What is a hot stone massage?

A common picture used in massage advertising is a person with stones placed on them.  They seem remarkably happy that somebody took the effort to lay stones on their body.  Apparently these stones have incredible qualities that allows them to relax completely and remove all of their stress and muscle pain.

There is usually no explanation of why there are stones on them.  Are they there for a purpose?  Is it for decoration?  Is it an inside joke by massage therapists to see how many people they can get to do it?  Let’s find out.

There many different methods of performing hot stone massage.  I’ll just talk about the way I use them here.

Hot stones do indeed have a purpose.  The advantages they provide are warmth, increased pressure, and increased accessibility to muscles.

Warmth is soothing and calming to your body and mind.  It helps you to relax faster.  While hot stones feel good any time of the year, they can warm you up quickly when you come in on a cold day.  You will absorb some of the heat from the stones which allows your muscles to relax and can make the massage more effective.

Stones are hard, so I can use them to add extra pressure if needed.  Some muscles are deeper and underneath muscles near the surface.  The extra pressure can help in working those deeper muscles.

Stones can make it easier to get to places near bones that are hard to reach with my hands, or hard to use much pressure on with my hands alone.

Your hot stone massage will feel a lot like a regular massage.  The stones fit into my hands so there is still contact from my hands.  One difference is that when the stones lose their heat I will put them back in the warmer and get new warm ones out.

Special stones of smooth basalt are used that work well with heat.  They don’t crack and hurt you.  They do get very warm so if it is ever too hot for you speak up immediately.  I’ll have them in my hands before they touch you and I can cool them off before using them if needed.

Hot stone massage is not for you if you are a very warm-natured person or have a medical condition that heat makes worse.

If you try it and don’t like it as much as a regular massage, that’s fine.  Just let me know anytime and I will continue with the rest of your time with a regular massage.  Your massage is your time to get what you want.  You are not stuck with having to do an entire massage with hot stones if you do not care for them.

Some time is needed to get the stones warmed and set up so they are ready when you come in.  Just let me know in advance that you want to use them and I’ll have it ready for you.

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

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Adventures in drying my massage sheets

As a licensed massage therapist with my own business I do a lot of laundry.  It’s mostly the sheets that are used during  massage appointments.  I lug them home, wash, dry, and fold them, and lug them back again.  It’s just another part of the job.  It’s not a big deal and I don’t mind doing it.

Except for the drying stage.

Drying is easy” you may be thinking and with the modern convenience of a clothes dryer that should be the case.  However my dryer seems to have along with Regular and Delicate a Prison Break setting, which I can’t access to turn off.  I put in the sheets one at a time and untwist them from their adventures in the washer.  When I check them part way through they are tangled and tied together like somebody is about to used them to make an escape rope.  I have to untangle, untwist, and untie them again.  I put them back in the dryer with a stern warning that if they keep that up they can’t help me with the massages any more.  They don’t listen.

As I was untangling sheets one day I thought of the muscle knots I see and thought the two were similar.  I take care of my sheets and I’m careful when putting them in the washer and dryer.  Just the nature of the process makes in inevitable that some of them are going to get tangled up.

You can take care of your muscles but the things you do in life makes it likely that eventually you are going to have some pain, soreness, or stiffness.  Even if you take good care of yourself your muscles need some maintenance.

If I didn’t untangle the sheets it would take much, much longer for them to dry.  It would cost more that way and wouldn’t be efficient at all.  The tangles would get worse and the knots would get tighter and harder to get undone.  It would add more wear and tear on both the sheets and the dryer.  My sheets like a good challenge and would probably look for new ways to tie themselves together.

If you don’t untangle your muscles they don’t work as well.  Yes you can keep functioning but eventually something is going to start hurting.  You will be able to do things but not quite as well.  Other muscles will also start to hurt as you try to adjust and compensate what you do because of the original pain.

Massage helps you get your muscles untwisted, untied, and untangled.  If you feel like you have been through a few cycles in a dryer, massage helps with that too.  When you come in for your massage you can relax in knowing the sheets on the table are clean and dry.   They have never tried to tie themselves to anybody – even me when I get a massage.

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

 

Massage and Spaghetti

What kind of spaghetti are you?  Since I’m not a chef let’s keep it simple and think only about cooked and uncooked spaghetti.

Uncooked spaghetti is stiff, rigid, and unyielding.  It has very little flexibility.  It bends a little but it quickly snaps with just a little pressure.  That’s fine for spaghetti but it’s not so good if your body feels that way.

Cooking the spaghetti causes a complete change.  The noodles are now floppy and loose.  The stiffness and rigidity is gone.  They are now flexible and free to move any way you want them to.

Something had to happen to cause this drastic change.  If you buy a box of noodles and leave it in the cabinet for a long time they will stay in the same condition.  They don’t change on their own.  In this case dropping them into hot water and the cooking process changes them.

Now think about your muscles.  Are they like uncooked noodles?  Are they stiff with little flexibility?  They weren’t always like that and they don’t have to stay that way.  They don’t become loose and limber on their own though.  Just like the spaghetti, something has to happen to them to cause them to change.

