Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Heal me?

When I'm feeling out of sorts physically, as I have been lately, I step back into my hippie-child roots and long for some kind of healer to take me out of my suffering.

As a former massage therapist, I have seen a lot of strange things in the bodily realm. There is the unforgettable offer to be taught the "Tibetan Love Hug"--a modality, dubiously named, in which the "practitioner" holds the "client" on his lap, rocking back and forth and emitting a divine "light." Yeah, I know. I passed on the demo. When I was hiring other therapists for the Spa where I was director, there was the equally unforgettable fellow with the "little half-shoes," a pair of sawed-off shoes that he expected his clients to wear so he didn't have to touch the tops of their feet. His sample massage consisted of clicking my heels together in a "there's no place like home" fashion and then pressing certain pressure points on my back.

There were those horrible couple of months when I feared that one of the ladies I rented a room to in my massage office was a lady of the night--as evidenced by her futon, mouthwash, baby oil and tissues , host of seedy looking customers, tendency to do her work in spiked heels and leather bustiers-- and not a massage table in sight.

I've personally experienced a "shamanic" clearing, Feldenkreis (excellent), Breema, Reiki, integrated awareness and some things for which I'm not sure there is a name.

But I've only ever met one woman who deserves the title of healer, and whose "skill" I simply can't account for.

I went to see Sasheen Littlefeather for tight neck and jaw. My friend Rita recommended her to me. Sasheen touted herself as a "lymphatic drainage massage therapist." Upon my arrival she commanded me to strip and then stand before her, naked, for an assessment. Why I did not feel even a twinge of embarrassment I don't know, and I have never felt that comfortable with any practitioner since. She sized me up then eased me up onto her table. At that time I was having the first of a life-long set of issues with my digestion. I didn't know what was wrong with me at the time, only that 90% of what I ate made my stomach hurt among other things.

"Hmmm," she said, laying hands on me. "You need to be eating different food." She rattled off a list of items, stopping over brown rice. "No, even brown rice is too harsh for you...try millet."

I didn't think much of what she said, nor did I have time to as her big, bold hands began to contort my body into a world of pain. Good pain. Pain that tells you something is going to change inside you. Pain that, while it pulled me so close to my threshhold that at one point I felt the wavering blackness of unconsciousness seek to grip me, never made me feel afraid of it.

As she worked on my jaw--the source of most of the pain--she warned me: "I'm going to hit a place that for some people is a source of much emotion." I thought nothing of it, but a moment later (and while I may be sensitive, i'm not THAT suggestible), she pressed a spot way up high in the back of the left side of my jaw and it was as if she had pressed the "Uncontrollable sob" button in my body. A flood of tears and a huge, gut-wrenching, body-gripping sob escaped my body. If you know me, you know that I don't cry with much relish in front of others, and that when I do, I hide behind my hands and sniff daintily into tissue. This was a full body sob. It quite literally felt like a wave. She let go, chuckled and said, "Oh, I'm so sorry." I felt that she was sorry for the pain I held, not that she had caused me to feel it.

Two weeks after my visit, with a jaw that felt freer on its hinges than ever before, I went to see a nutritionist over the moutning pain in my guts. It turned out that I had food allergies, and when all the tests were done and I got my list of "safe" foods to eat EVERY SINGLE ONE of the items that Sasheen had rattled off after simply touching my body once were on that list. Even millet.

8 Comments:

At 7:29 AM, Blogger Fey Wren said...

That's pretty amazing. I'd like to try that kind of assessment myself.

Wonder if there's anyone here in Ontario who does that kind of thing...

Fey

 
At 7:54 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

It can't hurt to seek it out...

J

 
At 12:06 PM, Blogger Jennifer Mills Kerr said...

Where does this amazing practitioner work? I could use some TLC--intense as this sounds. (By the way, the name Sasheen Littlefeather is the same name of the woman who stood in for Marlon Brando at the Oscars, and rejected the prize for him.)
Jenny

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Jenny: She IS the same Sasheen who accepted Brando's award :) She was in San Rafael last. Email me; I might have her # still...

J

 
At 5:34 PM, Blogger Katie said...

That is amazing. I love a good hard massage.

 
At 6:26 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

My good friend's sister "heals" for a living -- she uses stones, incense, music, no actual laying on of hands -- and when my friend suggested I pay a visit to her sister (at that time, I was plagued by constant bouts of lung infections, tiredness, stress-induced aches), I scoffed at the idea. But I went, anyway, out of respect for my friend. Thought, what the hell, it can't hurt.

Well, it certainly didn't hurt, and it surprised me how much better I felt, not only during the healing, but for a long time afterward...Power of the mind? Maybe. But I'm thinking I'm long overdue for another visit.

 
At 7:04 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

You know, Ms. Lori, we say "power of the mind" like that's no big deal...but think how amazing it is that for some, SUGGESTIONS are enough to help the brain heal the body...

I am a healthy skeptic, but I believe in the power to heal, among other otherwise kooky sounding things :) (When your father consults psychics, you learn to accept a lot of things...)

 
At 6:54 PM, Blogger zhoen said...

Actually, went in for a massage with a woman who does traditional massage as well as 'zero point balancing.' When she sat me up at the end, I burst into wracking sobs, almost emotionless, felt more like projectile vomiting than tears. I cry on masssage tables all the time, I've had great massages. This was entirely different, very disturbing, and ultimately healing.

 

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