Our bodies are ourselves. They house not only all of our organs, including our muscles, but also reflect and react to our differing levels of wellness. OK, so this is obvious at the outset, but when our bodies and psyches respond to stresses placed on them physically, emotionally and circumstantially, it can often be some type of pain that brings it to our attention. Pain is more often than not related to some type of stress, regardless of how great the stressor is or how devastating. Stress is stress is stress and it is becoming apparent that stress it in it’s own right can make a mockery of our overall wellness.
For the athlete, it can be pain by over or incorrect use of specific muscles. For the desk jockey it can be back, neck, shoulder and/or writst pains, never mind the headaches, again often caused by incorrect use, lack of use or just plain stress. For parents of any age kids it can be from driving endlessly, rarely having down time, doing one’s best for everyone but ourselves, worrying about who the kids are hanging with, no time to exercise, eat right, still making sure that the house is clean, the kids are clean, the bills are paid, the laundry is done and homework and and and…oh no, I am quite sure I missed something, oh what was it!!!!!!!! . Ever get the feeling I have kids? For the elderly, it can be related to changes in how the body works (or doesn’t quite work), for many showing up in the form of arthritis, decreased flexibility, slower recovery time from everything, anxiety, even insomnia.
Then there are the others, of all ages, who have experienced anything from mild to devestating trauma. This can come in the form of an automobile accident, dealing with a terribly injured child or adult, taking care of a dying loved one, trying to reintegrate your life back in to the homeland after time in a war zone. It can also be related to how one responds to a situation that to one senses one lost control of, regardless of how other people saw it. Something that upends ones’ sense of order and wellbeing can be experienced as a trauma on a physical level due to what is known as muscle memory, sometimes a memory that the brain has filed into the don’t-really-need-to-know category.
For centuries massage therapy and the various forms it comes have been used as a basic part of healing and wellness. By reducing the physical manifestation of the discomfort, regardless of cause, one feels better, making everything else go more smoothly, thus reducing the effects of stress. It can even help one change how one responds to the stress, giving it considerably less control over our lives.
Today doctors, psychologists, physical therapists, hospice workers and just plain people are finding that massage therapy, as simple as it is, is an incredibly effective tool in the pain and anxiety management arsenal. In the hands of an experienced massage therapist so much can be accomplished to help the client just plain feel better.