How Often Should I Get a Massage?
As much as possible, right?!?! Sometimes I think I'd love one every day! When I first moved to Westcliffe, I wasn't getting any massage. The reasons varied: I didn't know anyone who did massage. I didn't want to drive to Salida/Canon/Pueblo to get one - or really, I didn't want to drive an hour home after the massage. I chose not to spend money on it. And on and on. Anyway, after about 6 months, I finally got one. And it was wonderful. I had forgotten how good massage felt, how rejuvented I was, and how helpful it was to let go a little bit. (Plus, it inspires my own work in so many ways.) Now, I've found that getting a massage every other week works well to support me physically, mentally and emotionally.
So you've just finished getting a massage, and you are wondering when to come back. It's a frequently asked question... how do we know when it's "time" for another? Ultimately, we know our bodies best and we can ask within to find the answer. How is your body feeling now that you've had a massage? How often do you want/need this type of support? What is best for you? Is regular massage part of your self-care?
Consistency is key here. When studies are done to find the benefits of massage, participants are receiving massages consistently over a period of several weeks or months. People who get "regular" massage come in once a week, every other week, or once a month. If it has been a while since your last massage and you are coming in to address something specific, I recommend starting with 1 massage every week for 2-3 weeks. Then as the body starts to integrate the massage, we can begin tapering off to twice a month, once a month, or as needed. People experiencing chronic pain will benefit from more frequent (1-2 times a week) massage over a period of time. Because each person is different, this is something we'd talk about together so that we can find what best fits for your body!
I'd love to hear from you. What has been most beneficial in your experience receiving massage?
Let's talk about Feet!
The Foot. It is a remarkable structure, really, consising of 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles,107 ligaments and thousands of nerve endings. REALLY?! Whoa. I just looked up those facts and I am amazed. The body just fascinates me. Anyway, the foot. I was walking on a trail the other day and turned my attention to my foot and how it moved. How it flexed and rolled and absorbed the shock of carrying the body. How it teetered on uneven surfaces. How it allowed me to move, stand, balance, jump, and run. How it connected me and my body to the earth.
Massaging the foot has so many benefits. Giving some attention to this part of the body that we rely on every day (mostly without much acknowledgement) is so helpful to our well-being. Studies show foot massage can help reduce pain, alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, and enhance sleep. It can help decrease stress and restore a natural balance to the body. At the end of the day, I've found giving my feet some attention is a really wonderful way to wind down and care for myself. It is amazing what a little bit of attention and care can do for our bodies, minds, and hearts. I'd like to share some of what I do here.
1. Soak the feet in warm water with a couple tablespoons of epsom salt and several drops of peppermint essential oil.
2. Generously apply lotion or foot salve like shea butter to the entire foot, gently rubbing the sole of the foot from toes to the heel. Using a firm pressure with both thumbs, alternate pushing one thumb and then the other to knead the foot from one side to the other.
3. Gently squeeze each toe up and down the length of the toe. Lightly pull on the end of the toe creating a little space to stretch. Rotate each toe and flex it back and forth.
4. Feel yourself relax as everything begins to soften.
What's that expression... "are your dogs barking?" Chances are they are. (Because come on, we're on our feet a LOT in our day-to-day lives!) Is it time to quiet those barking dogs with a soothing foot massage?
"Do you do deep tissue massage?"
Yes, it's true. I'm kicking off this blog with one of my most favorite subjects... and most asked question. Do you do deep tissue massage? Over the years I have found myself stumbling over the answer. When most people ask this, I think they are asking if I work with deep pressure in a therapeutic manner rather than offering a light touch for relaxation.
Let me offer a differentiation here: Deep tissue massage vs. deep pressure. Deep tissue massage is a series of techniques that are applied to deep layers of soft tissue often used to break up adhesions, re-align connective tissue, and relieve severe muscle tension or musculo-skeletal disorders. Usually it is focused on one particular area of the body and is often a very intense and precise form of bodywork. Deep pressure refers to massage with sustained deep pressure throughout the body.
So yes, I do deep tissue massage and most often, I offer deep pressure. In order to determine what is being called for, I find communication is key! Pressure is subjective. Pain is subjective. One person's "deep" is another person's "I can barely feel the pressure." How a body receives the pressure that I'm giving is uniquely personal, and it is so important to hear from the person on the table.
Melissa Harth massage therapist
Thoughts, comments, and musings about massage therapy, the body, healing, and more. I'd love to hear from you!