The day after the Fourth of July I took time off from massage to see the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. The museum is a living testimony – every day a survivor of a death camp speaks to visitors. Pictures, old films and recordings bring those times alive.
I was not thinking about massage, really, as we made our way through an exhibit on the life and death of Anne Frank. Our tour guide pointed out that Jews were one percent of the European population at the time, but were made scapegoats for many problems that occurred after World War I.
As the noose of fascism closed around their necks, no country would take them. No religious or political leaders spoke up for them. They were isolated and stripped of their humanity. What started as simple bullying transformed into organized genocide.
So what did it have to do with massage?
Pardon me while I answer my own question. I often see a substantial number of clients who have been bullied – something about them or their appearance or heritage – something brings out predatory behavior in some people. Often the bullying is public, and most people just stand by and observe.
It’s an unhappy facet of human nature and one that we all know and see at some point during our lives. And what of the ones who are bullied?
They often have chronic pain and stiffness leading them to the massage table. Sure it is not everyone who has ever been bullied, but a substantial number. I suppose some people who are made targets punch back and defeat their bullies.
Some thoughts to think about: Can people suffer the effects of aggression for many years after it occurs? Can we do something about it?
As a massage therapist, I think I already have those answers. Would it require changing the world? No, just letting people know when picking on others is not acceptable. I’d like to see fewer people for chronic tightness and pain caused by bullying and fear….