I have decided to do an experiment with a client of mine. She is going to receive one massage on a monthly basis and write about her thoughts and emotions surrounding her experiences. My aim is to explore the mind-body connection and how massage impacts a person's overall well-being. This is not a scientific endeavor, but rather a journey that offers insight into how massage therapy can play an integral part in an individual's personal wellness program.
Client A writes a thoughtful entry the night before her first massage of the series:
"Last winter was rough. I distinctly remember a day in mid-January when my two
best friends and I had a very serious conversation determining if we were all
depressed because of the weather or if this was our permanent lot in life. I was
lying on the floor in sweatpants, a giant sweater, booties, and a fur hat swaddled in
a sub-zero sleeping bag. Around me were the remains of a dinner consisting of
cookies, hot chocolate and a can of soup…literally…a can full of soup. I hadn’t moved
most of the day.
This past summer, no longer depressed and happily enjoying some time at the beach, I
resolved that this winter will not (can not) get me down the way it has in the past.
Every year, I am part of the masses who start working out around April, making lists
of fun things to do all spring and summer, and savoring every waking hour from April
until night creeps in earlier and earlier.
To be perfectly dramatic, there is a direct correlation between the darkness of the
days and the darkness of both my mind and my body. I can feel it coming on already.
Tonight I almost started crying when I noticed it was getting dark at 6:30. I’ve pretty
much stopped stretching. I haven’t consistently done cardio in an embarrassingly long
due to injury, then complacency.
I am sitting quietly with myself tonight to determine what my body and mind need
this fall and winter to avoid six months of the blues. I am 28 years old, but my body
feels like it might cease working any day. From head to toe, there are aches and
pains that prevent me from enjoying the simplest things, like stretching in the
mornings, walking on the crunching leaves, sitting in a movie theater. I have come to
think that these pains are normal. They aren’t.
My hamstrings, hips, right knee, bottom, lower back, shoulders, neck, and jaw all
scream out in different levels of intensity. My lower back, hips, neck and jaw are
particularly pesky. They have all hurt in some way for years now, and I can feel them
getting worse. I have had massages in the past, but only when my body was
aching badly. I realize that my body and my mind are all part of the same package.
When one is off, the other follows. I have realized that the first step of maintaining
balance this winter is to get my body out of crisis mode. Rather than responding to
the pain that accumulates with a massage, I am going to use massage as a tool to
keep my body out of crisis. Hopefully my mind will follow!"