Stacey helps relieve people of their aches and pains. And she loves it! The masseurs share a certain anonymity of trust with the hairdressers and bartenders. In just a few sessions, your clients tell you their deepest secrets, their personal problems, and all their juicy gossip. You enjoy your relationship with most of your clients, usually only contributing enough to the conversations to suggest interest and keep the client relaxed. They strip their souls and leave the sessions feeling better in body and spirit. But lately he has to bite his tongue on a particularly nasty customer. Steve is a big, vulgar, middle-aged businessman who can’t resist telling Stacey about all his sordid encounters with prostitutes when traveling on business. He prides himself on how well he keeps his wife a secret as a womanizer. Tonight, the explicit descriptions of her latest sexual exploits are too much for Stacey. Disgusted, she ends the massage with no intention of allowing Steve to return to his clinic.
Feeling especially tense and, yes, dirty after ditching the snooty braggart, Stacey decides to sneak into the nightly yoga class offered upstairs in her clinic. Yoga is a phenomenal aid for relaxation and coping with stress. And right now, this idiot has filled her with stress. Already in tune with his body, he quickly realizes the philosophy and techniques of the discipline. She is pleasantly surprised at how calm and focused she feels coming home later.
In no time, night yoga sessions become an integral part of your routine several days a week. Soon you are reading about the history and philosophy of the ancient discipline. Find several references to different forms of meditation, yoga of the mind, as one writer called it. Practitioners claim that the benefits of meditation are evident in all aspects of their lives: increased productivity at work; greater personal satisfaction, greater sense of identity; even a more rewarding sex life. She contemplates enrolling in one of the meditation classes, but her readings emphasize personal goals and accomplishments, so she decides to do it on her own. You will soon be delving into advanced techniques. She feels changing. She is less stressed, more satisfied with life; she sees the world and her role in it more clearly, and is happier than she has been in years.
One night, an advanced meditation exercise delves deeper into herself than ever, into a realm unknown to her. So unprepared for the strangeness of experience that she is temporarily unconscious. When he wakes up, his body tells him that he has been away for a while, forty-five minutes according to the clock, although he has no sense of time. She is several feet from the mat on which she sits to meditate, the coffee table and loveseat are out of position, and the lamp that was on the side table lies broken on the floor. He has several bruises on his shins and his right arm, evidently from violent contact with furniture. His hair and sweatshirt are wet and matted with a white foamy substance.
Fearful of having had a seizure, she goes to her doctor for a medical check-up. Everything seems fine. She takes the week off at the doctor’s request, but is anxious on Saturday and accepts an appointment with one of her regular patients. Sylvia requires regular massages to control her migraines. She is in a terrible state because Stacie was not available for her usual appointment scheduled for Wednesday. Midway through treatment, Stacey feels that something strange is happening. As he massages Sylvia, his fingers start to tingle and a cold sensation runs up his arms, crosses his shoulders, and runs down his neck to his head. She is momentarily dizzy, but manages to shake off. Although she is a little worried, expecting other strange sensations in her hands, the rest of the massage goes without incident.
The strangeness of the day is not over yet. Stacey’s dream tonight is interrupted by a terrible nightmare. She is being abused and beaten by an angry man, her husband in the dream. The man punches him in the face and, just as his head hits the kitchen counter, he wakes up in his bed. Sleep is difficult to achieve the rest of the night.
Sunday is spent walking around and wondering, ‘What the hell is going on?’ On Monday afternoon, Stacey is massaging another regular, Diane, when the strange feeling of coolness returns. But this time, the sensation starts on your forehead and travels up your neck, over your shoulders and down your arms to your fingertips. Again she feels disoriented, dizzy, but she recovers quickly. As before, nothing adverse happens the rest of the day. But the next day …
Diane calls Stacey to report that she has severe headaches since yesterday’s session, headaches that are unlike anything she has ever experienced. Could massage have caused so many headaches? Stacey admits the possibility, but emphasizes that such occurrences are rare. She recommends that Diane drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins released during massage that can cause flu-like symptoms, including headaches. A few days later, Diane is not feeling better and plans to see her doctor.
The next day, Sylvia returns for her Wednesday massage in high spirits. She has never felt better. He hasn’t had a migraine since Saturday, not even a hint of a headache. Being pain free, you feel like a new person. Overwhelmed by the possibility that her life is changing, she cries and hugs her therapist.
Once Sylvia is gone, Stacey sits quietly staring at the wall, trying to make sense of the events of the past few days. Time goes unnoticed; By the time he gets back to the here and now, he’s late for his night yoga class. Later, Stacey apologizes to the instructor for interrupting the class for her late entry and asks if she has time to stay. You need some advice. When they are alone, she tells the instructor about her experience meditating, the strange nightmare, and what happened with Sylvia and Diane. He has concluded that he absorbed Sylvia’s migraine symptoms and transferred them to Diane. Is it possible, you ask, that something happened to you during your meditation experience that could have caused this new ability?
The instructor notes that his hypothesis is far from proven, but will accept the premise for now. Explain that the brain is a powerful but mysterious organ. Brain activity can be measured in all areas of the brain, but all functions of the human body can be assigned to a small part of the brain. The rest are active, but we have no idea what they are doing. Many scientists have postulated that some of these brain areas could harbor metaphysical abilities that we have not yet figured out how to use, or perhaps we have forgotten how to use. It is quite possible that, with crude meditation, you have opened a corner of your mind to which the rest of us are denied access. Perhaps this newly opened chamber has given you the ability to collect memories, emotions, and physical sensations from one person through their hands and then transfer them to another. The real problem is its apparent randomness at the moment. Stacey must learn to control the absorption / transfer process. If you don’t, the consequences could be disastrous.
The next few days Stacey experiments. Try different amounts of pressure, using more palm and less finger pressure, and then vice versa. She works first quickly, then more slowly. She evaluates the effect of various types of lotions and different types of hand movements. You find that if you quickly lift your clients’ hands when your fingers start to tingle, the sensation dissipates. She is relieved to be able to control the absorption with such a simple movement. She hones the skill by transferring minor sensations from one client to another, and vice versa during subsequent sessions. For a week or so, she’s getting pretty adept.
Steve calls on a Friday morning. You are in dire need of a massage because you strained a muscle while entertaining a friend at a Las Vegas convention, if she got your idea. Stacey can almost hear the * wink wink * over the phone. Her first impulse is to affirm she’s completely booked, hang up the weirdo. But a perverse but satisfying idea crosses his mind. She schedules Steve for 4:00 pm, then makes a call.
Diane arrives at the clinic at 3:00, as scheduled. She thanks Stacey for offering to help her with her migraines. They come every two hours and, despite the medication prescribed by their GP, they are excruciating. She is desperate; can’t go on living in so much pain. Stacey assures her that the migraine will be a thing of the past after this session. Use some of her yoga techniques to help her relax. Within a minute or two of starting the massage, Stacey’s fingers start to tingle. She smiles and welcomes the coldness that runs up her arm.
An hour later, Steve struts into the clinic. Stacey invites you in with a smile and the promise of something special today.
‘Oh yeah! Does it imply a happy ending? Steve asks suggestively.
“I guess you could call it that,” Stacey replies, smiling.