Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Ode to Massage

I wish I could say definitively that my funk has lifted: it has changed, however. I'm still in limbo and doing, as I'd expected, more testing to figure out what's going on in this body and what to do about it. My expected outcomes range from 'Oh, no problem. A little medication change and we're good' to "OMG, we need to do WHAT?." I'm leaning more toward the former. My imagination sometimes gets a little dramatic.

Massage is good for the soul, though, as well as the body, and after one today from the talented and busy Natalie Peterson (plus this morning's yoga class), I'm feeling the Zen. At one point during the massage, I could swear I was nestled on the bosom of the Great Mother (that was what came into my head), wrapped up in those great arms, even to the point of hearing Her heart beat (it was not mine nor Nat's). It was very reassuring and comforting, and I can still envision myself in that feeling of loving, healing calm and power. It will be an image that I will recall and use to help me cope with anxiety and stress in the coming weeks.

When I last worked for a company other than our own, I got to the point where I was having weekly massages from a wonderful therapist, and I swear it was all that kept me sane and going as long as I did. At that time my health insurance would pay at least partial benefits, but honestly, I would have figured out a way to do them even if it hadn't.  Massage is so much more than a spa-type benefit, and it is finally getting its due recognition as a health benefit.

During my mother's last years in a nursing home, she participated in what was then a pilot program titled Compassionate Touch. A caring massage therapist visited her weekly and in 30-minute sessions, gently massaged her and talked to her. She always felt so much better and calmer afterwards, and she and her therapist developed a wonderful relationship. Nursing home residents -- indeed, so many of our elderly -- are so touch-deprived anyway, at least of loving, caring touch, and I always felt like Ann  Catlin, the Compassionate Touch founder, was giving my much-loved mother the hugs and loving touch that I couldn't do very often, since I lived some 2000 miles away. The program has since grown tremendously and practioners all around the country are able to receive training and certification in many regional workshops.(Note to California therapists: there are only five Compassionate Touch practitioners listed. We have a lot of nursing homes, hospice, and other eldercare facilities in this state. You might want to consider this...just saying...)

Most cities now have a plethora of massage therapists and even schools where massages can cost as little as $10. In our little rural community, we have 10 therapists listed online and several in the phone book, and I know there are more. Chiropractic offices often have a staff massage therapist as well. Marinello School of Beauty in Redding has a training program, and there is also at least one program in Chico.

Take care of yourself. This is not a dress rehearsal, and massage is yet another way to help us find our path through life by taking kindest care for our miraculous selves.

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