Massage for the Mind, Body and Spirit: 5 stellar massage places in Koh Samui
For thousands of years, Classical Chinese Medicine has long held the belief that the mind, body, and spirit are one. This means that what we feel can impact us physically, just as how our body can affect our emotions. Having a strong spirit is a bit more difficult to explain. At its most simple, a strong spirit is recognised as a person with a calm mind and heart, with a good memory. Someone’s spirit is the glow you see when you look into their eyes.
Case Study: Mind-Body-Spirit connection
I once had a client who suffered from sinus congestion for the five years since her husband passed away. After one acupuncture session, her congestion cleared up. Yet the next day she was surprised when she began crying, and she cried for weeks. The sinus congestion did not come back. As you can see from this example, she didn’t fully grieve. Instead, she stuffed her sadness into her body, her spirit was not fully settled, and her emotions manifested in the physical symptoms of stuck nasal passages until it was released by acupuncture.
Western Scientific Views on the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection
According to Aristotle: “Soul and body, I suggest react sympathetically upon each other. A change in the state of the soul produces a change in the shape of the body and conversely, a change in the shape of the body produces a change in the state of the soul.”
Studies using a placebo have shown that what the mind is thinking and what is really happening in the present moment can not be distinguished; and as seen in brain scans, that the body can have the same physical responses from a person’s imagination as it does from actually being there. Therefore, we can use the mind-body-spirit connection to promote health and good feelings in the body.
Using the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection
The practice of guided imagery can be used to calm the mind and create peace in our hearts. We can close our eyes and picture ourselves at a location such as a waterfall or in a forest full of leafy trees, or whatever our calming place may be. When a person stays with this image for a few minutes or longer, a person’s breathing and heart rates will slow down, muscle tension will ease, and emotions will calm, bringing our bodies closer to a state of balance. With the Western concept of neuroplasticity (our brain’s ability to change), the more we train ourselves to return to balance, the stronger the pathways become in our minds, and the easier it is to return to this state of balance in the future.
“Attention to the human body brings healing and regeneration. Through awareness of the body we remember who we really are.” – Jack Kornfield
Common, Normal, and Well-Balanced
The best method is to build up your system so that you can be stronger than what our culture views as normal. It is a common misperception that people feel a bit stiff, have sluggish digestion, or tired eyes after doing hours of computer work. Yet it is not normal to feel that way. Eating foods that are good for you and being able to digest them well, getting ample sleep and waking feeling well-rested and energized, and doing some form of exercise is one key to maintaining normal health. Building your vital energy with practices such as qi gong, tai chi, or working with a practitioner to take appropriate tonic herbs, will help us be stronger than normal and is ideal for maintaining optimum well-being.
Returning to Balance
Inevitably, the demands of modern life do not promote a state of perfect balance and harmony all of the time. The trick is to notice the imbalance sooner, and when we veer off course, take action quicker to bring ourselves back to our true nature. Knowing our lifestyle risks and our own body and mind, we can plan ahead. If our body is better fortified from tonification and qi development practices, it is easier and quicker to return to a state of well-being.
As writers, we are at risk of overthinking and sitting too long. According to Chinese medical theory, too much thinking injures the spleen qi (our body’s natural vitality that is received from digestion), which can make us feel tired and lethargic, worried, and affect our ability to concentrate. Long hours of sitting, can injure the bones and we may develop back pain and stiffness. Prevention is more pleasant and effective than waiting until problems occur and dealing with symptoms when it becomes more serious.
Massage for Healing Body and Mind
With the abundance of affordable massages on Koh Samui, we have opportunity to tend more easily to our health and wellbeing. When our body feels good, our mind feels good. Personally, I like to get a massage at the end of a big deadline, or in moments when I feel stuck, or when I am in pain. In Chinese medicine, we say, “where there is movement, there is no pain.” If the energy is moving in our minds and bodies, we are less likely to get jammed up from writer’s block. If we are feeling good in our bodies, we are more likely to have motivation to sit for long hours at our desks, and can write more freely and efficiently.
Massage works by moving the stuck energy out of our bodies. It increases blood flow which brings more nutrients to the cells. It also gives us a chance to zone out and let our mind relax. Touch is therapeutic, and most of us receive less than the requisite five hugs per day. In addition, it just feels good.
In our next segment, we look at five massage places on the island, where you can lie on the beach listening to the rolling of the waves, or visit a tranquil, up-scale spa while a trained masseuse frees the mind, body, and spirit from all that blocks its creativity and flow.