100 things massage is better than

This is post 100 on my blog!  Thanks for reading along and for the encouraging words to continue with it.

If you haven’t picked up on this by now, I think massage is great.  I began thinking of things that massage is better than.  So here, in no particular order (or maybe there is an order, for you secret code-breakers out there) is –

100 things that massage is better than.

1- It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.  This is an old hillbilly saying, courtesy of my dad.

2- It’s better than being stuck in traffic.

3- It’s better than not getting a good night’s sleep.

4- It’s better than having a disease named after you.

5- It’s better than letting a repetitive activity cause you pain.  Massage can work as maintenance and put muscles back in their proper place.

6- It’s better than turning your phone on silent, then forgetting where you put it, so you can’t call it and hear it go off.

7- It’s better than having your muscles tied up in knots.

8- It’s better than getting a flat tire in the rain.

9- It’s better than not being able to find your glasses.

10- It’s better than having a headache.  Massage provides relief from tension headaches to migraines.

11- It’s better than having an inane song stuck in your head.

12- It’s better than working on your taxes.

13- It’s better than having dry skin.  Massage helps gives you softer and more moisturized skin.

14- It’s better than watching scary movies on Friday the 13th during a full moon in a creepy house all by yourself.

15- It’s better than letting a little problem develop into a big one.  Massage can keep small problems in their place.  Big problems develop by ignoring them when they are small.

16- It’s better than being under so much pressure that volcanoes are jealous of you.

17- It’s better than having your tongue stuck to a frozen pole like the kid in “A Christmas Story”.

18- It’s better than getting sunburned.  Especially on your feet.  That’s so annoying.

19- It’s better to smile than to scowl.  Massage lets you remember where you left your smile.

20- It’s better than a stiff neck.

21- It’s better than changing diapers.

22- It’s better than waiting in line, especially in the express line behind people who have too many items.

23- It’s better to breathe deeply than short, shallow breaths.  Deep breathing helps you relax and slow down.  You can do this anytime and anywhere.  Well maybe not while under water or being chased by an angry rhino.

24- It’s better than feeling like you have no energy.  Massage can help you feel good so you want to do more.

25- It’s better than not being aware of your body.  You feel better after a massage, so you begin to notice when something starts to hurt.  A small change can prevent future painful problems.

26- It’s better than somebody telling you the ending of a movie that you want to see.

27- It’s better than feeling like a piece of uncooked spaghetti – all stiff and inflexible.  Wouldn’t it be better to feel like a cooked piece, all loose and limber?  Massage can do that without stuffing you in a pot of boiling water.

28- It’s better than having a paper cut.

29- It’s better to sing than snarl.  Even if you just sing to yourself, sing.

30- It’s better than having jaw pain.

31-It’s better than being on the wrong side of the bathroom door.

32- It’s better than political commercials.  Even politicians don’t like them.  The crime rate would go down if that’s all prisoners got to watch on TV and listen to.

33- It’s better to feel like you can move fluidly and gracefully than to feel stiff and clumsy.

34- It’s better than holding a grudge.  Is it that big of a deal?  Can you let it go and feel better?

35- It’s better than being wound up tight.  Loosen up your body and mind and feel the freedom of movement, energy, and thought.

36- It’s better than not getting the joke people around you are laughing at.  It’s OK, some of them didn’t get it either.

37- It’s better than that recurring weird dream.  You know the one.

38- It’s better than shoes that are too tight.

39- It’s better than feeling anxiety.  Massage helps calm everything down.

40- It’s better than having a sore shoulder.  Or two sore shoulders.

41- It’s better than going to the dark side.

42- It’s better than breaking the shoestrings in every shoe you own on the same day and the only footwear you have are diving flippers.

43- It’s better than waking up in pain.  That’s a crummy way to start your day.

44- It’s better than a late rush assignment on Friday that makes you work on the weekend.

45- It’s better than trying to carry the weight of responsibilities all of the time.  Massage gives you a time to put them down for a while.  When you pick them up again, they may not seem so heavy.

46- It’s better than having to rhyme everything you say.

47- It’s better than having a bad habit.  Massage can make you feel better and want to do better.

48- It’s better than a camping trip in a thunderstorm.

49- It’s better than having arthritis pain.

50- It’s better than not being able to turn your head.  Turning your whole body to look to the side doesn’t count.

51- It’s better than being boring.  Get a massage to feel good, then go do something!

52- It’s better than losing your car keys.  Or house keys.  Or piano keys.

