Massage and The Astral Body

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By: Anders Nawroth

The capacity to experience massage is given by the astral body. As it is the feel of a massage which brings the most interesting results it is of prime importance for the massage therapist to know about the astral body. An attempt will be made to outline the basic phenomena in this area.

Three layers
The astral body can react in three different ways depending on the quality and position of a massage movement. It is possible for the massage therapist to touch three different layers of the astral body with his massage movements: first a layer very close to the ether body, then the astral body itself and thirdly a layer which is closer to the I-organization.

Ether body
A massage movement without or with only slight pressure will engage the astral body to a limited extent. Consequently the intention of the massage movement transposes directly into the ether body and unfolds from there. It is the unfolding of a massage movement which is described by Rudolf Steiner in connection with "mild massage in the region of the spleen." (2) In order to reach the spleen and its activity, local massage is applied in the region of this organ.

Astral body
Massage movements with increased pressure will engage the astral body more strongly, as will massage movements using the qualities of the planetary sphere. This means that the astral body transforms the massage movement before it takes effect on the etheric and physical level. Now the pure astral appears, the astral lemniscate. Rudolf Steiner put it like this: ". . . the further down we go from the center in massage of the trunk the greater the effect on the upper organs." (3) It is therefore not a local effect.

The I-organization
With massage movements connected to the planetary sphere we can, as it were, strike the chords of the astral body. But the decision to what extent the connection of the astral body should be tightened or loosened at different points lies with the I-organization, though this is not addressed directly. It can be addressed with massage movements connected with the zodiac, engaging the layer of the astral body that is close to the I-organization. Consequently the massage movement is transformed twice: partly in accord with the astral body and partly in accord with the I-organization. The result is a much more complex current than when we address the purely astral.

The massage therapist has to be completely aware of these layers and the different qualities of massage movement. Only then can Per Henrik Ling's vision be realized: to give massage a scientific basis.

English by Ulrike O'Callaghan.

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