Massage: Your Reset Button
The main focus of my practice is helping people that are in pain or recovering from injury. Medical Massage and Mobility is my niche. Treating conditions from neck pain to plantar fasciitis is what makes up the bulk of my practice. That doesn't mean that I don't practice therapeutic massage therapy. Meaning, massage for stress reduction and relaxation.
There is a trend in the bodywork field where therapists will only perform treatments for pain and refuse to perform massage for relaxation. That is totally fine. We should all be able to do the work we are most skilled at and enjoy the most.
As for me, I still practice massage therapy for stress reduction, and here is why:
To begin with, I do enjoy the work. As a person with ADD, I find it to be very meditative and relaxing even for myself. With someone with ADD or ADHD, our minds are running a mile a minute and that calm that comes from slowing down and focusing can be very therapeutic.
The other reason: I love science. The scientific literature is overwhelming when it comes to the benefits of human touch and using massage therapy for stress reduction. The benefits of reducing stress through manual therapy have shown to reduce cortisol levels, lower blood pressure, help those with anxiety and depression, and huge benefits for those with PTSD.
The truth is, regular massage therapy has many health benefits and can effect our minds and emotions. More than anything, massage therapy influences the nervous system. We think we are working on muscles, but we are mainly stimulating the skin and affecting the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is a part of our nervous system that is responsible to induce relaxation. That is where the power of massage therapy is. A very skilled therapist will have the ability to put you to sleep!
Let's admit it, life can be hectic. We are so busy these days. We go go go and don't stop. Sometimes, the discomforts we feel in our bodies, is simply your body telling you to stop. In some cases, your body will make you stop by seizing up those tired muscles. Have you ever "thrown your back out?" That's your body making you stop!
Massage therapy isn't going to take away all of our problems. It's not going to remove the things in our life that stress us out, but it can help you to better cope with what is going on in our lives. That's why I call massage therapy: The Reset Button.
Sure, the results are temporary. You'll still have to go back to work the next day. Still have to pay bills, and so much more. But it sure is nice to stop and relax for an hour or more. Honestly, I believe that the anticipation that you have a massage coming up in your week is therapeutic. That no matter what you're going through, you know that you have this moment in your week or month where you can just shut off. You hit that reset button and start over refreshed and renewed. For me personally, that alone makes regular massage therapy worth it.
I see it in your eyes when you come in sometimes. Tired. Stressed. Exhausted. The most fulfilling part for me is seeing the difference after the session. Weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and the smile on your face says it all. Sure, you may have the wrinkles and seems of the face cover marked on your face, but you feel renewed.
Even if you're not in pain, or your pain conditions have improved, regular massage therapy can have a huge impact in your life. If you don't have a session already on the books, make sure you do. Whether it's weekly, monthly, or every couple of months, don't go without it.