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The Massage Safe Word

The Massage Safe Word

It has always been my belief that a massage should not be painful.  And before we go too much further, there is a difference between a Fluff and Buff Massage, (which is also great) and a Bodywork Massage, The Body Engineer, Why My Massage is Different.  Bodywork is a massage modality that focuses on solving a painful dysfunction within the body.

The main reason that I believe massages should not be painful, is that when pain is triggered, it keeps the autonomic nervous system (ANS) activated and does not allow the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to take control. What is the difference?  The ANS is responsible for releasing hormones for our fight or flight response.  It is responsible for many other functions as well. However, if our bodies are releasing these hormones during a massage, muscles tense and the brain tells the body it is in danger!  The PNS releases hormones that trigger relaxation, lowers stress, allows the digestive system to process the food we have eaten, and can make us sleepy.  That is why when receiving a wonderful massage can put us to sleep or make our stomachs rumble.

When our ANS has been stimulated during a massage, our muscles contract which is the very opposite of the results needed for chronic pain release.  However, triggering the PNS, allows for deeper, less painful results.  Think of all the layers between the hands of the bodyworker and the muscle lesion.  There is skin, lymph, subcutaneous fat, nerves and other muscles.  So, if we go in slowly, there is less damage to all these other layers, we don’t trigger the ANS, and we get much better results.

Communication is key!  So many clients think that they are bothering the therapist if they speak up.  That isn’t the case at all!  A great therapist always wants to know what is going on within their clients.  Most therapists look for “tells” within body language; but there are times, especially with new clients, that we can’t read the body language yet.  Something else to consider is that everyone’s pressure tolerance is different. Our bodies are different; likewise, our response to pressure/pain is different.  For new clients (and I do tend to repeat myself with repeat clients), I explain the word ‘Edge’.

You guessed it!  Edge is the massage safe word.   How does it work?  On a scale from 1 to 10, when your body hits about a 6 or 7, you say ‘Edge’.  Now, there are high pressure tolerance folks out there, and I have to trust my hands.  Another clue is, if as a client, you want to hold your breath, then there is too much pressure.  Staying under or just at ‘Edge’ allows a therapist to go through the multiple layers and actually get closer to the actual root problem.  Can we always get to the root problem in one session?  Absolutely not!  For more info, read my article – Why One Massage Won’t Fix You – Issue in the Tissue.  There are many culprits to muscle pain, and releasing one lesion while beneficial may not be the root of the issue.

Remember As always, it is YOUR body, if there is too much pressure tell your therapist!  It is your body, your money, your session.

Please send me your suggestions, comments or questions.  And if this article spoke to you, please share!

 

Julie Fisher NC/SC LMBT

#BeeTranquil #TransparentWarrior  #TheBodyEngineer #TheMuscleNinja

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Why One Massage Won’t Fix You

Why One Massage Won’t Fix You

Our society today tends to be geared towards instantaneous results. So many of us expect instant results, a magic pill to make our aches and pains go away.  One hour of massage to make us whole………I wished it were that simple!  And before you say ‘Wow, that was judgmental’ – I do it too!

There are so many things that affect our bodies.  Stress, diet, water intake, past injuries and trauma, mental state, genetics and those are just a few I could think of.  There are also many layers in our bodies.  If you aren’t drinking enough water, fascia is harder, lymph (see my blog for a video The Lymph System) doesn’t move as well making areas stickier, nerves don’t send signals as swiftly as they should, the connective tissue surrounding our muscles and organs don’t move as smoothly as they should.  These factors add more time for a therapist to make them more malleable.  Stress hormones add additional tension within the body.

In my practice I have noticed that bodywork is cumulative.  If a client comes regularly, the body knows what to expect and accepts the work at a much faster rate.  Also, coming regularly keeps the layers more malleable, allowing for deeper work.  Muscle and tissue have memory.

There are a couple clients that come for bodywork right before a chiropractic session.  This allows for longer and better results in the chiropractic session because the tissues have been softened.  And the chiropractor can tell when the clients haven’t had any bodywork!

There was a saying at the massage school that I love – Bones never lie and muscles always win!  Think on that, if the muscles aren’t relaxed or doing their job properly, they are going to pull the bones.  There are a lot of visual clues that bony landmarks tell a bodyworker.  Military neck, protruding shoulder blades, front forward posture all tell a tale!

Another thought to consider, is how long has your body been in pain?  How long have you had a desk job, or been doing cross fit? The body adjusts to pain, and adjusts to poor posture.  Muscle and tissue have memory!  When I began massage school, I had to retrain myself to walk properly and I didn’t even know I was walking improperly until I was called out by the instructor.  It takes time to reset the body from these pain patterns and dysfunction. It will definitely take more than a one-hour session.

Regular bodywork is such an important part of self-care (Feed Yourself), but also taking responsibility for our self is huge.  Bodywork does great work, but stretches, moving, drinking more water, eating healthy are also key elements for a healthy body.

 

Please send me your suggestions, comments or questions.  And if this article spoke to you, please share!

 

Julie Fisher NC/SC LMBT

#BeeTranquil #TransparentWarrior  #TheBodyEngineer #TheMuscleNinja

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