Massage and Mental Health


There is much more talk now about mental health like it is something we discovered during the lockdown, (the Social Workers must be cringing) that I decided to see how many instances I can label.  In reviewing my journals I saw an entry from 2006 of conversation with an Editor of a magazine about submitting a few short stories for their annual competition.  They had published some of my poems before, but I felt a bit anxious at the mental images of critics taking me apart with their words.  Delusional…that they would even notice.  He asked: Why do you write?  It took a moment for me to respond.  I write to create mirrors…  I write to create instances of recognition in hearts through the experiences I share.  From where I stand now that’s a lie.  It’s mental exercise, therapy.  Has nothing to do with anyone else.  Anyway, he felt my response was good reason for us to proceed with the publishing conversation.

Without explanation I stopped talking to him.  Avoidant personality disorder?   Human behaviour is complex.  It is governed by the mind, which is remarkably sophisticated.  Depending on where we stand in the light, our shadow is the best view we have of ourselves.  I could have chosen to build on the relationship I had with the magazine, but my mind spiraled out to the ‘what ifs.’  I didn’t want the pressure of meetings, expectations, deadlines, rewritings, etc.  I just wanted the simplicity of writing what I feel like when I feel like.  I hid myself, while maintaining some curiosity as to how successful this can be.  And when I surfaced again, my clients and students were my readership.

I sat in a maxi recently and a man was talking on his phone about a child who he swore was demon-possessed.  He recounted incidents of negative mood and behaviour at home and school.  The child makes trouble wherever he goes.  Seeking attention?  How do we choose between conduct disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder?  It’s challenging in these times where as a parent you can’t pinch the child’s ear or squeeze their biceps.  And even as you grapple with how to execute discipline, you might be told that your child is gifted by someone whose child is a creative loner who is too smart, challenges authority, and quite sensitive at the same time.  Autism spectrum disorder? Help me, is the child mentally ill or having a spiritual awakening crisis?  And is one a precursor of the other?

For some parents the recognition of the gift as coming from the spiritual realm brings a desire to understand the energies to which they are aligned.  A bit frustrating, as some children sometimes don’t seem to have the vocabulary to describe their experiences and opt for selective mutism.  Parents may seek guidance and plead with the spirit realm to delay the interactions with the child as there is evidence that early initiations can deprive children of their childhood.  (Does it matter when negatives influences like bullying and domestic violence are depriving them anyway?) So, agreements are made for later in life.  Then they forget, and seem just as shocked as the young adult when the paradigm starts to shift.

When I was a child there was a red skinned slim lady on our street who they called: Mady Pinky.  Hair unkempt.  Underwear showed, whatever she wore.  Cussed, smoked, drank, prostituted.  Periodically returned to the family home and caused confusion.  We understood she was mad, as in schizoid…  I remember sitting in another maxi which made a sudden stop to facilitate a passenger.  A wagon pulled up and the female driver accosted the maxi man for not putting on his indicator.  He tried to drive off.  She angled her car so he would jam it if he moved.  She wanted him to admit his wrong.  He heckled at her.  She took a paper cup with some remaining beverage and pelted it out her car at him.  Put on your indi-f**king-cator!  And she drove off.  Was that an auto-part on the maxi?  Anyway, was she having a moment of dissociative identity disorder?

I try to appreciate that the cognitive function has many distortions and we need to find other, or higher means of perception, because I can see mental illness in the beautiful woman who has chosen to be chronically obese as a means of protecting herself, having been raped years ago when she had a slim sexy body.  In shifting my perception, I am returning to the concept of chakras.  It is said that our Mental body is governed by the Sacral Chakra, aka the central point of the Hara, the Tan Tien, the reservoir of Chi, the distribution point for Chi, the most energetic and stable point in the body.  Yet, in all its effervescence, the mind is a very unstable element because the mental body and, the mind by default, are reflected in the sacral chakra where originates the perception of separateness.  We can literally see that one person has male genitals; another has female genitals.

