Some Notes toward Rhythm’s Role – the Art of Massage #6

Just as joints and bones organize our space. so the lived events and moments spanning the pause in between organize our time.

The ancients postulated celestial rhythms and frequencies in the harmonic relationship of planets and stars across the vast reaches of the universe – the so-called “music of the spheres”.

“To everything, turn, turn, turn…there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” — Ecclesiates

The recurring rhythms of night and day, the seasons, the moon, the tides – all play a role in our inner and/or outer environment.

Entrainment – variously defined – by its medium

  • Air – the intentional creation of tiny air bubbles in concrete
  • Brainwaves – the practice of entraining one’s brainwaves to a desired frequency
  • Music – the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm
  • Chronobiology – the alignment of a circadian system’s period and phase to the period and phase of an external rhythm
  • Hydrodynamics – the movement of one fluid by another
  • Meterology – a phenomenon of the atmosphere, when a turbulent flow captures a non-turbulent flow
  • Physics – the process whereby two interacting oscillating systems assume the same period

All these forms of entrainment – many both metaphorically and literally – happen in the rhythmic relationship of therapist and client.

We entrain in three obvious ways.

1.  Moving in unison with a body rhythm – such as the client’s breathing.

2.  Moving in “synchronization” – whole number ratios to the client’s rhythm – for instance, if one effleurage took precisely four heartbeats

3.  Moving in syncopation with rhythms of the client.  In syncopation there is a sense of an underlying rhythm but both people can depart from it without losing the underlying sense of beat.

In other words, “it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”

And let us not forget the immortal words of Homer or was it Johnny Cash?

who said…