53- It’s better than feeling unproductive.  Get rid of some pain and stress and get more done.

54- It’s better than hitting a skunk with your car.  Or with anything really.

55- It’s better than being deprived of touch.  Touch is a basic human need and many people don’t get enough in their daily lives.  Massage is a safe way to receive the touch you may be lacking.

56- It’s better than dwelling on your problems.  Massage helps clear your mind and allow solutions in.

57- It’s better than having bad posture.  Getting loosened up helps you have good posture.

58- It’s better than finding out somebody ate the last piece of chocolate or the last cookie.

59- It’s better than having your shoulders up by your ears.  Let them go back down where they belong.  They like it better there.

60- It’s better than back pain.  No, bending your back is not overrated.

61- It’s better than having howler monkeys who have an ongoing argument with a pack of coyotes take up residence outside your bedroom window every night.

62- It’s better than getting a computer virus.

63- It’s better than finishing shoveling your driveway in the winter then have the snow plow push more snow in.

64- It’s better than somebody always correcting your grammar.  The grammar police are not allowed in the massage room with you.

65- It’s better than feeling stressed.  Stress makes everything harder.

66- It’s better than having a picture of you turn into an internet meme.

67- It’s better than a mosquito buzzing in your ear when you are about to fall asleep.

68- It’s better than losing the TV remote.  Even worse if it is political commercial season.

69- It’s better than needing to take pills for pain regularly.  Even if you own stock in the pill companies.

70- It’s better than foot pain.  Foot massage can help all parts of your legs, and even your hips and back feel better.

71- It’s better than feeling grumpy and crotchety.  Relieve some stress and try acting with kindness and you will probably get some back.

72- It’s better than being attacked by pirates.  I bet those guys would feel better if they got a massage.

73- It’s better than giving up on a dream or a goal.  Feel better and try again!

74- It’s better than thinking you wrote something important in invisible ink but it wasn’t.

75- It’s better than not being listened to.  When you come in I will give you my full attention the whole time.  Nothing else is as important to me as you are.  You came in for a reason.  You deserve to be heard and get the service you need.

76- It’s better than having a whistle in your nose, a frog in your throat, and the hiccups all at the same time.

77- It’s better than having poison ivy.  A lot.

78- It’s better than trying to read the fine print in a contract, or reading the license agreements from computer software.

79- It’s better than being in a foul mood.  In just an hour your day can turn around.

80- It’s better than calf pain.  From your leg, not a small cow, although I guess a small cow could hurt you, so it’s better than that too.

81- It’s better than trying to remember all of your computer passwords.

82- It’s better than college tuition, or student loan bills.

83- It’s better than living in the past or worried about the future.  Massage helps you be in the present.

84- It’s better than having everything you own covered in glitter.

85- It’s better than thinking that nobody cares about you.  Although we may not be close friends or even see each other outside of your appointments, you are important to me.

86- It’s better than living with regret.  What is it that you really want?  Go for it!

87- It’s better than having your mind feel fogged up.  I always feel like I can think much more clearly after a massage.

88- It’s better than going back to work sore after weekend home project or sports adventures.

89- It’s better than accidentally sending that email you wrote to get your anger out.

90- It’s better than hip and leg pain.

91- It’s better than walking barefoot across a floor covered in Lego pieces.  In the dark.

92- It’s better than pulling weeds from your garden.

93- It’s better than watching TV.  Unless maybe it’s Bugs Bunny.  He’s hard to beat.  You can find those online after your massage though.

94- It’s better than your cereal getting all soggy or your eggs getting cold.

95- It’s better than living with chronic pain.  Massage can’t cure everything but it can make daily living better and give you a way to manage it.

96- It’s better than always trying to be perfect.  Come on, nobody can do that.  The people you care about aren’t perfect and don’t expect you to be either.

97- It’s better than a bad haircut.

98- It’s better than having to do something for somebody.  Anybody.  It gives you an entire hour, all to yourself, that you are responsibility free.

99- It’s better than keeping a poor body image.  Massage lets your body feel good which makes it easier to have a better image.

100- It’s better than reading a long list of things on a blog post.

What do you think massage is better than?  Leave a comment or tell me on your next visit.

Barry is a licensed massage therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson Ohio.  You can learn more at www.Hudson.MassageTherapy.com

 

 

Massage and Bumper Cars

Most of us have been to an amusement park and driven the bumper cars.  It’s a fun activity that doesn’t provide much threat of danger.

