I recently had a chat with my friend’s husband. He said he doesn’t get massages because the relaxation doesn’t last. As soon as he returns to work, the stress is waiting to pounce.
Fair enough! I appreciate honest feedback and it gives me a chance to address an issue that is likely common, but generally unspoken.
First, I want to point out that the health benefits of massage and Reiki remain even after the peaceful feeling wears off. Just like all deposits to your bank account are important, even if that money flows out immediately, so do all deposits to your wellness account help.
I can get nerdy and talk about nervous system regulation, neurochemistry, oxytocin and healing touch. I’ll just say for now that every investment, big or small, towards your health counts.
Second, there are ways that you can plan your session to get the most out of it. Why not set yourself up for success as much as you possibly can? It’s an act of kindness toward yourself to protect the yummy, relaxed sensations that massage and Reiki are famous for.
Here are some ideas:
- If possible, schedule your treatment on a day off or after work. Many of us practitioners have evening and weekend hours. Sure, there is no punching out for parents or caregivers, but do your best to choose a time when you’ll have minimal responsibilities.
- Give yourself some time afterwards so you’re not rushing to your next appointment.
- Leave your phone on silent mode when you leave.
- Avoid the news, emails, and social media for as long as possible.
- Tell your people in advance that you’ll be unavailable for a few hours except for emergencies. Define what an emergency actually is!
- Have a meal prepared, or at least planned, so you’re not wandering the grocery store aisles or the GrubHub menu in a foggy, hungry state.
And if none of that is possible, know that the relaxed feeling is just the tip of the iceberg of the benefits of massage. The majority of the benefits are much more subtle. The reduction of stress chemicals in your bloodstream, the boost to parasympathetic resilience, the increased circulation of the lymphatic system and blood, enhanced assimilation of nutrients, detoxification… I’ll stop there or else we’ll be here all night.
Third, an interesting point is that when you get bodywork on a consistent basis, you’re training your body and mind to relax more easily and quickly. There’s a sort of knowing that happens on an unconscious level for the folks who visit me regularly, that when they step into my office, the magic is already happening. It’s like a Pavlovian response- seeing the massage table triggers the benefits before the actual session begins. Clients frequently comment on this. So much so that I’ve considered adding a “napping” service to my menu so people can take a break from the real world.
Finally, I’ll wrap this up by saying the wellness effects DO last and we can work together so that the tangible effects do too. It’s always wise to engage in stress management. Not to make it miraculously disappear, but because we deserve some support in a stressful world. No treatment is going to erase the stress from our lives, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy the moments of relief that are available to us.
If you’re ready to schedule a massage or Reiki session, I’m here to help!