I will shortly be posting a new version of my massage instruction booklet in a downloadable format at Amazon.com. Watch this space for details. In the meantime, here is a sample chapter:
Whenever I stand behind someone to rub their shoulders, I always remember the story of Saint Christopher:
Once, a group of people were walking from one town to another. As was typical in that country in those days, they had grouped together for safety, but didn’t know each other or much about the people travelling with them.
They came to a place where a small stream crossed the road. Normally, it was such a small trickle that nobody had bothered to build a bridge across it, and people were used to just stepping over it or splashing through it, but the creek was swollen by spring snowmelt and was deep enough and fast enough to be frightening.
The largest man in the group said, “Don’t worry, folks, I’m too big to be washed away by the creek, and I can carry you across.”
The last person was a little boy, and the man was shocked at how he staggered as he carried the child.
“Little boy, I carried your mother, I carried your father -- why is it harder for me to carry you?”
“I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.”
And that is how the man came to be known as Christopher – the one who carried the Christ.
I think of that story every time I rub someone’s shoulders, and of how often people speak of worry as a “burden” and of people “carrying” stress. There is a reason for that, you see: the body really does react to stress by making the shoulders tighten.
The good news in all of this is that it works both ways: stress makes your shoulders hurt, but rubbing the shoulders helps to reduce the feeling of stress.