How Mindful Medical Massage, Bodywork &
Yoga Therapies Are REAL Wellness & Elegant
After 40 years as a Neuro-Musculo-Fascial Therapist, I’ve been frustrated by how often someone like a massage therapist says “we don’t really fix anything.” Or so many doctors think massage JUST makes you “feel better,” but is not a “serious medical modality.”
This became VERY, and painfully, obvious when, during the COVID Lockdowns began in 2020, Massage Therapy (which includes bodywork) was classified as a “Non-Essential” trade. That put ME out of work for well over a year, and the repercussions lasted for another year after the lockdowns were lifted. (That’s an entire article or even a book in itself!)
So just how NON-essential was *I* as a Whole Health Practitioner specializing in Muscle Therapy?
• How about my Client scheduled for a SECOND hip replacement on the SAME hip because the metal appliance they installed on his femur was breaking through the wall of his pelvis? And they were going to try and “fix” it?
You can see an article on that HERE … But the result is in THREE 90-minute, hands-on therapy sessions, he was out of pain, with full restoration of range of motion. And he was a solo-carpenter carrying his own drywall, plywood, tools etc. A year later he was still out of pain without further treatment, although I did show him a few stretches to help maintain the results.
• Or the woman scheduled for a major double surgery to straighten a 75-degree lumbar (low back) scoliosis? (Including opening her up her belly, moving her intestines out of the way, and removing an entire vertebrae. Then two days later put two rods up the sides of her spine. … The details of that surgical process make me sadder every time I think about it.) The very first time I worked with her, she said her pain was substantially reduced.
Illustration to right is a line tracing approximation. Original X-ray is protected by HIPPA regulations
• Or the woman with a severe pain in her neck for 20 plus years that fully interfered with her life? She worked with various practitioners to manage the pain for many years. We found a “knot” (hypertonic muscle) at the base of her neck that I was able to “dissolve” with manual therapy. It took a lot of work, but we got her substantially put of pain.
• Or the man who was scheduled for a spinal surgery? I met him on a bus in Boston, and showed him three stretches. I did NO manual therapy with him. I ran into him a couple of weeks later, and he said he felt like a million bucks and he had cancelled the surgery.
• Or the gentleman in Sedona who was looking for an orthopedist to help him with a major pain in his upper right hip and lower right back? His right hamstring was literally like a steel cable. It took a LOT of work, but we got that hamstring to relax & lengthen, taking the pressure off his hip and back. … after getting him out of pain two years ago, he gets a 3-hour maintenance session every other week just as an “insurance policy.”
Or this Testimonial from a Medical Doctor:
Having had experience with many different bodyworkers, David’s technique is certainly unique. There are levels of healing he achieves I’ve never seen before. This is clearly a result of a vast knowledge of anatomy and physiology combined with decades of hands-on experience.
~ Dr. John Bordiuk
Nutritional M.D. & Yoga Teacher
Inner Balance Med • Wellesley, MA
Or this Testimonial from a Chiropractor:
I have worked with many soft tissue therapists over the years. David Scott Lynn is the only one educated and skilled enough to do what I want with full confidence that the job will be done. My patients definitely feel the difference.
~ Gary Fujinami • Doctor of Chiropractic
East-West Chiropractic & Acupuncture Center
After 40-years of specializing in working with people who have extreme, chronic, non-responsive problems, I can go on and on with such stories. And I know therapists all over the country who get similar results with THEIR Clients.
SO … How many of THOSE people do you think call me “non-essential.”
The Point Is … Properly done, Massage / Bodywork Therapy, as well as Yoga Therapy, can produce excellent results for their Clients or Patients. And it is non-toxic, non-invasive, and if you believe the extremely low insurance actuarials, the potential danger from massage or bodywork, or yoga, is minimal at most.
Yet because no drugs or surgery are involved, such therapies are looked down upon by orthodox medical doctors. Many osteopaths and chiropractors don’t put much stock in what we do either.
WHAT Is Medicine?
There is a great difference between the various meanings of the word medicine.
A good place to start is the writings of the Great Physicist, David Bohm. Bohm did much work attempting to bridge the gap between modern sciences from a Western perspective, versus the introspective insights from the Eastern religions, such as yoga and Hinduism.
The root word and meaning of the word medicine is mederi, or to measure.
Bohm describes in some detail the difference between the Inner and Outer approaches to “measuring,” as a means to perceiving, understanding, and operating in the world.
Here is an excerpt from his book, Wholeness and the Implicate Order:
In this regard, measure was not looked on in its modern sense as being primarily some sort of comparison of an object with an external standard or unit. Rather, this latter procedure was regarded as a kind of outward display or appearance of a deeper ‘inner measure,’ which played an essential role in everything. When something went beyond its proper measure, this meant not merely that it was not conforming to some external standard of what was right but, much more, that it was inwardly out of harmony, so that it was bound to lose its integrity and break up into fragments.
