We’ve talked previously about listening to your body during these times of separation, about taking notes so you can give your massage therapist some ideas of what to work with you on. Now let’s talk about your brain, what it may be going through physically and what you might be feeling mentally.
Several of my clients come to me for brain-related issues. Most have gone to a doctor to get options of how to treat anxiety, and have been given a choice: we can start you on medication OR you can seek other options such as yoga or massage. I’m happy to massage is a viable option. And why would massage help? Let’s look at what your brain does when faced with stress or anxiety?
First of all, let me stress this point: EVERYONE at some point experiences anxiety. While fear is something we experience acutely, anxiety is a more drawn out response to fear and anxiety-induced situations. If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, your brains’ ability or inability to manage your fear or anxiety is impaired. Anxiety triggers your flight – or fight (or freeze) response and floods your system with chemicals and hormones. You might notice your pulse increases, you might be breathing more rapidly-which is all to get your brain more oxygen. Your brain is preparing you to respond appropriately to whatever experience you are facing.
There’s a lot more going on when you are dealing with anxiety and stress, but for these intents and purposes, we are going with my limited explanation above. All this is so you can see that massages can help manage these symptoms. How? Massage can slow your breathing. It can calm and soothe. Massage has been proven to either compliment or replaces medical treatments (and this is not something I’d tell you to do without getting your doctor involved). The main reason massage can help is because of the ability of your therapist to help you relax during your session.
In conclusion, I’d say most of my friends and family have had some anxiety and stress-related directly to the COVID. Write down your feelings and reach out to your doctor. Reach out to your mental health practitioner. Discuss your options. Bring that discussion to your massage therapist and see how regularly scheduling a massage can help with your stress and/or anxiety. It will be worth it.