Keep Calm (during a massage)
Simple steps for total relaxation
By: Letha Zaracki, Massage Therapist
Whether it’s your first massage or your fiftieth, it can sometimes be a challenge to leave the daily stresses of life at the door and transition into a silent, serene space on the table. There are many obstacles our mind must combat before allowing ourselves to slip into a relaxed and opened state. When our minds are relaxed, our muscles are relaxed; and when our muscles are relaxed, it helps your massage therapist to break up tension and stretch out tightness much quicker and more effectively.
If you have trouble cooling your jets before a massage, here’s a tip to help you leave the mind-chatter and the door and reap the benefits of being truly present for your bodywork session.
Step #1: Breathe
So, where does one begin quieting the raging storm of the mind? Well, perhaps we can look to our ancestors of times passed for some insights. For thousands of years, cultures across the world from the Hawaiian Isles to the Indian Ocean have discovered and experienced the amazing power of deep, conscious breath. When we shift our focus from the chaotic chatter of life to the sensation of our inhale, the expansion of our exhale, and the beautiful wave-like rhythm is creates, it invites our minds and bodies to be completely present in this moment. It’s an invitation to shut down the area of our brains that gives us that nagging anxiety and stress, if just for a moment, to be present for some much needed personal healing and attention. It gives us a neutral and healthy focal point for our busy minds to gaze upon, making it easier for our minds to put all the other unnecessary junk on the back burner.
Next time you’re on the massage table, start your session off by taking a take a moment to pause and take a few deep, conscious, cleansing breaths, allowing yourself to feel every inch of your lungs expand and contract. Find the natural rhythm of your breath and challenge yourself to breathe deeper and slower with every inhale and exhale. The deeper you can breathe, the deeper your relaxed state of mind will become. The deeper you can exhale, the more room there is for expansion on the next inhale. Focus on (and take delight in!) the sensations you feel during every breath, both within and outside of your body. It can help to count, inhaling from 1…2…3…4…exhaling for 1…2…3…4…5…6. Give yourself permission to be fully present in this moment, with no past or future influences, to enjoy a moment of relaxation tailored for YOU!