Energy-talks are often blended with too much spiritual, religious, and mystical connotations. Over the years, I’ve come to have a more materialistic point of view on this “energy-business.” Of course, I realize I’m getting myself into hot water now (or on thin ice, if you like), but I’ll give it a dare anyhow.
When you talk to Thai Massage experts they claim that Thai Massage is basically energy work (like some other types of body work). I do agree, but what then exactly is energy? What are we talking about?
In a way I think it’s quite simple—we all know what it means to feel “full of energy” or to feel the opposite, as to “feel low energy.” And we relate this with feeling healthy. Or not feeling healthy. Feeling full of life. Or not. That’s all fairly clear.
It’s not so hard to see that the total absence of energy equals death, although even a dead corpse can serve as a source of energy (which is another subject). But for now we want to know about living bodies. Life. And to live presumes movement and change—movement of the body, of thought, of feelings. Action. No movement, means no change, no life.
So how do we come to movement? First of all we need the uninhibited supply of the four classical elements—earth (nutrition/fuel), water (liquids/transport), fire (temperature/burning/transformation) and air (oxygen/metabolism).
Secondly, we need the harmonious workings of these elements to establish the natural functioning of the body. It’s the body that knows by its own intelligence what to do, as to say—how to use and transform the four elements to constitute, sustain and continue life and living.
Therefore, the natural function of the body is creating energy (and it needs energy to do that, by the way) and—to put that energy, okay, let’s say to channel that energy into transformative action, movement, and thus life. It’s a perpetual circle. The circle of life.
Thai Massage in particular and Thai Bodywork in general can help the body to build and distribute energy more effectively by clearing physical obstacles to support a healthy blood circulation, an optimal lymphatic and nervous system, and aligned body structure.
But we cannot see or touch energy, we can only see its result, its transformation—into power, movement, action, life. If the body doesn’t function properly, well, it means life will not function properly. So to me, energy work is not something mystical, magical, or mysterious. Energy work is body work.
It doesn’t imply I think this is all there is to it. I do consider the so-called fifth element of crucial importance. This mythical element of which we don’t know what it is exactly. I suppose in Thai Massage we just name it Metta (“loving kindness”). Our tender touch. Our gentle touch. Our healing touch.
It’s our body’s finest outcome, its ultimate result, yes, its sublime product. It’s what we cannot do without. It’s what a Thai Massage practitioner can give. It’s what everybody can give.
It’s this simple, natural and extremely powerful thing, this element we call—love, touch and kindness or however we like to call it.