One can obtain some insight into this way of thinking by considering the earlier meanings of certain words. Thus, the Latin ‘mederi’ meaning ‘to cure’ (the root of modern ‘medicine’) is based on a root meaning ‘to measure.’ This reflects the view that physical health is to be regarded as the outcome of a state of right inward measure in all parts and processes of the body.
Similarly, the word ‘moderation,’ which describes one of the prime ancient notions of virtue,is based on the same root, and this shows that such virtue was regarded as the outcome of a right inner measure underlying man’s social actions and behaviour. Again, the word ‘meditation,’ which is based on the same root, implies a kind of weighing, pondering, or measuring of the whole process of thought, which could bring the inner activities of the mind to a state of harmonious measure. So, physically, socially and mentally, awareness of the inner measure of things was seen as the essential key to a healthy, happy, harmonious life. [Emphasis added]
Wholeness and the Implicate Order
~ David Bohm
Routledge Classics, 1980
SO … So-called modern medicine has moved almost exclusively toward “outer measure” rather than an “inner measure” of the Client or Patient’s “inner physiology” or “inner reality,” or however you’d like to describe it.
Mederi also means to meditate, to moderate, to mediate, to cure.
The C/P is relegated to a passive observer in the process. They have no real participation beyond reporting a few symptoms. Even many years ago, JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) published an article describing how little time the typical physician gives the typical patient to describe their conditions or complaints.
There is NO meditation or mindfulness engaged at all.
WHAT Is Mindfulness?
Meditation and Mindfulness are closely related, but not quite the same.
Meditation is more about quieting the mind so as to be totally perceptive of “what is” within the present moment. It is a reduction or stopping of thinking, of the verbalizations of the mind, or images or memories occupying the conceptual mind. Meditation is more of a free-flowing of awareness.
Concentration is the opposite. Concentration is when your mind is fully focused on a specific or narrow sensation, object, or idea. Or what someone is saying. Whereas meditation is expansive — with NO “Point of View,” or is very widely UN-focused — concentration is fully focused within or toward a relatively narrow point of view.
Mindfulness is somewhere in between, maybe closer to meditation than concentration. It is about using a small amount of relaxed willpower to invest the somewhat quieted mind into a particular activity or sensation. But it is NOT much about thinking about what you are doing. It is being openly attentive and aware, of FEELING what you are doing.
Whether it be martial arts, athletics of other kinds, or musicians, or various activities, there are generally three phases of becoming “great” at the activity.
The first phase is your thinking mind gets interested in some activity that catches your interest or attention
Then if your interest level persists, your mind focuses in and motivates you to start practicing the movements necessary to perform the activity. You do this relatively constantly and repetitively until the activity becomes embedded (or “conditioned”) into your neuromuscular system. (Some people call this “muscle memory.” However it is more accurately called neuro-musculo-fascial memory.)
Then, in order to move to the Level of a Master, your mind starts reducing the amount of “control” it exerts over your movements & actions. You become more fully aware of just being in the present moment, without thinking too much or “commanding” your body to do the actions. The movements & actions begin to spontaneously emerge with great interest & energy, but without big doses of willpower.
One characteristic of meditation and mindfulness is your field of awareness is expanded to be more likely to perceive, feel or cognize what you are less likely to notice if you are in deep in thought. Thought is, to a great degree, an aggregate of memories projecting into the future.
Think of a time you were in conversation with someone. Then they said something that made you think of something else, maybe related, maybe not. And you were now thinking about what they said, or about something else. But either way, you soon realized you were no longer hearing what they were saying. …
Then you get embarrassed and ask them to repeat what they said. Or you try to fake it and piece it together by what they say next. Or something along those lines. … So them talking was what was “happening” in the “present moment.” But you were not hearing them because your thinking took over your conscious awareness for that moment.
SO, when it comes to Mind-Body Medicine … You might have heard the phrase “listen to your body.” But your body does not speak in English. It communicates more in feeling states & movements caused by what’s going on deeper in your body and mind. In order to HEAR those messages from the body, your THINKING mind needs to be more quiet so that your FEELING mind can “hear” what’s being said in that moment.
As you practice and become more skilled at feeling and interpreting your body, and becoming more educated and informed about how your body works, you become more competent at evaluating and responding to what the messaged from your body are telling you.
It should be obvious that the more accurate and relevant information you have, the better your responses to “reality” can and even will be. Yet this is dependent on the quality of your knowledge and insight is accurate and properly applied to the current situation.
