Looking after you

I treated my youngest client recently, a very polite and lovely 7 year old boy. His mum booked him in for a massage as he has asthma and growing pains, common issues both causing increased muscle tension. This was his first ever massage. His mum had also recently taken him to his first yoga class, her aim, to teach him to look after his body. Wow mums are amazing! I’m one of those lucky people who have an amazing mum as well. I don’t have children, just the mere thought of it scares the whoha out of me, but I still have a vague idea of the pressures that parents have on them to raise the next generation of “well balanced” human beings. I am in awe of people who decide to take on the biggest challenge they will ever face & I appreciate that everyone has their own view on the do’s and don’ts. Some may say I don’t deserve a view given I don’t have kids, but I was very impressed with this mum’s fundamental view of teaching her son to look after his body from such a young age and the appreciation of listening to and giving back to his body as much as he expects to get out of it. I also had the pleasure of treating his mum and dad who are striving to not only guide him but also be great role models for him. Being a parent is a tough gig!

I understand that there are different challenges facing parents today compared to when my parents and grandparents where raising kids, but if only listening to and looking after our bodies was common practice in our society I wouldn’t be seeing as many clients frustrated about how their bodies are feeling. In particular, clients aged roughly between 45 and 60 who have worked incredibly hard their entire lives without giving their bodies much back and now feeling the consequences.

When we are young we feel invincible and our bodies often just take whatever we throw at them. We think we recover completely because we don’t feel the effects, however our bodies are just great at absorbing and compensating without us knowing. So it’s not until we have a couple of decades of this continued behaviour that the wear and tear starts to show and our bodies start to loose the ability to just absorb and compensate, then our perception changes to “my body just doesn’t recover like it used to”. Some generations were taught to just work hard, get on with the job and get it done. I feel the pendulum may have swung a little too far the other way in some cases, but ultimately, it’s up to each of us to take care of our own bodies, starting now if you don’t already, no matter what age you are. Only you are with you 24 hours a day 7 days a week and only you can truly make a difference, it’s called ownership and being accountable. Only you are in charge of your lifestyle 100%. You can point the finger and blame circumstance, situations or even other people, but all that shows is you aren’t ready to make the changes in your life you think you want to make and the improvements you want to see. Often the most rewarding things we do are the hardest, e.g. paragraph one, raising little humans!

As your massage therapist I am only part of your wellness regime, an integral part in my opinion, but still only a part. No matter how fantastic my massage is you will continue to come back to me and have the same complaints each time if you don’t take ownership of looking after your body 100% of the time.

There are six key components in my opinion to looking after your body:

  • Be mindful of your posture ALL the time, whether you are sitting in front of your computer, cooking dinner, walking down the street or sitting on the couch. Your shoulders should be back & think of your head balanced perfectly on top of your spine with your chin tucked in, rather than poking forward which puts an immense amount of strain on the muscles in your neck and upper back. The average human head apparently weighs 5kg (without hair). Hold a 5kg weight in your out stretched arm and see how long you last. Now think about how those muscles in your neck feel if your head is poked forward all day.
  • Please don’t sit for long periods without getting up regularly either, all the systems in our body function much better when we are moving.
  • Be aware of your limits when lifting and lift with your knees bent and your back straight.
  • Find exercise that is enjoyable. Creating regular exercise in your routine can be challenging however if you enjoy it this makes it a little less challenging.
  • Have a healthy diet & drink plenty of water each day
  • And sleep well!!! I am amazed at how many people answer “No” when I ask them “Do you sleep well”, sleep is incredibly important to your well being.

I see most clients once every 4 weeks for a one hour consult. That’s one hour out of 672 hours of living. I’m a great massage therapist but I don’t have a magic wand that will undo all you’ve done in those previous 672 hours and set you up for the next 671 before your next consult. So I am appealing to each and every one of you to please look after your bodies, it’s the only one you have.

Oh and Master 7 loved his first massage!

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