Saturday, December 8, 2007

Self Care is Vital this Time of Year for the Massage Therapist

This month’s activities have taken a toll on my body. Beginning the first week of November, the conditions started brewing for the perfect storm; mix together a heavy travel schedule, restaurant food and staying in hotel rooms. Add in winter weather and the beginning of the holiday season. The result, a fine recipe for compromised health.

I manage to get a cold about once a year and it will usually linger for about a week. This year has been no different. However, part of the challenge for me is to get back to exercising, eating well and the routine of self-care after the setback. As I sit here and type, I realize I have not exercised in over two weeks. Okay, I know that is not the end of the world but it has lead to another problem: a weakened and less flexible body.

After giving three massages on Tuesday afternoon, I was waiting for my next client when I noticed an increasing pain signal along my spine. I took a moment to breathe and stretch but the pain kept a constant swell. By the time my client arrived, I was in pain and my rhomboids were in spasm.

Ethically, this is an interesting juncture in a massage practice. Does a therapist proceed with the massage, or explain the situation to the client, apologize for the inconvience and reschedule? In the past, I have rescheduled a client after they arrived at my office due to my inability to give quality work. Deciding where that fine line is can be the difference between a passing muscle spasm and a shoulder girdle that locks up on you for a week.

Taking a moment to check in with my body, my intuition told me to work with my client and make adaptations during the massage. Fortunately, this client prefers lighter touch, Swedish based work.

Soon after the session, I immediately located one of my colleagues and asked if they might take a few minutes to work with releasing the spasm in my back. After a few minutes of focused work, much of the contraction released.

These recent events have once again led me back to the concept of self-care. During this season of frenetic activities and seasonal colds/flu, may we rededicate our commitment to staying healthy and vital; so that we may continue to help our clients do the same.

1 comment:

Sharon Tessandori said...

Hmmm, sounds like it might be time to roll the yoga mat out. ;-)

Glad to hear you and Debra are feeling better!