I had the good fortune to do a massage exchange with a local well respected colleague this week. Naturally I was apprehensive because she has a very good following and has been well established for years. So it was with some satisfaction that she had such an appreciation for my work and my approach. And it got me to thinking about how relaxation is really more than just a spa pleasure but really at the foundation of pain relief as well as stress relief. This comes up often in my discussions with clients about pain, and the mind (where pain is located) and the importance of calming the mind through all the senses, and how touch, sound, smell, temperature of the room, all play a role. Anyway I digress. Back to the exchange, here are some words lifted from her description of my work to her clients.....
Is it really all that important to relax and relieve stress?
Yes! Today I am promoting the idea that Gentle + Kind is actually the new Deep Tissue.
Nooooo...I can hear some of you already!
Trust me. I get it, the too-gentle massage. You want to scream and jump off the table. One time a client DID scream at me: "PRESSSUURRRRE!!!!"
Oh my. For sure I had misjudged. I stepped it up (although mostly out of fear :-)
But pressing harder is not necessarily "stepping it up." It is more difficult than you might think to give a super focused, stress-reducing, theta-state inducing Swedish "relaxation" massage.
Luckily we now have Edward for that!
He gave me a massage yesterday and since his website boasts "Elite Relaxation" that's what I ordered. I don't mind sharing that there was a small amount of drool that I needed to manage. I'm picky when it comes to bodywork, and I can say with all confidence that I am happy to leave you with Edward again while I head back to western Mass again next week.
Let me say this about relaxation: it often relates directly to pain relief. If you know me, you know that I now exercise my right to refuse service to certain new clients.
Text from potential client: Hey, are you strong? I need really deep tissue. I can take it.
Me: No. I am not strong. I recommend Mike's Sports Massage. He is strong. Thank you.
Of course I am strong, and I remove trigger points, but the body also has to relax. The ability to relax the body is just as important, if not more important than strength. I was reminded of this after Edward's massage.
Despite the spiel I just gave about relaxation, for my own massage I had thought that I would save "working" on my shoulder for another day because we were doing "Swedish relaxation" massage. Dummy. My whole nervous system relaxed and then guess what happened. My shoulder stopped hurting!
This also surprised me about relaxation: Recently I have been taking Valerian if needed for post-workout soreness. It works! I had tried Turmeric because of its anti-inflammatory properties but I was disappointed because it didn't do much for me. Valerian is said to reduce anxiety and blood pressure, and to help with sleep. In other words, it relaxes and calms the nervous system, just like Edward!
Now of course, everyone's pain will respond to something different. What is it for you?
(courtesy of Lisa B. Massage)
I am looking forward to receiving my exchange session from her next week. In the meantime take what she says and see if it applies to your own situation.
I write about things that I myself need to be mindful of. ways in which I would like to improve. It is not from the perspective of preaching - but rather writing helps me work out what I myself need to do - we are all in this together.