Light Touch Massage, when done well, can definitely reach deep to unwind painful patterns.
Clients often wonder if light touch massage offers the same benefits as deep tissue work. Well, after 20 years of doing healing and bodywork , I am here to you that if done correctly, it can release and unwind more painful patterns than using an elbow. The question is, “How can this be that a touch the weight of a nickel can do the same thing?” Here are a few points to help you understand.
- If a massage therapist knows how to work with fascia, they can link with this tissue that connects everything in your body. This is easy to do because the superficial fascia is found right beneath the skin. There are layers of this fascia that continue throughout the body, and support and contain everything from muscles to organs. It’s a three dimensional intricate web of life that, without, we would be a puddle of water on the floor. This connective tissue framework creates and protects the whole body. An experienced massage therapist who works with fascia, can help release old patterns that have been stuck for a long time.
- Listening to the body can be much more effective than actively pushing an agenda. There are a few different modalities that focus the intention of listening to the body’s own Inner Wisdom for direction. This along with some technique can work miracles. Some of these are based on Osteopathic principles. Professional organizations that do this are: The Upledger Institute , The Barral Institute , The Chikly Institute to name a few. Also, when a massage therapist uses light touch, the body does not tense up. It doesn’t fight the work that is being done. Also, I must add that there is something quite beautiful in being held gently and with expertise. If the massage has experience and knows how to use their toolbox well, they can support deep shifts on many different levels.
- Trust is important to build between the therapist and the client. I have had clients who come in who have asked for deep rolfing type of work called Structural Integration. I could tell that this was not the best method to help them. I have found that sometimes people who have been abused or victimized feel like they need the same thing. There are emotional and belief systems that are still unconscious for them. They are not ready to feel deeply into the deep work and hold the release. With gentle work, when feeling and anxious thinking comes up, there is more ease for expression and for people to feel more safe in their feelings.
I hope this helps people to get a basic understanding of how Light Touch Massage can help. Often I think people expect that the only way to heal is through harsh input. But that isn’t the case. The body is a miraculous gift for us. It knows how to get out of bed everyday, and do its thing. It’s only when it gets on overload that things start to leave balance.
What I recommend is that if you are uncomfortable in your body at all, be proactive and get yourself some bodywork. Take care of your body. This is your vehicle for this lifetime to get around. If you are in pain, sometimes the deeper work will help better in some instances, but also consider the light touch. Because that too can help by taking a different route.
Sharon Hartnett LMT, CST-D, SI, BHSP