My Herbs Blog
When I think of all the hundreds of things I can do for self-care and to rejuvenate my body, massage is in my top 10 list of necessities for feeling good. This seems like a no brainer. Massage is great. There are just certain knots that tie up in the muscles, that no stretching seems to break up. I have been getting a deep tissue massage consistently for a year. Previously I would go a few times a year, but last year I made the choice to allocate funds towards a regular monthly, sometimes bi-monthly massage.
Sometimes I may mention to someone that I am getting a massage, and they say "Oh I wish I could do that." I am thinking, you could most definitely do that. There really is no reason. When I did not have the "money" to pay for massages, I use to go get a 10 minute chair massage, for less than $15. Then as time went on and I saw the difference in how I felt, I would pay for longer ones.
Now- it is undoubtedly part of my budget and health routine. There are months when I have had to cancel appointments or reschedule and I really felt it, in fact I may really feel like I am hurting until I get to go. Most of us spend a lot of time on electronics, or looking at our phones, and this does a number to our backs and neck. Stress also really settles in that area. It is a strange phenomenon, and in part I wish I could get rid of that tightness on my own. I have tried hot baths, stretching, and even have a home massager. All of these things help, but nothing works as good as a professional massage to break up the tightness that settles in the muscles.
The following are the reasons I feel that massage is absolutely necessary for me and perhaps you.... 1. I notice that when I start to have tightness in my neck, it travels up the muscles to my head and I will find myself with headaches. 2. My sleep is affected, if my neck is tight; I can't get comfortable and wake up sore. 3. I find myself irritable and tired when I know I need a massage. 4. Getting one releases a lot of pressure and helps the body relax. When in a relaxed state the nervous system is more effective at delivering nutrients to the body. 5. I can get back to work. I find that if I am starting to get too tight, my neck and arms and lower back are pained when I sit at the computer. After a massage, I feel right as rain and ready to tackle my work again.
or Rosemary Gladstar (through her course The Science and Art of Herbalism) really taught me the need for nourishing the body and nervous system. I know a lot of herbs that are beneficial to the nerves. They are called Nervines. Some of my favorites are Catnip, Lobelia, Valerian, Lavender, and Chamomile. What I find with herbs is that herbs work so much better in conjunction with other modalities. An example of a mini self-care splurge that I do is, once or twice a month I will go get a massage, concentrating on my upper back and neck. I like to do this towards the evening, so that I can come home and have a few cups of tea with the above listed herbs. It is really important to drink fluids right after a massage, and the next few days. It is always important, but especially important after body work. Then I do something to continue relaxing. I play nice music, watch an uplifting movie, or go to bed early. The next day I feel like a million bucks! I love my massages and will keep them a part of my routine.
What to avoid: Sporadic massage can feel counter productive. If you only get a massage once in a great while, you may actually feel overly sore afterwards, because the muscles haven't been worked. When I was only going infrequently, I often woke up really sore the next morning. Find someone who you really like. If you get a massage and you find that it was only ok, find someone else. You should really notice a difference immediately when you are on the massage table, as far as relaxation goes. Start with what you can afford, and at the spa or center you can afford. I think a lot of people talk themselves out of going for one because of expense. There are many self employed therapists who charge very fair rates, and are excellent at what they do.
Be willing to try different types of massage. This is something I need to incorporate more. Each type of massage has aspects that benefit the body in different ways. There are essential oil massages, foot massages (reflexology), hot stone, deep tissue, or lighter touch massage. I have experimented some, but need to try some other modalities, because I know there are areas I am missing, and pieces I will receive through trial. Be open to the fact that you may have more clarity, or some kind of spiritual experience, or even sadness afterwards. We can hold pain and sorrow in our bodies, and the trigger points, when pressed by a trained therapist, can release emotional stagnation.
I'd love to hear from you on your experiences with body work, and healing through the different massage techniques available. Have a happy and healthy day!
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