Massage should be a part of your lifestyle maintenance routine, in the same way exercise, balanced diet and good sleep routine is. Let me explain why.
How many times have you heard someone say “life is so busy?!” I for one keep saying how busy life is, and it only seems to be getting busier with so many things to be done and places to be.
For me the challenge of juggling our household activities is sometimes logistically quite hard and exhausting. Three children’s school routines, their outside school sport activities, necessary swimming lessons, my husband and I trying to maintain a level of fitness to help keep us balanced and sane, and with both of us working – phew!
And breathe …..
Years ago, before I started massaging, I always viewed massage as a luxury. It was something I treasured and only partook in a few times a year. I always felt great afterwards, but didn’t really appreciate the benefits of massage in my life. Since I started massaging 14 years ago, I started to understand the benefits. Now I certainly partake much more regularly and see it as part of my maintenance routine. For me personally, massage helps me recover from fitness training; calms my mind, body and spirit; and gives me that break from life’s busyness so I can recharge my battery.
What sort of massage do I get?
Well it depends on what stage I am at in life. If I have a niggling injury and muscle tension from fitness training I aim for a remedial/sports massage; If I am feeling exhausted and muscle tension is caused by stress and life busyness I aim for a remedial/relaxation massage.
There are so many types of massage available, and it really is trial and error to see which massage style you like, need and what works best for your body. Massage therapists are trained with a number and variety of massage techniques. They are ‘our bag of tricks’, and we pull out the right ones suited for you at the time of your massage.
How does massage fit into your routine?
Massage should be a part of your total or overall maintenance routine. Think of it like your “life pie”, with the different pieces of the pie working together to help you be the best you can be. Sometimes we cannot change the one, or more element(s) that is causing us stress, so we need to work out ways of reducing the impact of it on our life.
The “pieces of the pie” you need to maintain life balance is individual and may include:
- Finding time to wind down and switch off
- Good sleep routine
- Balanced nutrition
- Social - connecting with family and friends
- And more
How many times have you felt, or seen a friend or loved one fall into that vicious cycle of feeling too busy and stressed. Quite often, they stop massage, reduce or stop exercise, start making poor diet choices to give them energy which all leads to poor sleep cycle leaving them run down, more stressed and exhausted.
All the elements working together, including massage, helps maintain our balanced state, and helps us manage life stress much better.
So how do you work out when massage can fit into your maintenance routine?
Body awareness really is the key. Listen to your body.
You know you are overdue for a massage if you are starting to:
- Stretch your neck,
- Hold the top of your shoulders or lower back because its aching,
- Get headaches,
- Not sleep as well,
- Feel overwhelmed with stress,
- Struggle with exercise and feeling you aren’t achieving what you normally would
- …… The list goes on and is unique to everyone.
The best time to get a massage is before all these signs and tension build up in your body. Why? Muscles are layers in your body, they work together on different levels and different ways to help move you, maintain posture, and get you through your life. If your feeling tension, that means the all layers of muscle will no doubt be tight.
We have a variety of massage techniques to help reduce the tension, but if we have to work through layers of muscle tension it will be more difficult to make a difference for you in one session. Leaving it too long between massages, may mean you would be best having more sessions to return your body to balance. Whereas having massage as part of your maintenance routine means we can keep your body in the best state possible for you to achieve all the things you want out of life.
It may sound strange I know, but this analogy may help … Liken massage to grass growing or house cleaning. Regular lawn mowing or cleaning means the time you spend each session is shorter, more manageable and much more efficient. Leaving it too long means it takes you twice as long to finish because you have so much more to get through!
So what would I recommend?
A maintenance routine that suits your life - one that fits into your calendar and budget.
Over the years, I have had a number of new clients who have really benefited from a month of weekly massages, moving to fortnightly massages for two-three sessions then maintained their monthly massages. Other clients come once a month, some once every 6 weeks.
My recommendation to achieve the best maintenance results from your massages is generally no longer than monthly. Most people after four weeks, the old patterns of pain and tension start returning and it’s almost like we are back to square one to assist in correcting the dysfunction. If we can catch the body before it falls back into its old habits the better results, both short and long term.
Don’t be afraid to ask
- A good massage therapist will work with you to help you achieve balance in your life.
- A good massage therapist cares about your wellbeing.
- A good massage therapist will adapt their massage techniques to suit your needs at the time of your appointment.
- A good therapist will want you to achieve the best you can, without it feeling like a burden to achieve.
- A good therapist will let you honestly know what is best for your body, your lifestyle, your calendar and your budget.
Don’t be afraid to ask what your massage therapist recommends. Ask them the best way they can help you with types of massage, appointment times and the cost to make it manageable for you.