Our bodies contain an infinite amount of information just waiting to be tapped into. Every day our bodies “talk” to us in rather obvious ways; they tell us when we are hungry, tired, relaxed, stressed, and excited. Our bodies also send us more subtle messages; for example, “I’m exhausted; you need more rest” or “your legs feel heavier than they used to.”
When we take the time to listen to our bodies’ subtler messages, we come to see our needs – and ultimately ourselves – more clearly. When we find a way to “tune in” regularly, listening to our bodies can lead to happier, healthier lives.
Just as with anything in life, practice makes perfect (or at least it leads to progress); the more you listen, the easier it becomes to decipher the messages our bodies are sharing with us. There are many ways to “tune in” to our bodies, and they can complement one another very nicely. Among my personal favorites are yoga, mindful running, and of course reiki and massage.
A few ways that massage therapy can help you listen to your body’s messages:
- Massage provides a calm & relaxed environment away from the busyness of everyday life, allowing you to relax enough to feel what is going on in your body. Research shows that during massage, our nervous systems switch from “flight or flight” mode to “rest and digest” mode.
- Massage assists with pain relief, which can help quiet down any “emergency sirens” that are being set off in your body and distracting you from less urgent but still important messages.
- Massage can help you discover connections between “separate” issues, which provides important clues about what might be contributing to aches, pains, and injuries. (Did you know that your low back pain might be the result of a tight muscle in your glute area? Or that your upper back pain could be related to tight pec muscles?)
- Massage may help you discover pain and discomfort that you hadn’t realized was there, which can help you address issues before they affect your everyday life. Many of my clients exclaim, “I didn’t even know I was sore there!” during the course of a massage.
- Massage may help you remember things that you’d forgotten about, (like that ankle you sprained 20 years ago) that could be contributing to discomfort you’re experiencing now.
I believe strongly that each of us has the potential to tune in to the wisdom of our bodies. A skilled massage therapist can support you in this practice by provide the proper environment and clinical context to, first, help you tune in, and second, help you to make sense of your body’s messages. Happy listening!