Life is rough. There's no question about it. Life never seems to run as smoothly as planned. With all the stress and dysfunction that life sometimes throws our way, it's easy to get unhappy, discouraged, and stressed. Unfortunately, our bodies are very connected with our minds. When our minds are not happy, our bodies are not happy. Long-term stress and dissatisfaction with life can cause a multitude of problems, from headaches to autoimmune disorders. Luckily for us, there are things we can do to combat this and even prevent it before it starts. These things are called "self-care".
Self-care is a broad topic with many options, but the basic meaning of self-care is the things you do that help you relax, rejuvenate, and live a more peaceful life. Your route to self-care will be different than anyone else's because you are a unique person with unique needs and wants. For example, some people love meditation. Other people can't concentrate and end up stressed out by the process. What works for you won't necessarily work for everyone. Yet, there are some things that have been scientifically proven to useful tools in our self-care toolbox. One of these tools is massage therapy.
The American Massage Therapy Association published an article that discusses the benefits of massage therapy on self-care. They pulled together research from around the country and showed that massage therapy can help with self-care in many ways, going into detail on three of them.
The three ways they said massage can help with self-care are:
With lower stress levels, less anxiety and depression, and less pain, how much easier would the rest of life be to handle? That's the point of self-care. It helps us be able to manage life with greater comfort and more energy. It gives us the strength to battle one more day of nonsense. It keeps us going through the hard times.
The most obvious way to apply massage therapy to your self-care routine is by scheduling a massage with your local massage therapist. This is the traditional approach and is the one that AMTA's research focuses on. Whether you get a Swedish massage or a deep tissue massage, professional massage therapy can be an important part of your self-care routine.
The other way massage can help you is through self-care massage. You may not be a professional, but massaging your own body can still help you reduce stress, anxiety, and pain. There are many resources for learning how to do self-care massage, including asking for tips from your massage therapist. Learning some basic techniques can help you listen to what your body needs in order to relax and heal. Self-care massage is a great way to do self-care in between massage sessions with your therapist.
Whether massage therapy is the right self-care tool for you or not, make sure you are finding ways to relax and rejuvenate. You deserve to live a full, happy, and peaceful life, even when it seems like nothing is going right.