Get a massage, and get out of pain!

Get a massage, and get out of pain!

What is our obsession with not caring for ourselves? It’s as if we’ve just come to accept that body pain goes hand in hand with a lucrative career, or successful lifestyle. We march to the beat of a drum that plays “get up, go to work, eat, sleep, repeat”, and if we are lucky, we find time to exercise and cultivate relationships in the meantime.  Coffee is the elixir that winds our inner clock up to tick another day, just so we can come home and slow the clock with alcohol.  Meanwhile we are moving from appointment to appointment with aching knees, sore backs, and stiff necks. Enough is enough.

This blog isn’t meant to berate your lifestyle choices, as I myself like a rich, full-bodied coffee to shake the cobwebs out in the AM. The point is rarely in the endless onslaught of to-do lists do we stop and go “What can I do for myself?” and “How the heck can I ease these body pains?”

The answer is really simple; Massage Therapy. I know you’re probably thinking a sarcastic “sure a massage would be nice”, or “massage is just a relaxing luxury”, but believe me when I tell you massage therapy is far more than a tool for relaxation and to compare it to a luxury like a manicure, or hair dye is to do the healing therapy of massage, and yourself, a grave injustice.

Massage is used to restore flexibility to the tissue, as well as release adhesions in the fascia allowing for pain free movement and contributing to realignment of the skeletal structure. When one is regularly massaged they have better range of motion, pain free body movement, decreased headaches, decreased numbness and tingling, a better functioning immune system thanks to lymphatic drainage and increased blood flow, and their overall mood and stress level, including in some cases blood pressure improves. When stress is low, the body, mind, and soul experience less suffering.

Our day to day lives are often causing a real time detriment to our physical health. This is where massage comes in, and turns from a self-indulgence to a necessity. The most common source of chronic body pain comes from our day to day activities; sitting at the computer, staring down at our cell phones, exercise, running, child care, nursing, etc. The truth is anything we do that requires use of the muscular-skeletal system in turn impacts the physical well-being of that system. While running may be helpful to cardiac health, and for some of us vital to our sanity, it does tighten hamstrings and shorten calve muscles contributing to misalignment in the pelvis and thus low back pain. Likewise, all those long hours seated at work? Yeah those too are causing low back pain. When we sit for extended period of times we atrophy our glute muscles, and tighten our hip flexors (psoas muscle) which contributes to core weakness and chronic low back pain, as well as a myriad of other researched and documented concerns. This same dance of shortened muscles and chronic tightness is seen in the upper body when we sit, with the pec muscles shortening from rounded shoulders and the trap muscles knotting from carrying our head forward as we stare intensely at computer monitors.

The lifestyle of demands, obligations, and desk duties, can only be healed by understanding that allocating some time to self-care, is just as important as paying your bills. You only get this one body, and when treated right with care like massage therapy, you will be surprised at the things it can do for you, and how pain free you can truly become.

So… go ahead, get some regular massage, and get out of pain already. What are you waiting for?

Dr. Callista Lay

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