Updated: Sep 29, 2021
love a massage, but I do not treat myself to a massage. It’s not an indulgence. I consider my massage a required part of my health and wellness.
For years, I got a massage like clockwork every four weeks, 90 minutes. I always had the next two appointments booked out because I didn't want to miss one, I had frequent migraines and tension headaches, and I felt like I could not function without my massage.
I sometimes had difficulty finding a massage therapist that I could work with. My massages were difficult, and sometimes the therapist would suggest that I be less physically active. Often, they would try to “force” my tissues to release and that left me feeling bruised and even worse the next day.
I’ve worked with some great massage therapists, ones with fantastic technique and the patience to find the right way to work with my body. I’m grateful to them because they have really helped me.
When COVID happened, I couldn’t get a massage for a long time. At first, I was stressed out by that. How would I manage my headaches. I needed other ways to free the “issues in my tissues” and that’s when I turned to self-myofascial release.
I had been doing self-myofascial release for several years but not on a regular basis and not as part of my daily self-care routine. It was something I did when things got really bad. I had a lot of pain and stiffness or had just had a terrible headache. Since the pandemic, with the help of my fitness coach and massage therapist, I’ve begun incorporating self-myofascial release and mobility work at home every day.
It took time, but my headaches began to get less frequent, and I learned how to stop a headache with self-myofascial release rather than medication. Now, I can prevent a headache from starting.
And now that I can get a massage again, I get more from my massage than I ever did before. My massage therapist can get more deeply into my tissues because I've taken care of what is on the surface, and he doesn’t have to work his way through all of that "stuff" before he can get to the deeper issues. He can also focus on those areas that are more difficult for me to get to on my own, and he can get to the deeper (t)issues in only a 60-minute massage once every 6 weeks.
All of this makes me feel much more in control of my own health and wellness, and that is powerful! That kind of control makes me more resilient and less likely to feel overwhelmed if I do have a difficult day physically. I know what to do. I also know that my massage therapist is there for me when I need a little help!
Massage is still a required part of my health and wellness, and I'm lucky to have a great massage therapist to work with. If you want to make the most of your massage, here's what I suggest:
Find a massage therapist that you can work with. If they are asking you to stop doing things that you enjoy or to be less active, maybe they aren't the right fit for you (unless of course your medical professional also thinks you should limit those activities).
Talk to your therapist about your issues, those nagging pains or recurring problems. They can often suggest things you can do at home or ask questions to help you figure out the root cause of what's going on.
Learn how to do self-myofascial release and mobility work. We all have movement patterns or postural habits that can cause us to be "stuck" and have stiffness, pain, and even limited range of motion.
By the way, this also makes your massage more enjoyable because your tissues will learn to release more quickly and the faster you get to "ahhh", the better!
Learn to observe your body. Become aware of how it feels when you move, stand or sit in certain ways. This will help you get to the root and solve issues more easily on your own.
If you want to learn more about self-myofascial release, check out my class at Restored Strength in Marshall. Every Sunday afternoon, we do self-myofascial release and Yin yoga. These are two very complimentary practices and are beneficial for anyone who needs to connect more with their body and get a little “un-stuck”!
By the way, we’ve got a great October offer for you on Yin and Release! Every Sunday in October (and there are five) if you bring a friend who is new to Yin and Release, you and your friend get a discount on your class for that day. Bring a new friend each week and get a discount each week!