One of the great benefits of massage is that it makes you more aware of how you feel.
Massage makes your body feel better. Your muscles less tight which allows you to feel looser and more limber. You feel that you can move easier. Some or all of the pain you came in with is gone or at least greatly reduced. You remember that once upon a time you used to feel this way – and you like it. Your muscles haven’t always been so tight and painful. They usually get that way gradually over time by the way you do everyday activities.
After your massage you feel good so you begin to notice when an area starts to hurt. Since you know that it didn’t hurt before and now it does, you can review what you have been doing since your massage.
Often people can make a small adjustment that has a big impact on how they feel. It could be how much you carry around every day, your workplace set up, getting a new pillow, paying more attention to your posture, increasing your activity or many other things. A minor change to a daily repetitive task can have a big payoff in less pain.
Your mind also feels better after a massage. Your stress has been scaled down a few notches. Problems that seemed so big before now look much smaller and more manageable. With better clarity you wonder why you thought some things appeared to be a big deal. You may find a creative solution to an issue that you couldn’t quite find before.
You want this more relaxed feeling instead to continue. Pay attention to the things that cause your stress to go up, and then look for small changes you can make to keep your stress low. Take a minute for a few deep breaths. You can do this anywhere and nobody else even needs to know what you are doing.
When you take a quick break from work to get some water or find the bathroom take a minute to be calm. Push your shoulders down away from your ears. Remember how relaxed and calm you felt at a nice vacation or at your last massage.
You can feel relaxed and don’t have to feel stressed. By being aware of what causes it and taking some action you can feel more in control and have less stress. Of course there are some stressful situations that you can’t completely control but you may be able to manage your reactions better.
You drive around safely when you are aware of the other traffic on the road and make adjustments to protect yourself. Be aware of what causes you pain and stress and you can feel better between massages.
Have you ever wondered why you didn’t notice your muscles getting so tight? You remember not being in this much pain. You used to be able to move better and had more range of motion in your joints. You used to feel good – or at least much better than this. What happened?
It’s mostly our brains. Brains are designed to notice when something is different. Once it does, it becomes the normal feeling and doesn’t alert your conscious mind of it. For example, when you put on a shirt in the morning to go to work your brain knows there is a change. You feel the fabric on your skin and how it fits. When you leave the shirt on for a while, your brain knows nothing has changed and you stop noticing it. You don’t notice throughout the day the sensation of your clothes on your skin.
Think about when you walk into a room and there is a strong scent. You are immediately aware of it, but when it hasn’t changed your brain stops paying attention to it within 30 seconds or so. When you walk into a bakery you find wonderful aromas but you quickly stop noticing them. Have you wondered how people can stay in a place with a foul stench? It’s because their brain stops paying attention since nothing has changed.
A stressful day or repetitive motions cause some of your muscles start to tighten. It’s not a big change so you aren’t very aware of it. When you don’t do anything to reverse it your brain interprets this as your new normal condition. More stress and repetitive motions cause more muscle tightening. Since it happens gradually you don’t become aware of how much it has changed and your brain is used to this condition as normal.
Eventually though your muscles let you know that something is not right and they demand relief. Massage of course is a great way to relieve your stress and to get your muscles the relief that they need.
The change is especially noticeable after a massage. Your pain is reduced or gone and you can move much easier and more freely.
Feeling this way is how you are supposed to feel. It’s a big reason why massage therapists suggest regular massage. By keeping your body feeling good your brain starts to notice when it doesn’t feel good anymore. That helps to keep small problems from developing into bigger ones.
If you don’t remember what it’s like to feel good, or you haven’t been getting massage regularly, make an appointment and get started. Your body and brain will be glad you did.
As Christmas passes (and we realize just how much pudding we ate) it's time to turn our focus to the new year. If your resolutions include getting fitter and more fabulous why not start with the the place we spend so much of our time... work! These simple healthy lifestyle tips can be done anywhere, including the office.
Take the stairs.
Pedometers, Fitbits, and various health tools track steps and daily mileage. One of the first things people do when they lean into a healthier lifestyle is to increase their movement. This can take the form of an actual organized fitness plan or by incorporating little acts of action that propel them forward toward their goals; such as taking the stairs and parking a little further from the building.
If you’re a desk jockey, one of the best things you can do is to get up and move. Do it every hour if you can. This action can increase blood flow as well as your productivity. A 5-10 minute break can prevent eye strain, cramped wrists and stretch a sore back.
Increase your water intake.
Hydrate. Do we really need to tell you why? Drinking water is good for you and will keep you hydrated. Benefits also include improving digestion and clearer skin. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and sip from it often. (Bonus tip: Coupling drinking water with a repetitive activity can be a good way to stay on task.)
Very busy people often forget to eat. We’re not talking sugary snacks that boost your energy (and then cause a crash) throughout the day. We’re talking about healthy, good-for-you snacks that keep you feeling full and satisfied without all the calories and carbs.
The workplace can be hectic at times. Finding a moment to take a deep breath can keep the most frazzled days focused and on point. By remembering to breathe will help you reduce stress and anxiety, slow your heart rate, and just feels good.
Get a massage.
