If you walked in my house you would probably guess that I like to keep things calm. The walls are different shades of cool muted blue complimented with taupe like accents. Very neutral and very calming for me. Some may even say its kind of Yin. The other day I woke up and decided to paint my bathroom. So I went to the store and bought some paint. I came home and painted away! When I was done I had anything but a Yin room! Bright yellow walls now warm the space where I take my hot baths! Maroon rugs and pictures accent the room while a blue shower curtain and table cool it down. I of course have lots of candles to add to the glow. I never in my life thought I would decorate with such primary colors but it works! This small space is becoming my favorite. It is the perfect Yang to my Yin. Then it dawned on me. You can’t have everything calm and neutral all the time. We need energy, we need vitality. This translates to my physical life as well. I can spa all the time if I want. I listen to calm music, lay in my hammock, get pedi’s, facials, massages. I do everything my heart can dream of to relax and sometimes it’s not enough. So what am I not doing? The one thing I’ve been putting off for almost a year now. Exercise. It’s the Yang I’ve been needing. Without it I am out of balance and all my energy drains out of me. Yes I know it has lots of health benefits but I am going to be honest for a moment. Telling me that it will keep my heart healthy, help me look trim, and increase my lung capacity is not the motivation I need to get it in gear. Knowing that it can help create a calm mind by increasing endorphins… that I like. You’ve heard me say that touch and massage can help combat depression, but exercise is an amazing way to get your mind where it needs to be. I am very mind and mood centered and fortunately for me what is good for my mind is good for my body. I’ve heard the whole ” your body is a temple” thing and I understand it. In fact I used to chant it ( not literally), while I was a Yoga instructor. But when you fall out of the habit and into the addiction of bad for you foods, motivators like that are not as effective. My entire journey on this earth has been about finding balance.. sometimes I lose site of that.
I learn so much from my clients. Today in particular. Today was one of those days that every client was a return clients ( I love those days!) One client in particular ( you know who you are) sauntered in today after working very hard for a number of months. She took the whole day ( or atleast most of it) and treated herself kindly. A pedicure here, the gym, tanning, all the things that make her feel good to be alive! I was inspired ( and a bit jealous 😉 ) I am always talking about taking a break but can I honestly say that I take one? Between school, work, and my spiritual activities it is hard to find time ( excuses excuses) … the truth is I have to force myself to be good to me. So tonight when my hubby left to visit a friend and I was alone in the house I decided to do what makes me feel alive! I brought out my foot spa, sat in my massaging chair , poured a glass of wine ( albeit cheap wine, because I wasn’t ready to break out the good wine from the Wine Festival on Saturday) and I began to write this. So thank you anonymous client for reminding me to heed my own words!
Today I also realized what I know is true. I can’t “fix” anything. As a therapist there is a lot of pressure to be clinical and to address physical ailments methodically. I think this is all fine and true. But there comes a point when I have done as much as I can. The rest is out of my hands. Before I go into any treatment I always pray that my higher power guide my hands and my words. When people tell me I have a “magic” touch or something similar I say thank you but really I am thanking my higher power who guides me. In my opinion, massage is a gift. It’s a gift that I enjoy giving to others but for the purpose of living I get paid for it. I understand the importance of loving touch and even what physiological effects it can have on a person. The touch of someone else raises the serotonin levels in your body. This creates a feel good feeling that can combat depression. It is reassuring and creates security in an often cruel and insecure world. As much as I love being able to treat an ailment, my first priority is a loving touch. There are a few clients who may contest that my touch is not always loving but please be assured there is love behind my elbow.
Depression happens to most of us at some point in our lives. Some people endure it for a short time. Others experience it year after year during certain seasons. Others suffer chronically day after day. If you fall under one of these categories then you would probably agree that you would try anything to feel some relief. Well there is hope. Massage therapy is one of the oldest forms of healing. We massage our aches and pains almost instinctually. But what else can massage do for us? In recent years, studies have found that regular use of massage can elevate moods and decrease depression. It has been known to increase levels of both serotonin and dopamine. These are essential to an overall feeling of well being. The power of touch can be very healing and is in fact a necessary part of life. According to the Touch Research Institute, touch therapy can alleviate pain, reduce stress hormones, and reduce depressive symptoms. Many people may not even know that they are suffering from depression but may mistake it for something else. Depression can take many forms. One of the symptoms of depression is feelings of isolation. Many sufferers of depression do not intentionally isolate themselves but lack the energy to socially interact. Sometimes this lack of energy translates into a physical lethargy. Some of the symptoms may include aches and pains , sleep problems, loss or gain in appetite. Massage therapy has been proven to benefit all of these symptoms. It is important to note that massage therapy should not be used as a substitute for traditional treatments otherwise prescribed by a physician, but rather a compliment to pharmaceuticals or psychotherapy. Sometimes simply having the caring touch of someone else offers us the security and affirmation we need to live. Think about the last time you gave someone a hug. Did you experience an elevation in mood or perhaps you felt comforted and consoled. Massage therapy offers the same rewards as well as many other benefits.
* If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of harming yourself/themselves it is important to notify someone immediately.
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