Don’t Get Stuck In A Box.

Don’t Get Stuck In A Box.

My least favorite place to be is “in a box”.

Life feels like the movie Groundhog Day; every minute of everyday is the same old thing.

The Daily Grind (not the coffee type) has me feeling unmotivated, uninspired, unsuccessful, and ultimately unhappy.

Coffee can’t fix the lackluster energy, though I’ve tried.

When I sometimes spend more time working than I do at home, to be unsatisfied and unhappy with said work, to not feel ignited and inspired by it, it creates an almost crippling amount of intellectual stress for me.

kitty-in-a-box
Box are good for cats, not for me. Photo credit: Greg Willis

When a client proclaimed, “This isn’t spa music” regarding the Pandora station I had playing as background noise, I died a bit inside.

“I.am.not.a.masseusse!” I screamed in my head.

 

I don’t work in a spa.

(though there is nothing inherently wrong with spas, I just wouldn’t go to one for my creaky joints and aches and pains.)

I don’t do poorly executed deep tissue work.

(don’t get me started on deep tissue work! So much education needs to be done with this one…ok, maybe DO get me started on deep tissue work.)

I admit humility is something I struggle with, however, my ego is just big enough to not believe untruths about myself and my methodology, so I’m ok calling myself and other people out on it. Lovingly, of course.

To not embrace my personal preferences in regards to life, which work is a big part of, and downplaying and underutilizing my strengths and skills,  also a form or arrogance, is to spit in the face of the God-given perspectives and skills I have been gifted with.

 

Wait. What am I supposed to do?

Oh man; not only has everyone else’s preconceived notions about manual therapy put me in a box, but I was feeling so uninspired and unmotivated enough, I managed to put myself in one too.

I didn’t realize I got comfortable being uncomfortable and wasn’t doing that-thing-I-do anymore.

I was completely not honoring my passions, preferences, and perspectives, and as such, I suffered at work spiritually and intellectually.

This, of course, leads to lackluster professional performance.

 

What I do is highly effective rehabilitation work.

Whenever I discover myself boxed in, I immediately flex my guns and get to work.

Let’s be real, I crack open the books and get to work.

There is some flexing going on, but it’s pretty nerdy, and there are no guns involved.

I prefer my longbow. Anywho…

 

I devote tremendous amounts of time to learning new skills and fine-tuning my assessment and evaluation tools.

It’s part of my never-ending quest for knowledge, efficiency, and effectiveness.

When I saw a Level 1 class for NeuroKinetic Therapy was being offered this fall, I grabbed the Discover card and registered post haste.

NKT is a body of work that I have been stalking for quite some time and many of my mentors practice it. They talk about it all of the time, and I just had to know more about it.

I was incredibly excited to learn something new. To challenge myself and gain deeper knowledge and understanding of the human body and it’s amazing potential.

 

Good thing too!

NKT is like nothing I’ve ever studied before. I’m challenged. I’m lit up like a candle. I’m feeling more motivated than I have in longer than I can remember, and the RESULTS!?

Wowza.

I am blown away by the results I have seen in the short time since I sat in on the class.

Even with my Newbie, 20-Minute Understanding of this material, I feel like I found a Golden Ticket to something really special.

This Golden Ticket is also the missing piece of the puzzle to a lot of junk stories I hear from clients and the general public at large.

Things about getting older, orthotics, not being able to “hold” their adjustments, and trying every therapy under the sun and not experiencing any long term results.

I hear a lot of, “you’re my only hope!” Naturally, Princess Leia is saying it.

Because she gets the job done, with a little help from friends. Photo credit: Jose M. Izquierdo Galiot
Because she gets the job done, with a little help from friends. Photo credit: Jose M. Izquierdo Galiot

 

People feel like they are out of options.

They think they’ve tried everything.

Pretty sure you haven’t tried everything.

We sure can talk ourselves in an out of anything. We can easily become complacent and accept the discomfort as “normal”. It’s not.

I challenge you to not hold onto your preconceived notions too tightly. Doing so can be very demotivating. Trust me, I know.

 

Moving Forward. Not staying stuck.

It’s been about 5 weeks since I went to the Level 1 workshop, and the neat results I’m seeing truly blow me away.

I love how the more I learn, the more I realize I have yet to learn!

 

Learning the NKT material has breathed new life into my manual therapy practice and I am so eager to learn more and see it breathe new life into the lives of the people I am privileged to work with.

Mixing it in with my already established body of work and techniques I have at my disposal are bringing great outcomes to the people on my table, as well as making work fun again.

 

I’m out of the box.

