03 Aug, 2017
“Holistic” can be a scary and mysterious word for many Westerners and many people tend to be uncomfortable with it. Even worse, most people think it is an inferior approach to a healthy life. However once we break it down, it is not so strange. Honestly speaking, holistic medicine will never achieve the drastic results that can be achieved by procedures developed, honed and nearly perfected in the West. But the idea of holistic medicine is to use such drastic procedures sparingly. Many people use this approach because it allows them to live long, happy, fully-engaged lives, without ever needing any intrusive and expensive procedures or drugs.
Western medicine has traditionally compartmentalized the health of individuals, which means patients’ needs are broken into categories for treatment: psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual, amongst others. However, a holistic approach does not segment people and seeks to heal the entire person in subtle, incremental ways that lead to greater wellness and higher levels of good energy.
A holistic outlook does not have the same mechanized approach that we are used to in the West. The body and mind, for example, are not seen as separate mechanisms operating next to each other. Instead, they are seen as extensions of one source of energy that fuels and powers an organism. This source of energy (in Chinese medicine, which is over 2,000 years old and still practiced, is called Ch’i or Qi) and manifests itself in varying degrees, from something as material as immune cell activity, to something as immaterial as the mind.
If you ask most Westerners, “Is massage, medicine?” all but a few would answer “no.” Most of us commonly think of medicine as expensive pills, injections, and doctor visits. Many people rely on these medications and doctors, and we are happy to have them. Adding massage as a legitimate form of treatment is something that is currently taking hold in our healthcare system.
Massage, acupuncture, acupressure, and their underlying philosophies are being investigated and accepted by an increasing number of Western nurses, therapists, and medical doctors. Accredited programs that secure patient and consumer safety are evolving to meet the demands of people seeking greater wellness. Additionally, more health insurance companies and public programs are paying for massage therapy.
What is greater wellness? Wellness does involve health, but “health” often times only addresses the immediate physical state of a person. Greater wellness can be described as the flourishing of the entire person, in addition to the absence of disease. Wellness allows people to meet the demands of everyday life, whether they be physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, financial, and so on.
Massage improves wellness and creates a positive balance in energy levels. With higher levels of positive energy, all systems work in synergy as one system. Living organisms are supple and organic, and require an open-minded path to health, not the auto-mechanic mentality that prevails over the modern healthcare system.
So, some of this may sound foreign and strange. There is no need to overthink it. When someone feels good, the whole being is better off. Decision-making, processing life events, and hand-eye coordination can all show improvement after a massage therapy regimen.
If you like getting massages, there is good news – receiving regular massages consistently has the potential to create a cumulative effect of feeling well and feeling better. Massage is exponentially more powerful as a healthcare tool the more often it is received by a patient or client. People who get massages regularly show greater improvement in health, and notice a reduction in pain and muscular tension, as well as improved posture, according to Anne Williams in her book Spa Bodywork: A Guide for Massage Therapists. She says, “People regularly make a commitment to fitness. People regularly make a commitment to changing their diet. The difference they’d experience if they regularly made a commitment to massage is mind-blowing.”
What you can expect from massage:
- Alleviate low-back pain and increase range of motion.
- Create body self-awareness.
- Improve muscle tone and stimulate their nerve supply.
- Improve elasticity of skin and promote rejuvenation.
- Improve sleep and calm the mind.
- Increase endorphin and serotonin production.
- Reduce edema, as well as joint inflammation.
- Release bad posture from previous injuries.
- Stimulate lymph circulation and enhance immunity.
Professional athletes and the elderly can improve their performance and health with massage. Strength, flexibility, focus, coordination, and healing power will improve with massage, especially as part of an entire wellness plan that includes nutrition, physical activity, socialization, meditation and prayer. Massage can lead to faster recovery time after intense workouts, or after a stay in the hospital.
Men and women experience high levels of negative stress that deteriorate their health and happiness. Stress helps motivate people — it helps them get their work done and reach their goals. But after stress breaches a threshold, that helpful positive stress turns into destructive negative stress. You can imagine a massage therapist scrubbing and rinsing away the residual negative stress. Massage washes it away and helps people attack life with alertness, while simultaneously allowing them to live more calmly and efficiently.
Health experts are increasingly inviting people to try massage therapy once a week for a month as preventive medicine and a path to improved mood and positive attitude, keys to successful aging, and meaningful longevity. When the body and mind learn to operate efficiently, higher outputs of energy can be achieved without feeling drained. When the body and mind are trained to operate more efficiently, it preserves energy and leads to increased longevity.
In Health and Happiness
Evensong Spa Director
**See our massage services to begin your path to a greater wellness; call 920.294.3347 to book your appointment today.