Got Stress? So What Are You Going to Do About It? Part 2


If you are like me, stress manifests itself in physical ways. Even if I don’t cognitively realize I am stressed out, my body knows.  My shoulders draw up and the muscles in my upper back and neck contract.  Next comes the headache.  I am prone to migraines.  Stress may not trigger a migraine, but it certainly can add fuel to the fire. Pain certainly doesn’t help anyone’s stress level.

I find therapeutic massage to be very helpful in managing and reducing the physical manifestations of stress. I have a membership to Massage Envy. For $59 per month I can go to any Massage Envy (located throughout the United States) and get a 1-hr massage or a facial ($10 up charge for facial). If I need an additional massage during the month it is $39 for an hour.  I like Massage Envy because it has a very professional feel to it. The facilities are clean and inviting.  The therapists are friendly and professional. Other companies offer similar deals. Check to see what is available near you.

I get deep tissue massages, but if you are new to massage, I suggest that you start out with a Swedish or relaxation massage with light to medium pressure. Let the appointment staff know if you prefer a male of female therapist. Before your massage starts, the therapist will ask you what you are looking to achieve through the massage and if you have any trouble spots you want them to work on. They will instruct you to disrobe (you can disrobe completely or to your comfort level) and to lie on the table under the sheets/blankets. They will leave you alone to get ready and will knock before re-entering the room.

During the massage, it is important to communicate with your therapist. If something doesn’t feel good or you are uncomfortable, tell them. If you want more or less pressure, tell them. If you see the same therapist on a regular basis, they will learn your trouble spots and preferences. You might  feel more comfortable with them and be able to more fully relax your muscles if you are familiar with them. It is not uncommon for some people to feel  self conscious or tense the first time they get a massage. Remember, these are professionally trained therapists and they have seen and worked on people of all ages, shapes and sizes. What they are concerned about is your musculature and helping you, try to relax.

If professional massages are cost prohibitive, check your local area for massage schools/training centers. They often offer massages by the students (supervised by the instructor) at a deep discount. Alternatively, a head or foot rub from your partner may do the trick and will cost you nothing (hopefully). Another option is purchasing a foam roller at a sporting goods store which you can use to work out knots and kinks.

I have found that when I have massages every few weeks, I am better able to deal with stress because I feel physically better.  When I am in pain due to tight muscles, I am not as tolerant as I usually am and when I am stressed out my tolerance is already compromised, so a massage can be very helpful.

Find Your Om Balance – Terri

Opinions expressed here are purely my own. I received no compensation from Massage Envy for the opinions expressed here.


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