If you are constantly stuck up in your thoughts, if you feel you have become your never ending list of responsibilities, then you’ve probably forgotten the simple joy of having a body. Your body is equipped to feel so many kinds of pleasure: not just the beauty of visual art, sounds, and delicious foods, but also the aesthetics of tactile and kinesthetic pleasure. As children we were thrilled to run and bounce and roll on the ground; or maybe we savored like heaven the feel of a favorite blanket or a soothing hand rubbing our backs before a nap.
Sadly, many adults are now numb to their bodies. They demand that their bodies perform all the daily tasks of life, yet they can go weeks or months without actually feeling. They have become like machines. Or perhaps they experience tactile ecstasy only in the form of sex -- this may lead them to seek it out more than is healthy.
Physical numbness is often accompanied by emotional numbness. So, during a massage, when awareness of one’s body returns, it is not uncommon for emotions -- sadness, fear, anger, or some exotic mix of all three -- to suddenly come into focus. This is not something to be embarrassed of, but I would say, a great opportunity to heal on multiple levels of your being! I am licensed as an MT, not a psychologist, so it is not my place to do discuss your emotions with you; yet I welcome and encourage you to process emotions within yourself during a massage when and if it comes up. When you suppress negative emotions, you suppress all the positive ones too.
Yes, human bodies are machines, but let us not forget the mysterious fact that we live and feel inside of them. Massage can be a time you are reminded of your many parts, and all the amazing things you can experience and enjoy.
If your body is a machine, many parts working together much like your car, then massage is like getting an oil change. A regular massage will keep the machine working better and longer. Massage assists the lymphatic system in cleansing debris from all your tissues. Improved blood circulation benefits ALL tissues in the body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the joints, the muscles and connective tissue, and the skin. Lengthening and softening knotted muscles reduces the tension, spasms, and nerve pinching that cause so much pain and discomfort. And the deep relaxation that massage is known for has many positive effects, including better sleep, better digestion, deeper breathing and an improved immune system. Along with exercise and diet, massage will keep this machine working well a long time! For more information, check out this great article:Are There Any Side Effects to Massage Therapy?
Bring your attention to your unique inner structures, the current state of your skeleton, nerves, muscles. I want you to leave a massage, not only feeling relaxed and your tension eased, but also armed with new knowledge about your particular holding patterns. From past injuries, and repetitive motions, the body learns these patterns, but they are often not ideal and can cause acute pain in other areas. Using your inner-eye and witnessing how each body-part responds to touch, this knowledge goes beyond simply: “My lower back hurts,” or “I have a knot in my shoulder.” You come to recognize which muscles are obsessively holding, and how that is affecting the rest of the body. Many people have no idea that their shoulders are shrugged up, that they are walking around all day with their butts clenched, or that their breathing halts periodically. We can talk about massage treatment plans as well as awareness tools to use in your daily life. We can correct the imbalances that led to pain and tension in the first place.