Cultural bodywork

Cultural bodywork is a Hawaiian bodywork-based technique with Aboriginal and Maori influences. Our session was at a spa, so I had a sauna and spa beforehand, and so I was nice and relaxed when I climbed up onto the table.

I was surprised to feel how strong the practitioner is, as she worked first on my back, with deep long strokes, over and over, alternating with digging deeply.

She worked very methodically, ultimately giving my whole body a thorough going over, and then going over areas again and again.

This I really liked, because often when I am getting deep work in one area, places which have been worked on earlier can tense up.

I really liked the feeling of being really given to, and accepted, being allowed to be as I was.

Some of her techniques I hadn’t come across before, ranging from long strokes whilst stretching arms and legs in unusual ways, to deep tissue work combined with other stretches that didn’t permit any escape!

The practitioner said it is shamanic, and I agree. I really like deep work, and this was wonderful, and, as the practitioner said afterwards, my body just soaked it up.

I had been unusually sedentary lately, so my body had gotten stiff and tense in the usual places for someone like me who spends a lot of time at a desk.

The session seemed to go on and on, the practitioner working solidly, going over my whole body, giving everywhere a really good massage, coming at those knots of tension from every conceivable angle.

After taking me on such a long and circuitous journey of my body, with me feeling just a slowly pulsating mass, she let me know the session was over and left the room.

I lay there in a blissful boundariless state, very relaxed and energised, just me and my breath seeming to fill the room.

It was with reluctance that I finally brought myself back to the world and got up to check the time. I was surprised that just over an hour and a half had passed cause it felt like I had been kneaded and stretched for ages.

I was in quite an altered state when I got up to have a shower, with a completely different feeling in my body.

Written by Mark O’Brien for the “Session of the Month’, Here & Now magazine 1999-2005

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