You know when you get in the car that you are going to get hit – probably many times.  There are too many other cars that are driving all over to avoid being hit ever.  It’s not a race and there are no lanes that drivers are supposed to stay in.  You can be driving along minding your own business when suddenly somebody hits you from the side or behind.  We can usually see the head-on ones coming and try to miss them.  Your friends or family may gang up on you, or complete strangers hit you.

So you get bumped a few times.  Even getting hit by somebody going full speed doesn’t hurt since the cars have padding and seat belts.  The hits are not a personal attack.  The ride is designed so you are going to get hit and to allow you to hit other cars.

Life can be like bumper cars.  You are working and living your life and suddenly a stressful situation hits you from the side.  Somebody from behind comes up and gives you additional responsibilities that you didn’t see coming.  Problems come at you from family, friends, health, work, and society.  You can’t see them all coming and prepare, and you can’t avoid them all.

Pains that started out small grow into major ones gradually.  The occasional headache becomes a daily one.  The twinge in your neck now makes it hard to turn your head.  An incident from exercise or activity that you thought would go away doesn’t, and instead has decided to move in for a long visit.

Massage can help with the bumper car syndrome.  It gives you some safe time for yourself when nothing is going to hit you unexpectedly.  It helps you realize that you need to expect some bumps along the way.  The bumps in life can hit much harder than bumper cars and we are not always buckled up and prepared for the hits.

Along with reducing stress, massage can also help with the physical pains from the collisions of life.  The tension in your muscles is reduced, allowing you to move much more freely and easier.  Some headaches are muscle related, so relieving that tension helps to keep the headache from coming back.  Muscles get tight and shortened from inactivity and need some relief.  Muscles that get overused from activity need relief to let them work properly.

Bumper cars are fun once in a while, but it wouldn’t be fun if that is how we got around all the time.  Massage is a great way to deal with the bumps that hit us along the way.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

 

Big changes made easy

Our mainstream media is always suggesting to us that we need to look and act a certain way to be happy, successful, popular, and important.  They are not always right, of course.  Advertising is set up to make you want to buy their products, so if you are not, they must create the impression of a need.

Nobody is perfect.  All of us know there is an area or two that we could and should improve on.  Sometimes the distance seems large when we look at where we are and where we would like to be.

Change is hard.  Our bodies and minds have a comfort zone they like to stay in.  They will resist even when you are trying to make a change that will make you feel better.

Fortunately once you do make a change, it becomes a new comfort zone and you don’t want to go back to where you were.

Thinking about big changes can be intimidating.  Looking at a large goal can be so scary that it looks impossible, or highly unlikely that you can do it.  It’s tough to get started when there is so far to go.

So how can you tackle a big change?  Make it a bunch of easy little ones.

If you want to lose weight, losing 20 or more pounds seems like a lot.  But what if you lost two pounds?  That’s not so hard.  You would feel a little better and your clothes would fit a little better.  You would recognize some progress which makes it easier to lose another two.  Do that a few times and people around you will notice and you will be on your way to getting to your big goal.

What about improving on a personality habit, such as complaining?  Can you go one minute without complaining?  Of course you can.  That’s easy.  Next try a longer but still manageable time, such as five or ten minutes.  Eventually you will create a new habit and build a new comfort zone that make you a more positive person.

It’s hard to clean up your whole house at once.  Instead, tackle one area at a time.  Clean up one closet or one room.  You will see progress and will feel motivated to continue.

Some people want to feel good again with massage.  Some say they can’t afford it.  What if you set aside one dollar a day?  That would let you enjoy a few massages a year.  When you see the benefits you get from lowering your stress and that you can do more of what you want when you feel better physically, you will want to continue.

Chances are good that the situation that you would like to change didn’t happen overnight, but gradually over a period of time.  To get where you want to be, start small.  Those small steps will take you to your goal.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Being content with enough

In case you start wondering what squirrels have to do with massage – this one is not about massage.  I occasionally write about other things in life.

I have a few hickory trees in my yard.  They are mature trees that produce nuts (hickory nuts that is), so I therefore have quite a few squirrels in my yard too.

One pleasant early fall day I was sitting on my deck enjoying the nice weather and trying not to think for a while.  The squirrels are busy in the fall gathering and storing the nuts.  The trees make more nuts than the squirrels eat and collect.  I always find plenty on the ground in the spring, and living in northern Ohio there isn’t anything growing over the winter.

