Bodies are an endless source of fascination for me – and in my line of work, that’s probably just as well! Each time someone enters my world and hops onto my massage table, I can barely wait to reveal them in all their naked glory. And whether they’re great or small, muscular or slight, curvaceous or twiggy, each and every person’s ‘vehicle for the soul’ has its own unique tale to tell.
It’s sometimes said that our bodies are a reflection of the lives we’ve led, that our physical selves are just as sculpted and formed by our experiences as our interior selves. From the shape of our feet to the bumps on our skull, there’s a whole school of theory that analyses our individual body parts and interprets their characteristics. It’s thought, for example, that the bigger and more pronounced the belly button, the more outgoing and ‘larger than life’ the personality. Overly rounded shoulders can mean a person is protecting their heart space and feeling anxious or fearful. And toes that curl under can indicate a person who’s stubborn and will always do things ‘their way’, even to their own detriment.
Even the facial features can often give away a lot about a person’s character. Interpretation of character from the study of a person’s face is called physiognomy, and this practice has been around for a very long time, being used as far back as 400BC by famous philosophers like Socrates. There’s a goldmine of interesting theories to be found in physiognomy. One example relates to the groove that connects the nose with the mouth (called the philtrum), which it’s said can indicate a person’s fertility levels. A long, broad and deep philtrum is a sign of good fertility, while a shallower, less pronounced one can suggest lower fertility levels. Meanwhile, deep set eyes imply a more introverted personality, a large nose can be a sign of a powerful person, and a deeply furrowed brow means a person might have a lot of pent-up anger or frustration.
Of course, these techniques are open to interpretation, and there’s no definitive ‘right’ or wrong’ to any of it – but there’s no denying that body reading is a fun and useful tool to play with. And one thing is for sure: our bodies are certainly affected and shaped by our interior lives, and vice versa.
Why not try this quick exercise to see how interconnected our bodies really are with our emotions:
Walk with your shoulders slumped, and your body bent forward. Drag your feet, look down, and don’t engage anyone. Walk slowly. Make your breathing shallow and weak. Now, without changing anything – try and feel happy. Notice how difficult that is. In fact it’s not fully possible.
Next, walk with your head raised, your chin up. Straighten your back, and keep your shoulders back. Breathe deeply. Walk firmly and plant your feet. Engage in eye contact with others if you wish. Now, without changing any of that, try and feel depressed. Once again, notice how difficult that is.
Having experienced the mind-body connection, imagine how you can influence your moods and change your outlook just by making a few changes to the way you carry your body. And over time, you can even start to observe the physical effects on your body, as your mind and emotions begin to shift.
Of course, regular sessions of bodywork with someone like myself can also work wonders in positively influencing both mind and body!
In love and light,