Being a massage therapist comes with added gifts. Not only are my hands fabulously moisturized all the time but I get to meet wonderful, intelligent, and very stressed out individuals!
Clients come to my door saying things like, "I made it!" or, "Finally!" with a sigh of relief.
That's because, a massage is a mini vacation.
A block of time sculpted to your needs.
So once you're on the table it should be so easy peasy lemon squeezy to let go of all that tension, right??Not exactly.
I often hear, "I'm not good at letting go." or "I've never been good at relaxing."
What does letting go even mean? How do I do it? Is it possible to be bad at getting a massage?
We were born with all the tools we need to let go. We just need to unlearn some things first.
Society doesn't exactly prioritize letting go...it's quite the opposite.
"Go faster! Do more! Buy more! Not enough!" Sound familiar?
It's no wonder that we're tangled up and confused while drinking 4 coffees on our way to yoga.
So, if you feel tightly wound and need a little help laying still for your next massage...here are some tips!
After you're settled on the massage table...
1. Smile! (Face softens, jaw unclenches. Helps to calm the nervous system.)
2. Do a body scan. "Where am I holding in my body?" (Notice, and move on.)
3. Release the abdomen and breathe from the belly. (As a society we are "gut suckers". This leads us to breathe shallow creating tension in accessory muscles, lack of oxygen to our cells, and it impedes digestion. Most of our serotonin is produced in the gut! We want healthy blood flow to our glorious guts by letting go of the musculature surrounding them.)
4. Don't help the massage therapist unless if they ask. (This means...let them do all the work! From moving arms/legs to turning the head. Allow yourself to be pampered. Caretakers have a very hard time with this.)
5. After the massage do another body scan. (Notice if you're still holding on anywhere. This is great practice for grounding into yourself. Share any discoveries with your massage therapist.)
Extra tid bits...
Instead of saying, "I'm not good at relaxing."
Change it to, "I am not fully relaxed but I'll get there on my own time."
There is no rush to relaxation. If you're a high energy person, running mostly on fight-or-flight sympathetic response, your nervous system needs to practice resting.
Our bodies speak louder than our words.
A raised shoulder, a hiked hip, one foot inverted...
it's hard to see ourselves clearly when we have to run in order to sit still.
Schedule with a massage therapist that takes the time to reflect back observations of possible contracted/weak muscles, or anterior/posterior rotation. Find where YOU need more TLC, and it will be that much easier to take care of yourself. Because feeling good matters!
Massages are not a luxury, they are a medical necessity.
-Jennifer Powers LMT. CHC.