There’s nothing like walking into a massage therapist’s office with low back pain and walking out pain free. The same can be said for any type of pain caused by muscle tension. After all, pain has a way of making your days interminably long and completely sucking any pleasure from them. Ain’t no one got time for that!
It’s also pretty awesome to arrive without the ability to turn your head and to leave being able to easily turn far enough to check your blind spot without turning your whole body. Any time your body can’t move as far as it should, it impacts your life in a negative way. It also creates pain as your body compensates for the lack of movement.
If my clients are any indication, these are the two biggest reasons that people get massage. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a chronic problem caused by repetitive tasks like sitting at a computer all day, or a one time issue caused by being a weekend warrior, because massage can help them both.
But massage can do so much more than just relieve pain and increase movement.
The second biggest reason that people get massage is stress. It’s not just the stress that prompts them to call, it’s the effect that stress is having on their body and mind. Headaches, anxiety, and inability to sleep are some of the most common effects people seek to alleviate by getting a massage.
Massage is wonderful at turning off the fight or flight stress response and turning on the rest and digest relaxation response. For this reason alone, massage is invaluable. After all, the body can’t heal when the stress response alarms are sounding.
Unfortunately, many people view massage and bodywork as something that will fix them when they’re broken. They’ve either forgotten or never learned that massage is also an excellent prevention strategy.
Off the top of my head, I can think of 6 ways in which massage can and should be used to keep you in tip top shape:
Each of these are taken from my own personal health journey. Like most people, I began with a “fix me” mentality that viewed health as the absence of disease or pain. As I slowly became aware of just how dysfunctional my body was, even in the absence of pain, I resolved to make prevention, rather than cure, my main health philosophy. I have not regretted that decision. Not once. I have a greater awareness of how my body reacts to stress and how I can keep it working properly, as a result I have less pain & muscle tension than ever before.
What about you? Are you a fix it person or a prevent it person?