I am pleased to announce the opening of a new office for massage at 63 Main St, Putney. This is a Covid enforced change for me as I have been providing home-based massages to the community for the past five years. Along with this news, I wanted to share a reflection about why I do massage inspired by what we have all been through in the past year. It is my hope that you may find it empowering whether you are interested in massage or not.
We have all endured a year of extraordinary life disruptions such as isolation at home and social distancing. So what is our human organisms “normal” response to the threat of a deadly virus requiring such measures?
How about struggles with exhaustion? Or memory problems; short fuses; fractured productivity; sudden drops into despair and a roller coaster of excitement and nerves at the prospect of life opening up again?
Quite likely you have experienced some of these responses but worried something was wrong with you. Yet according to psychologist Christine Runyan, these are among the many predictable and expected responses of our amazing survival-tuned nervous system with its flight/fight system on hyper alert. In a March 18th interview with Krista Tippet from the radio show “On Being”, Runyan said, “So much of my message is if we can understand and appreciate what we are experiencing at that level, then whoever you are and whatever you are feeling…well, like of course! Of course you are feeling that. Look at our current conditions and its a normal response to incredibly unfamiliar unusual unpredictable uncontrollable circumstances.”
I highly recommend listening to the entire interview. Runyan’s explains how our bodies respond to stress, what we might then be feeling and thinking because of that response, and gently insists that we need to understand this as “normal” in order to increase our chances of managing our reactions for our well-being. I found her so well spoken, understandable and empowering that I wondered why we had not been hearing from her every week of the pandemic in public service announcements!
She certainly illuminated the nature of my own heart-break at having to shut down my massage practice during this “no touch” year when she observed, “Our nervous systems know touch. They know closeness and a hug and to not be able to do those things when people are really hurting has been a huge loss and there’s much grief there.”
The inability to provide much needed stress relief to the many clients I came to care about after five years of practice induced a persistent sense of loss for me during the isolation.
Touch is one of the most soothing acts we can offer another person to calm our over-activated flight/fight systems. The messages conveyed through caring touch during massage are profoundly meaningful to our bodies. Such touch says “I’ve got you.” “You are safe.” “Relax and rest.” In the nervous systems response to touch comes the beginning of healing.
Now the year of “no touch” is thankfully ending. I am happy to announce a return to my massage practice with the opening of a new office in Putney. Having an office is a new adventure for me as I demobilize from years of home visits. I surely enjoyed outfitting a small “nest” dedicated to relaxation and healing. I now invite you to join me there, should you feel so inclined, to celebrate together the restorative power of deep relaxation.
With best wishes,
Michael J. Daley
my website is: www.michaeljdaley.com
the link to the Runyan interview is: Christine Runyan — What’s Happening in Our Nervous Systems? | The On Being Project – The On Being Project