In 1977 a young psychologist, Ken Dychtwald, burst on the scene and wrote the ultimate easy to read summary on the topic, titled Bodymind. The book became a classic. It is still available, still receiving raving reviews, and continues to be considered the definitive overall presentation of the subject. This is probably because Ken has the gift of the broad stroke that allows him to describe the heart of the matter in terms that any lay reader can follow. No one has succeeded to define the benefits of bodywork as clearly and succinctly as he, when he states:
“Without adequate tactile input, the human organism will die. Touch is one of the principal elements necessary for the successful development and functional organization of the central nervous system, and is as vital to our existence as food, water, and breath.”
“Our genetic blueprints are only the starting points of our individual development. The kind of conditioning we receive and the kinds of conscious choices that we make play tremendous roles in our physical growth, our acquisition of skills, our health and maturity, and our aging.”
“All of the body’s tissues are, then, a great deal more “plastic” and responsive to change and improvement throughout our lifetimes than we normally assume. Far from being “fixed” and “determined” by our biological inheritance we are still “works in progress”.
“There is no sensation or emotion that is not translated into muscular response of some kind; these feeling states are the primary bases of our habitual postures and our individual patterns of behavior.”
“Bodywork, by using tactile input, can actually re-educate and re-program the organism into becoming more coordinated, more flexible, and more appropriately responsive – literally more “intelligent”. A body/mind system that is integrated in this fashion will be more able to resist depression or disease, more able to attend to and repair itself in times of stress or injury.”
“Various ancient and contemporary forms of bodywork go far beyond temporary pleasure or relief and actually alter conditioned responses, chemical balances, and structural relationships. That is, bodywork has the potential to deeply change and improve the given state of an individual.”
“Nothing is more essential to lasting positive change than self-awareness; it is the prerequisite for self-control. Bodywork is a direct and effective way to increase this awareness within an individual.”
In other words, bodywork is good for health, good for happiness and good for deeper understanding of self and others – and thus intra- and interpersonal harmony.