This was a statement from one of my clients just the other day. It is a simple declaration, one I have heard many times during my career. Like many seemingly simple observations, the more you explore it, the richer and deeper it becomes.
Many, if not most of us have had the same feeling. Why is it that we know what we want to do, yet the body does not cooperate? We know that in a massage therapy session, you should allow the therapist to move you, but it is hard to find the "off switch" for your muscular system. That same observation can be said for many other situations where our body does not cooperate with our mental commands (such as I know I should not feel anxious, but I can't help myself.)
The answer to this puzzle is that the part of the nervous system that controls these physical experiences is not fully under volitional control. We can consciously send the command but the body has a mind of its own. This does not mean that we are powerless, however. Observing our actions definitely influences our physical experience. For example, observing your breathing patterns typically changes the way you breathe. It is hard to observe yourself without influencing your behavior as well. (Good thing!) You cannot change what you are unaware of.
This is a very real part of the work we do at BWA. Massage often implies that the receiver is a completely passive recipient. The term "bodywork" is often used to imply that there is a discovery process as well, that some learning has taken place in the relationship between therapist and client. It is our sincere wish that your sessions with us be a time of self-discovery and self-observation. By observing patterns of holding and muscular inefficiencies, your nervous system learns how to recalibrate itself, setting a new normal. It is a never-ending process throughout a lifetime, one that is always rich and filled with rich discovery about ourselves.
Thank you for allowing us to be part of your self-discovery journey. We consider it an honor and a privilege to do so.