The conditions that lay the groundwork for a relaxing therapeutic massage. Living Link Massage Therapy, HIghland NY

All professional massage will benefit you in some way.  (Provided there are no contraindications present).  But to enter a relaxed state during your therapeutic session, certain conditions are necessary.

And, why should you care about relaxation when your low back is killing you?  Well, let me tell you.  Relaxation is the fourth pillar of health and an undervalued wellness superstar.

So what are these conditions that promote comfort, and thus relaxation?  The conditions encompass a range of areas, some unexpected.  It’s about feeling that you are in a safe, professional, comfortable, non-judgemental space.

  • The massage therapist is properly trained
    • Are they licensed, and required to keep up with continuing education?  Did they attend a quality program of at least 1000 hours of training?  Do they make sense when they talk with you about your health?  Do they make nutty claims about their work or massage in general?
  • The general environment supports your health
    • This means you know the sheets are washed after each session.  You know the massage therapist follows sanitary guidelines.  You trust the therapist will inform you of any contraindications.
  • The massage therapist has your best interest at heart
    • They ask what you would like to work on in your session.  They concentrate on the right areas according to your intake.  They tell you when you would benefit from seeing a different kind of professional instead of – or in addition to – them.
  • The massage therapist is paying attention 
    • Do they see that your neck is uncomfortable and you keep trying to adjust your head so it feels OK?  Are you hot and sweaty from the table warmer? Do they see – and avoid deep pressure over – that painful bruise on your leg?
  • The massage therapist accepts you just as you are
    • It’s no big deal if you have stubborn ancient tension in your shoulders.  They don’t care that it’s been 6 months since you tussled with a razor.  They’re glad to work with you even if you’ve gained 20lbs over the past couple years.  They have no problem with some cellulite on your legs.  They’re not irritated if you didn’t do the stretches that were discussed.
  • The massage therapist listens to you
    • They pay attention when you tell them about an area they’d like to address.  Or if you flinch during the massage, they back off the pressure and check in with you.  If you are experiencing intense anxiety, the environment is slow-moving, predictable and comfortable.
These conditions may seem less than essential in some cases.  Yet, they are the necessary circumstances for relaxation.  I practice therapeutic massage, with a focus on injury recovery and pain relief.  But my clients also feel relaxed after each session, because these above conditions are met in my practice.
But what if your experience is different?  What if the conditions are all present, but you don’t experience relaxation?  You can do a lot to help yourself shift from the ‘fight or flight’ to the ‘rest and digest’ state on a massage table.

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