Source: Slow Down!
The other day I ran into a friend whom I hadn’t seen for a while. Of course, one of the first things she asked was what I had been up to lately. I took a deep breath, knowing that it was going to take a while to update her, since I haven’t gotten a chance to sit down since 2013 (okay, slight exaggeration-maybe 2015?), and half the time feel like my house is simply a landing pad for infrequent stopovers. Funny thing though, I couldn’t think of anything to tell her except that I work, drive my kids around, and go to meetings. That’s not exactly an update. Those are errands and responsibilities that honestly should be the in-between minutia of our fulfilling lives, not my entire schedule-who wants to hear about those parts?? After that bit of self-realization, as I stood there a little disappointed in myself, my friend said “I thought I was the only one!” Now, of course, that feeling can be a casualty of our social media society-we think everyone else is living an amazing life while we’re struggling to stay above water. But there’s more to it. It’s somehow become a badge of honor these days to go nonstop, to run ourselves ragged.
My friend then asked me what I do for myself. Myself? Do? I waxed poetic on getting time to read, get massages or facials, or exercise. “After all,” I said sagely, “we are much better people when we take care of ourselves.”
True? Of course. True for me? Well, it would be if I actually did the above activities enough to make a difference in my hectic life. Look, it’s a busy time for a lot of us. For example, I’m a wife, a mother of 3, work outside the home, and have this common disorder where I can’t say “no” to volunteer requests (if you find a cure, let me know). But does that mean that we need to make this our “normal”? And if it is our normal, how can we break it down and give ourselves a rest?
First, let’s stop and figure out what we can cut out. Can we carpool for kids’ activities, get notes instead attending each and every meeting, throw together some make-ahead meals for the following week, etc? Is there anything unnecessary that we’ve mistakenly deemed necessary?
Next, how can we force some downtime? That’s right, I said force. This is easier said than done. We have conditioned ourselves as a society to see downtime as a luxury, and an impossiblity. But we have to change that. Call Innovative Aesthetics and schedule a massage or a facial, heck, get some Botox (shameless plug!). Or go take a walk, and practice breathing. Tell the family that you need an hour to yourself, and go get a coffee or smoothie (hey, I just thought of another shameless plug-Innovative Aesthetics has just opened a coffee shop!*). Go hang out with a friend. Whatever it is, it’s vital.
Let’s change things. Starting with ourselves and our families, let’s stick with what we truly love, and truly need. It all starts with each individual. Stop and really think about what you’ve been up to lately. You may be surprised at what you realize your main actions are. We can make ourselves better people by taking care of ourselves first…and isn’t that the first step in making our corner of the world a better place?
*Innovative Aesthetics Weight Loss Center-Protein and Coffee Bar
901 Tower Terrace Rd-Marion (across from Linn-Mar)
Believe it or not, there is a significant number of people who have never gotten a massage before. I know, I’m as surprised as you. Not just because I’ve been practicing massage therapy since 2005, but because it’s just so darn awesome.
Most people who have never received massage before usually have the same few reasons, and once they’ve tried it, they’re almost always converted. Let’s run down a few excuses, and I’ll give some reassurances.
1.) “I have cellulite/ugly feet/extra pounds, and don’t want to be judged or feel self-conscious.” Oh, honey, put that out of your head now. First of all, we get all body types on our tables, and they all have one thing in common-we don’t see them as appealing/unappealing. Your body is on the table for healing of some sort, whether mental, physical, or both. And that’s the only way we see it. We touch and work on your body the same way you navigate to the bathroom at night-by rote. In fact, going with the previous nightly bathroom example, half the time, I’ve realized that I have my eyes closed as I’m working. We know where the muscles are, we know where bony landmarks are, we know where to touch to bring relief. We don’t do this by critical sight, we do it by our touch’s instincts keying into your body.
2.) “I just can’t get nude in front of a stranger/someone I know.” There should never be a point when your full nudity is on display for us. You should always be draped in a way that the only body part out is the area being worked on. If you are at a legitimate massage practice, your comfort and dignity are our priority, and that doesn’t include us getting a glimpse of your entire birthday suit.
3.) Piggybacking on number 2, “Do I have to take my underwear off and /or get my butt touched?” We do learn gluteal massage. It is extremely beneficial, as we spend a lot of time not tending to our glute muscles. We sit on them, we work them with almost every movement we make, and as a core area, they can be the root of low back pain, or hamstring pain. BUT. If you are not comfortable having your rear end worked on, we don’t have to do it. You can tell us off the bat, or you can let us take the hint by leaving your underpants on. Honestly, over the years, I have realized that it’s best if the therapist brings this up before the client gets on the table. I usually try to word it pretty close to how I just stated it. It’s always up to the client’s comfort level, never what I deem as necessary. I would rather have my client leave relaxed and comfortable with a slightly tense booty than have them get off the table feeling embarrassed or awkward, albeit with relaxed glute muscles.
4.) “I had a massage once and it was painfully deep/annoyingly light.” One of my personal pet peeves with massages is when I voice a preference for a certain type of pressure, and I still don’t get what I requested. Communication is important, but I will relate my first massage experience-it was incredibly, uncomfortably deep pressure, but I didn’t want to hurt my therapist’s feelings by telling her to ease up! I know so much better now…on both sides. Now, while my first therapist did ask me how the pressure was, like I said, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Two important words-you won’t. A massage therapist’s skill lies in her/his technique, not the amount of pressure he or she can do. So, if the massage therapist asks you how the pressure is, and you’re not happy with it, tell them. Any good therapist will happily adjust to your liking. And if they don’t, you may not be with the right person to work with. Speaking of which, onto number 5…
5.) “I had a massage once, and it didn’t help me/didn’t feel good.” Don’t give up this easily! Just like other professions, we are not one size fits all! The work that I did on your bff may not be the work that you are wanting or needed. And visa versa. While most of us try to have a wide range of different techniques and practices that work for the majority of clients, they won’t work for every single person. There are two massage therapists here at Innovative Aesthetics, and we have both had clients who after getting a massage from one, ended up going with the other the next time. And it’s not personal (at least I hope so!). We understand that our different styles work differently for certain needs. I would rather you go to someone else and have relief than quit getting massage at all after an unsatisfactory session with me. Speaking of which, the following has also happened…
6.) “Well, this is awkward…I love massages, and I regularly get them from someone who isn’t you.” I cannot stress how okay this is, and how not-awkward you should feel. At the end of the day, massage therapists are healers. If you’re getting massage and feeling good, don’t feel guilty that you’re going to someone else. In fact, give me his or her name-I’m always looking for good massage practitioners!
The benefits of massage are so numerous that I could write a book. Heck, I could write a series of books on the benefits. Sometimes the decision to get a massage though, isn’t as simple as just knowing how therapeutic it is. I understand the intimacy created during a session, and when we feel anxiety or second-guessing on our bodies or minds, it can put a stumbling block on our health journey. However, I’m here to let you know that for us, we are in this profession to heal and guide others in body and spirit. Give us a chance to find out with you what will work the best for you, through communication and our desire to bring you physical and mental harmony.