The Gospel Truth

A Fore-Touch of Heaven PART I | April 19, 2012

Everyone needs a special place.

My place is in a quiet sanctuary that is located in the deep recesses of my mind.

I can only go there when a special kind of professional takes me there by the hand.

I am not talking about a Buddhist nun, a Korean shaman or a practitioner of the dark arts.

My special person is a massage therapist, who has what can only be described as the touch of grace.

It is my firm belief that a good massage, not only relaxes the body, but releases a flood of the hormones of happiness that flood both the body and the soul.


happiness is kicking in

For at least 90 minutes one of her massages shuts the doors of reality and opens my entire being to new vistas that take place in my personal sanctuary where cool thoughts, dreams and even hallucinations occur with regularity.

Her name is Lena.

She and her husband moved to the United States in 1991 from the Ukraine, just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

She has been practicing her craft for 13 years.

Many think she must be the best in the business.

Most of her regulars will not recommend her because they are jealous of her time.

She is that good!

With her variegated combination of effleurage, petrissage, circling and especially her long strokes, she sends me on a sanguinary trip that alters the context of my mind.

It has taken me over a year of apprehensive obstinacy but now I can surrender my body to her by assuming the corporal  consistency of a rag doll.

That way I open myself to her aromatic and tactile spells.

On a scented loom she weaves and knits a tapestry of hormonal release that permeates every fiber of my body.

With the abject strength of a Russian bear and the nurturing softness of a new mother she pushes massive quantities of my blood through every vein and artery that energizes my mind while leaving my body in a stupor.

Image Detail

Her mind and body are one

These feelings can last last up to 72 hours.

Then my withdrawal symptoms prompt me to anticipate my next massage.

For that elongated period I am in a mode I call my flowglow period.

Lena gives lie to those who accept the Platonic duality that our bodies and souls are somehow separate entities that often work at cross purposes with each other.

We can blame this false sense of a divided self on 18th century French philosopher, Rene Descartes, who gave us the idea of the ghost within the machine.

This skeptical mechanistic view of man’s human nature has been one of the staples of the liberal philosophy that has spent centuries undermining the basic integrity of men and women.

Saw a ghost in a machine

Touch is so important to the human person.

The average adult human lives inside an envelope of about 18 square feet of skin.

Every square inch houses thousands of nerve endings and various kinds of sensory receptors that  inform the brain about its surroundings.

Touch is arguably the most important sense humans have.

It is essential to our well-being and health, as well as our perception of ourselves and our growth.

Without touch we would wither away and in extreme cases even die.

Studies have shown that touching releases a hormone named oxytocin into our system, which is one of the hormones that makes people feel good and happy and lowers blood pressure and reduces the level of stress.

The hormone can also affects many other things, from how we heal to how we feel about other people.

In fact touch is more than a way to stay healthy.  It is a way of communication.

Touching someone can speak volumes of internal feelings and even attitudes.

Touch, in fact, is our first language, the language of the newborn and it can be more informative than verbal communication because it expresses information that can’t be communicated any other way.

When a baby is held, cuddled, and breast-fed, she’s getting crucial stimulation to build neural connections between her skin and her brain.

By receiving touch from family or caregivers, she learns how to touch and can then explore the world and her relationship to it.

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A final touch

It has been discovered that after prolonged physical contact such as a massage, the hypothalamic area of the brain experiences a reduction of activity, decreasing the body’s level of stress hormones, and increasing the level of endorphins.

Unfortunately our society has developed a negative reaction to touching.

European cultures have a much healthier attitude toward touching.

They shake hands more often.

They hug and kiss more often.

an important sense

In our country, touch is considered an invasion in our privacy and it is banned from our life.

If you want to fulfill your need for touch in a good, clean, and healthy way, I suggest you get a massage.

I think it is important for all of us to reconsider and think about our attitudes on this subject.

By removing rational barriers or prejudice, we can pass on to other people a healthier attitude about touching and being touched.

Unfortunately we have sexualized touch to the extent that if anyone touches us, we think it must be sexual.

Too often, we associate physical touch with sex.

It should be a crime that touching has been reduced to nothing more than a desire for sex.

Everyone is so afraid of having their space invaded.

In many ways, especially for older men, the massage experience is much better than sex. (See below)

In my mind massage therapy has put to flight all these erroneous notion of touch.

It purefies as it heals and relaxes.

It is a wonderful experience and sometimes makes it hard to believe that something that feels so good can be good for you as well.

While there are obvious healing properties, Lena says that most of her people have massages for their sense of well-being.

I literally radiate such intensity of joy and near bliss that I can sit in my favorite restaurant and sip ice tea and literally stare at the TV, or even the wall for hours at a time.

I smile at everyone that walks by me.

They often smile back.

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Must have just had a massage

I am nicer to people.

I am more patient with my wife and grandchildren.

Some scientists suggest that human beings need a few hugs a day for a healthy life.

After a massage I feel aware of myself but emptied of all the negative and selfish feelings in my body.

I want to hug everyone, especially females.

You would be surprised at how much they are willing to receive a gentle hug!

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Hugging is essential to our nature

I feel like I am in that insurance commercial where people pass on random acts of kindness and human consideration.

I really think that if the world could experience a regular massage, it would find the admonitions for peace and brotherhood that have fallen on deaf ears for years.

The Coco-Cola Company made a nice try years ago at trying to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony by drinking their product.

A good massage would be more effective

It was a wonderful ad but I don’t it was very successful.

The late G. K. Chesterton often opined that original sin ias the one Christian doctrine that never had to be argued.

Just look at the newspapers.

A regular massage would be a more positive step in returning human beings to that original state in Eden before the Fall that John Paul II wrote about in his Theology of the Body.

If Lena could give the world a massage twice a week, there would be much more peace and harmony in the world.

Like the prayer says if there be peace on earth, let it start with me.

If I keep getting these regular massages, it just might.




by bbprof



  1. I wish I could find or knew a Lena. How do you find a good Lena ????

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — April 20, 2012 @ 2:15 am

    • Thanks for the letter. See my lengthy reply on comments page. BB

      Comment by bbprof — April 20, 2012 @ 2:46 am

  2. Mary:

    I truly think her coming to our home was providential. A teenage illness prevented her from having any children. Years later she and her husband decided to adopt a little girl from Moscow. She needed some extra work to supplement her therapy work. We hired her one day a week for some housekeeping. Six years later after my wife had only a partly successful foot surgery, with ugly pins sticking out of her toes, Lena offered her a weekly foot massage. This went on for a year, By that time she ha progressed up her leg to below her knee. Then Lena said that she could profit from a full body massage. The next thing I know I was included. I have taken to it like the duck in water.

    Personally I think she is one of a kind. I compare her to Roy Hobbs–the character in the Natural. That’s from a book in the 1950s about an old ballplayers late stardom. Roy always wanted to hear someone say as he walked down the street–there goes Ray Hobbs—he was the best ever! That’s our Lena.

    Comment by bbprof — April 20, 2012 @ 2:45 am

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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