Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Welcome back, Rose says to herself.
Okay, not being Queen Elizabeth or having the ego of a presidential candidate—who always to say “we” when the mean themselves—I’ll stop talking about myself in the third person. But I haven’t written in a while and this was a way of noting that fact to you, my imaginary reader, who are hopefully not so imaginary.
I’ve come across a Taoist healing practice that, as these things go, I struggle with addressing, as I want to do it justice and not just give a cursory description. This is especially the case since the word Tao means “the way” and it represents a Chinese philosophy and tradition that is well over two thousand years old. And you can’t sum up two thousand years in a blog post. Tao also means “path” —between humans and nature and to peace, compassion and emptiness, or nonattachment.
So I’ll try to stay unattached to how I do at explaining the Taoist healing practice called Chi Nei Tsang. It’s a method of internal organ massage that’s performed to eliminate digestion woes, to detoxify and even boost the immune system. During it, the abdomen is massaged. I suspect many people would find that a challenge our bellies are a most vulnerable spot. Think about when you’re about to give in to a good cover-your-ears-and-get-out-of-the-way sob. What do you do first? You grab your belly. The Chinese believe that our abdominal organs store much of our emotions, so massaging the area is a way of purging emotional charges. All that bound up rot that’s sitting rock-hard in your gut can represent your inability to stand up to your boss, or your mother or that overbearing friend.
What I find so useful about the movement towards wellness and mind-body awareness is that now there are non-threatening places—spas, the massage therapist’s table—where people can readily find relief from physical pains that originate from the stresses of modern life. Not many people—not that I know, anyway—are going to wake up one day, change their lives and hop on a Taoist path to enlightenment. But they can get tiny doses of healing in one-hour spurts. Which add up.