General Principles of Rhythmical Massage Therapy
“That which is above is like that which is below,
and that which is below is like that which is above,
to accomplish the miracle of one thing.”
—Hermes Trismegistus, Emerald Tablet
Rhythmical Massage is a gentle, balancing, restorative massage used to support salutogenesis, convalescence, and the treatment of dis-ease of different expressions and life phases.
Through the qualities of rhythm, warmth, suction, and breath soul and spirit finds its harmonious connection to the living body, shaping it, transforming it, to become the expression of the individual human I/ego.
A new emphasis is given to the art of massage through the insights of anthroposophy which connects the nature of the human being to the nature of the cosmos, and their evolutionary course of development.
The four elements of the body of the earth as they exist in mineral, water, air, and warmth are also to be found in the human body as four interpenetrating constitutional entities that are the supports for the processes of life, soul, and spirit.
These four elements in man are bound and held together by the all-pervading life processes (also known as etheric processes) active in the differentiated fluid constitution of the body that builds and shapes the physical substance body. These are processes of breathing, warming, nourishing, secreting, maintaining, growing, and reproducing and are rhythmic in nature following and serving our conscious life of soul and spirit active in the breath and the fluctuations of warmth in our body.
SHOWN RIGHT: Rudolf Steiner: blackboard drawing. Dornach, January 27, 1923. From Rudolf Steiner, Wandtafelzeichungen zum Vortragswerk, volume 25, pg. 58 © Rudolf Steiner Archives, Dornach.
SHOWN ABOVE: Rudolf Steiner: blackboard drawing. Dornach, January 27, 1923. From Rudolf Steiner, Wandtafelzeichungen zum Vortragswerk, volume 25, pg. 58 © Rudolf Steiner Archives, Dornach.
During the day our conscious life of soul and spirit moves through our being stirring it to thoughts, feelings, and actions of will, shaping our earthly life into evolving capacities, and creative knowledge. These daytime activities are consumptive of our body, they break it down, we become tired physically and mentally.
During the night when soul and spirit have released from their conscious activities, the body is restored and refreshed by the etheric forces of life silently working in the fluid constitution under the guiding influences of moon and stars.
Dis-ease reveals itself as the irregular relationship of soul and spirit to the living body, becoming over/underactive in its regulative, transformative activities.
It is, therefore, the domain of Rhythmical Massage to help and support these rhythmic processes of life that bridge and balance between supporting the catabolic life of day and the anabolic activity of the night.
The qualities of Swedish massage have been adapted to address the differentiated fluid constitution working through the organ systems and brought into harmonious activity through the regulating rhythm of breath and pulse.
In order for the circulation to become living it must be lifted out of the forces of earthly gravity by the suctioning, pulsating dynamic of the hand and sent on its way in a spiraling, circling, streaming flow from a center to the periphery and back again.
The organs are centers of activity not only for the organic life of the body but also of the expression of soul and spirit. They are treated with specific movement forms and qualities, stimulating them to improved functioning.
Specially formulated medicinal oils and ointments are also used to enhance the therapeutic gesture and effects of the treatment.