I’m challenging the status quo.

I’m not settling for how things are and I take responsibility for the stresses I experience as part of my personal narrative.

That’s exactly the place I want to be.

 

If you’re up for the challenge, come on over and join me.

Let’s all bust out of our confining boxes and shatter the stories we tell ourselves.

Maybe there is a better way.

I trusted there was and I found one as it related to the discomfort I was feeling.

Maybe your discomfort isn’t spiritual or intellectual as mine has been; maybe it’s physical and social.  There are many avenues stress and discomfort show up in a person’s life.

How about you? Where are you feeling the discomfort?

 

Biggest Myth About Massage Therapy

Biggest Myth About Massage Therapy

I’ve got a bone to pick.

This makes me mad as Hell, and I can’t just keep quiet about it anymore.

What’s got my feathers ruffled, you ask?

I’m sick and tired of hearing people tell terrible stories about how they went for massage therapy and the therapist beat the shit out of them.

Here’s someone who took time out of their busy life and spent good money in the hopes of feeling better in their own body, but what actually happened is another sad case of misinformation on the part of the client and the professional.

What we got is someone looking for pain relief, and got a heaping dose of hurt shoved on them.

 

So, who’s at fault?

As a 17 year veteran, I think I have a leg to stand on when it comes to my opinion on this topic.

I’ve logged in hundreds of thousands of hours laying my hands on human bodies, as well as collecting stories from the people whom entrust their body’s well-being (quite literally) into my hands.

And if there is one myth, misrepresentation, and piece of misinformation still circulating in the massage and bodywork profession it’s this:

 

MYTH: for massage therapy to be effective, it has to be painful.

 

Wrong!

Hate to break it to you, but this is as false as it gets!

The human body doesn’t respond favorably to aggressive, noxious stimuli.

In fact, the part of your brain hardwired for survival reads painful stimuli as a threat and a stressor.

A cascade of chemical and hormonal responses begins.  In 8th grade science class, it’s called the Fight-or-Flight response.

Eat, or be eaten!

And guess what….we don’t heal in that state.  Like, 0%.

 

Riddle me this

Know what the difference is between a knife fight and surgery?  One is socially acceptable.

The brain reads it the same way. Stress.

That’s why big time drugs are used during surgery; to paralyze your body and turn pain receptors and memory centers off in your brain.

Why do you think you need a breathing tube during surgery?  Because your body shuts off enough that you can’t do it yourself anymore.

So, you wanting to be painfully ironed out during your very poorly executed deep tissue massage actually has diminishing returns.

 

Deep is a geographical term.  It has nothing to do with how hard a massage therapist presses into your tissues.

 

Then Why Do I Still Hurt?

Probably a couple of reasons.

  1. Your brain is juiced! On stress.  It can’t come down. We know (re:science) that chronic mental stress makes our bodies inflamed and pained.
  2. The wrong areas were addressed.

If your brain is amped up, all of the time, relaxing is going to be tough for you. It’s not going to be like flipping a light switch.

 

Stress resilience is a skill set. You can learn it.

 

Relaxation does not come from a single massage performed once a month, only on vacation, or for your Mother’s Day or Christmas gift certificate.

 

Wait…Did you say wrong area?

Yes, I did. Good catch!

In the words of one of my favorite teachers, Ida Rolf, “Where you think the pain is, it ain’t.”

Too often, well-intentioned but under-educated massage therapists will only look at the area that you tell them is hurting.

And, to be fair, it makes sense……well, no, it doesn’t make sense to me at all, knowing what I know.

Just because your traps hurt doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your traps. Yet most massage therapists will massage holes into that thing because you say you’re tight there.

Maybe your traps hurt and are knotted up because your posture at work, where you sit way too much during the course of the day, has left that area angry and weak.

Not actually tight at all!

 

Everything has a cause and effect relationship.

It’s our job as professionally trained massage therapists to collect the information you present, ask the right questions to get the bigger picture, and then use our glorious and wonderfully trained brains to figure it out.

You know you got a great massage session when the therapist has taken the time to get to know you, takes a closer look at your individual situation, zeros in on the exact causes, and gives you some recommendations to play around with on your own time.

You feel relief, not like you were beaten with a baseball bat.

You shouldn’t have to recover because of your massage session. The massage is supposed to be a part of your recovery.

 

How about you?

Have you ever experienced a terrible massage?  (I have!  I could tell you stories)

Have found an incredibly gifted massage therapist?  What is it about them that keeps you coming back for continued care?

Share your stories below in the comments; I would love to hear what your experiences are!