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FEATURE - December 2017
Relieve Your Tension with Mu-Xing Therapy
by Lisa Waterman Gray
My yoga instructor, Sharon Friedman, greeted me at her front door and directed me to an upstairs treatment room where pale neutral colors, filtered sunlight and inspirational quotes created a soothing space. Also a massage therapist, Sharon had recently learned a new modality called Mu-Xing Therapy during a 20-hour class. But she wanted to ‘practice’ for an additional 10 hours, on volunteers from our yoga class, before offering the modality to paying clients.
Sharon says this form of massage uses warmed bamboo and rosewood to promote relaxation.
Displayed beneath the window, her ‘tools’ included small, round rosewood pieces that resembled hot stones used for massage as well as short bamboo rollers, and bamboo rods from six to about 18 inches in length.
According to the web site, http://mu-xing.com/index.php/, “Mu-Xing Therapy tools are specially crafted to deliver a full body, deep tissue massage effortlessly. Mu-Xing tools act as an extension of your hands reducing overall wear and tear on the thumbs, hands and wrists. The warmth of the tools helps to melt muscular tension and allows the therapist to work deeper with less effort…”
I undressed and slid beneath soft sheets on Sharon’s massage table, as tranquil piano music played. She massaged my head gently yet firmly, with her hands, as well as my neck and upper shoulders. Then she rubbed Biotone Massage Butter across the same area, before pulling one of my arms from beneath the sheet and gently resting it on the table. Sharon rubbed the butter across my entire arm, and warm pressure from a smooth, rounded rosewood ‘button’ followed. “I do this first, to warm up the muscles,” she says.
Several minutes later, Sharon began to roll a warm bamboo rod across the arm. As she added a second rod, they occasionally clicked together, sounding almost like knitting needles. Mostly soothing, the rods occasionally struck a sore spot. When I mentioned this, Sharon called them “trigger points” – a term I recognized from many previous massages. As she continued, it was obvious the bamboo’s warmth had also transferred to her hands.
With my eyes closed, at certain points it became difficult to sense whether Sharon was massaging me with a rosewood button, single or dual bamboo rods, or her hands, because the warmth, glide, and smooth pressure felt so fluid. Sharon slid my massaged arm beneath the sheet and then she repeated the process on my second arm. The source of warmth and smooth pressure remained blurred yet mostly relaxing.
Next, Sharon began to massage my left leg. After she smoothed on more therapeutic butter and briefly applied a warmed rosewood button, she worked my muscles with bamboo rods. I breathed deeply as rods found trigger points in my calf and shin, but any discomfort diminished quickly. Sharon moved her hands, a rosewood button and rods to my left torso, infusing the area with warmth and more gentle but firm pressure. She then continued in the same manner, on my right leg and torso. Once again, I breathed deeply as the rods hit various trigger points.
I then turned over and settled my face in the headrest, so Sharon could work on the back of my body. I especially liked the warm pressure across my shoulders.
Although the warmth of this massage felt similar to that of hot stone massage, the rosewood buttons and bamboo rods added a new dimension. By the time Sharon lightly and rhythmically patted my back, signaling the end of our session, I had almost melted into the bed.
“Take your time getting up,” Sharon said. “I’ll meet you downstairs.” I remained on the table for several more minutes, slowly rolled to my side and then retrieved my clothes from the adjacent pastel-hued bathroom. At the bottom of the stairs, Sharon met me with a glass of water before we thanked each other and I departed beneath bright fall sunshine.
At the time of publication Sharon knew of only two additional therapists in the Kansas City area, (from Gardner, Kansas), who have completed Mu-Xing training.
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A professional writer for more than 25 years, Lisa Waterman Gray has crafted destination and culinary stories, plus health and wellness articles, for USA Today.com, offbeattravel.com VisitKC.com and many other clients. She enjoyed and wrote about four Missouri spas for AAA Midwest Traveler and also practices Reiki. Contact Lisa at www.lisawatermangray.com or firstname.lastname@example.org