So now, when you go to the doctor or therapist, you can tell them more about what is REALLY going on within your BodyMind. That’s in part because enow you are staring to realize your body is not just the vehicle carrying your mind around. You start to realize the sensations snd movement off your body are actually a part of your mind.
Now, in your health and medical care, you can move from being a passive spectator, just letting your doctor tell you what to do, or just having your therapist manipulate your body. You move into Participatory Medicine, where you are a full, active participant in the process.
Now, it is true. Some doctors and therapists with control issues will NOT like that. They might push back at or on you, assuming a more authoritarian “doctor knows best” attitude. … If so, and they do not cooperate, I suggest you find a different doctor or therapist.
WHAT Is Wellness?
WELL, that’s an interesting, wide-ranging topic. And it is mostly determined by YOU. It’s about fulfilling YOUR criteria about how you want to feel, what you want to be able to DO in the World & Life. It’s about being more proactive in your actives and lifestyle. … And YOU are the one who sets the objectives
Wellness operates in several areas or levels.None are more important than the other, but we’ll start with the pure physical survival level and work from there. But none of them can function well , or at all, without the others.
1.) The Structural Level is the musculoskeletal system. This the bone & joint structure, which is powered by the neuro-musculo-fascial system. This is the outer level system allowing you to move around and actually DO things, like go hunt for food or play the guitar or piano or go for a walk or do pushups. … And almost NOTHING happens in the body without muscle action. Breathing, the digestive organs, blood & lymph circulation, blinking your eyes, and so on.
For example, the intestines are made of a thin layer of muscle. The contraction and relaxation of the intestines is what moves digesting food through the intestines via peristaltic action. These muscles are subject to excess stress & tension, and can become over contracted and more rigid. Therefore they cannot expand and contract enough to push food through the intestinal tubes. If transit time of the waste materials slows down, for waste particles get caught in the walls of the intestines, a number of metabolic health problems can develop.
If your chest muscles get too tight, or your abdominal muscles get too tight, then the expansion and contraction of your lungs is diminished. This restricts breathing capacity. This affects the quantity and exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs. So for some people, if you relax their abdominal muscles, the lungs can expand more freely, and they sometimes suddenly feel a LOT better from being able to breathe more freely.
2.) The Metabolic Level is the digestive & respiration systems. These are what brings oxygen into the body, and processes the food once you’ve begun chewing it through the elimination of it. (Chewing is at the crossroads between your Structural and Metabolic functions.) The act of chewing is structural in that it requires muscles & bones, and teeth, to accomplish. Yet it is also the first stage of getting the raw material into the digestive system. And it is muscles that expand your chest cavity to draw air into your lungs.
And then, the digestive system has the components of the elimination and detox systems, which have very a different function compared to the actual digestion. Almost to the point that you go to two or more different therapists to work with your nutritional system (diet & supplements) and your elimination system (colonics, sauna, and breathing techniques).
But the Metabolic Level provides the fuels & building materials to keep the structure running. So, which one is more important is kind of a moot question. And if there was no structural system, what would be the point of even having a metabolic system? … Your brain and mind would get very bored if they did not have some muscles to boss around!
3.) The Circulatory Level is probably best thought of as part of the metabolic system. Yet it has unique characteristics fully affected by and deeply penetrating the structural system. As in the circulatory system penetrates deeply into the musculo-fascial system, and it feeds the muscle system, and takes toxins and waste away from the muscle system, but it gets its usable products from the metabolic system.
So, is the Circulatory system more a part of the metabolic system? Or more a part of the structural system? Or a bridge between the two? Or what?
HMMM??? Are we starting to see a pattern here? Maybe it’s all one integrated system with various aspects to it? But the majority of our orthodox, so-called “modern” medical system is highly reductionist in nature. It reduces various aspects of the body down to its component parts. Rarely is the orthodox physician thinking in terms of all systems operating as a one, integrated whole system.
BUT, before getting too down on the doctors, the new wave of Health Consultants that has been flourishing, who ARE very valuable, are somewhat reductionist as well. They tend to focus on the nutritional aspects of health, diet and detox. Yet not too many of them have a significant knowledge of the structural system of how the muscle system is an intimate element of the metabolic and circulatory system.
4.) The Nerve Level is the Control system. It connects the brain to every tiny part of the structural system, the bones and muscles.
WHAT Is Elegant Anti-Aging?
The idea of Anti-Aging has been around for a LONG time. The Search for the mythical Fountain of Youth goes back many centuries, if not millennia. Ken Wilber wrote a book on how the history of mankind is in part dominated by the idea of avoiding death.
Signs or Markers of “Aging” …
Lost Strength & Endurance
Reduced Flexibility & Resilience
Loss of energy
Aches & Pains
What Is Medical Massage?