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Backs take a lot of punishment.  Bad sitting, too much standing, incorrect lifting, all take their toll.  The stresses and strains we carry work their way out in the tension in muscles and joints.  Over the counter gels and pills only go so far in bringing relief yet alone addressing the underlying causes.

So off to the Osteopath – once regarded as rather alternative, now increasingly seen as main stream.  The restorative massage, the careful manipulation, the gentle holding and the body starts to let go, to correct itself and restore balance.

As the Osteopath’s hands move with expertise the length of the spine and amidst the knots of muscle, there is a deep relaxation and a calm seeps through mind and body.  The Osteopath holds the body, gently rocking it side to side and the trust is absolute.  The only warning is a slight movement of the hand as it seeks the exact right place.  Then there is a sudden exertion of pressure and a rapid expelling of breath.  The joint clicks back into alignment, then the quiet rocking of the body continues, slowing until the body is still and the pain has been released.

Souls too take a lot of punishment.  Events that erode our confidence, damage our self-worth and build our guilt.  Mist and murk start to wrap the soul and the guiding light of God shines less brightly.  Mindfulness, mediation and prayer help a little but do not quite clear the fog.

So off to Choral Evensong – once regarded as a normal act, in recent times falling from fashion but now almost becoming alternative and growing in popularity.  A shape of music and words that echoes deep in the memory; calming in its rhythms,  restorative in its familiarity.

Swathes of scripture are heard and sung as psalmody, canticle and anthem wrapping and holding mind and soul safe and secure. Their balm eases the fog and mist that trouble the soul and the spirit relaxes and finds space to breath, lulled by gentle harmonies.  Then, seemingly without warning one chord, one musical chord strikes like lightning and in its spark the soul is illuminated.  In that moment the presence of God is neither felt nor believed but known with utter certainty, the divine light shines with a new brightness, stilling the body and refreshing the soul; a moment of pure undiluted worship.

The moment is often fleeting and impossible to describe and not necessarily to be repeated but it is enough; the divine osteopath has worked their healing touch.  Here amidst the ancient liturgies of the Church, set in prayer-soaked walls, word and music lift the veil to deep mysteries for which the soul with longing waits.

This may not be conventional wisdom, but for the healing of your soul take yourself to Choral Evensong in the setting of one of our great cathedrals.  There let words and music wash over you, let mind and soul relax and unwind and when least looked for or expected the divine healing touch may find your soul too.