“Healing begins with an aromatic bath and daily massage” Hippocrates 460 - 370BC
Healing begins with time out and touch. It’s so obvious that sometimes in needs to be pointed out in this busy world that we rush around in.
I took an hour out this afternoon to sit in the spring sun, eyes shut and listening both to the world around and the world within. It was a peaceful time, non pressured and easy. After a full week of mental fatigue it was good to sit and allow my thoughts to be sifted with the breeze.
It sounds idyllic, and it was, but why did I wait a week to do it?! If Hippocrates was extolling the virtues of daily self care through aromatic baths and daily massage, what makes me think that anything has changed? Our bodies, including our three minds of heart, stomach and brain, have not cosmically altered in the past few millennia, so I think it’s about time that I got back to the roots of Greek living and the true meaning of Holos.
Holos is Greek for “whole”, and we take it to mean all encompassing; the entirety of something. And this is where we get the term “Holistic”, the approach to helping the whole body be treated and encouraging an ongoing equilibrium of health.
In todays society I am encouraged to see more people coming to me seeking a regular massage, not to necessarily treat one specific ailment, but instead to use it as a bolster to help them through out the weekly comings and goings that life brings. Massage can give 90mins of time out on the couch where the body is touched and treated with care, the tension is soothed away, tight muscles are passively stretched and warmth and oil nurtures the whole being. One of the main reasons why I don’t work with music is so that the minds can calm with out any input and the body can relax in a space without over stimulus. Instead of seeing massage as a one off luxury, people are again embracing it as an aid to help with their over all health.
Along with a good diet, other therapeutic approaches such as counselling, movement, skin care and the like, regular massage can help the body calm by lowering blood pressure and anxiety, improve circulation and so lower swelling around joints, it can improve skin texture and, if essential oils are incorporated, can help with a plethora of problems both physically and mentally.
The reason why I am prepared to go along with a Greek dude that lived over 2500 years ago is that he had a great point. If we allow time to bathe daily and enjoy some peace and space in warming water that is filled with beautiful scents that help nurture our mind and soul, and if we embrace the healing properties of the plants around us through the massage oils that we apply daily, then maybe we can all gain regular and reliable peace within the chaos.