There is a phrase that I hear quite often during my massage sessions. It usually goes something like this, “Oh my gosh, I had no idea I was sore in that spot until you starting working there”. (Seriously… if I had a dollar for every time someone said this phrase in a massage session…) I always smile, because I can’t help but get excited that they are ‘getting it’. These folks are the ones who book their appointments ahead of time to maintain their healthy status; and their appointments aren’t necessarily made to ‘treat’ themselves to some R&R… although that’s a wonderful side-effect of massage therapy. These folks are proactive about maintaining their quality of life and serious about staying heathy and operating at their highest level.
More than ever, we are being taxed with a constant rush of stimuli. It’s the emails, the texts, the pressures at work, the vigorous gym workouts, the demands from our children, the loans, the constant notifications from that new app on our phone, our pet’s needs, the kids’ activity schedule and the list goes on. We pretend to have everything under control and it takes a toll on our bodies. We absorb, we mask our discomfort with anti-inflammatories, we numb ourselves with alcohol or food and we suppress the signals from our innately wise mind, body, and soul.
I recently practiced what I preach and booked myself a massage for 90 minutes. As I drove to my appointment I didn’t think that I had too much going on in regards to pain or discomfort in my body. That is… until I got there and faced my therapist. I took a deep breath and all of a sudden noticed that my low back was stiff from my workouts and profession. During the session, I realized that my quads and the muscles that cross over my knees were in desperate need of massage. I felt the blood rush back into those tight muscles and felt the sweet relief of the endorphins kicking in. My feet, neck, forearms, and hands experienced the same “wake-up” calls from the skilled techniques of my massage therapist.
Taking that hour and a half to slow down and assess my body, to receive the care and allow healing to take place, truly reset my body so I could go back and take care of the things that are important to me. I no longer was running on empty.
The demands and lists will continue to pile up and awareness is the first part of changing something that is working against you. Massage therapy brings relief to the nagging areas that are a bother and awareness to the other areas that compensate for these pains and discomforts. This awareness can bring forth change because now we know that a new stretch should be practiced, or we should perform a strengthening exercise for the opposing muscle group, or use a self-care mobility tool (like a foam-roller or lacrosse ball) to care for that new problem area. Don’t worry, your massage therapist will walk you through your self-care plan to get you through to your next appointment.