The term massage has different meanings in secular massage therapy and spiritual massage healing.
Secular massage therapy
The term massage therapy refers to a secular symptom-directed and medically-oriented procedure.1 Secular massage therapy, as it is usually defined by state massage laws, consists of well-defined manipulations. The term massage is sometimes used in a broad sense to include other kinds of secular bodywork.
Non-therapeutic massage therapy, which the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Act does not restrict to physical therapy, is a secular modality administered primarily to induce relaxation for stress reduction. However, many medical problems are associated with stress; they cause stress or are caused by stress.
Secular massage therapy is the primary concern of massage schools, massage books, massage periodicals, massage organizations, state massage laws, local massage ordinances, national certification, continuing education credits, massage conferences, massage workshops, etc. Other kinds of secular bodywork may also be included.
Spiritual massage healing
Spiritual massage healing is a form of divinely inspired and divinely guided religious healing. It consists of prayer, love, anointing with oil and movements derived from the laying on of hands. It is the practice of one's religious faith and conscience. It is a mode of worship, and therefore a religious ceremony. The spiritual massage practitioner is a religious healer. Prayer is an integral part of spiritual massage healing. It provides the healer with guidance. Without prayer, there is no spiritual massage healing.2
Spiritual massage healing is a religious ceremony which the spiritual massage healer initiates, and conducts. The healer and those who come for healing all participate in the religious ceremony.
There is no one right way to do spiritual massage healing. It may include movement of soft tissue and/or simply resting one's hands lightly on a persons skin without moving it. Some spiritual massage healing movements may resemble the movements of secular massage and other kinds of secular bodywork. "The term massage is derived from the Greek masso - I knead, and from the Arabic mass - to press softly"3 without moving. The Bible does not tell us whether the laying on of hands involves hands which move or simply rest without moving. A spiritual massage healer's hands may do either one or both. In spiritual massage healing, the laying on of hands is a form of prayer2 which in and of itself may be effective healing.4
Spiritual massage healing is the primary concern of the Fellowship of the Divine Healer, the New England Academy of Co-Creative Science, the Church for Spiritual Healing and Health, the Spiritual Massage Healing Ministry, the Journal of Spiritual Bodywork and the Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter.
The term healing refers to the purpose of spiritual massage which is to help an individual achieve her unique wholeness. This wholeness results from regaining and maintaining whatever measure of health is optimal for that person at that time. The spiritual massage healer, like other spiritual healers, facilitates self-healing which involves the participation of what Albert Schweitzer called "the doctor within." 2
According to Harry Edwards, the famous British spiritual healer, "One of the vital differences between a sick one's attendance on a doctor and a healer is that he visits the doctor to get treatment, but he goes to a healer to get well."5 When doctors said Harry Edwards' healing occurred because of the way he talked to people, Harry Edwards replied, "If I can heal them that way, why can't you?" He also informed them that many people go to spiritual healers because they were not helped by doctors.
Two kinds of spirituality
There are two kinds of spirituality. The term spiritual in spiritual massage healing refers to revealed religions and to nature/earth religions. Religious spirituality is associated with revealed religions "such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. These religions are founded on 'truths' allegedly made known by supernatural revelation and hence divinely authorized."6
Nature/earth spirituality is associated with nature/earth religions. These religions are based on people's spiritual beliefs about nature. Some nature/earth religions have no prophets and no scripture; and are often referred to as primitive, pagan, mythological, and preChristian.7 We shall henceforth refer to nature/earth spirituality and nature/earth religions as nature spirituality and nature religions.
Two kinds of spiritual massage healing
Because there are two kinds of spirituality, there are two kinds of spiritual massage healing: spiritual massage healing based on revealed religions and spiritual massage healing based on nature religions. The latter may be called nature spiritual massage healing.
Spiritual massage healing, based on revealed religions (defined above) is a form of divinely inspired and divinely guided religious healing. It consists of prayer, love, anointing with oil, and movements derived from the laying on of hands. It is the practice of one's religious faith and conscience. It is a mode of worship, and therefore a religious ceremony. The spiritual massage practitioner is a religious healer. Prayer is an integral part of spiritual massage healing. It provides the healer with guidance. Without prayer, there is no spiritual massage healing.2
Spiritual massage healing, based on nature religions, is nature-inspired and nature-guided religious healing. It consists of prayer (communication with nature), love, anointing with oil, and movements derived from the laying on of hands. (In nature spiritual massage healing, anointing with oil and the laying on of hands are not done with the same meaning they have in spiritual massage healing based on revealed religions.) Nature spiritual massage healing is the practice of one's nature religious faith and conscience. It is a mode of nature worship, and is therefore a nature religious ceremony. Prayer (communication with nature) is an integral part of nature spiritual massage healing. This kind of prayer provides the healer with guidance. Without it, there is no nature spiritual massage healing.