As I was sitting on the deck I heard two squirrels squawking at each other.  One was in a tree, with a nut.  One was on the ground, with a nut.  Their argument went on for a while.  I wanted to tell them (if only I could speak squirrel!):  ” Hey you silly squirrels.  There are plenty of nuts for both of you.  There are plenty of trees too.  Why are you arguing?”

I don’t know what the argument was about.  It could have been the nut one had and the other wanted it, or the tree one was in, or some perceived squirrel insult.  Maybe one was having a bad fur day.  But to me it looked silly.

It made me reflect that we look silly to others sometimes with our arguments and how we treat each other.

If you have enough, with plenty more available, are you content?  It is a peaceful feeling to know you have enough.  I’m not saying  you should not be ambitious and have goals of what you want to accomplish in the future.  Just as the squirrels were collecting the nuts for the coming winter we have times we need to be busy providing and storing up what we will need.  But for a moment each day be grateful that you have enough.  When you have enough, you can share some of what you have or share your knowledge and experience on how you got to that point with somebody who needs it.

Our society through advertising doesn’t want us to be content with what we have.  We are told we need the latest cell phone, electronic gadgets, vehicles, and on and on.  You don’t have to listen to them.  People work extra just to buy more things and they miss out on having time to do what they want to do in their life.  You can buy more things and get more money but you can’t get time back or get more of it.   Use it the way you want.

What do you do on a bad fur day?  It happens on occasion.  Know that it happens to the people around you too and their turn is coming.  It’s also a temporary situation that you will forget about soon.  Don’t make it memorable by taking your frustration out on somebody else who had nothing to do with causing your problem.

There are plenty of trees and nuts out there.  Stop for a minute, catch your breath, calm your mind, and appreciate what you have.  If you have enough, be content, at least for a while.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Make time to Relax

Busy-ness is the trend these days.  People carry over-packed schedules like winning trophies.  “I’m SO busy at work!”  “How do you have time to do that? I’m too busy to read/watch TV/exercise/do anything fun.”  “I can’t get monthly massages I have too much to DO!”

Too much “busy” could be making you tired, sick, and probably cranky.

When do you relax? RELAX.  “Relaxation” is a word we hear often, but don’t know always know what it means. Here are some options for you.

re·lax  verb \ri-ˈlaks\

1: the state of being free from tension or anxiety.

2: a way to rest and enjoy yourself

3: recreation or rest, especially after a period of work.

4: the loss of tension in a part of the body, especially in a muscle when it ceases to contract.

5: something that you do to stop feeling nervous, worried, etc.

More importantly, what does relaxation mean to you?

If you’re not a “hot bath and good book” kind of person, you probably cringe at Calgon commercials and spa photos of people with stones piled on their backs.  But here’s the beauty: You can make your own definition of relaxation.

It’s your job to figure out what you enjoy doing, what makes you smile, and what makes you feel like you are a hundred miles from work or home jobs.

Then, make time for that.

You have a schedule.  Write in special time for a hobby, a nap, massage, your favorite show, a weekend getaway, a new class, ANY thing you enjoy can be relaxing.

Need someone to give you a reason? Want permission? I hereby, with the authority granted to me, do give you the permission to relax.

Here are some ideas:

  • Spend part of the day alone.

  • Spend part of the day with your family, doing ONLY fun stuff.

  • Meditate

  • Devote time to your hobby.

  • Sleep in. Or get up extra early. Whichever excites you!

  • Arrange for take-out or pre-cooked meals all day.

  • Schedule a massage!

  • If you’ve always wanted a day to “not leave the house” today’s the day! Wake when you wish, eat when you’re hungry, stay in your jammies and read a book.

Taking care of you is important.  And, self-care puts you in a better frame of mind to take care of the people who depend on you.  So find the thing that mellows you out, and make it happen!

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Lighten up on yourself

I know something about you.

You’re not perfect.

All around us we are shown images in advertising and media of how we should really be.  We are to be in fantastic shape, marvelous health, stunningly attractive, with no physical flaws from head to toe.  Great hair, white and straight teeth, never having bad breath, and on and on.  We are to be successful, making loads of money, and have all the latest in fashion, electronic and technological gear, and on the right track to realize all of our dreams.

How are you supposed to feel when you look in the mirror are don’t see this fictional ideal looking back?

The messages we get are mixed though.  How can we be in great shape and health if we are eating the all the donuts, fast food, snacks, and drinking soda and alcohol that are being advertised?  How can we be financially set while spending our money on all of this must-have stuff?

