It happens every year about this time. The days get longer, the sun peaks out, and desperate Bellinghamsters emerge from their winter doldrums to get out and feel the rays on their sun-starved bodies. I had the opportunity to do just that a couple of weeks ago, when life cooperated to let me do four good, long, local day hikes in so many days. It was incredibly refreshing to celebrate the arrival of spring with so much fresh air, Vitamin D, and happy vibes from other local hikers.
At the end of my hiking marathon, I rewarded myself with a massage with good friend and fellow Massage Therapist Lisa Lewis. I currently get a massage about every 3 weeks, and I been receiving massage regularly for over 20 years. I am obviously a fan of massage, both as a giver and as a receiver. I thought I would share in this column the Top Five things I love most about receiving massage:
1. I don’t have to think about anything else. When I get massage, I don’t worry or think about or feel responsible for anything other than what’s happening with me and the massage therapist on the table in the moment. My thoughts are loose and free, I am able to let go and relax my mind and relinquish my body into someone else’s skilled hands.
2. My body knows what to do. After 20 plus years of receiving massage, my body is very cooperative with the process. I regularly experience profound release, on both a muscular and energetic level on the massage table. There is an opening up and expansiveness that I feel throughout my entire body with massage. I feel warm, light, and free-flowing, almost like my limbs leave my body, especially in areas of chronic pain and overuse. The experience is intense and very rewarding.
3. It just feels so good–Yah! Massage! My kids gave me that refrigerator magnet for Christmas, and that pretty much sums up how I feel about the process. I love the touch, I love the relief it brings, and I love how effective massage is at bringing me to a level of such profound relaxation.
4. I always learn something new. It is one of the ironies of being a massage therapist and receiving a great massage. I find myself searching for the balance between saying, “Wait, what did you just do, and how did you do that?”, vs. zoning out and just enjoying the process. I generally stay close to the latter, but I am aware enough to pay attention to how the therapist did that thing that was so effective so that I can do the same for my clients.
5. I tend to take my workouts to a slightly higher level when I know a massage is in my future. I will perhaps run a bit, or hike or bike a little farther, when I know I will receive a massage soon after a workout. Massage is an effective motivator, and I will push just a bit more when I know it’s coming…. Hence, the scheduling of the massage at the end of my four days of hiking!
So take advantage of these early spring days by getting out and enjoying some sunshine, and reward yourself with a massage afterwards!