Massage can be the change you need.  It can allow your muscles to go from a rigid, inflexible state to a relaxed one.  Massage helps ease your pains and lets your muscles relax back into their natural positions where they work best.  Your muscles won’t become completely limp, which is a good thing since you will want to use them again after the massage, but they will be much more ready for use.

Let massage help you.  While a little warmth helps, it doesn’t involve tossing you into boiling water and then covering you with tomato sauce.  Just a nice warm, quiet room to give your muscles and mind some relief.

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

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

 

Pulling weeds

We routinely do many things, such as going to the dentist, exercising, watching what you eat, car maintenance, washing clothes, lawn and garden care, and cleaning our house.

Not all of them are things that we look forward to.  Some take up part of our valuable time that we would like to spend on something else.  Others we may even put off as long as we can.  Some cost money we would rather spend elsewhere.

Why do things you don’t want to do?

One answer is to consider what would happen if we didn’t do those things.  First, on a smaller scale, we allow small problems to become big ones.  If you don’t clean your house for months, when you do start it has turned into an intimidating job.  You are disappointed that you have to spend so much time on it and wish you had spent a little time here and there keeping up with it.

If you don’t pull the weeds from your flower beds, the weeds take over.  You end up with many more weeds than flowers.  The beauty of the flowers can’t be seen as well because of the weeds.  The weeds take the resources away from the flowers and choke them out.

Second and more importantly, serious and expensive problems develop.  It costs much less to keep a car in good condition than to get extensive repairs or to replace it.  Dental problems develop from negligence.  Significant health problems can occur if we are inactive and have a poor diet.

Just as you regularly take care of things that are important to you, massage is a way to take care of the most valuable thing – you.  It gives you a little time to yourself and relieves your stress (and why would it be a good idea to stay stressed?).  It helps your aches and pains and lets your body heal itself.  It helps keep small problems from turning into bigger ones.

People who get massage regularly understand it is not an occasional treat.  If needed you can acquire another vehicle, home, or other possession.  You only have one body so give it the care it needs.

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

Get untangled and cleaned up

Imagine that you walk into your home one day and you notice how messy it is.  There are dirty clothes laying around and all tangled together.  There is clutter everywhere you look.  Somebody has been using things and not putting them away.  Somebody else hasn’t been doing enough cleaning and washing the dishes.

So you call your expert service to help you out.  You take some time for yourself while they get things back in order.  Sounds terrific, doesn’t it?

When you come back, you realize the mess had been bigger than you thought.  Not only were the big problems taken care of, but other smaller things that hadn’t been as noticeable before were also.  Your expert service providers were thorough and everything now looks great.

You realize it has been quite a while since everything was cleaned and put away properly.  You like it this way and decide to stay on top of things and not it get so messy again.

Now instead of your home, think about yourself.  Your muscles are all stiff, tight, and feel all tangled and knotted up.  Your mind feels cluttered which makes it hard to concentrate.

So now call your other expert – your massage therapist.  Again you can have some time for yourself with no responsibilities while I do the work.  Your muscles will find relief and can go back to their natural positions.  The quiet time for yourself can help you clear the clutter from your mind, providing stress relief and allow you to think clearly again.

I will give attention to the areas you say need it, but you may find that other areas were in need of work too.  You just weren’t aware of them since the main problem bothered you so much.  I will be thorough and when you are done you can feel much better.

Regular massage helps you to keep feeling great.  Just like your home, a big tangled mess and lots of clutter takes longer to clear up.  Once you feel good after a massage, keep it going by coming back on a set schedule.  A nice bonus is that you always have your next massage to look forward to.

Are you ready to start?  Contact me and you can get untangled and the clutter cleared.

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

Massage and the magic wand

If you could wave a magic wand and all of your pain were gone – what would your life be like?  What would you do that you don’t do now?  What would you do more of?  What would you do less of (sitting and taking pain pills maybe?).  Use your imagination and picture yourself doing the things you would like to do.  Go down memory lane and think of what you used to do that you enjoyed but don’t do anymore.  Have you grown accustomed to the pain you have, thinking it’s just something you have to live with?

What if you were having a bad, really bad day?  What if in one hour you could have a completely different outlook on life?  How about of instead of continuing with a rotten day, the rest of your day were now terrific?  You would feel better, and your friends, family, and coworkers would also be grateful.

What if you didn’t have to take so many pills for pain?  What if you didn’t have a recurring headache?  What would it be like to get out of bed and not think about what part of your body is hurting?  What if your muscles didn’t feel wound up tight and instead you could move freely, fluidly, and gracefully?  OK, so some of us are not that graceful – but I am more graceful when I feel better.

What if – you didn’t have a knot in your back; that you could bend down easily; that you could turn your neck without turning your whole body?  What if you got a really good night’s sleep?  Do you remember what it feels like to not wake up in pain?

Sometimes we have a problem or an issue that is befuddling us and try as we might we just can’t crack it.  What if in just one hour your mind were open to new possibilities and solutions started coming to you?  The solutions were there the whole time but couldn’t find their way through the tangled labyrinth of your stressed mind.  They are so obvious and simple you wonder why you didn’t see them before.  What if with new clarity your productivity and creativity soared?

