The Importance of a Good Massage

I’m not talking fluffy spa massage.

I’m talking real, get the out all the tweaks and twinges type of bodywork.  If your massage therapist isn’t doing that, it may be time to look elsewhere.

While many may view massage and bodywork in general as a luxury, it’s really not.  It’s no less important that sleeping properly or eating a healthy, Paleo diet.   Not just for athletes, either…for anyone who is living!

The sad thing is the sheer number of people that walk around in pain or with ailments and then  head straight to their doctors without first trying other approaches that might be viewed as ‘alternative’, like bodywork.

It’s not just for tight hamstrings or a sore back.   Many other things that one might view as not being muscular actually are.  For example, a tight jaw, if you’re someone who clenches their teeth while sleeping, can cause a headache, and that is something that can be addressed through massage.   Or, what one might think of as having ‘bad knees’ might actually be a tight IT Band that can be released through some solid deep tissue work.

Granted, it’s very hard, in my experience to find that perfect combination of someone who you’re comfortable with to work on you regularly, who’s not only knowledgeable, but also gifted, and unrelenting in terms of not being satisfied with their own work until everything is, as my masseur puts it, is ‘fixed’.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are ways to be creative and find a good bodyworker.  When I was a recent college grad on a tight budget, as an example, I arranged a trade of session for session with a massage therapist.  Many years and three or four massage therapists later, I’m lucky enough to have found someone who works magic on  both my husband and myself…and, incidentally, on our senior dogs, too.

Make sure your masseuse is comprehensive and works on all of you; including those areas that for some might be foreign.  Last  year, when our masseur was out of town and I needed someone to work on me in his proxy, I went to a local spa out of desperation.  The massage therapist there was strong and clearly knew his stuff…but before he’d even touched my adductors or psoas, he announced the session was over!  I asked him to wait a minute, and could he please finish those two areas, and was told that he wasn’t allowed by management to do so!

Wow!  I supposed I can understand why, but it’s quite ridiculous and not that different from working on your hamstrings but not touching the quads.

So how do you know if your bodyworker is a good one?  Your body will tell you.  Of course, if you have an actual injury, like a torn muscle, that’s not something a massage is going to fix in one session.  Also, there are other things to look at, including what your sleep situation is, how you sit during the day and how you move.

But still, it’s a collective look at everything you’re doing, and how you can address it most naturally that is the way to go… and also the most Paleo.   Massage, by the way, is totally Paleo.