accepted by science that the human body and the human mind are energetic in nature as one of the body's primary communication systems, the nervous system, works by transferring electrical signals along pathways called nerves with stimulate and cause a response in a muscle, gland or another nerve.  In this way, our muscles move, our mouth waters, we question the word around us et cetera. 

Just as electrical signals in your home can be carried through wires, many other types of energy exist in the world.  For example, every grade school child has seen magnets move iron shavings or push another magnet away (electro-magnetic energy).  Similarly, every person has probably seen a single ray of sunshine breaking through a cloud and though no tube contains the light it continues along its path and heats the ground or the person upon which it rests (radiation).

A much more subtle energy sharing many characteristics with the above examples is known to exist throughout the body and the world.  Different ancient cultures have called this energy by different names including Chi (Chinese), Prana (Indian), Bioforce (United States and Europe), Ki (Japan) and others.  Even Albert Einstein explained the presence of interacting energy centers in the human body as fluctuating electro-magnetic fields capable, as all electromagnetic field are, of increasing and decreasing in power, being focused or diffused and certainly affecting, either by attraction or repulsion, the similar electro-magnetic fields in all bodies around it.

 

Based upon the now subtly detectable energies in the human body, it is possible to understand the basis for therapies such as acupressure and acupuncture, reiki, chakra balancing, tai chi, reflexology and even cranial sacral.  (These and many other modalities can claim some if not all effects relating to energy manipulation within the human body, mind and spirit)

 

From a Biblical Perspective, the bible states that humanity was imbibed with a force of God, the Holy Spirit and that from this force all things flow.  Throughout the Bible, numerous examples of mental, physical and emotional healing are documented involving Jesus as well as others whose Faith (mental focus) and, in most cases, laying of hands (physical touch), combined with the innate energies (spirit) of the patient resulting in truly miraculous results.  I am not as vain as to claim the healing powers of Jesus but please continue.  We are made in his image, the image of God, the creator and the healer of all things.  Jesus said that we have everything we need within us (the Spirit) and only need to Believe (focused unwavering mental and emotional dedication) and we could accomplish similar feats.  Now that is a testimonial to the power of Spiritual Healing form the man who put Spirit in Healing

 

What is required?

          Focus: the unintentional interaction of energies is constantly about us.  We’ve all felt when someone across the room was staring at us or thought about a long lost friend just before they called and those are testimonies to our amazing connection with all the energies of this world and the next.  Still, clinical studies have shown that focus on the healing by both the therapist and the client have sown an increase in the effectiveness even in primarily tissue manipulative therapies (Rolfing & Structural Integration)

          Faith: to often, people (clients are still people, remember) will reluctantly agree to try something entirely not expecting it to work, close their eyes, tighten up their muscles and then are absolutely justified in their thinking when no healing takes place or things are actually worse.  Is it any wonder that clients without faith receive diminished or no results?  Anatomically, they have done everything they can to prevent positive therapeutic benefits: muscles are tightening restricting blood-flow and nerve innervation, stress hormones are such as cortisol stream through the blood causing problems ranging from tension to pain to water retention and “fat,” the breathing becomes restricted and higher in the chest heightening stress and activating pain refereeing trigger points between the ribs and in the neck and back causing more pain etc.  This is only a sample of the two pages of effects I could outline.  In addition to these physical factors, the patient is, energetically, not only not aiding in the healing but they are actually working against the healing since they expect not to heal. 

          Touch: Most (but not all) of the biblical healing included some type of touch: washing of the leper, healing of the lame or dying or dead.  I consider it likely that physical touch is even more important in our modern world than it was in the days of the prophets of Israel and for Jesus.  As technology continues to physically distance us, our bodies lack the energetic balance that comes from meaningful human interaction; it is also often easier for both believers and non-believers to connect with the healing energies of their body when able to feel the physical touch of a caring and focused, professionally trained massage and bodywork practitioner. 

 

As briefly illustrated here, the body, mind and spirit are indeed connected and respond automatically to distress in any other of the three components.  The empowering point, however, is that because body, mind and spirit are all intimately connected, soothing any one of the three helps to balance the others.  Indeed, focusing on two will have an even greater effect and, ultimately, the spiritual therapists would be able to actively incorporate all three.

 


Reflexology

 

          Reflexology was originally based upon Zone Theory developed by Dr. William Fitzgerald, an ear nose and throat doctor who noticed that when pressing different areas about the head that the client would feel numbness in other areas of the body.  From that work, a Physical Therapists named Eunice Ingham preformed her own studies and eventually developed the Reflexology maps of the hands and feet which illustrate a system of either energetic or unknown nervous reflexes. 

          Just as a doctor hitting you on the knee causes a reflexive response to kick.  Eunice found that repeatedly pressing upon the feet and hands caused tingling, gurgling, or any of many other signs that the mapped organs where in some way being activated and “reflexively stimulated.”  Ideally, the foot reflexes are utilized due to their heightened sensitivity.  Then hands are often stimulated during self-treatments since it’s easier to reach your hands than your own feet.  The hands are also used if any medicals concern would cause working on the feet to be impossible or dangerous for the client or therapist (athlete’s foot, amputation, etc.) 

          As the foot reflexes stimulate the body, dysfunction in the body can cause congestion in the feet leading to the slowing of circulation in the reflex areas and making them prone tot eh development of uric crystals.  An experienced reflexologist may be able to reveal to you many problem areas throughout your body through examination only of the feet reflexes.  (Most massage therapists are not doctors and are not allowed by law to diagnose any illness or prescribe treatments; you should always consult with your doctor about any medical concerns)

          One major advantage to receiving reflexology is that it is one of many modalities for which the client may remain completely clothed during the session and still receive a full body benefit.  Also, people enjoy having their feet rubbed.







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As noted above, if you can further complete the information in this Glossary or present an exciting new explanation of current or new terms, then please complete the form below for evaluation and addition.

Thank you in advance.  -Jason

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