3Ms: Massage, Meditation, Masturbation
by Michael Braunstein
Since Heartland Healing is devoted to sharing information about more natural, holistic ways to improve health and stay healthy, let’s visit three that are often overlooked or taken for granted.
Massage: Nice to be Kneaded. When something aches or is sore, our first inclination is to touch it or rub it. When you’ve been sitting at your cubicle for eight hours, you may reach up to your shoulders and give them a quick rubdown. The only thing better than doing it to yourself is having someone else do it for you.
It’s fantastic that massage has become so mainstream and accessible in this day and age. Maybe forty years ago, massage was common only in swanky health clubs or suspicious truck stops. No longer. It’s indeed recognized as a legitimate and professional healing modality.
In Western culture, what we commonly know as massage is a form of Swedish massage taught by Per Hendrik Ling in the 19th century. Swedish massage is mostly long, stroking movements that manipulate the soft tissue and muscles. Up until the late 1970s, it was by far the most common. Its therapeutic values are understood and include improved circulation, both vascular and lymphatic, relief of pain and the reduction of stress.
Massage therapy can also be quite specialized, with techniques such as Rolfing, myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, Feldenkrais, Hellerwork, orthobionomy. But the style of massage that is the basic is still a derivative of Swedish massage.
Of course massage therapy feels good. Of course it relaxes. And the obvious benefit of relieving stress with massage therapy is paramount. But there is much more. Massage therapy helps stimulate circulation. Massage can produce slower and deeper respirations as we relax. Oxygen intake increases. Phlegm and mucous is loosened in the lungs and congestion can be relieved. With easier breathing, our blood pressure can lower as we relax. The flow of blood to all the tissues and organs is improved. Body temperature regulates and toxins, both emotional and physiological, can be released from tissue.
Impacting our complex lymphatic system, massage can stimulate our immune system, help remove pathogens and toxins. Massage can also increase mobility in chronically disabled patients. Many causes of decreased mobility are linked to connective tissue problems.
And we haven’t even touched on the area of energy manipulation. Find a good massage therapist and let him or her tell you more about the benefits.
Meditation: Think less, know more. I’ve been using Transcendental Meditation daily, and I mean daily, since October, 1984. I was inspired after working in the studio with famous Beatles meditators George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. It was further strengthened by the Beach Boys, also practitioners. I learned from a certified TM teacher in Los Angeles. From years of experience, study and research, I can attest that the method of teaching, the design of the technique (dating back centuries if not millennia,) and the results are unique and impressive. It is the method of meditation that I would recommend everyone investigate. There are many derivative techniques but none match the authenticity of Transcendental Meditation.
Our mind is the most important tool we have at our disposal to create change and maintain a healthy life. In fact, in the overall, the mind is the only tool that produces lasting and real change. To use it most effectively, it must be uncluttered, practiced, and unadulterated. Meditation is how to achieve that state.
Meditation is often misunderstood. Many people believe meditation is the action of sitting and thinking particular thoughts or thinking about something. That act is better described as contemplation.
Effective meditation is better considered as thought-less-ness. Our minds are besieged with thousands of thoughts a day, most all of them pointless and useless, ineffective and about things already passed or things that never do come to pass. Those thoughts cloud the effectiveness of our greatest tool. It’s like having a chalkboard completely covered by nonsense words and sentences. There’s no room to let inspiration be written. Meditation can clear the clutter, erase the useless and leave room for beneficial thought.
Just as with physical exercise like going to the gym, the benefits of meditation are not the 20 minutes or so we experience the meditation. The benefits play out during the other 23 hours of the day.
There are so many actual researched benefits from a proper meditation practice, I need not list them here. And no, you cannot learn meditation from a book, online course or recordings. Humans learn best by seeing or experiencing another human being doing what it is we want to learn how to do or be. Go to the teacher.
Ay, there’s the rub. Yep, I put masturbation in the title as clickbait. Okay. Busted. But in actuality, orgasm, whether spontaneous in dreams, with a partner or alone, appears to have legitimate health benefits. Contemporary research has found correlation between male orgasm and lower incidence of certain male-specific diseases such as prostate problems. Some research has found that orgasm relieves hypertension by releasing nitrates and relaxing blood vessels.
Modern research is not new on the subject though it may be the most scientific. As a previous Heartland Healing column described, Western medical doctors in the 19th and 20th centuries treated female hysteria with methods of producing orgasm that eventually led to the development of vibrators intended to do just that.
Now that we’ve informed you about the 3Ms, do your own research. Maybe you want to start at Dr. John’s.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.