Taking Care of Yourself – Massage

As a targeted parent I know I hold onto tons of emotional and mental stress…particularly on the really bad days.  from a physical standpoint our bodies are the repository of all our emotional, physical and mental stress.  Our shoulders get tight, our neck clenches down, our chest constricts as our breathing is altered by stress.  Stress does a number on our bodies and minds….and when we are dealing with something like alienation that stress can seem insurmountable, never ending and pervasive.  It begins to effect how we live and how our bodies function.  Our sleep cycles get interrupted, our digestion gets all wacky, our immune system gets depressed and our hormonal balance gets all out of whack.  Our bodies are perfectly designed to handle short term stress–once we get into the long term or chronic stress scene our bodies begin to wear down creating all kinds of havoc from intestinal issues, to heart disease and everything else in between.

As Americans we operate under a certain amount of chronic stress–our jobs, our hectic pace, commuting, our family obligations our friends everything can be cause of stress–depending on how we view it on any given day.  But Alienation just compounds our daily stress–there is something inherently stressful about losing your child to alienation..there are no two ways about it.  So how do you begin to combat the pervasive stress so you can function at your best?  After all–you need to be able to handle this situation for the long term and you will need your wits about you and you need to be emotionally able to handle anything.

I suggest that you go get yourself a regular massage…a deep relaxation massage will help your body negate the impacts of stress.  It allows you to gain some space and fluidity to your tight muscles, and all the corresponding aches and pains.  Massage works on all levels if you let it, it can smooth out your physical tension, it relaxes your incessent mental chatter and it can sooth your emotions.  Basically, it allows you time to escape your mental/emotional hell for brief period–this escape frees up the mind and allows you to find new patterns of coping upon reentry into your life.  I would suggest a 90 minute session as often as you can afford it.

On that note…you don’t have to go to the most expensive spa in your area–nor do you have to go to the cheapest massage chain…Find a local independent massage therapist–someone that has a nice office space in a quiet location convenient to you.  There are couple of ways to find a certified therapist–abmp, amta,  nctmb all have listings for certified licensed massage therapists.  You can search by zip code to find the ones closest to you or your work.  You can ask you friends and family or go to the local chamber of commerce, or local massage training school in your area for referral sources.

The independent therapists generally are less expensive than the spas because they have less overhead.  They may have been in business for a long time and choose to work for themselves because they can have the flexibility to determine what each client needs on any given day, they are not constrained by the protocol of the establishment.  They will usually allow you to bring your own music if you want and your own oils and lotions if they don’t have something you like.  They may also offer discounts for paying in cash, or having regular sessions, or offer package discounts.  Most therapist will work with your financial constraints–as long as you are up front and ask.  Therapists are professionals though, so don’t expect a discount–their services are generally well worth the cost.  You may have to shop around until you find the therapist you like…that is pretty normal too–no ones massage is the same as someone elses…all bodies are different and respond to different therapists differently.

Most therapists are trained in energy work as well…and sometimes they will utilize those skills as part of the massage.  Massage can bring emotions to the surface–long buried ones or the surface ones you are currently dealing with–don’t worry about it–if you find yourself crying–just let it out.  I would suggest telling your therapist that you have been going thru a big emotional upheaval and your body is just tight  all over and specifically where you feel any pain.  and then just allow yourself to sink into the moment and enjoy the pleasurable sensations of having those tight muscles kneaded.  Touch is such a essential component to healing.  Don’t underestimate the power of a good massage.

There is something decadent about giving yourself a massage…it sends a signal to your body that you are worth it…you deserve to be taken care of and a good massage in a warm compassionate space is sometimes just what you need to get over the emotional hump.  Self care is a huge part of surviving alienation.  So take the time to pamper yourself.  It is important–you need to find healthy ways of combating stress–and massage is the most pleasurable one out there–in my humble opinion.

I am a massage therapist–but I am not just saying this to drum up business for myself or my colleagues–I honestly believe in the healing properties of touch and massage as a stress management tool.  If I could, I would get a massage every week….as it stands I get one when I can afford one…and I relish every minute of it.  I like the 90 minute sessions because if you are super wound up..it takes a while for your body to relax and get into the groove of relaxation.  sometimes that can take up to a half hour–so splurge and get the maximum results for your time and money–do a 90 minute relaxation massage as often as you can.  You may just be amazed at the results and the long term tangible side effects of regular relaxation time.