Enhancing massage treatments through sights and sounds
By Laura Nashman
Everything is vibration and has a frequency. These statements are commonplace these days in light of the popularity of quantum physics and the otherwise “unseen.” Massage therapists and body workers have known for years the subtle nuances of vibration, invisible to the eye but notable to the touch or intuitive sense.
By Laura Nashman
As a flutist for many years, my ears have heard tone colours and my
music has “painted” colours on the canvas of my audiences’ ears.
Acclaimed British flutist William Bennett speaks of music conveying
colours in its many tones and timbres. I often remember master classes
with Bennett, with him instructing me to “paint the sound royal blue,”
at the opening of a J.S. Bach sonata – but then emphasizing that “the
pale mauve of the rocky mountains” was the tone that a piece by the
French impressionist composer Debussy should start with.
of mixing various senses is called “synesthesia,” where one hears
colour, or smells sound, etc. How many times have you time traveled back
to a special time when you smell a certain childhood scent, such as
cinnamon, pumpkin pie or your favourite teenage fragrance? What
delightful pictures did the smells evoke, from olfactory to visual?
love mixing the senses – like making homemade soup in the heart of
winter, with music on in the living room, the smells of spices and the
rich magenta colour of my “Sunset Soup” stock, dominantly beet-based.
Somehow, life takes on more vibrancy and richness when the senses are
alive. Those earlier master class days with Bennett were simply wondrous
and magical, with synesthesia a part of the creative process.
like the effects of synesthesia on my musical development, your life as
a massage therapist has many moments of combined sensory inputs and
outputs. Your ears and voice are important tools for effective massage
sessions. The tone you use, the volume, the melodic nuances and the
extent to which you use it, or remain quiet, have great impact on the
overall outcome of your treatments.
As a master hypnotist (in
addition to my flute career), it is clear to me that the words we use,
along with the nuances that accompany them, are very important. For
example, the term post-hypnotic suggestion, although a hypnosis term,
has been used commonly among other professions. Advertisers use
“hypnotic languaging” to convince their audience to buy their products
With massage treatments, a purposeful post-hypnotic
suggestion can be as simple as stating, “You will now become more
relaxed,” or “Let your shoulder go now.” These statements are commands
to the subconscious mind and ask the body to take your instructions.
“Now” is a very powerful word, since it literally dictates to the mind
to follow the instructions, command or statement “now.” For example, if a
client comes to you with a request for stress-release, your words can
give post-hypnotic suggestions that will compliment the physical
treatment you are giving. Add to this your voice tonality and volume,
and you are inducing a trancelike state without being a professional
Music, like hypnosis, creates trance states. Your
personal instrument is your voice, so be aware of its impact. It affects
your client significantly with its musical attributes of tone quality,
volume and other nuances. And the words you use are like the “notes” of
your massage. “Let go” is a hypnotic command, and, “As you find yourself
letting go” is a suggestion for your client to let go. Many of you use
these hypnotic techniques and they are valuable assets to the
Of course, the above is just your vocal
instrument – not the recorded music you offer to play during the
treatment. And choosing appropriate music for treatments can be a
challenge. It has great impact on the success of your massage. It is
said that music in the category of “sound healing” is much more
effective than synthesized keyboards or popular music. Sound healing
embodies the use of traditional, real instruments and no synthetic
sounds. Vibrations and frequencies are at a more pure level when the
music has real sounds and is not synthesized. Also, sound healing music
isn’t immediately recognizable (the way much pop music is), so it’s less
likely that the conscious mind will stay alert, mentally singing along
with the music.
“Entrainment” is another term used whereby both
left and right brain hemispheres are engaged simultaneously, causing the
client to “give up focus and attention,” and simply go into theta brain
waves, bringing him into a higher potential for healing. Sound healer
and multi-instrumentalist Michael Moon (www.thetempleofsound.com),
specializes in sound healing music.
comes to visual beauty at your massage practice, colours have great
impact on your clients’ moods, energy and healing potential. In nature,
the four seasons offer beautiful variety and literally paint our lives
with splendid and varying colours. French impressionist artist Claude
Monet is quoted saying, “Art imitates nature” – and this is certainly
true of his masterful paintings, whose subtle hues invoke a serenity
many spas aspire to create. In addition, colours also have a great
significance in the Indian Chakra system. Red connects with the root
chakra (home, foundation), and orange with creativity and sexuality,
while yellow connects with our personal power, green with the energy of
our hearts, blue with the throat and our communication, indigo with our
intuition, and violet with the infinite.
With your massage
therapy practice, you hold the metaphorical paintbrush and palette of
your choice. You get to create the ideal environment for your clients –
peaceful, serene – and allow aspects of colour therapy to do their
Have you discovered that you have a favourite colour you
like to wear, or that certain moods evoke the wearing of certain
specific colours? It is the “seen/unseen” phenomenon. You are literally
seeing the colour you are wearing, but its vibrational frequency is
giving you a feeling, something unseen.
As you create the ideal
massage environment, consider how you want your clients to feel –
combined with the colours that resonate with your palette of choice and
the ones that suit your clients’ needs. For example, soft blues, mauves
and greens are very relaxing and soothing, while pinks and creams evoke a
safe, loving environment. Explore your own colour sensitivity and
create a beautiful safe haven for you and your clients.
clear that memorable massages employ many elements that feed the senses.
Colour, music and the “music of your voice” are essential components to
sensational treatment results.
Laura Nashman is a
Gold-CD award-winning flutist, with many CDs available for massage,
sleep enhancement for adults and babies. She is a master NLP
practitioner and National Guild of Hypnotist-Certified Master Hypnotist.
She has a line of CDs and a line of soothing, intuitive paintings
called “Spa-on-the-Canvas” available through www.spa-la-la.com . Contact her at Lauranashman@rogers.com or at (416) 924-8180.