Massage and self-care
Updated: Nov 13
Focusing on your body and the marvellous feedback you get when receiving a massage can be very insightful. Making yourself a scientist of your own body during a massage and simply observing what is going on with no judgement or criticism can be very helpful and healing.
This is one example of how you can use massage to develop self-care.
The massage and self-care connection
You might generally receive a massage to relieve pain, improve movement in your joints, release stiffness, recover from emotional and mental stress, and/or relax. So, how could a massage and the massage therapist help with self-care?
Working with precision
With remedial massage, I work in a very precise way by isolating edges of muscles and focusing on areas of excess energy and heat, areas of deficient energy and coldness, as well as different textures of the skin, fascia, muscles and bones.
As well as having a therapeutic benefit, this precision provides you with the sensory input to increase your awareness and understanding of your body. This awareness and understanding can help you alter your movements and the choices you make throughout the movements in your life.
Self-care and self-love
When you receive a new awareness or understanding then make lifestyle changes based on these, the changes could be called acts of self-care. The impulse or intention to make acts of self-care could be call self-love.
When you make caring for your body a priority, observing your movements and choices can be a stepping stone to discovering what is self-caring and what is not self-caring. This is not always an easy process as you may notice that family, relationships and work can pull you in a way that does not feel very self-caring. You may even notice your favourite food treats make your body unwell. You may notice you have thoughts, beliefs and opinions that disturb your equilibrium or even stop you from ever being in equilibrium.
As your body receives more self-care it changes to be more receptive to self-love, making it easier for you to develop more self-care once again. More self-care leads to more self-love. Another perpetual cycle, though it leads to more healing and more self-love and a return to who you truly are – which is love.
Responding to pain
Sometimes we become sick of pain, sick of being stiff, sick of being tired and/or sick of being sick and we act out of frustration or anger,. You may notice this is very depleting of our energy.
Sickness can be a moment to stop, take stock and address what has made you unwell. It can be a point that we bring attention to what is required to care for the body. This can be an opportunity to care for your body and treat it with the utmost respect and gentleness. This is developing self-love.
Choosing your massage therapist
A massage therapist can support the body when it is at complete rest to build a foundation movement from awareness of particular areas of the body. That's why choosing your practitioner is important.
An all-encompassing approach
Imagine going to a massage therapist who had been consuming alcohol or drugs, overeating, not sleeping, or one who lived with mental or emotional distress. You may already have had this experience. Likewise, if their body was hard or they moved or talked harshly. Perhaps they could be in their head judging, being critical or hating their boss or partner while massaging you.
Your ability to feel, sometimes called clairsentenience, can reveal the disturbance of all these qualities in someone who is massaging you.
Feeling a different quality
On the contrary, imagine going to a massage therapist who lived as a tender, delicate, caring, nurturing and loving man or woman. Imagine being touched by someone whose movements and thoughts are guided by self-care and self-love. Being massaged by someone who accepts you as you are and communicates without judgement or criticism is a tangible quality we can feel.
Having this quality and integrity in movement in a massage therapist can support you to deeply let go. It can support with the relaxation of the body and being completely surrendered so as to receive the maximum healing that is possible from massage.
The feeling of being massaged by someone with a warm and compassionate heart, a gentle nature, a sense of humour and integrity allows a safe and supportive space.
The massage techniques and the massage therapist you choose to give you a massage are both important. Together they can create a space to support you to heal and develop more self-care on your return to who you truly are.