Helping you find the off switch

If relaxing was easy no-one would suffer from tension, but the reality is that when we get stressed, our body is tight and our brain won’t stop. Being able to relax can seem a million miles away.

Laura (not her real name) was suffering stress at work that she couldn’t let go of. Thouhts were going round in her head at night – trying to find solutions and blaming herself for not being able to sort it out. Her shoulders were stiff and sore, she was starting to get headaches and she had a week off work due to stress.

Making the decision to come for massage was a turning point – recognising that she wasn’t coping well and opening to receiving help.

Laura’s first session established a direction. Her therapist explored her needs and suggested approaches.

They agreed her massage should focus on two areas. Firstly, working with the tightness in her body. Not trying to force out the knots, but to help connect her physical tightness with the part of her brain that’s triggering it – sending the signal back that it’s okay to let go. Secondly, the treatment helped Laura support her relationship with herself by finding ways for her to bring her attention to her body.

She left feeling calmer with a little more space in her body and her mind. She also had a sense of what it feels like to relax to take away with her and an experience of connecting with her self that will help her find her own direction through a difficult situation, helping her direct her energy away form criticising herself and into caring for herself.

Massaging to the extremes

Two treatments this week seemed to reflect opposite ends of the spectrum.

The first was a woman who is having regular treatments to help ease mental and emotional stress that builds up in her body. On her first visit she was worried that the massage would make her feel painful afterwards. I was careful to make sure it didn’t. We’ve since built a deeper relationship. She is currently experiencing a number of symptoms related to hormonal changes. The massage is a bit more physical now, but with sensitivity.

In contrast I treated a man who comes periodically with accumulated muscle tension – knots and clunks in his shoulders and neck. I found myself using the most directed pressure I’ve ever used in a treatment. I had the majority of my body weight directed through my elbow into his shoulder. This type of treatment also requires sensitivity. It’s so important the person’s comfortable with the pressure and obviously needs to be applied in exactly the right spots. For him, it works and he leaves relaxed, looser and happier back to his family.

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