Rhythmical Massage: A New Approach

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By: Eileen Bristol

As human beings we normally digest all that flows into us from the outer world, includ­ing what is toxic in some way. When we have strained our capacities for self-regulation and balancing, and our "di­gestive capability" is not equal to the task, our health can deteriorate. In a weakened state, we also become more vulnerable to substance abuse.

Beneficial effects of massage
We can all see in our own lives how a period of vulnerability to certain weak­nesses (even "junk food!") often follows or accompanies periods of high stress. This gives us a hint of one way that mas­sage can be helpful. Regular massage treatments can support the ability to handle stress, and to accept and digest what our biography brings us. We feel that our body and soul energies are reactivated and we are better able to breathe and master the demands of life. This is a good ex­ample of true preventative medicine.

What elements should we emphasize in our treatments? Dr. Ita Wegman, the physician who worked with Rudolf Steiner in the development of anthroposophical medicine, recognized that all healing pro­cesses in the human organism relate to the breathing. She developed an approach to massage called Rhythmical Massage. The active movement of each stroke ac­companies a breath, a release that allows the patient to respond inwardly. Another quality of touch we can introduce into massage is a sensitivity to the speed at which we work. As Gandhi said, "There is more to life than increasing its speed." A few strokes done slowly can be much more easily assimilated by a patient than many done too rapidly.

In Rhythmical Massage we use dif­ferent forms of strokes for different pur­poses. Effleurage strokes in lemniscate form (a "figure eight") offer one approach to helping the patient who is striving to overcome substance abuse. Through these strokes we are able to strengthen the etheric (life) body and also address the "I" or individuality by bringing consciousness to the "meeting point" at the crossing of the "figure eight." The person suffering from substance abuse may have feelings of low self-worth. Such a person can benefit from an attitude of positivity, ac­ceptance and caring on the part of the massage therapist.

The choice of oils is important. Dr. Hauschka's Blackthorn Oil (containing extracts of blackthorn flowers, hypericum oil, birch leaves, and essential oil of rose­mary and lavender) is useful in all cases where breathing processes need strength­ening. These include excessive nervous stimulation, weakened metabolic func­tions, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and gen­eral fatigue.


Blackthorn and Other Body Oils

by Eileen Bristol, R.M.T.

The blackthorn ('sloe') is unusual in that it is one of the first bushes to blossom in the spring. Then the fruit absorbs the full force of the summer's sun, turning into a nearly black plum, so hard and so sour that it cannot be harvested until after the first frost. Imagine the subsumed forces back into the twigs that over-winter, only to burst forth the next spring as bud and flower. It is from this flower, that has hibernated with the power of last year's sun, from which an extract is made — one particularly full of warmth and nourish­ment. It expresses the waxing and waning sun's movement and light.

St. John's Wort (hypericum) is a plant that blooms near the summer sol­stice. It is full of light and warmth quali­ties. In Dr. Hauschka's Blackthorn Oil, the deep, nourishing qualities of the black­thorn meet the warmth and light qualities of the hypericum.

Added to these is the refreshing, breathing qualities of the Birch leaf ex­tract. Who does not admire the grace, steadfastness, and tenderness of the birch? In olden times farmers would drag birch branches over their fields in springtime to enhance fertility. We know today that birch leaf tea can help the kidneys in their excretory function—a breathing process touching on the watery realm.

The essential oils of rosemary and lavender are known for their salutary effect on breathing and circulation.

Thus we can see how an oil may combine the therapeutic virtues of several substances. It can provide a full therapy that, administered via the skin, meets the human ego as it comes into relation to the soul, life, and physical bodies, strengthen­ing and sustaining in its tasks. Other heal­ing Dr. Hauschka Oils:

Birch Body and Massage Oil
Contains: Peanut Oil - Extracts of Birch Leaves, Arnica, Burdock Root, Nettle and Essential Oil of Anise and Fennel.
Functions: Stimulates and regulates elimination through kidneys, aids against rheumatism, and muscle and joint pain from osteoarthritis, warms.

Dwarf Pine Body and Massage Oil
Contains: Peanut Oil and Essential Oil of Dwarf Pine.
Functions: Loosens phlegm in the breathing organs. Use it for inhalation when having a cold. Good for rheuma­tism, gout. Use when body is cold. For allergic bronchitis, kidney and gall stones.

Lemonbalm Body and Massage Oil
Contains: Peanut Oil - oily extracts of Lemonbalm and Marjoram leaves, essen­tial oils of Fennel, Anise and Caraway.
Functions: Soothes cramps in inner organs, nervous stomach, liver and gall bladder problems.

Mallow Body and Massage Oil
Contains: Oily extracts of Mallow blossoms, Blackthorn blossoms, Elder blossoms, Linden blossoms, St. John's wort blossoms and esential oil of Laven­der and Geranium.
Functions: Helps metabolic pro­cesses, insomnia, strengthens a weak con­stitution, regulates breathing. Rub on chest, back and solar plexus.
For more information on Dr. Hauschka Blackthorn Oil and other skin care products call: Dr. Hauschka Cos­metics, (800) 247-9907.

Eileen Bristol shares a practice with Mark Eisen, M.D. in Chapel Hill, NC. She also lectures extensively.

Training in Rhythmical Massage is available through: The School for Rhythmical Mas­sage, P.O. Box 428, Philmont, NY 12565­-0428 (518) 672 4476.

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