Confessions of a Massage Therapist: Expectations – Part I
What to Expect From Bodywork
On most occasions, I think we schedule ourselves for bodywork because we want to change the way we feel in our body. To feel better, less tense and restricted. Less uncomfortable in our own skin. More able to move about.
Or perhaps, there has been a recent mishap, and now there is intense pain experienced. Your body parts aren’t functioning properly and you aren’t thinking straight. And you know you require some outside intervention, while tending to this healing crisis.
And so, when you do finally book yourself for a treatment, you are so looking forward to it! Crossing your fingers, hoping to have a skilled enough practitioner to help improve your current status. One that will read your body, understand the problem and help you mend it.
Perhaps, you even want to savor the pleasant, healthy touch. To fill up your cup. Right?
I am not speaking of sensual touch here, but rather of therapeutic, healing touch. The tender and nourishing kind. The sort of contact that induces deep relaxation and deep change.
Results. That’s it! We want RESULTS.
But, what are realistic, healthy, and practical things you can expect from your bodywork treatments?
The effects of massage/bodywork vary high and wide. Though imbued with one of life’s most delightful pleasures ∞ touch, and with a long list of benefits to one’s well-being; bodywork does in fact create change in your entire body and mind, thus your reality.
Yet, this change, is NOT always so pleasant and pretty. Worth it, YES! But not all rainbows, butterflies, and ice cream all of the time.
Especially as you get to the deeper, older layers that most of us carry. Underneath the armor (our ego/mask) that shields us. Layers so ingrained and chronically etched in our structure that they impinge on our entire belief structures. Down to our bones. Causing us to feel stuck, inflexible, rigid or defensive. At times paralyzing us from moving forward. The deep abyss of hidden and forgotten traumas. One’s we must travel, in order to reconcile. The very underpinnings of your tension and distress.
Once we get to these layers, the contact “hurts so good.” It’s awe inspiring intensity, on occasion, falls in the same realm as an orgasm. Sensations difficult to describe. This level of release can induce spiritual revelation, and indeed, will raise consciousness, if you allow yourself to center there.
Healing work is life altering. In the midst of a healing crisis, there is often a break down before a break through. Acknowledgement often feels raw, and sometimes gets messy. Therapeutic touch shines a light on tension, heightening bodily awareness. Your attention might be brought to noticing how exhausted your body really is, and how un-tamed your nervous system has gotten.
I don’t like to plant those seeds in my client’s mind, that indeed it WILL get worse, before it gets better. Because most of the time, it doesn’t.
But sometimes it does. And I want them to be prepared. It’s not a fact, but rather a common occurrence. And if you are ready, then you are ready! So pay attention. Ask your body what it has to say. And then listen closely.
When we initiate the release of what our body has been holding onto to, for so very long…signifying that change is in progress; we cannot always be certain of what to expect, because it ‘s entirely unpredictable. So, in other words, expect the unexpected.
It is important to note that sometimes symptoms temporarily worsen while participating in therapy. Or rather, you become hyper aware of them. Habits aren’t easily broken, nor rehabilitated without effort. Sometimes you may experience increased discomfort/pain, or feel like you had a brutal workout. Sometimes a bruised-like sensation is felt for a couple of days afterwards (though rarely does bodywork actually cause any visible marks, with a few exceptions of therapies). You may feel muscle strength weaken. These are all common post treatment possibilities.
You may notice your nervous system discharging, unwinding, or twitching, or your muscles having spasms. You may feel unsettled, as your bones are adjusting to being in a newly found position.
You may have past memories surface, that you haven’t thought about in a long time…and then realize that you are still a little effected by what happened. Even things you thought you had dealt with already, having processed it in therapy or done forgiveness work surrounding the issue. Or not. It could be that it’s high time you forgive yourself. Maybe it’s time you begin to care for yourself, for your body. Discontinuing it’s abuse. Maybe, the symptom that is expressing itself, currently in your body, can be traced back to an old wound or trauma. Something in your psyche that is playing itself out and demanding your attention.
You may find yourself speaking up, expressing and honoring your own personal truths. Sometimes, as our bones and soft tissues begin to align correctly, in turn we begin to get clear about things that are NOT in alignment with your core values and purpose. You may realize it is time to release that which is no longer serving you, and do inventory of your energy expenditures.
You may feel the need to initiate major life changes, in attempt to find balance. You might tap into deep reservoirs of personal power, and discover you need to hold better boundaries.
All or none of these things are possible, when bodywork is utilized. It ultimately depends on what is inside of you, wanting to emerge.
I always tell people to give any type of bodywork treatment, a couple of days to “land”. For 2-3 days after a session, your body will continue to release and repair. It is beneficial to go in understanding and accepting that sometimes, healing and change, don’t always look the way we think it should, or happen as fast as we want it to. Be mindful and attentive. And most of all, willing. Be willing for change to happen. Because it must.
Change can be uncomfortable in the beginning, yet it is necessary for transformation to occur. Bodywork is a continuous process of surrendering. Including surrendering any expectations you might have about how release and healing are supposed to look. Just like eating healthy and getting in shape, the forming of new habits is the beginning of a new chapter that isn’t familiar, predictable, or rainbows and butterflies.
Yet, it is an empowering and worthy endeavor! One that the quality of your life depends on.
Always expect the unexpected. Accept it for it’s gifts. Surrendering to it without expectation of outcome, and loving it, all together.
Confessions of a Massage Therapist: Expectations Pt II – Having Your Expectations Met in Your Bodywork Sessions