And, yes! Massage is great for all of those things, but those aren't the real reasons to get massage on a regular basis.
There are other benefits too, benefits that aren't often talked about.
These hidden benefits, subtle and nuanced results that grow and accumulate over time will profoundly change your experience in your body and in your world.
1. Know your body.
Regular massage sessions provide a consistent opportunity to connect inward and feel how your body is doing with all you ask of it.
And let’s be honest. Everything you do asks a lot of your body.
Work requires specific and repetitive movements. At the same time, you probably have to hold a relatively static position, like sitting or standing, for extended periods of time.
If you are driven by fitness or athletic performance, you demand very specific things of your musculature and your whole physical structure.
Regular massage sessions cultivate awareness around habitual body patterns, stress, your way of showing up to a session, and what you notice and share about what’s happening in your body.
2. Meet your Goals.
Whatever your goals are, your body will be there with you.
Whether this is your year to focus on career, push yourself as an athlete, or manage a hectic family schedule, you’ll be asking your brain and body to work together all the time, even when it doesn’t feel like they can.
Longer work hours, harder training, fewer sleep hours, the stress of maintaining a balanced life under impossible expectations are all too familiar in these times.
A plan to take care of and check in with your body on a regular basis will mean the difference between hitting the wall when you are at your limit or being able to climb the wall, hop down the other side, and lope onward toward your next hurdle.
3. Find a new normal.
If the only time you receive massage is when you are in pain or experience some sort of problem, the possibility of what the sessions can do will be limited to a hopeful breath that you might get rid of the pain or whatever the problem happens to be.
When you have the chance to receive massage when you are feeling good, before you sense you really need it, you continue to hone your capacity for awareness of your body, your presence, and your health.
Over time, letting go begins to happen at the deeper layers of your body. Your awareness expands to include those layers, to include more of you.
Your normal experience in your body begins to change. Your sense of feeling good shifts into something even better.
4. Change the way you inhabit the world.
A cultivated sense of body awareness changes the way you move about the world. It changes the way you see and feel yourself at different points in time and throughout your life. And it changes the way you are able to be present with others.
The experience and structure of a therapeutic massage session fosters a space of deeper awareness and receptivity. Awareness of how open and receptive you are will begin to travel with you beyond the length of the session and into other areas of your life, including interpersonal relationships, work, and your downtime.
5. Plan something to look forward to.
A lot of writing has come out in the last couple years on the importance of having something to look forward to. Often this is thought of with regards to a vacation or travel plans. Get that next trip on the calendar so when look out from your office window on the 23rd straight day of rain, you have something to look forward to.
Ok, a massage isn’t a two-week vacation in the south of France, but it is a respite from the demands of every day, and does have the power to re-align your focus, and shift your perspective.
A scheduled massage on the calendar is an important slice of time that’s all about attending to you.
6. Build relationships with practitioners you trust.
If life throws you off balance, an established connection with a health practitioner you trust can be an immense help as you regain your footing.
It makes it easier to reach out to schedule that appointment that you know, without a doubt, you need.
Even if your next appointment is already scheduled a few weeks out, you’ll be more likely to get in contact with them to see if you can get in right away, and get yourself back to center as soon as possible.
Make this your year.
Seriously. Start now. Whether a regular schedule for you means weekly or monthly or some other variation, get started now.
At the end of the year, you'll be standing somewhere new, able to feel and experience your body and the world in completely different ways.
Awesome! Making the first step to schedule is a big and important decision.
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