Take Your Massage Off the Table

smiley-150x150In massage school, every one of my instructors constantly reminded us to remember to receive bodywork after graduation. I would laugh inside at how silly this sounded, like I could forget to get a massage, how is that even possible. And then massage becomes your profession, and like everything you are supposed to do, it too can get put on the back burner.

So when the opportunity presents itself, I grab that slot on the table. It becomes a treasured time and space. Most importantly it is an hour that I give myself. The key of course is to make it last! Here are some thoughts about ways you can take that massage back to everyday life.

1. Now is all there is: I feel an important part of bodywork is bringing yourself back into the present moment. Let go of focusing on how you should feel or how you used to feel, but instead explore this place where you are right now. This moment is the only one we have, remember to use it wisely.

2. Relax and trust:I’ve found that perhaps the deepest source of suffering is the feeling of being flawed, the belief that “something is wrong with me.”’~ Tara Brach. The massage table should be a safe haven for you to let your guard down. Go ahead and notice the areas you hold onto in your body, but don’t beat yourself up for your imperfections. Just notice the sensations and thoughts that arise and breathe. Remember that you already have everything you need to heal.

3. Make space for the positive: The unlearning of old patterns is what creates freedom in our lives as well as our bodies. While you have this wonderful time available, pay attention to your thoughts. See if you can change them to a positive or just let them go as your tissues are being released. These mental changes are a huge contribution to your own healing process. Anytime you find you are really beating yourself up, remember to come back to the positive.

4. Breathe when things get challenging: Have you ever noticed that you hold your breath when you are stressed? When your breath is compromised, you will create tension and pain. Just by not breathing you instill a big challenge on the body’s ability to heal itself. Now is a beautiful time to really focus on your breath! First, notice your exhale. If you remember to breathe out fully, the inhale will take care of itself. Pay attention to how often you hold your breathe in a given day.

5. Smile! And flaunt those face cradle creases! It will remind someone else that it is time to get on the table.

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So You Have an Injury, Who Do You Call?

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Choose your injury care team wisely

If you have an injury or a pain that isn’t going away, one of your most important decisions is choosing your ‘healthcare’ team. It is actually critical in your healing to pick people you trust and feel comfortable with. So before you choose, think carefully about what that means to you. Is it their treatment approach? Your out of pocket expense? Do you have something in common? Is it a recommendation from a trusted source?

Making that call

People don’t call me because they feel good, so I always do a phone interview. First, I want to make sure that bodywork is appropriate at this stage of your healing. Sometimes I feel you could be better served by a good medical work up first. But ultimately, I want you to be heard. It’s good to have a safe outlet to tell your story and share the natural feelings of frustration, fear, and anxiety that accompany an injury.

Remember that an injury is a very challenging experience!

Sports psychologists tell us that hurting from an injury may not be purely physical; it can leave you mentally depleted. One of my clients’ biggest concerns is when will they be well again. Unfortunately, I know no one out there who has a crystal ball to foretell your particular journey of recovery.

Specializing in harmony for your body

I feel strongly that I am part of my clients’ healthcare team. My main goal is to improve their quality of life. I want to help take the swelling out of their tissues, the pain out of their scars, and put balance back into their bodies, so they can do whatever means the most to them without pain. Finish an ironman, do a handstand, whatever they wish, it’s their life!

What can you expect from a session with me?

Each person and their injuries are unique, so in my practice everyone gets a session designed to meet their specific needs. What could that look like for you? Say you have knee pain, I will first look to pinpoint where the problem is coming from. I often find that knee pain can come from the hip or the foot, so it wouldn’t make sense to focus solely on your knee unless the symptoms were from there. Next I pull from over my 20+ years experience in manual therapy, and offer my best solution.

You are a part of the team, too!

I think being a well informed team member is one of the biggest assets of your own healing. I have seen it help fuel a positive approach to healing vs. an unknowing self-sabotage. Your recovery is really all about your choices. Is that knee really ready to run a marathon when it still hurts to run a 5K? So gather a good team and stay focused on your recovery plan. If you veer off, your team will get you back on track.

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” – Old Chinese proverb

Turning Points

road-to-success11-150x150As a bodyworker, I come into people’s lives when something is amiss in their body. Over the years, I have been blessed with assisting a lot of incredible people on their path toward wellness.

Recently, I was reminded how important this can be when I received an enormous hug and the gracious words, “You were my turning point. After our session, I knew I had the tools to get well.” These rewarding moments are why I am so committed and passionate about my work.

But it also stirred up even more questions for me. How many people recognize when they are at a turning point? How many people stop there and are fooled into believing this is the end point, and ultimately get re-injured? How many people never find their turning point, and continue to stay in a vicious cycle that ultimately doesn’t bring wellness.

Ah, always more too ponder! It’s a great reminder to pay closer attention to your body, so that you can feel this change. I sure appreciate my clients’ for the lessons they share with me every day.

The Power of Looking Deeper

One of my favorite teachings reminds us that we already have everything we need to heal within us. This is not to say that modern or alternative medicine isn’t necessary. However, just hold this thought, tangibly in your hands, for a moment and think about how powerful it really is.

As a body worker, I would be out of a job if we were always capable of figuring out exactly what it is we need. My observation, over the years, is that many people need a clearly definable and fixable injury or illness for them to move forward in their recovery.

But what about the thing that just hurts sometimes, or despite a diagnosis and sound treatment plan, it remains present and quite annoying in your life. What if that tension you hold is deeper than your annoying boss, your daily grind or a past physical trauma?

We start our patterning really early. Some believe from the day that we take our first breath. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember how easy it was or wasn’t to breathe, or to crawl, or to walk. But all of those skills initiate our internal wiring. It is completely subconscious, but still there never the less. Based on our life experiences, we learn to keep certain muscles chronically tight, and our joints compensate around this imbalance. Luckily, given the right attention to detail, this can be restored.

“Life is the sum of all your choices.” ~Albert Camus

Do you have the Power to Heal?

Have you ever wondered why a huge injury can heal and a minor injury can hang on?

So after 20 years in the bodywork business, I am still inspired and amazed each and every day by the puzzle of the human body. I began my bodywork practice as a physical therapist, and got initiated very quickly helping folks with all kinds of injuries, surgeries, and pain that just seemed to creep up on them from no where and for no apparent reason. Some of these injuries were so extreme that I wondered how I would make a difference in their healing. But time after time the most complex cases showed me the power of the human spirit and healing. And some of the most benign injuries showed me how things can fester, take root and be made of the most resilient armor against healing that I have ever come up against.

Do you believe you can get well?

So what that means to me is that the key element isn’t what I can do for my client but instead what my client does for themselves. Though I know my work does make a difference in the healing process, I can’t make people believe they can heal. This comes from somewhere within and though it is always accessible, for some it is found as easily as a child finds a coin under their pillow after an anticipated visit from the tooth fairy and yet for others it seems buried under many heavy layers of concrete slab. If your injury isn’t healing, you may have to look at how you feel about your injury. The most important thing to healing is to be absolutely ‘without a doubt’ certain that you will heal.

‘They are able, because they think they are able.’ ~ Virgil