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Massage and Self-Care: Don’t Delay; Do It Today!

It’s the easiest thing in the world to justify taking care of others. But when it comes to taking care of yourself, it’s a different matter entirely. Typically, massage has been regarded as a pampering luxury reserved for the most prosperous. However, like personal training, it is now enjoyed by people of all income brackets. At Lime Green Lotus I aim to make massage accessible to all. Furthermore, massage is increasingly gaining validity as a key component of a successful medical treatment. Every day, medical professionals, such as physical therapists, chiropractors and GPs, refer their patients to Licensed Massage Therapists. And every day, these patients are amazed and surprised at how effective massage is at helping them maintain a pain-free, healthy lifestyle.

For many of these patients, it took an injury to discover the true benefits of regular massage. They used to treat themselves to the occasional massage, but when they were injured and massage helped them heal, that is when they became true massage converts. Throughout my career, the results achieved by massage never cease to amaze me. And yet I still hear a number of excuses to not get a massage. Here is a selection of them followed by my responses.

Client excuse no. 1: I feel guilty taking time away from my family.
LMT response: If you don’t take time to replenish yourself, you won’t have the physical and mental capacity to take care of others.

Client excuse no. 2: I feel uncomfortable showing a stranger my naked body (sadly, I’ve heard this multiple times. Having struggled with body confidence issues in the past, I can also relate).
LMT response: This massage room is a judgement-free zone. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and it is an honor and privilege to help whoever is on our table (as it happens, your LMT is usually too busy medically assessing your body for tightness or problem areas to even consider your shape or size in that way).

Client excuse no 3: Massage is too expensive. I can’t afford regular massage.
LMT response: Because of the physical nature of our work, we are limited to the number of massages we can do in a day or week. It is a professional skill and thus charged accordingly. That said, our packages make it much more affordable. And each client has the choice what they would like to prioritize and spend money on. Cutting back on a few meals out or your morning cup of Starbucks can actually pay for one or more massages.

Client excuse no 4: I don’t have the time for regular massage, and I find it hard to stay on track.
LMT response: Regular massage helps maintain your flexibility and looser muscles. Clients report improved posture, more energy and less pain. With such impressive benefits, you may find you want to make massage a priority after all. We recommend at least one massage a month. Some clients get weekly or biweekly massages. Getting one massage a year may be cheaper and less time-consuming, but when you return we will have to start from square 1. Regular massage often means we can work deeper if you desire, and also results in less soreness post-massage as your body becomes accustomed to regular work. Many clients like to book their next session when they come out of their last one, or even book several sessions at once to ensure they get their desired time and LMT. This helps them make it a part of their regular routine.

Client excuse no 5: My massage therapist hurt me. I asked them to go lighter and they didn’t listen. Now I’m afraid to get another massage.
LMT response: Please know that this is never acceptable and a complete boundary violation. A good LMT checks in with their client about the pressure, and asks their client to let them know if they need to adjust it. I tell clients my feelings won’t be hurt, but I would hate for them to be hurt because they were afraid to communicate. A good LMT can also read your body language, and notice if you are tensing up (key signs include wriggling feet or grimacing). On the flip side, there are times when clients feel the pressure is okay, but are sorer than expected afterwards. On your follow-up appointment, tell your LMT, so they can go lighter. We don’t always know how our body will react, especially if it’s our first massage or we haven’t had one in a while. Last but not least, there is no one size fits all. Be willing to try different massage therapists to find one that fits your needs.

Valentine’s Day inspired me to write this column. It’s a day that traditionally is all about showing love to others. But please remember that it’s impossible to do this if you don’t first show love to yourself. Self-care is important all year round so you can live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. Massage is not a luxury, as the above examples show. Take time out of your day to get a massage. You won’t regret it.

Love yourself so you can continue to love those around you.

Yours in health,
Sarah Downing, LMT

Sarah Downing is a Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of Lime Green Lotus in Savannah, GA. Get in touch to learn more.

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Lime Green Lotus

New Year’s Resolutions – And Why Getting More Massages Should be One of Them

When is the last time you really truly took time for yourself to relax? In today’s society, we live in a world of non-stop tasks, responsibilities and activities. But does it ever occur to us that if we don’t take time to slow down now and again, we may at some point be unable to live life to our full potential? I’m here to tell you that burnout is a very real syndrome, and it taught me some valuable lessons. Not least the fact that whole-body (holistic) health involves not just a balanced body, but also a balanced mind.

The New Year tends to be a popular time to give your body a reboot. As someone who has been through her own healing journey – as both a sick person and a healer – I can honestly say that what truly stuck in my mind is how much conventional medicine neglects our emotional and mental wellbeing. What strikes me with certain massage clients is that some of them seem to think of massage as a “guilty pleasure” where they need to “sneak away” to get one. Many of them live busy lives with their high-powered jobs and children who keep them on their toes, and so massage is not always their first priority. Indeed, we often put others before ourselves, whilst foolishly forgetting the analogy of “putting your own life vest on before you help your neighbor”. After all, if you burn yourself out, you won’t be able to help anyone, least of all yourself.

However, we tend to forget that if we take time to calm our mind, we are able to perform our daily jobs more effectively and with less stress. The fact is that thanks to today’s “go-go-go” mentality, many of us are stuck in “fight or flight mode”, where our body’s gear shift is permanently switched to high and our sympathetic nervous system is running in overdrive. What this means is that we are constantly on edge and ready to go, but the flipside is that our parasympathetic nervous system is insufficiently activated, and this is vital for us to enjoy proper rest and digestion. Long-term overstressing of the sympathetic nervous system can cause elevated cortisol levels, leading to weight gain and inflammation, among other things, and ultimately to conditions such as adrenal fatigue.

One strategy to solve this problem is to treat our bodies to sufficient rest and recuperation, and this is where massage comes in. As a Licensed Massage Therapist, I am dedicated to giving you an unforgettable bodywork experience. It’s also important to know that one of the side effects of massage is that it activates your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing your body to rest and digest, as described above. That’s also why oftentimes your tummy will rumble during a massage. 

One thing that being sick taught me is that true health and wellness are about the right balance of components. However, I have found that conventional doctors fail to get this, and are all too keen to prescribe pharmaceutical after pharmaceutical. I can honestly say that the turning point for me was when I found my passion and my vocation, and I moved to a place that truly felt like home. Before then, things had improved, but they improved in leaps and bounds once this occurred. The best practitioners I saw were the holistic ones who helped me recognize this. And one concept that I find particularly pertinent is Dr. Lissa Rankin’s Whole Health Cairn, which you can read more about here – in a nutshell, it talks about how vital it is to have the right balance of components in your life in order to experience true wellness.

Whilst massage might not be a miracle cure, bear in mind that it may be an important part of your own “Whole Health Cairn”, so consider making it a part of your New Year’s resolution to better look after yourself and your body. 

Sarah Downing is a Licensed Massage Therapist in Savannah,Georgia and owner of Lime Green Lotus. Get in touch to learn more.