A Resilient Body through Massage

Maintaining a positive outlook and the ability to bounce back can be challenging in the best of times, but what about during times of high stress with competing demands on our time, energy, and resources? Layer in the stresses of Covid-19 and the potential of re-entering our places of work and it can start to feel more difficult to keep one’s thoughts and outlook positive. It can feel as though our reserves are depleted just when we need that extra bit of energy or spark of motivation to get us through the next challenging moment.

At this point, it’s likely that we’ve all heard the word “resilience” tossed about as an attribute that helps people face difficult and trying times. The question one might then ask is; how do we build resilience in ourselves, our families, communities, and workplace at a time when it is most needed and during a time of stress?

There are many ways to approach building our resilience, such as breathwork, mediation, and movement. At Body Techniques, we think a good place to begin building and maintaining our resilience is through the body. We view wellness as a holistic practice, eating thoughtfully, exercising, and taking time to slow down and receive massage are all components of building a resilient body. Below are three reasons massage therapy is an excellent first step towards developing our resilience toolkit.

Reducing Stress

Between Covid-19, ambiguous direction about states and counties reopening, and the possibility of returning to the office or having to find a new job, we are all stressed to some degree. Prioritizing our own well being and finding ways to reduce levels of stress are key to building our overall health and maintaining a positive outlook. Making time to slow down and tend to ourselves is a first step towards resilience. Whether it’s hands on massage in a safe and hygienic way (as counties permit) or enjoying a virtual 1:1 guided massage, the act of releasing tension through massage therapy is known to lower cortisol (a stress hormone), quite the mind, and soothe the body. By disengaging from the pressures and expectations of the day for even 15-minutes, we allow for the breath to deepen, the mind to relax, and the “pause button” to take the reins. Hands-on therapeutic touch gives us time and space to focus on our own relaxation so that we can return to our day to day in a more relaxed manner.

Relieving Physical Discomfort

Many of us are stuck at home working from the kitchen table or sofa, many others are taking on responsibility as essential workers and supporting our communities by delivering goods and services while working long hours. All of this can lead to our body feeling stiff, sore, and overworked. If our bodies are in pain or discomfort, it makes it hard to be fully present and it also siphons off our body’s resources. If we are busy thinking about the pain in our knees, neck, or back, we are more likely to further injure ourselves, miss workdays, or struggle to look after our kids. Scheduling time to receive hands-on massage therapy helps relieve injuries and muscle strain. When we feel able in our bodies, it allows us to have a more positive outlook, which can help us feel less stressed and more prepared to face challenges.

Better Sleep

When your head hits the pillow does your mind kick into high gear? Do your thoughts swirl and seem to be running on repeat? Do you start making lists of all the things you need to do the following day or didn’t get done today? If so, you aren’t alone! Lack of sleep is detrimental to our health and overall sense of well being. When we aren’t clocking a solid seven to eight our body takes the brunt in many ways; such as a weakened immune system, being more prone to accidents, weight gain, memory loss, and mood changes to name a few. In these hectic and uncertain times, it’s hard to shut off our thoughts and get the rest we need.

There are ways we can help ourselves power down, such as taking an epsom salt bath before bed, enjoying a calming herbal tea, or taking time to read something other than the constant newsfeed. And, because we are firm believers in the health benefits of massage, we definitely add it to this list of sleep resources. 

Massage therapy is an excellent way to release the stress of the day and allow ourselves the time and space to relax. Expert guided massage or hands-on therapeutic touch is proven to be effective in helping people relax and restore the ability to sleep more deeply, which in turn supports our immune system and overall health status.

As we face the future, our health and wellness are a critical component in our ability to show up and build our resilience, as individuals and as communities. Making time for ourselves to destress and relax will help us be present for our friends, family, and coworkers. Remember to build into your day time for just you. Take a walk, stretch, do some jumping jacks, or meditate. Time for you is time well spent.

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