- neck pain and stiffness
- persistent headache
- pins and needles in your arm or hands
- back pain
Do you feel uncomfortable when your massage therapist suggests that he or she will need to see you more than once? Are you unsure why this is necessary? Does it make you worry that you are just being strung along to make the therapist more money?!
I often see a look of concern and hesitation on a clients face when I talk to them about having a series of weekly treatments or coming to see me on a monthly basis. So why is it that your therapist will want to see you again?
I can’t speak for all therapists but here on my thoughts on this……
As a massage therapist I am in the business of making people feel better. I know that what I do works and am passionate about wanting to help. It is important to me that you get what you came for and see some positive results. The ideal outcome for me is that you go away feeling better and I get the job satisfaction of seeing your pain reduced, range of movement increased or quality of life improved. However, I also know that we can rarely achieve this in one short hour and if that is your expectation you are likely to be disappointed. If your condition has been developing gradually over months and years due to poor posture, playing a sport or repetitive movement we will not be able to reverse all of that in one treatment. I’m afraid there is almost never a quick fix!
Pain conditions can often be complex and my approach will evolve over the series of treatments. For me the first appointment is all about assessment and gathering information which will inform what I do next. It is about getting to know you and understanding your condition and your body. This is done through observation of posture, testing range of motion and assessing the feel of your tissues during the massage. This information all helps to inform which techniques will be most effective and which areas of the body need most attention. This can then be incorporated into a plan for the next few treatments. Massage has a cumulative effect and it may take several treatments to encourage muscles and fascia to relax and release. If you only come to see me once you are not giving yourself the opportunity to feel the benefit of the gradual improvement that comes with a series of treatments. There are no guarantees as everybody and every body is different but the clients I see who invest in the process and have a series of treatments are undoubtedly the ones who see the best results.
So when I suggest that you will need a series of treatments, don’t think of it as a cunning plot to make you spend more money but as a way of making sure that you get the most from the money you are spending. I am very aware that massage involves significant financial investment on your part and I want you to get a great return on that investment. I will encourage you to have a series of treatments because I know that is the best way to get results. I don’t want you to have one treatment and go away feeling like you have wasted your time or your money and I don’t want to feel that I have not had the opportunity to do what I do best.
So please don’t give up on massage after one treatment because you are not ‘fixed’. Find the right therapist for you, ask lots of questions to ensure you understand what they can do for you and make an investment in your health and well being.
Use it or lose it……..
Unusually for me I have spent most of this week sitting on my sofa. I have had builders and scaffolders working in my garden which has meant that I needed to spend most of the week at home. I am somebody who enjoys being busy and active so this has felt a bit like being under house arrest! Having been deprived of my daily walking, regular running and yoga classes I was shocked at how quickly I have felt the affects of this inactivity in my body.
I have an assignment to write for my Advanced Massage training course so I have been using my enforced time at home to get on with some research and reading. As a massage therapist I should know better but I have spent days sitting in awkward positions hunched over my laptop and a pile of text books. After four days of this my lower back aches, my hips are stiff and my neck and shoulders are rounded and sore. The surprising thing about this for me is how quickly I have developed aches and pains and my joints have become stiff. Our bodies are designed to move and if we don’t use our muscles and joints then we very quickly start to lose strength, functionality and range of movement. It is a very simple case of use it or lose it!
When we are inactive for extended periods of time our fascia (the fine elastic connective tissue that surrounds and connect our muscles) starts to dry out and bind together. This prevents the muscles from moving freely against each other, and leads to a stiffness or tightness that limits normal range of motion and prevents freedom of movement. The good news is that this can be quickly reversed with regular movement and gentle stretching.
In Chinese medicine they apparently say that ‘the hinges of a well-used door never rust’. So whether your movement of choice it is a gentle walk with your dog, pottering in your garden, dancing, running or playing football it is all doing you good.
My plan is to still be active and flexible when I am 103 so tomorrow morning I will back on my yoga mat joyfully moving my joints and stretching my muscles.
I cant wait!
Do you go home at the end of each day with a headache, sore shoulders or stiff neck? Is your lower back sore from hours spent sitting in an uncomfortable office chair?
Recently I have been seeing an increasing number of clients with pain linked to the fact that they spend hours every day hunched over a computer, mobile phone or ipad. Even if you don’t work in an office we are all guilty of spending too much time bent over a device of some sort or another. This distorted and static posture can cause neck and shoulder pain, headaches, tingling and numbness in the arms and fingers, repetitive strain injuries and low back pain.
If you feel like your achey hunched shoulders are almost touching your ears and you neck is stiff and painful or if you have tingling or numbness in your arms and hands, or a sore lower back clinical massage can really help. I meet many clients who have resigned themselves to living with the pain or discomfort as they think that there is nothing that can be done. However none of these symptoms are necessarily irreversible and often a series or treatments combined with some simple stretches can make a huge difference.
There is plenty that you can do for yourself on a daily basis to try to prevent these symptoms occurring. BUT the key is actually doing them! We all know that we should get up and take a break from our phones or computers at regular intervals but so often we don’t. So I challenge you to do the stretches below at least twice a day and see if you feel better. In fact stop reading this and do it right now! Go on you know you want to. If you feel silly doing it alone in the office get your colleagues involved. Stop what you are doing for 5 minutes and all have a good old stretch!
I’m off to do mine now……