Long before paper was invented, the Chinese recorded their history on thin slivers of bamboo. In fact, the material was used in a multitude of ways, ranging from musical instruments to elaborate decorations, artwork, and even agricultural tools. Since bamboo was incorporated into so much of daily life, it wasn’t long before it was used as a form of creative and spiritual expression, which quickly took on ritual and healing connotations.
Yoga and its sister science ayurveda are based on keeping the body’s energy balanced and flowing. They value massage as an integral part of supporting that energy and maintaining overall well-being.
As a consumer of massage, you already know there are wonderful benefits to receiving therapeutic touch. And you’ve likely tried one or two variations of massage or bodywork as you’ve meandered along this path of complementary healthcare. But did you know there are at least 250 kinds of therapies that are part of this growing massage and bodywork tradition? From acupressure to Zero Balancing, there are a multitude of lush, leaf-filled branches on this bodywork tree, making it a perfect spot under which to throw a blanket and sit a while.
For 5,000 years, head massage has been a part of India’s rich culture. It’s held a special place both in the “kitchen table wisdom” of local Hindu mothers and in the medical bag of ayurvedic physicians.
Now making its way to the West, this seemingly simple health technique is finding new “disciples” eager to use it in their fight against modern-day problems.
Previously, we examined the American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia’s (AOBTA) definition of Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) using three styles of bodywork — amma, shiatsu, and Jin Shin Jyutsu (October/November 2004, page 114).
It’s a typical day at the oncology clinic. Several patients distractedly thumb through magazines in the waiting room, not really interested in reading the pages. They wait anxiously for consultations and treatments. In one exam room, Susan, a 43-year-old artist and mother of two, receives the diagnosis she did not want to hear – malignant breast tumor. A lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation are the recommended course of treatment. In the chemotherapy room, a man sits silently while the nurse adjusts a catheter that will deliver the drugs into his chest.