Nobody is perfect.  Think of the people you care about.  Are you surrounded by perfect friends and family?  No – but you love them anyway.  Think about a fictional character that you admire, maybe from a book or a movie.  The ones you can relate to the best have some flaw.  Some have multiple flaws, and some have big ones.  By seeing them overcome their flaw or just deal with it and still succeed can give you hope and motivation to keep on going with whatever you are struggling with.

If there is some imperfection of yours that is bothering you, consider a couple of things.  First, you have people who care about you anyway.  Second, there may be something you can do about it.  Some physical things you can change, others you can’t.  Almost all personality traits can be improved on – you are not stuck with being impatient because your parents were.  That is a learned skill that you can improve over time.  People have made amazing changes as they learn new skills and techniques to replace one way of thinking with a new way.  Remember that important changes take time and effort, and keep in mind how rewarded you will be when you achieve the change you desire.

Massage helps with body image.  It gives you a positive experience with the body you have now and can help remind you that you can feel good in your body.  It also helps give your mind a break and you can walk out with a different, better perspective of the issues you face.  Those issues may not seem quite so big and scary as they did before.  Are you facing an obstacle or is it a stepping stone to greater things?  A change in your outlook can affect your life in a wonderful way.

So I know you are not perfect.  Neither am I.  Give yourself a break and lighten up on yourself.  You may find much more joy, peace, and love in life when you feel better about yourself.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

Finishing

I didn’t hear the news when it happened.  I learned about it a couple of months later and was surprised.  An author whose books I have enjoyed, Vince Flynn, had died.  He was only in his forties.  His books had a series that followed a main character.

My son also read his books.  He had read most of them and was looking forward to more.  He asked me if he had finished writing the series.

That question struck me and has been rattling around in my mind.  It made me think of what I have not finished yet.

I have things I want to do.  There are places to go, things to see, experiences to have, people to spend time with, books to read, goals to reach, and on and on.  I’m sure most of us won’t be able to do everything they wanted in life – I’m always learning of something new that sounds interesting.

Are you waiting for the right time for get started?  I wondered  – what if the time wasn’t quite right for Flynn? If he had waited, he may never have written the books he did and enjoyed the accomplishments.  According to the typical life span here, he should have had many more years to live and work.

Is there a relationship you want to have?  Maybe you need to open up more to let them in.  I have discovered that no matter how many people I love, there is always room in my heart for more.  Let your guard down a little and allow yourself to be more vulnerable (not to everybody, of course, but to those you believe you can trust).  I know, it’s a little risky and scary, but the rewards can be so fulfilling.

Is there a relationship you want to be better or to repair?  Apologize or make it right if you need to.  Forgive if you need to.  Don’t let past unhappiness take away the joy you could be having today.  If it doesn’t work out the way you want, at least you did what you could.  It’s a chance worth taking and you won’t have to live with the uncertainty.  Be kind and give more and generally you will find that returned to you.

While you’re at it, make peace with yourself.  You have made mistakes and done dumb things.  So have the rest of us.  Forgive yourself and resolve to learn from those things and do better.  We all tend to be harder on ourselves than other people are.  You have friends and family that you look up to and love even though they aren’t perfect, right?  Do the same for you and enjoy the liberation.

Is there something you want to do?  It doesn’t have to be big like a career change or space travel.  Do you want to learn to play an instrument?  Travel (even somewhere close)?  Learn to cook?  If you want to practice making lemon meringue pie, I’ll be happy to test them for you and cheer you on.

What is stopping you?  In the future will you regret that you never did it?

I had a job that I was good at and the pay was good enough.  Eventually I had too many mornings that I didn’t want to go to work.  I began to dread Sunday evenings, because that meant Monday morning was next and it was back to more of the same at work.  Now I love what I do as a massage therapist.  Yes, there are challenges of having my own business.  A lot, actually.   But I am getting to spend time doing what I love, making a difference in the lives of the people I touch, and enjoy the accomplishments I realize.  Do you start your day with excitement and anticipation or with dread and apathy?

What do you want to do?  What do you want to have finished when it’s time to go?  Have you said “I’ve always wanted to …”

Do those things.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

* If you have read some of my other posts, you will notice that this was a very different post for me.  I usually talk about massage and health and business.  It was inspired by a combination of things I have read recently, including this intriguing post on opening up by Kate Bartolotta (such a wonderful writer).  Also this one on choosing what you carry by another great writer Allissa Haines, who I am lucky to have as a friend.  It’s also been a tough stretch with the loss of some family members.  Do you want to see more like this or do you want me to stick to massage?   Let me know what you think in the comments.