Two legally different modalities
Secular massage therapy (which is symptom-directed and medically-oriented) is subject to state regulation because it is secular.1 The two kinds of spiritual massage healing are religious practices, forms of worship. and religious ceremonies. They are not subject to state regulation because of the separation of church and state.1
The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and state constitutions restrain the government from interfering with the practice of one's religion. The Arkansas constitution, like other state constitutions, guarantees people the right to worship according to their conscience, without control or interference by any human authority. But Arkansas goes beyond that. Its constitution requires the General Assembly to enact laws that specifically protect that right; namely, the people's right to peaceful enjoyment of public worship.8
An important Supreme Court decision
Beliefs "parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God," have been accorded equal validity by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States versus [Pete] Seeger, 380 U.S. 163 (1965). The Court "concluded that Congress, in using the expression 'Supreme Being' rather than the designation 'God', was merely clarifying the meaning of religious training and belief so as to embrace all religions and to exclude essentially political, sociological, or philosophical views.
"We believe that under this construction, the test of belief ... 'in a relation to a Supreme Being' is whether a given belief that is sincere and meaningful occupies a place in the life of its possessor. Where such beliefs have parallel positions in the lives of their respective holders we cannot say that one is 'in relation to a Supreme Being' and the other is not."
The Court decided that Pete Seeger's "skepticism or disbelief in the existence of God" 'did' "not necessarily mean lack of faith in anything whatsoever"; that his was a belief in and devotion to goodness and virtue for their own sakes, and a religious faith in a purely ethical creed.... He cited such personages as Plato, Aristotle and Spinoza for support of his ethical belief in intellectual and moral integrity 'without belief in God, except in the remotest sense.... His belief was found to be sincere, honest, ... and made in good faith ... and based upon individual training and belief, both of which included research in religious and cultural fields."
Healing by God and/or nature
Some people believe healing is accomplished by God in heaven who is the God within each of us. "Whether we know it or not, God is our healer and God's Spirit is the energy for our healing. The various healing techniques we employ all act by channelling the energy of the Spirit in our behalf."9
Others believe that nature does the healing. "Hippocrates (460 B.C.) wanted ... physicians to know all about massage." 3 He believed, "Nature is the cure of illness." and advised, "Leave thy drugs in the chemist's pot if thou can't heal the patient with food."10 It is interesting that Hippocrites attributed healing to nature rather than to Phoebus Apollo, the Greek God of Healing and the one "who first taught men the healing art."11
Phoebus Apollo, was "the son of Zeus and Leto (Latona), born in the little island of Delos. He has been called 'the most Greek of all the gods.' He is a beautiful figure in Greek poetry, the master musician who delights Olympus as he plays ... his golden lyre; the lord too of the silver bow, the Archer-god, far-shooting; the Healer, as well, who first taught men the healing art, Even more than these good and lovely endowments, he is the God of Light, in whom [there] is no darkness at all, and so he is the God of Truth. No false word ever falls from his lips."11
The Romans were also massage enthusiasts. "A pretty anecdote is told of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who ascended the throne about A.D. 200. When Hadrian at one time took a walk through the streets of his capital, he saw an old soldier rubbing his back against the corner of a house. The Emperor asked him to give an explanation for this. The soldier answered, 'Because I am poor and have no slave who gives me a massage.' The Emperor, well known as a kind and generous sovereign, sent him a slave for a present. When Hadrian, however, again passed this street the following day, he saw a large number of men rubbing their backs against houses. He at once divined their purpose and advised them to rub each other, if too poor to keep slaves."3
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (1804-1872) contended that "man had created God in his own image - the precise reverse of the creation story - and that therefore religion was to be explained on the basis of psychology rather than theology."12
Feuerbach wrote, in his lecture The Essence of Religion, "It is a universal principal of this upside-down world that God manifests Himself in nature, whereas we should say the opposite, namely, that originally at least nature manifests itself to man as a God, that nature makes on man an impression which he calls God, which he becomes conscious of and objectifies under the name of God. It is a universal doctrine in our upside-down world that nature sprang from God, whereas we should say the opposite, namely, that God was abstracted from nature and is merely a concept derived from it."14
The may be no separation between God and nature for healing. Like Hippocrates, nature religions attribute healing to nature. But Genesis tell us that God created nature. Dorothy Maclean believes, "Nature is the glory of God."14 According to Inayat Kahn, "There is only one holy book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture that can enlighten the reader."14
There is no need to differentiate between God as healer and nature as healer. On earth, we humans have ephemeral bodies, that are part of nature, and timeless spirits (souls) that are the God within us. Out-of-body experiences tell us that our consciousness can exist independently of our material bodies. This consciousness is our "knowing faculty. When [it] has no object to be conscious of, it is pure intelligence."14 Consciousness/intelligence and our free will are functions of our souls (spirits).
God may work through nature to effect healing. Our soul (spirit, the God within) activates, through our consciousness, the mechanism in our material (nature) body which is responsible for healing. An important component of this mechanisms may be the remembered wellness with which Herbert Benson has been concerned.15
What about doctors?
Voltaire believed that, "The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease." Dr. Franz J. Ingelfinger, editor of the New England Medical Journal, estimated in 1978 that 80% of those who see doctors have problems which are self-limiting; that is, the problems are resolved or in the process of resolution within two weeks even if they are not treated in any way. Doctors help 10% of the patients and harm the remaining 10%.16
Since then (1978), conventional medicine has become significantly more harmful. Research at Harvard, in the early 1990s, revealed that conventional medical care is the fourth leading cause of death in" the United States. It follows "heart disease, cancer and stroke."17 Although doctors are very helpful in some cases, seeing a doctor, like smoking, "may be dangerous for your health."
Spiritual massage healing is safe
Spiritual healing, including spiritual massage healing, has not harmed anybody. Spiritual healing can also be done as distant healing where the healer does not touch the individual on whom she is working. The healer can, in fact, be half way around the world. Distance is not a factor in spiritual healing because the healer and the person she helps are connected by subtle energy.18
Secular massage therapy is needlessly state-regulated because it is erroneously alleged to he harmful.19,20 Massage is a safe modality which has been remarkably helpful to many people for many centuries. Massage therapists have not injured people because, among other things, their intent is to be helpful to their clients.
1. Schatz, A. Massage therapy and spiritual massage healing are legally different modalities. Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. 1(1):1-2. 1995.
2. Schatz, A. The Church for Spiritual Healing and Health. Spiritual Massage Healing. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 1(1):1-53. 1994.
3. Haehl, R. Massage. Its History, Technique, and Therapeutic Uses. Dunlap Printing Co. Philadelphia. 1898. Reprinted by Books. O'Fallon, MO.
4. Dossey, L. Healing Words. The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine. HarperSanFrancisco. 1993.
5. Edwards, H. The Power of Spiritual Healing. The Harry Edwards Spiritual Healing Sanctuary. England. 1963.
6. Vernon, T.S. Thomas Paine. The world is my country, and to do good is my religion. The Human Quest. page 8. July-August, 1997.
7. Pelikan, J. Editor. Introduction. The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought. Little, Brown & Co. Boston. 1990.
8. Two gardens of massage - secular and spiritual. Which one do you want to be in? Spiritual Massage Ministry Newsletter. 2(3):3-5. 1996.
9. Hogben, G. Spiritual awareness as a healing process. pp. 82-91. In Spiritual Aspects of the Healing Arts. Compiled by Dora Kunz. The Theosophical Publishing House. Wheaton. IL 1985.
10. Skolimowski, H. Wholeness, Hippocrates and ancient philosophy. Op. cit. Ref. 10. pp. 14-20.
11. Hamilton, E. Mythology.. Little, Brown and Co. Boston. 1940.
12. Op. cit. Ref. 7. page 54.
13. Feuerbach, L. The essence of religion. Op. cit. Ref. 7. pp. 54-71.
14. Maclean, D. To Hear the Angels Sing. Lindisfarne Press. Hudson, NY. 1980.
15. Benson. H. with Mark Stark. Timeless Healing. The Power and Biology of Belief. Simon & Schuster (Fireside). NY. 1996.
16. Rossman. M.L. Healing Yourself. The use of Imagery in medical self care. (Audio cassette No. 101. Insight Publishing. Mill Valley. CA 1987.
17. Whitaker, J. Health & Healing. Tomorrow's Medicine Today. (newsletter) 6(1):1. Phillips Publishing, Inc. Potomac. MD. 1996
18. Schatz, A. and Brewster, M. Subtle energy is involved in healing, health, and bodywork. 2(4):2-6. 1996.
19. Schatz, A., and Brewster, M. Why is the Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition promoting state licensure to protect the public from harm? Will PALC please tell us how many people have been harmed by bodyworkers in Pennsylvania, and how serious their injuries were? Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 2(4):7-10.1996.
20. Schatz, A. and Brewster, M. The corporatization of massage. An economic perspective. Massage Law Journal. 2(2):1-10. 1997.