Thursday, November 22, 2012

How to Really Enjoy a Massage (and a Holiday)

"Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving,
make every day a holiday and celebrate just living"
- Amanda Bradley     

How to Really Enjoy a Holiday
Every now and then we overwhelm our body's natural pace so we can follow the rush of a certain fad, an adopted custom or tradition, an overly-sensationalized "sale" day, a grand feast, or what we think we should do because everyone else is doing it. The natural rhythm of our body progresses to a state of stress trying to multitask and accomplish more than what we really need to. Usually this results in more stress and we end up forgetting the real reason why we have holidays in the first place: to relax, enjoy ourselves, be healthy in mind, body and soul so that we are refreshed to return to that fast-paced living that we so try to have a break from.
Blah, blah, blah and all that adage! You know what I am talking about.
So how exactly do we celebrate a holiday? Well, whatever makes you happy! You want to go shopping until you drop - indulge! You want to eat that turkey with all the sides and stuffing - by all means! The stress can only be managed, never eliminated anyways! Just remember to remember yourself: include your much needed break, when it is needed! It is the "holidays" after all!
How to Really Enjoy a Massage
Shopping is fine, sale is great! I just don't think I can stay up all night and fall in line for hours come midnight so I can get a great deal the next day. And I am not really much of a fan of that much feast. I'll just go to the spa and enjoy a needed massage! I'll take my friends with me! There is no rush, there is no line, we'll spend less money, and we get what the holidays is really worth spending at: slowing-down, relaxation, and a break from it all! Go and really enjoy a massage! And here is how:
1.     Set aside the time and make an appointment with yourself. Arrived at your "appointment" whether an outcall or in-clinic massage, at least 5 minutes prior. Have an empty stomach without being hungry and make sure you are all freshened up and bathed before the treatment. Alcohol is contraindicated for massage, so drinking before a session in not the best idea.
2.     Request what you like or need but also listen to your therapist. What your massage therapist recommend after they perform an intake with you may be exactly what you need, but never forget to make yourself heard. It is your massage after all, and you are employing them - so technically speaking you are the boss. So clear your goals, ask what you need because you are paying for them. At this point you may also state your "ambiance" preference like candles or dim light, aromatherapy, music, temperature,  the likes.

  3.     Detach yourself from distractions for the hour. Before hopping on to the table, turn off your phone or tablet.. They can really disrupt the peace of mind that you tried to achieve. If you leave it nearby and choose not to answer or check the incoming mail, you may end up tense, wondering who was calling, texting or emailing. Setting it to vibrate will not help, turn it off, it won't hurt you to withdraw for 60-90 minutes! And also remember: No therapist can do more for you than you are willing to do for yourself, so be clear about your goals and remove things with you that can be an unnecessary distraction.
4.     Prepare yourself mentally. After your intake, have a meditative mindset and let go of your troubles. You can do this by breathing deeply a few times, it does help and you'll begin feeling better, as more oxygen floods your tissues. This can be done while you already are on the massage table. Some massage therapist will actually join and instruct you to do this before the massage. Bear with them, if they say inhale-exhale try it! A nice deep breath may be exactly your precursor to a better state of mind!
5.     During the massage,  always provide feedback. Be sure to mention any painful, sensitive areas on your body or if the therapist is using too much pressure. Likewise, say something if it's a barely noticeable pressure! To some, deep pressure means a lot of force. To others, deep pressure really means less. Make sure you don't endure a torture session; deep tissue massage may hurt, but it shouldn't hurt so badly that you feel like passing out. "The body doesn’t lie," you should always listen to your own and speak up, especially if a certain technique hurts. Do this by consciously working to relax your body from your toes to your head through focus on one part at a time.
Now, if everything is just right, it is well-okay to drift away and sleep. The next thing you knew, you are well refreshed and renewed! Give yourself ample time for re-entry, the positive effects of bodywork often continue after a session is over. Try to let the experience sink in before diving back into the world of demands and responsibilities. A massage will always be a time well- spent if you know how to really enjoy them. (Provided of course, you have chosen the right therapist - and that my friends is yet another post.)
So with that I bid stay well and live healthy!
And enjoy the big sale and your turkey!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
- Leo Feraer-Oporto     


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