Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Leaves

I wonder, would it be too weird for a male bodyworker to specialize in pregnancy massage?

I massaged a couple pregnant women last week. The energy of a pregnant body is intoxicating. Everything's at a high burn. The tissues are fierce and exultant, like the new leaves of Spring: my fingertips start tingling six inches away from the skin. The body's not living for itself anymore. It's doing the most fundamental and necessary thing it ever does, biologically speaking, and every other consideration goes to the wall. It's painfully awake; just being near it wakes me up too.

Meanwhile the mechanical structure of the body is changing radically. The center of gravity is shifting. Ligaments are loosening, and at the same time carrying unaccustomed loads; muscles are working with stresses and at angles they've never handled before. Bodywork is clearly called for. My friend Lekshe tells me that in Nepal pregnant women get massage daily, as a matter of course. Seems ordinary common sense to me. There's not just the discomfort and knotting inevitable with unusual muscular exertion. All the body's proprioception has to be rewired: it literally doesn't know exactly where it is anymore. Massage is exactly what it needs.

I always feel grateful, when I get to do a massage. But especially so, in this case. The body is always a mystery, in the religious sense. Just a little more vividly so, when it's pregnant.

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