I love escaping to the beach for relaxing weekend getaways. I consider the beach my sanctuary. It’s also full of fun memories, especially very 4th of July weekend where my entire family goes down for a reunion of sorts. It started off as being a time for all of us cousins to get together in the middle of summer and to celebrate our Grandpa’s birthday on the 2nd. It became a tradition. This 4th of July is no different, all my relatives from out of state are coming down, my oldest brother and his family are flying out, and all us Portlanders are driving on down too. The only people missing are our two amazing heads of the family, Grandma (who turns 93 at the end of the July) and Grandpa (who turns 97 on July 2nd). Yes, you read that correctly, my grandparents are still alive and in their 90s. It’s quite impressive. Have you thought about your far future? What it would be like if you lived to be in your 90s or even 100 years old? I often think about my health what I am doing now or what I should start doing to be able to maintain a long and healthy future and quality of life. So of course, I find myself reflecting on self-care.
As many of my clients know, I am a huge advocate of self-care. If you do not take the time to take care of yourself on a regular basis, then you are taking away from your own health and well-being, as well as being able to help take care of others in your life. You can do so much more, and enjoy all that life has to offer, when you are feeling good. One of my top favorite forms of self-care is receiving massages on a regular basis. Personally, I try to get a massage twice a month, but sometimes work and life happens, and I only can squeeze a massage in once a month. I RARELY go more than a month without receiving a massage. It has proven to be one of the most beneficial forms of self-care for me. Here are my top 5 reasons as to why I love receiving massages.
1. It gives me a mental and physical break. For those 60 to 90 minutes that I am laying on the massage table, I am able to let my mind and body relax. I am not thinking about work, money, family, or any problems that may be going on in my life at the moment. I let go of all the stressors floating around in my head. My body lets go of all the tension it has been holding onto as well. Being self-employed and having a physical job, allowing my mind and body to take a break and relax is essential to my longevity in this industry. It is like hitting the refresh or restart button on your digital devices. It gives you a reboot to allow you to function more efficiently.
2. It helps aid in muscle recovery. I work out on a regular basis, and have been an avid CrossFitter for three years. Building strength, stamina, and agility is very helpful to me to be able to give massages to all my clients every week. With working out, comes sore muscles. If my muscles are too sore or tight to work on my own clients, then I am not much use. Strengthening my body and increasing my endurance is important in my career, but whether you are an avid athlete, a weekend warrior, practice yoga, take dance classes, or enjoy regular walks or hikes, your muscles are doing a lot of work. Receiving massages help your muscles recover. Massages decrease soreness, speeds up the recovery time, and it helps increase range of motion and flexibility. In short, it helps relieve muscle soreness and keeps me doing the things that I love to do most.
3. It keeps me healthy. There has been plenty of research over the years that show that receiving regular massages has many health benefits. It increase circulation, decreases stress and tension, boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, and helps with sleeping disorders, to just name a few. I have found that over the years of receiving regular massages, I rarely get sick, and when I do, the severity and duration seems to be less than those around me who do not receive regular massages. Receiving regular massages keeps me healthier. Less sick days and minimal doctor visits means more money in my pocket and more days to enjoy.
4. I learn something new each time. For the most part, I like to zone out and allow my mind and body to relax during my massages, but there is always a part of me that is aware to what the massage therapist is doing. If I really like how something felt or had a great release from a technique that the massage therapist did, I ask and take mental notes about it. Receiving different types of massages, picking up on different techniques and tools, or even being reintroduced to some old ones, allows me to bring those benefits back to my clients and give them the best massages that I can offer.
5. Massages feel AMAZING! Ok, I had to say it. If massages didn’t feel so good and you didn’t get off the table at the end of the session feeling amazing, then why would you want to subject yourself to this form of self-care? The power of touch through massage is healing, caring, nurturing, calming, rejuvenating, strengthening, and empowering. Whether you get a 60 minute, a 90 minute, or a 2 hour long massage, you always leave feeling more relaxed, in less pain, and feeling better than you had when you arrived. You simply feel amazing in comparison!
I often wonder why more people do not get regular massages. The benefits outweigh the negatives. It is the best form of self-care that I have found for myself to date. Well, massages and laughter that is. I hope you do too. I hope that we all can grow old and still maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to enjoy life well into our 90s, like my grandparents have.
What are some of your favorite reasons for receiving massages?
Courtney Truax, LMT is a graduate of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. She is licensed through the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. She has her own studio massage practice in the heart of downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon.