“(Excellent) Health is a state of complete harmony of body, mind and spirit.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
“Your body hears everything your mind says.” – Naomi Judd
I’m an Acupuncturist and get Acupuncture treatments often.
Why do I also get regular Massage Therapy?
First of all, massage feels great. Massage can feel like floating on a cloud on a breezy, warm, summer day. All one’s worldly cares vanish into that liminal, dream-like state between being awake and sound asleep. It can feel, as though through magic, someone (the LMT) finds a very soothing, supportive means of slowly draining my mind-body continuum of all its fears and doubts, frustrations and anxieties. Massage therapy has a unique ability to allow one’s body-mind-spirit to pour out the world’s stressors that the body accumulates (usually unintentionally/subconsciously) throughout daily life.
Massage therapy can be miraculous at releasing unwanted mind-body accumulations. In Ayurveda, there is a word for these accumulations or toxins: ‘Ama’. ‘Ama’ usually refers to food or drink that was not properly digested and assimilated by the body, but can also refer to mental-emotional toxins or energetic ‘sludge’ that remains in the system until it feels safe and has a chance to allow it to leave the mind-body continuum. When these accumulations- Amas– stay in the system for long periods of time, they can eventually lead to greater problems or various ‘Amayas’ (disease). Fortunately, Massage Therapy is excellent at removing these physical and energetic toxins from the body and mind.
I particularly find that lymphatic drainage massage techniques are excellent at helping the body find an exit door for more mental or psychological-based Amas, whereas I find that myo-fascial or trigger point massage techniques excel at releasing Amas that are bound to the system on a more physical/bodily level. Of course, mind-body-spirit can never be separated completely. Still, I find that sometimes I need more of mental-emotional-lymphatic release and other times it feels like I just need work done on my tight I-T band or rhomboid muscles.
Can’t Acupuncture do all of this?
Well, yes, but it is different. First, it feels different. There is often more of a ‘flow’ feeling with massage where techniques are continuous. Acupuncture techniques are more sporadic. Massage, then, excels at unifying or integrating all of the trigger and acupuncture points and tissues at all levels and locals- from head to toe, epidermis down to bone.
While acupuncture is incredible at quick-focused release, massage works its wonders in a more broad-spectrum way, since it attends to a large majority of the body’s surface area. In an acupuncture session, however, it can be the case that only a handful of acupuncture points are chosen and thus, only those few areas are touched upon by the practitioner.
In other words, Therapeutic Massage and Acupuncture are like Yin and Yang- inseparable companions, each with their own invaluable strengths and efficacies.
To book a Therapeutic Massage session with Tho Lam, LMT, at Mind-Body Acupuncture, please visit www.acuforus.com (Located in the Rittenhouse/Grad Hospital area of Phila)
Tho focuses on Sports Massage, Myo-fascial release, PNF & Lymphatic Drainage techniques.
This article was written on June 16, 2022 by me, Dr. Aaron Cashman, DAOM, Acupuncturist-Herbalist and Founder of Mind-Body Acupuncture.
And, yes, Tho Lam is the highly-skilled therapist that I personally see almost every week.