Woman in depression

We subconsciously know this normalcy is abnormal.  We have fixations.  We desire oneness.  Union.  Sex…as an expression of love, of course.  Ah!  Regardless, sex is a necessity as it directs the thinker to recognize how he/she can move past the polarity and achieve union…with the Divine.  Reunion of the opposites. (To reinforce this, every argument should probably end in sex as a demonstration of having moved from the poles).  Hence deep enough suppression may result in depression.  That is, we develop mental health issues from imbalances in our Sacral/Sacred Center. And because it is from here that Chi is distributed, the imbalance is/can be sent throughout the body creating havoc without us ever making the connection.  Energy goes where the mind goes.

This is not to say that infants and octogenarians should have sex.  But rather that we recognize what are our individual symptoms that indicate that we are becoming polarized in ways that negatively impact us, and seek to balance ourselves.  And if we do decide unification through sex as the resolution, we then try to purify our intentions before sex, because sex, time, karma, and the mind are related.  So when we enter into the vortex of that reunion things come through from other timelines that we love and find useful, but also some things that we probably incarnated in this body to avoid.  Oops!  Now we have even more mental issues to grapple with.  I thought there’s just one life…

Back to the child…  He/she is now an adult and as prearranged, got initiated into the teachings of the organization of their, or their parents’ choice.  The disciple must be disciplined.  Follow protocols.  There is guidance on controlling one’s mind in order to perceive the higher visions that came naturally when he/she was a child.  Sex keeps showing up.  All kinds of old sexual memories arise along with strange new desires.  The disciple binds, and loose, and casts out.  Sex continues to occupy space in the mind.  What the leaders might have neglected to say is that all our past-life offenses to sexual ethics have to be addressed.  Yep.  You were here before and you weren’t sainted the last time you left.  Thus the spanking new initiate is thoroughly overwhelmed while trying to look like they have it figured out.  Might even experience mood episodes.

It is no surprise that he/she reaches for sex as desire, as gratification, as release.  It soothes, and that which soothes can become addictive.  So he/she repeatedly returns to the Tan Tien to collect Chi to chaperone the ill-intentions, sense of power or loss of it, guilt, failure, etc.  All is never lost.  The Sacral Chakra is regulated primarily through the breath and meditation.  Yes, deep, complete breaths help the stabilization of the mental body.  But even as this seems an easy solution, we have to consider that emotional trauma, especially in childhood, sets the pattern of breathing for life.  It pushes us into the mind and out of the emotions, and it is believed that in this very moment the subconscious awareness of the function of the Hara as storehouse for feeding the body with energy, then shifts to an awareness of separateness.  The fixer-upper being sex.  It’s a treadmill.

And what about the children who had no emotional trauma?  I’d have to say “No comment” because I thought that we all suffered separation anxiety disorder when they cut that umbilical cord.  Are all mental illnesses arising from sex?  The sacral chakra, not sex.  But then again, given the influence of the chakra during sex, concept, pregnancy, and childbirth it can be suggested that we were born with whatever mental illness we display at the various points of our lives. While many societies for the development of the mind of the male are overt, it is critical that we better know those available for the female.  And not with the view of remedying abuse, but for better self-awareness and socialization.  But that’s what the underpaid Social Workers have long been saying.

Man Peering Through Window Blinds — Image by © Michael Prince/Corbis

For me the question is whether periodic displays of mental stress make a person mentally ill.  Or, is it like the physical body in which we can feel a bit of pain, but generally function effectively?  As Massage Therapists, we have always been in the forefront doing our best to manage mental illness, whether or not we are aware of the name of the condition presented.  A few familiar ones are:

*Somatic symptom and mood disorders – clients with pain that has no apparent physical or physiological basis

*Exhibitionistic disorder – clients with the urge for genital exposure to us

*Frotteuristic disorder – clients with the urge to rub the genitals against us

*Voyeuristic disorder – clients with the urge to see us disrobed

*Paranoid – clients who are quick to take offense

*Histrionic – clients who require constant reassurance about their attractiveness

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