East Bay Massage: Remember! Relaxation is Therapeutic!

I’m going to admit something:

The other day, sitting in my hybrid car (parked in front of my house), I was talking on my cell phone. I pulled it away from my face to check something on googlemaps, but continued my conversation (gotta love the Androids), and also responded to a text. Still ensconced in my conversation, I started rooting through my purse, and then frantically scanning the floor of the passenger side seat, and then the back seat. “Aw, crap! WHERE did I put my cell phone?” I said. Into the cell phone.

No sooner had the words crossed my lips that I realized what buffoon I was being. Really? Could I be any more connected to technology and any less connected to myself? Or to the person I was supposedly “talking” to? Where is my PHONE? Oh, it’s on my face. Right.

I am a person, just like anyone else, who does stupid stuff like wonder where my phone is while I’m talking on it, or try to open the front door with my key fob. Yep. Did that, too.

BUT, I count myself lucky to be a Massage and Craniosacral Therapist. My profession saves me from devolving into a complete idiot. And whereas I can say with absolute certitude that massage is therapeutic for those who receive it, I can also say that it is therapeutic for those who give it.

It’s not a ponderous new idea to say that technology, while it appears to connect us to the world in ways never before possible, also makes us more isolated from each other. If you’ve ever wasted your precious ‘laundry money time’ (those surprise blocks of free time that, when they surface, feel like a $20 bill discovered in a pants pocket in the wash) doing your online banking or Facebook-stalking your ex-girlfriend, you know that weird, lonely feeling that being supposedly ‘connected’ can evoke.

It is important to remember each other. And I personally like the word “remember.” If to be a “member” of something is to be part of it, and if “re-” means to do again, “remembering” people’s bodies is what I do for a living.

It’s no mistake that kids grow in their sleep, or that when we are ill, the only thing that we are capable of is sleep. Sometimes we even respond to emotional turmoil with sleep and rest. That’s because relaxation is therapeutic! Our bodies NEED a time and place to become remembered. Our bodies need a place to become integrated as opposed to isolated from each other and from our own selves. If you’ve ever had a migraine, an injury, or a heartbreak, you know that it’s possible for one part of the body to be louder than others. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for many (in my humble opinion) is that disconnection.

Bodywork puts us in our place. Which is in our bodies. Human touch has got to be the most incredible means of communication to that end. The first massage I ever received left me feeling like a baby, in absolute comfort and ease in my body. I didn’t know that massage therapist from Adam, but the fact that she reminded my ankle that it belonged to the community of my foot, knee, an hip was so important to me that the experience propelled me into the same field.

All of the overwhelm of the day (it was one day before my wedding– yikes!) seemed so much smaller and manageable afterwards. Neurologically speaking, she accessed my parasympathetic nervous system and calmed the fight or flight response. But at that time, all I knew was that I felt relaxed. And that felt good. AND, it served a purpose. It helped me feel better.

How many times have you vowed to get ‘healthy?’ How many inspired conversations have you had with friends about improving your diet, starting yoga, or hitting the gym more often? How many of us look at our bodies in the mirror with a critical eye? How many of us actually conceive of massage as part of being healthy?

Here’s the thing: Massage feels good. And it’s good for you. If you think about it, how many things both feel good and are good for you? I don’t want to poison the well of health by singling any one thing out, but we all have a list of those things that we know we should be doing but don’t. Because they suck.

Massage’s benefits are so voluminous that I will devote a separate post to them entirely. Suffice it to say that getting in touch with your body is great for your nervous system, and even the way that you view yourself. It’s an activity that is therapeutic because of all of those physical benefits (lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, loosening tight muscles, etc.), but also because it is done in community. With another person present to support you as you become healthier.

I love being that person. I consider myself So. Lucky. to work in a mellow, cozy room, with calming music playing, helping people feel better. It also reminds me of my own humanity. When therapeutic relaxation occurs within community, every body benefits. When we are truly in our bodies, we are less likely to be lonely, isolated, or overwhelmed by stress. That kind of communication, not the kind where tear apart your car looking for the phone that is on your face, benefits us all.

I’m pretty sure that if everyone engaged in bodywork, there would be no war.

Remember! Relaxation is Therapeutic!

Thank you so much for visiting East Bay Massage!

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