Whether your goal for receiving bodywork is to reduce stress, release tension, alleviate pain, restore balance, or you are rehabilitating an injury – – there is so much you can do to MAXIMIZE your experience.
Here are 8 TIPS to LEVEL UP YOUR BODYWORK (massage, acupuncture, chiro, yoga, or other body-centered therapies).
1. Staying well hydrated.
Benefits of hydration while participating in bodywork include:
- Tension melts more readily, with less resistance
- Minimized tenderness, making for a more pleasant experience
- Enhanced elimination of the toxins that are stirred up in the bloodstream
- Faster progress + less regression between appointments
- Minimized soreness post-treatment
Daily stretching is an incredibly helpful regimen to keep the body flexible, soft, symmetrical, and balanced in muscle tone.
Stretching affects more than just the muscles and joints; it also reduces the stagnation of blood and lymph, invigorates the organs, and promotes deep breathing, presence, and inner calm.
The importance of stretching before and after doing strenuous physical activities cannot be emphasized enough. It is beneficial for people of all ages and is one of the best ways to prevent and heal injuries.
3. Maintain Proper Nutrition.
Nutrition is the cornerstone of optimal health and energy. When muscles are not supplied with proper nutrients, they begin to malfunction and various symptoms of illness begin to manifest.
Not supplying our cells with adequate nutrients is the major cause of fatigue, muscle spasms, ischemia, inflammation, and an inability to relax. Malnutrition can be the underlying cause of numerous diseases, including osteoporosis, arthritis, and depression, which can cause the body to hurt all over. Further continuing a vicious cycle of health problems.
By fueling yourself with the right kinds of foods and raw materials, your body will have less pain and repair faster!
4. Actively Tend to Your Stress Levels.
Stress affects every area of our life when not properly managed. It’s important that we check in periodically with ourselves to evaluate our stress levels and how it’s affecting us. Considering each of these areas:
- physical (the state of your body, environment(s), finances)
- emotional (feelings, or lack thereof, relationships with self and others)
- spiritual (higher purpose and deep connection)
- mental (moods, belief systems, and attitudes)
Invaluable to you in times of stress is a list you write, when you are in a clear and balanced state, of things that fill up your cup. Things you like to do that make you feel nourished or invoke joy, such as dancing, meditation, laughing, taking a bath, sipping your favorite herbal tea, writing, hugging a tree, smelling essential oils, or vigorous movement. That way, you don’t have to figure it out while you are ‘in it’ and you aren’t feeling yourself.
Between your bodywork appointments, do as many of these as you can. Do something every day. Health is a culmination of all the things you do consistently over time.
5. Build a Strong Support System.
During times of breakdown, it is useful to remember that we need more support, not less. Oftentimes, people go through tough times relatively unsupported. But it doesn’t, so if we are willing to reach out for help.
Two things to consider when building strong support systems are both your ability to receive and your willingness to give support.
How capable are you of receiving compliments, gifts, time, attention, a warm hug, or other acts of kindness?
How willing are you to ask for support, esp. when you feel vulnerable, weak, or out of sorts?
How much are you able and willing to serve in your local community and support friends and family?
It is important that when you are seeking support, you look for more positive, caring, and resourceful people in your life. Beware of negative, draining, overly dramatic, or insensitive people. They will likely be of no help.
But also, be the support you seek. You may find great joy in it. Adding to your own sense of well-being. It goes both ways and all the way around. Win-Win!
6. Cultivate Open Communication with Your Bodyworkers.
The best way to collaborate and tailor each session to your needs that day is to be involved in the process. This includes:
- describing pain and motions that trigger it
- sharing sensations experienced, esp. referral pains, tenderness, or other interesting sensations, letting the practitioner know when you are uncomfortable (i.e., body temperature, position, too much pressure, distressed)
- expressing openly and honestly when emotions come up and are being released, esp. your needs
7. Listening to the Body’s Messages.
In our culture, pain is viewed as an enemy to be avoided. A radical shift in thinking would be to treat pain as an ally or messenger sending important signals from our central intelligence or subconscious mind. Messaging that something is out of balance and needs our attention.
What I am proposing is for you to listen and trust your body, focus your attention on the discomfort, and instead ‘be with it‘. Ask it what it is trying to tell us rather than resisting, ignoring it, numbing, masking, and or denying/avoiding the real root cause of the problem. There are no long-term benefits to this approach. In fact, things will progressively become worse as time goes on.
I think you will find that this system does not fail you. We have been blessed with these amazing facilities. Fragile yet resilient bodies. With incredible intelligence and capacity for healing. Now, if we all could listen to it with the diligence it deserves.
8. Synergistic Integrative Therapies.
There is no single “cure-all” modality. No silver bullets. The human body is intricately complex. Requiring a variety of things to nourish it, fuel it, keep it in peak performance, and be restored during times of dysfunction or healing crises.
Taking an integrative approach can have many benefits. Massage is even better when it is combined with chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy, craniosacral therapy, and energy work, you name it. Received in a balanced manner, they synergistically enhance each other.
It’s best not to wait until your body is broken to fix it. These same 8 ways to maximize results are also the same protocols for prevention. All of what I have referenced here will optimize any of the bodywork efforts you have been taking. Make self-care a priority in your life by building it into your schedule and your monthly budget.
Cheers to embodied living! May we all be in gratitude for our wondrous bodies.