Ok, so this one is kinda hard to do on the clock. We’ve managed to find ways around this though. Scheduling a half hour massage on your lunch break might be just the thing to keep you on task and relaxed. You could go for a full treatment off the clock OR maybe you can talk “the powers that be” into recruiting some massage therapists for some seated chair massage right there in the office.
There are so many other ways to practice healthy habits at work. From balancing poses at the copier to correcting your posture at your desk. Practicing healthy habits in the workplace is tricky. Find ways to work them in and before long you won’t even notice the extra tasks that are bringing you one step closer to a healthier you!
It’s not hard to think up great ways to treat yourself. We’d all love a spa day topped off with a meal prepared and served by someone else. Maybe a sitter for the night, so the little angels are asleep when we get home. Or just a morning where the cat doesn't wake you up by sitting on your windpipe.
But for every article I see about self care, I roll my eyes at least 12 times and think "Who can afford that?" And sure, I would love to have an afternoon to myself and a bucket of fried chicken, and a cookie dough chaser. But that's not particularly healthy.
So I'm a fan of realistic self care. That is, activities that aren't expensive, don't involve food, and will make you feel good about how you spent that time. Here's a list of my favorites
Meditate, the easy way
If you're the kind of person who can't sleep during the day, napping can be more like torture. But guided meditation is a whole other story. It gives your mind something (easy) to do so the rest of you can relax a bit. There are plenty of free guided meditations online, my favorites are at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center website.
Walk and a picnic
Okay, this one involves food, or just a beverage. Pack a little bag with a snack and a drink and go for a walk. Doesn't need to be far, doesn't need to be fancy. Just get outside, find a rock or a glade or a bench, settle in and sip your beverage. Listen to the quiet, or people-watch. Even better, bring a little trash bag and pick up litter along your route. You've just added in a random act of kindness to your personal time. Go, you!
Read a book
When was the last time you read for pleasure. Even if you can't get to your library, there are plenty of Free e-books on Amazon, and your local library probably may have a free online borrowing program. Or reread some of your favorite books from childhood if you have them hanging around.
If you choose the topic right, learning is great self-care. Pick a topic for FUN. Don't feel like you need to learn something pertinent to your work or a current hobby. Check out Tafe, Open Universities or your local community college to start off with or just dig into some YouTube tutorials.
Bust out a piece for paper and draw something. Even if you don't have fancy pencils or crayons or markers, you can play with shading and pressure and make something cool. There are plenty of free coloring pages you can download and print out.
Write a letter (this one will cost you the price of a stamp)
Remember letters? On real paper? It's becoming a lost art, which is kinda sad. it used to be so exciting to get a real letter in the mail. Not a bill, not an advertisement, but a real letter, with news, from someone you love. It was downright magical. If you feel totally lost and don't know where to start, here's a site to help you out.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. There are plenty of free apps to help you learn geocaching and get started.
For nearly every song out there, there's a karaoke accompaniment on YouTube. For reals. Crank it up and let ‘er rip. You’re a stress-free superstar now.
Get a kid and play Uno, or find an old deck of real cards and fall into a game of solitaire.
You can go nuts and find a whole bunch of fancy recipes on the internet, or just throw some salt into big bowl of warm water. Put a foot in there. Scrub it a bit with a washcloth. It feels good, the warmth is calming (or use cool water if it's a zillion degrees where you're at), and your feet will be all soft and good-smelling when you take ‘em out.
Got a teabag? Throw it in. Got an essential oil you like? A few drops'll do. No big whoop. When you're ready, dry that foot off and slather with some lotion. Or coconut oil. Or olive oil. Whatever you have is just fine. (Put some socks on to really make it last, and so you don't slip, ok?)
And when all else fails: Nap
Put your jammies on and take a nap. In your bed. Not all jammed up on the couch with the TV on. Close the shades in your bedroom and hunker down for a proper sleep.
There. You don’t have to spend money or fill your belly to feel great and treat yourself well!
We know massage will make us move better and feel happier, but not everyone can make time for regular appointments. Luckily massage is great preventive care and it can have some instantly-gratifying results. Check out these 3 things massage can help you with right now.
Tension headaches (often called stress headaches) are the most common type of headaches among adults. Pain or pressure in your forehead or on the top or sides of your head? Could be a tension headache. It's especially likely if you've been hunching over a desk or some knitting, spent a ton of time in a car.
Massage can help get rid of that headache and regular massage may well keep it from coming back. (If you want to geek out about tension headaches and try a few self-massage techniques, check out this article.)
Low Back Pain
A major research study was published in 2011 showing that massage therapy was better than drugs and usual care for general lower back pain. Better than drugs. I just had to say that twice.
Just about everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their life. If it happens to you, don't suffer. Schedule a massage and get back into action.
Have you ever been so cranky you got on your own nerves? Yeah, me, too. It isn’t fun. When you feel yourself biting everyone’s head off when they ask you a question, it might be time for some self-care.
Massage is great for stress relief. You get to shut off all the things that buzz and chime and aggravate you to the point of eye twitches. Music, silence, warmth, massage. All the cranky disappears.
This is dual purpose. You'll feel better and all the people around you will be happier that you're back to your sunny self.
Got a headache, low back pain, or a case of the grumpies? Book a massage and we’ll handle that fast.