photo © 2006 jon haynes | more info (via: Wylio)I need a massage. As I’m sitting here writing this the sky is overcast, I’m feeling a little gross from too many holiday cookies, tired from not enough sleep, sluggish from too little exercise and in a generally blah mood. I have a massage scheduled later this week and, even though I wish it were today, I am reminded of how grateful I am for my bi-weekly sessions. Sometimes, of course, I take my massages for granted as “just that thing I do.” But usually, especially when I am on the table, I am keenly aware of how lucky I am that I am able to get regular massage.
There are a whole host of physiological benefits that massage has to offer, and no doubt you’ve heard of many of them before. (Relaxes muscles, boosts the immune system, reduces stress … ) And I definitely do think that regular massage as a part of my wellness plan has played an important role in my good health.
But for me, massage provides an even more important role. One of centering myself. Of bringing me out of my head (where I too often get trapped) and back into my body. During my 90 minute sessions there is nowhere else in the world I am supposed to be and nothing else I need to be doing. I am 100% allowed, no – required, to simply be. To relax, to let my thoughts drift, to feel good without having to give anything in return, to let someone else take care of me.
Some may see this as decadence. I however, see it as vital to being able to process all of the demands of life. Frankly, my life is pretty undemanding compared to so many others. But it is so easy to get caught up in the needs and feelings of others and the responsibilities of day to day life and work yet seemingly so difficult to just step away for a few minutes and say: “This is my time. Please leave a message.” But by scheduling a massage, I’ve scheduled time for myself. And better yet, I’ve become accountable to someone else (my massage therapist) to keep that time.
Sometimes on the way to my appointment, when I’m feeling very overwhelmed, I may actually think to myself that I really have other things I need to be getting done. But always, without fail, I get on that table and I think: “Thank god I am here.” Instantly, I relax. My brain slows down and I remember that for all the unmarked checkboxes on my to-do list, for all of the other things I could be doing at that very moment there is nothing, nothing that is so important that it can’t wait just 90 little minutes while I take a time-out. Afterwards, I am a happier, more balanced and centered person. I am able to get on with my day with a renewed enthusiasm and appreciation for my life and all the responsibilities and stresses that go along with it.
I’m grateful for the ability to get massaged as often as I do and for the calm it brings to my life. If everyone on the planet was able to get massaged on a regular basis maybe mankind would be just a little bit nicer to each other.