Grappling with the task of explaining the healing as well as mind- and potentially life-changing effects of bodywork, we today share a few words on the subject, written by Marilyn Ferguson. Marilyn was best known for her bestselling book The Aquarian Conspiracy. However, her impact on the intellectual life of the last quarter of the 1900s was far greater and far- reaching through her position as publisher and editor of the Brain/Mind Bulletin (1973 to 1996), a newsletter that at its peak had over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.
Here, she comes right to the point by speaking about the transformative power of good bodywork. According to her, bodywork in all its different eastern or western approaches can offer ways through which “We can intervene in our bodymind loop so that we can take steps toward self-responsibility in the pursuit of our own health and wellbeing.”
From this point of view, quality bodywork opens the doors to greater independence and self-reliance. It starts out by easing surface pain and relaxing surface tension and then more deeply buried pain and constriction. In the end it empowers. It has a totally positive outlook - in the short term and in the long term. Bodywork is optimistic.
“Wellbeing cannot be infused intravenously or ladled out by prescription. Western medicine is beginning to recognize that health and disease don’t just happen to us. They are part of the matrix: the bodymind. They are active processes issuing from inner harmony or disharmony, profoundly affected by our states of consciousness, our ability or inability to flow with experience. They reflect psychological and somatic harmony.”
“…All illness, whether cancer or schizophrenia or a common cold, originates in the bodymind… The old saying, ‘Name your poison’, applies to semantics and symbols of disease. If we feel ‘picked on’, or someone gives us a ‘pain in the neck’, we may make our metaphors literal – with acne or neck spasms. People have long spoken of a ‘broken heart’ as the result of a disappointing relationship; now medical research shows a connection between loneliness and heart disease. So the ‘broken heart’ may become coronary disease; ambivalence a splitting headache; and the rigid personality, arthritis.”
“Over the years our bodies become walking autobiographies that tell friends and strangers alike of the major and minor stresses in our lives. For instance, distortions of function that occur after an injury – like a limited range of motion in a hurt arm – become a permanent part of our body pattern. Our musculature also reflects old anxieties. Poses of timidity, depression, bravado, or stoicism adopted early in life are locked into our bodies as patterns in our sensory-motor system.”
“In the vicious cycle of bodymind pathology, our body’s tight patterns contribute to our locked-in mental processes. We cannot separate mental from physical, fact from fantasy, past from present. Just as the body feels the mind’s grief, so the mind is constricted by the body’s stubborn memory of what the mind used to feel.”
“One essential way in which this cycles can be interrupted is through bodywork – therapies that deeply (and often painfully) massage, manipulate, loosen or otherwise change the body’s neuromuscular system and its orientation to gravity, its symmetry. Bodywork alters the flow of energy through the body, freeing it of its old ‘ideas’ or patterns, increasing its range of movement. Changing the body in this way can affect the entire bodymind loop.”