What if these things were available – and getting them felt so good as well?  Massage is a time just for you.  You can relax on a comfortable, warm massage table.  You can let your responsibilities go and let your mind drift.  Tell me what pain you have and then let me take care of you.  I’ll use my training, skills, and knowledge to help you feel like yourself again.

What if you make an appointment for a massage already?

Massage is not magic, but sometimes the results can feel magical.  If you have an injury or medical condition, massage may be able to help but it can’t cure everything.  See a doctor or other medical professional if needed.  Massage has a lot to offer in just a little time.

If you want, I’ll use a bamboo piece as a magic massage wand and mutter the secret magic massage words.  Then let everything go, enjoy your massage, and walk back out to the world with a new outlook full of new possibilities.

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

How to receive a great massage

When you make a massage appointment, do you want a so-so experience or a great one?  Try these tips for making the most of your massage.

Part of a great massage experience depends on the massage therapist.

Do some research.  Check them out online, talk to a friend, or talk to the massage therapist before your appointment.  Ask questions about things that are important to you, such as a condition or pain you are having.  Explain what you want.  If you leave something unsaid, it will likely be on your mind during the massage – which prevents you from relaxing as much and getting all of the benefits you can.

This is your time and when you walk out the door you should feel much better.  I am happy to spend a few minutes before we start to understand exactly what you want and to answer the questions you have, so your mind is at ease with no nagging questions or issues.  Don’t worry about what I will think of your questions, concerns, or your body.  Many people have the same common concerns, so you probably aren’t the first one to ask.

Part of a great experience depends on you.  What can you do to make your massage great?

Arrive a few minutes early.  Try to schedule your massage so you are not rushing to get there, or having to hurry somewhere else immediately.  Sometimes unexpected things happen that keep you from arriving as early as you want.  If you come in just after racing out of work and fighting traffic, it will take longer for you to relax and put those things behind you.

Wear whatever you want for your massage.  What you take off and leave on is your choice.  You will be draped with a sheet the whole time, except for what I am working on.  I really don’t think about what you do or don’t have on.  It’s not an issue for me, so don’t let it be one for you.

Now that you are on the table, here are a few things you can do to make your experience better.

Breathe deeply.  As we get busy, our breath can become shallow.  Draw deep breaths that you can feel all the way into your abdomen.  In just a minute, you will begin to feel more relaxed and peaceful.

Let go of the world.  This is your chance to escape for a while.  Turning off your brain can be difficult for some people, so concentrate on the moment.  Feel your breathing.  Focus on the feel of the strokes and stretches.  Feel the warmth from the table warmer.

Allow yourself to go limp.  I will move you around a little, and I will ask if I need some help from you.  Some of the massage movements and stretches are more effective if you don’t try to help out.

Communicate during the massage when needed.  I’ll adjust the pressure, temperature, and music to how you like it.  They are easy changes to make.

Finally, a couple of more suggestions.

Get regular massages.  I have noticed that the people who come in regularly have longer lasting effects than those who only come in on occasion.  Also, work with the same massage therapist.  The more you get to know each other, the more trust you will have in them and the better results you will enjoy.

When you get a massage, get a great one!

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

Letting go with massage

We like to be in control.  Some people want to be in control of just about everything (just try prying the remote away from them), but all of us want to be in control of the important things in our lives.

It could be why some seemingly minor things upset us, such as being stuck in traffic.  We can’t do what we want and don’t have much power to change the situation.  Obviously there are times we need to be somewhere important, but many times it is just an inconvenience.  We arrive grumpy but looking back at it we realize it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Being in control, though, brings the weight of responsibility with it.  There are times that we want somebody else to take control of a situation and solve it, deal with it, or just make it go away.

Getting a massage is a passive activity.  You are allowing somebody else to take care of you.  There is very little for you to do during a massage, and in fact the less you help the better your experience is.  The feeling of needing to be in control decreases the more you are in the moment – being aware of the sensations and how the movements feel.  If you can let yourself go limp and allow me to move you without helping, you will probably enjoy greater results.  You can put down both the problems of the past and anxiety about the future.  Those are outside of your control for the most part anyway.

When I’m giving you a massage, I observe your reaction.   I see your breathing slow down.  You take deeper, fuller breaths instead of shallow ones.  I feel the resistance in your muscles soften.  I see the tension drain from your face.  When I hear an unprompted deep breath – my favorite sound – I know what I am doing is working for you and you will feel much better when you leave.

Of course, you are still in control of your massage.  It is all about what you want.  Tell me before we start what needs more attention and I’ll adjust the massage to give you what you came in for.  Let me know how the temperature feels – it doesn’t matter to me and it’s an easy adjustment.  The pressure should be enough to be effective without hurting, so let me know how it feels and I’ll use more or less as needed.  Even though you are in control, you can let your public guard down a bit by knowing you are in a safe place.  You are not here to impress me.

It is a great relief to not have to be in control, even briefly.  Massage is your time to get your body cared for, with the benefit of giving your mind some time off from its responsibilities.  Let the world go for a while and enjoy just being 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