"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them."
Pushing the Limits
Over the years of doing massage I can tell you exactly at what point I hit my limit: 10 consecutive hours of light pressure massages and/or energy work; or 8 consecutive hours of moderate pressure massage and/or bodywork; and only 6 hours if deep pressure and/or strenuous techniques. I can also tell you that doing that much for a prolonged period of time is the fastest way to burn yourself out.
I never go close to my limit in my private practice, I only push the walls further on occasional basis, if I have to. I do strive to preserve myself and my career by living healthy and working smart - I only average about 3 clients on a regular work day. But there are just times that the flow of my client is not within my control, especially when I work my shifts in my other job. On those instances, I just have to go within or even beyond my limits sometimes. If you ever hit that proverbial barrier in a workplace where the client flow gets busy on a seasonal basis, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes, you just have to.
There is simply a point in any intense, strenuous physical activity when your body stops performing at max capacity. You will reach a barrier that usually manifests as breathlessness, non-specific weakness or even pain. There is that point where your body is just shouting to you to stop. If you are in a gym for a workout, or in a pool for a leisurely swim, then you do just that - you stop!“Okay, I had enough for today.” But, what happens when the intense and strenuous activity you are performing is your livelihood? What do you do if you still have 2 more 1-hr clients after doing 7 1-hr consecutive massages? Can you stop? Will you?
For me and any massage therapists out there (or anyone with an intense and strenuous job for that matter), this is one critical issue we face every day. If you cannot endure and manage the stress, if you cannot push your limits and adapt, if you do not do self-care and maintenance - then you will be one of the 70% of full-time therapists who retire on their 3th year of practice!
I am just trying to illustrates an important point here: "Our body has a limit." The good news about it is: "Our body has the ability to adapt and exceed its limit if you provide it with the right pre-requisites." Proper fuel for example to name one! So, how exactly does one adapt to exceed his limits? It all boils down to: Healthy holistic living and practicing what you preach! Diet, exercise, meditation, proper breaks, self-care, maintenance and common sense!
Our body is a wondrous creation! It has the ability to adapt and exceed its last performance! It is the tool of our trade. We should treat it properly and provide it with as many holistic and healthy options as possible! If you do just that: not only will you hit the limits less often, but you’ll be able to exceed it during those times that you have to! I think that is a much better way to prolong your career than the best advertisement gimmick you can come up with!
- Leo Feraer-Oporto