Healing Benefits Of A Massage Alternative Put To The Test... Results
by Bob Olson, OfSpirit.com Editor
You’d think the editor of a holistic magazine would be knowledgeable
about things like shiatsu, Reiki or polarity, but nobody can really
understand something until they have personally experienced it. Now that
I’ve experienced a bodywork session that utilized all three of these
modalities, I’m unexpectedly hooked. All my previous misconceptions have
been shamefully proven wrong, and I now understand why people are using
their lunch hours to relax and rebalance with an energy bodywork session.
have never been keen on having my shoulders or feet massaged, so the only
bodywork I’ve had done is on my car. As a result, my knowledge of
therapeutic energy healing has been sadly limited to the articles I’ve
edited for OfSpirit.com. It was time I had a personal experience, and De
Costanza of Wayland, Massachusetts, was
willing to accept an ignorant and slightly skeptical new client.
skepticism stemmed from my suspicion that the benefits of bodywork, or any
kind of energy healing, resulted more from a placebo effect than anything
physiological (boy, was I misguided). So I walked into the bodywork room
like a cop begins an interrogation—suspicious and safeguarded. De
Costanza wasn’t shaken. She is one of those people who is grateful for
rain because the flowers and plants need the water—eternally optimistic.
I couldn’t help but to feel my energy lift just being in her presence.
She handed me a sheet of questions about my health and left the room while
I filled them out. Some interrogator I turned out to be, now I
was the one being quizzed.
De returned, I learned that my answers to the questions helped her assess
the energy needs within my body. The bodywork she was about to do on me
would harmonize that energy, thereby balancing my body for better health
and healing. After hopping up on the bodywork table (all the work is done
while the client is fully clothed), De turned on some relaxing music and
began working her magic.
that I was a little uncomfortable with strangers touching me
(psychotherapists will have a field day with that remark), De Costanza began with a
“head cradle,” which was basically just her holding my head in her
hands as a Reiki technique. I don’t know exactly what she was doing (the
word "craniosacral" was mentioned), but
with the comforting music and her occasional shift in hand position, it
was causing tingling goose bumps to spread all over my body. I don’t want
to admit that I was already beginning to enjoy this session, but my mind
was opening to the possibilities.
Reiki head cradle turned into a polarity technique that has something to
do with gas release. I’m glad I didn’t know about that at the time or
I wouldn’t have been able to stop from giggling. It is now my
understanding that this involves some type of gas inside the head, not
some other place. If you had asked me while it was happening, I would have
guessed she was just massaging my skull. Regardless of the technical
aspects of this polarity method, I was beginning to float on air and we
couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes into the session.
can’t tell you the exact order of everything from this point, because I
was in a deep mental state of blissful euphoria, but I recall De applying
some sort of acupressure on my arms and legs that I later learned was
shiatsu. Whatever it was, it felt like tension was being released from my
muscles with every move she made. Sometimes she would actually stretch my
arms or rotate my shoulders, ankles or wrists so that every last bit of
resisting stress surrendered. By the time she had worked from my head to
my feet, I finally understood what it would be like as a noodle, and we
were only halfway through the hour.
one part I really expected to dislike was the footwork, which she does
using a combination of reflexology and polarity. I don’t know if it was
the peppermint cream or the fact that I was numbingly comatose by the time
she got to my feet, but I didn’t experience anything uncomfortable, just a deeper
sense of relaxation. When De finally asked me to roll over so she could
work on my back, I wondered if I might possibly melt right into the table.
the back work, De Costanza strategically saved the best for last. I never realized
how much my back is neglected. Yet it wasn’t just my back, but also the
back of my arms and legs that got massaged, stretched, rotated and rocked.
I thought to myself how the person who invented this combination of Reiki,
polarity and shiatsu in one all-encompassing session must have truly been
a genius. I later learned that De, herself, created this specific program
that she uses, which she named her “Integrated Energy Therapy”
session. The name didn’t mean much to me before we started, but when I
understood how she integrated the three bodywork methods into one
therapeutic energy technique, I realized the name was perfectly
about an hour, the session was over. De left the room instructing me to
take my time sitting upright and getting off the table. As I left her
office, my only regret was that I had to fight five o’clock traffic
during my two-hour ride home. I was afraid I would undo all the relaxation
and tension release De had provided. Instead, I glided home, never
noticing the hustle and bustle of the stressed-out commuters.
I had to describe my experience with De Constanza’s polarity, Reiki and shiatsu
technique in only a few words, I would narrow it down to a combination of
deep massage and meditative relaxation. That’s my layman’s
perspective, anyway. Most people have a pretty good idea of what a massage
is like, so I’d have to call this the “massage alternative” for
those who don’t like the nakedness of traditional massage or seek the
strategic meridian acupressure of the energy therapies. It’s no wonder
why so many people claim that this energy work has healing benefits. If
you have ever read Dr. Herbert Benson’s book, The Relaxation Response, you
understand why a session with De can have unexplainable healing results.
the session, I asked De to tell me some of her healing success stories, of
which she had several. Unfortunately, she prevented me from writing about
them, as there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims. This is an
issue with many
holistic therapies—plenty of testimonials, but no federal approval for
advertising these healing benefits. That leaves us with personal referrals
and stories like my own for discovering many of the best alternative
therapies available to us. If I had not had this experience myself, I
never would have believed shiatsu, Reiki and polarity could create such a
therapeutic state of relaxation.
next few days following my first energy healing with De Costanza proved to have a
lingering effect. This is when I discovered that my placebo effect theory
was wrong. If the benefits I felt from De’s bodywork were simply a
result of my expectations, I doubt I could have awakened the next morning
feeling so alive and energetic—long before I remembered the previous
day’s session. Plus, my expectations of bodywork had me believing that
it only felt good while you were having
the session. It never occurred to me that the effects would last several
wife, Melissa, and few people with whom I work, commented on my calmer attitude
over the next few days. I enjoyed being able to handle the stress of
running a magazine with a little more balance and ease. The only problem
was that I was now hooked—I wanted to feel relaxed and calm all the time. The effects
eventually wore off and I wanted another fix! In one single dose, I had
become an Integrated Energy Therapy junky.
now understand why the “Relaxation Response” alone can have such
healing effects. I still don’t fully understand the theories behind
shiatsu, Reiki or polarity. But a guy like me doesn’t really need to
know why something works; it’s
enough to feel
Costanza's contact information is currently unkown.
articles by Bob Olson, visit www.ofspirit.com/bobolson.htm