It’s the end of the year and massage therapists all over Hamilton (and the rest of Ontario) are bracing themselves for the avalanche of new patients and those patients they haven’t seen since last December to come in and repeat the same, tired refrain. I want to use up my benefits. Without getting too deep into why that’s not a reason for massage therapy (you don’t go to your pharmacist and demand medications to use up your benefits, right? You don’t go get glasses you don’t need to… use up your benefits… right?) let’s talk about how you can reframe this notion, assess your needs and make an informed choice. The argument can be made that anyone can benefit from massage, and while that might be kinda true, I wonder if we are perhaps conflating “it wouldn’t hurt me to get a massage” with “I’m having a hard time dealing with __________ and could use some assistance.” Massage therapy is a great way to soothe pain, address movement problems, and even relax. But if you’re not in pain, move just fine and aren’t really struggling with too much stress, your net positive from massage therapy is… pretty minimal. But, you have some funds available, and maybe you can see some New Year Resolutions hovering on the horizon that involve sweating, gym-ing and otherwise taking up activities you presently are… unaccustomed to. Maybe you just want to make an investment into taking better care of yourself, demonstrating to YOU that you give a hoot about how you feel (good on ya!). Massage Therapy can have a role in that.
We can flip the script from “I want to use my benefits up” to “I want to make an investment into myself.” By figuring out before your appointment what some of your goals are, your RMT will have much better guidance to determine how best to reach them.
Maybe you know you want to compete in the Paris to Ancaster race in Hamilton Ontario, next year in April. You know it’s gonna be hard and you know you’re gonna have to train hard for it and you also know… you haven’t been the most dedicated cyclist this year (guilty…). Your RMT can help you manage the after-pains of training by decreasing the inflammatory process as well as assisting with management of that pain-volume knob that can get a little sticky sometimes. We may not be able to get rid of the post-legs day Frankenstein lurch, but we should be able to help you decrease some of that pain and swelling, as well as give you some tips, guidance and support when training gets rough. You and your RMT can develop a plan for care to help you stay on track with your goals and what to do when the bumps along the way actually feel like the ride up Martins Rd. to the finish line.
Perhaps your goals are more aligned with self care. You’re always at the bottom of the to do list and that’s if you’re lucky enough to make it on to your list at all. We all need time to ourselves to check out, breathe and let someone else care for us for a change. A lot of folks find themselves sandwiched between aging parents and young children, both of whom fall under the care of those stuck in the middle. Massage therapy can help you settle down by providing you a quiet room, a kind person, and some feel better touch. Your RMT can listen while you vent a little, and guide you back to the present moment. She or he can teach you some breathing exercises, help you develop some movement habits that feel good for you, and remind you that you are deserving and worthy of your own care and attention, too. This can help put some fuel back in your tank so you can return to your care-giving roles and do them well. So, this December, if you are looking at your resources, considering your goals and deciding that yes, a massage therapist would be a great addition to your support team then by all means, invest in yourself and wrap up 2018 right so you can launch into 2019 on your best foot. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the book now button to schedule your appointment.
Moyer CA, A Meta-Analysis of massage therapy research. Psychol Bull. 2004 Jan;130(1):3-18.
Crane JD et al., Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Sci Transl Med. 2012 Feb 1;4(119):119ra13