Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meant to Be Touched

The human hand is a biomechanical marvel, isn't it?  I live I a large city, and I look around at the architecture, the public art, the environments built onto the landscape and I think, "Human hands did this."  Hands with the same configuration of bones, muscles and tendons as mine.

Someone told me once that the human hand is designed to conform perfectly to every part of the human body.  Our bodies were made to be touched.  Our hands were designed to comfort.  So the marvel extends from our hands to the entire body -- pieces meant to fit together as we comfort, nurture and just relate to each other.

I thought of this last week when I was talking with a student who told me she hated being touched, but she really loved giving massages.  Sadly, this was not the first time I had heard something like this.  Like others before her, she was missing half of the equation for comfort.  It is not just the touching, it is the being touched that constructs our humanity.  When I tried to point this out, she shuddered -- actually shuddered-- as if the idea of being touched disgusted her.  

I see her attitude as the extreme end of the spectrum of self-neglect many massage therapists live on. I am guilty of this myself -- finding myself fatigued and emotional after an overscheduled week, wondering why my body will not cooperate with my need to overwork it. The work gives me joy and comfort, but when I neglect to make the time to receive, that joy and comfort fades too soon.  

The human hand was designed to touch.  The human body was designed to be touched.  Living in half of this circle leads to imbalance.  So, especially now when it is cold and dark, give and receive hugs, give and receive hand-holding, and, especially, give and receive massage.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

But What About Everyone Else?

I recently had a conversation with a friend about our small businesses.  We were discussing the difficulty of convincing people to take time and money to spend on themselves and their wellness.  Our target markets have a lot of overlap -- busy women who spend a lot of time taking care of other people.  These are women who would move heaven, earth and all the spaces in between to do something for their loved ones, but rarely overturn a stone to do something for themselves.

 My friend runs a dance and fitness studio, and made the (very convincing) case that spending time at her studio actually brings benefit to the people women care for.  The women who exercise are healthier, have more energy, may actually live longer, etc. 

But wait, I thought, massage does that too!  Massage provides a real and tangible benefit not only to the person who receives the massage, but to everyone in her life.  I realized that we as massage therapists don't talk enough about his benefit, and we need to.  So, here is my short list of reasons why your massage helps everyone around you (with links to more information):

--Massage helps you sleep better, giving you the rest you need to stay focused. 

--Massage reduces anxiety and depression, allowing you to stay connected to the people you love, and really experience the joys of your life.

--Massage reduces pain and tension, allowing you to move freely through your day. This also allows you to maintain an exercise routine and have access to all the benefits of that.

-- Massage may enhance alertness, allowing you to attend to what is important.

So, for all of you out there who do for others, who think of others first, I ask you: Don't your family, friends, coworkers, clients, etc. deserve the rested, calm, alert and relaxed best version of you?  Massage is not a luxury indulgence.  It is a vehicle to reach and become your better self.