Why is it that people often feel guilty when they take care of themselves? You book yourself a massage labelling it as a luxury, wondering if it is worth the expense just to treat yourself. Would the money be better spent on my children, spouse, bills? What gives me the right to be so selfish? If these thoughts are running through your mind then find out what makes massage a necessity rather than a luxury.
Although Massage therapy leaves you feeling amazing, it is more than treating yourself once or twice a year to some "me-time". It is more that a back rub with soothing music. A well trained registered massage therapist can add tons of benefits to your overall health routine. Here is a list of 5 reasons why you need to integrate massage therapy into your lifestyle.
- Self-Awareness. If regular massage does anything, it creates a sense of self-awareness when it comes to posture, pain and productivity. Many clients come in saying "I feel great today, I just wanted to treat myself". Only a few minutes into the massage the dialogue changes, "Wow, I didn't realize I was so tight there!". We get so used to feeling pain and tension, it becomes our new normal. But it doesn't have to be that way! Coming in for regular massage will train your body and mind to recognize how good you are meant to feel and to notice what triggers your pain patterns. You will notice your posture improve while sitting at your desk at work, or catch yourself leaning consistently to one side while you're driving. You can often feel that nagging pain come on and you become able to stop it in its tracks by making the smallest of shifts. Even though you often leave your treatment with "massage-brain", it fades into mental clarity and renewed motivation to tackle your day. Being able to clear your thoughts and concentrate on your body will spill into the rest of your life, training your mind to focus and prioritize when necessary.
- Improved Emotional State. Imagine yourself running around all day, putting everyone else's needs before your own, rarely hearing a thank you. Getting a massage will give you that opportunity to immerse yourself in a comfortable and emotionally supportive space where you can recharge. Being in the presence of another compassionate human being whose sole purpose is to make YOU feel better will remind you that you deserve to be treated with respect and gratitude. It will encourage you to create boundaries around how much you can give before it becomes a burden. And just watch, the people around you will THRIVE with these boundaries. They will begin to step in when help is needed and they will notice how much love and energy you contribute to their well-being.
- Improved Sleep Patterns. Whether you are an insomniac because you are in chronic pain or because your mind just won't stop, regular massage can bring you back into balance and lead to a blissful nights sleep. Chronic pain does not disappear with a one stop fix, it has been brewing and building up over weeks, months and sometimes years. It will take regular and consistent treatments to break it down and make it a thing of the past. This is especially true if you are not changing any of your other lifestyle habits, which can include a repetitive job, not something you can give up on a moments notice. Racing mind is your problem? With physical touch we can decrease the levels of your stress hormone, cortisol. Not only does this help with depression, anxiety and pain, but massage can have a very therapeutic and meditative effect as well. Being given the opportunity to focus specifically and directly on your breathing and the sensations in different areas of your body can teach you to calm your mind and create space for your problems to simply drift by, stripping away their power.
- Injury Prevention. With all this talk about improving body awareness, decreasing stress, and improving mental clarity, it only makes sense that you will ultimately reduce any potential injuries. My clients who come in on a regular basis are able to pinpoint precisely what they are experiencing. For example, they can tell me exactly when they started to feel their back pain threaten to return, what they had been doing to aggravate it and how they were able to prevent it. Without the burden of a racing mind and stress overload, they are able to clearly feel each sensation within their bodies utilizing their refined sense of self-awareness. Although this may seem limiting, it ultimately encourages you to push yourself to your limit when it comes to exercising and working without having to cross that boundary leading to unexpected pain and injury. Respecting your bodies unique limits is the most liberating path to reaching your full potential.
- Education. A well trained registered massage therapist will continually educate you on how to best treat your body. You will leave your treatment armed with new tools on self-massage and home-care exercises. You will be given an explanation on the possible reasons for why you have certain aches and pains. You will feel confident in sharing the benefits with your family and friends so that they too can feel better than ever! Ultimately you will be empowered to take control of your health and wellness throughout all aspects of life!
There is a reason why more and more companies are including massage therapy in their healthcare benefits packages. Registered Massage Therapists belong to professional organizations and following years of schooling must maintain continuing education credits to keep up to date with the newest theories and modalities. This is no longer a weekend course just as a massage is no longer just a luxury. Incorporate regular massage into your daily lifestyle and see how good you feel.