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I used to get massages regularly, but have been dissuaded partly by my current insurance not covering it and partly by my focus on recovering from cardiac bypass surgery in April. I finally feel completely healed from the surgery and scheduled a massage last week.

When I get a massage, I focus my attention on sensation while keeping my breathing deep and regular. I view the sensation as a way to bring my attention to exactly what is happening in my body—in essence a mindfulness exercise. I follow the the moving hands, noticing which muscles are tight, which are relaxed, and how everything feels. It’s as if the moving fingers were continually saying: “Notice this. Notice this. Notice this.”

I track and notice sensation for about half of the massage. About half way through, I seem to tire of noticing and fall half asleep. But then it’s time to turn over and do the other side, so that wakes me back up—for a while anyway.

After a massage, I am much more aware of body sensations and posture. I find that I sit differently and hold myself differently. These changes last for several days, until habitual patterns reassert themselves.

I’ll get another massage in two weeks or so to refresh my body awareness.  I’ve found that as I get beyond the second massage, the benefits seem to be less.  It’s as if I were getting used to the massage and no longer receiving the same benefits.  I think that the massage penetrates the defenses until the defenses learn how to keep themselves intact.

The bottom line is that I’ll get a couple of massages then wait for perhaps six months before getting another one.  Changing masseuses “restarts the clock” as each masseuse has her own style and that reaches through defenses in different ways.

Anyway, I feel physically more relaxed.  That’s good, because tomorrow will be my next laser eye treatment!

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