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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Is Your Story Keeping you from Your Best Health?

purple_flowers-150x150Is your ‘story’ keeping you from your best health?

Recently I received a call from a potential client who didn’t even offer me his name. He opened the conversation with who had referred him to me, and that he preferred to get in ASAP because of his pain. Since it seemed very important to him, I proceeded by inquiring about the nature of his pain. His response was that he has persistent pain in his shoulders, which he feels comes from a guarding pattern he can’t seem to change following a cervical spine fusion surgery.

Since his issue seemed really straight forward and I didn’t have space to fit him in that day, I recommended some other bodywork practices that may have immediate availability. But now the real story came out. “Would they know what to do with a fusion?” he asked. I find I am taken a little aback, as rarely do I get a referral for someone still on restrictions without getting a phone call from their practitioner or doctor. To clarify my questions, he stated that his surgery was over a year ago and he has been given the all clear by his surgeon to resume all his normal activities.

Here is the catch, and ultimately what may be creating an underlying holding pattern in the muscles of his shoulders. On his last visit, the doctor explained that on one view of his x-rays the bone looked as if it hadn’t completely filled in, but even with this information he was released from all his previous restrictions. So despite the wonderful hall pass he received, he leaves the doctors office in conflict. As he has heard that he is not whole, in fact still quite broken and fragile, with the fusion not being completely perfect. He also heard the words he is free to get back to his life as before. But now, he just may write his story that he is getting back to his life, but despite giving a year of his life to surgery, rehab and recovery, he still isn’t well.

He needs to believe that it is okay to not have a perfect x-ray at the one-year mark, and that the doctor feels very good with the outcome of his surgery even with these findings. And most importantly, it is okay to move on with your healing by editing this part of your story to mean that imperfect doesn’t mean broken. I hope he realizes this sooner rather than later, and gets back to being himself, and not his injury. I will know this is true if he calls again, and begins by giving me his name.

“Not everything that can be counted counts, And not everything that counts can be counted.” ~ Einstein

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