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Embodiment and Bodywork

Sensation And Healing

The state of embodiment implies a perception of our physicality as well as a relationship to our sensations outside the realm of thinking. In other words, we are engaged much more in the brain stem rather than the neocortical part of our brain. Embodiment is a form of connectedness — the awareness of how our bodies are related to the rest of our state of being.

Thoughts are only a part of the sense of embodiment if they are perceived as felt physical sensations. Most of us are engaged primarily in disembodied thought. We convince ourselves that we feel what we are thinking, but what is actually happening is a merging of the meanings of thinking, sensing, and feeling into each other. We need to distinguish the experience of these processes separately. A big part of the healing process requires us to delve into the silent, felt world of sensation and perception.

There is great value in both thinking and sensing. We don’t really need to assign a hierarchy of value. As with all aspects of life, it is not the action that matters as much as the perspective and consciousness with which it is done. I learned how expansive the discovery could be when thinking occurs separately from sensing, and not simultaneously as a running internal commentary. The desire to label an experience or sensation as it is occurring limits it. The ability to be in the experience of sensing one’s body without commentary allows for an infinite interweaving of healing possibilities. It is impossible to be simultaneously in the realm of language and be open to new experiences of healing for which words might not exist.

It is in this realm of the ‘silent experience’ during our bodywork at Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto, where our own attention to sensing, without thinking, can actually enhance the process of internal bodymind healing so that the organic intelligence residing in us can actually bring wholeness to our living, breathing system unimpeded by the running commentary that is usually going on with us. This in essence is the strength of conscious bodywork – the joining of quiet attention of both the practitioner and the receiver with the inherent healing processes waiting to happen unencumbered.

~ Lucia Miracchi and Bonnie Gintis