I’ve always been a fan of the occasional, casual massage, but my real introduction came with a recommendation that still flashes through my mind today. I was nudged towards a local massage school with the words, “there’s something so nourishing about touch that is purely for healing.” And with this new inclination, my experience with massage went from the sporadic and spontaneous chance for a little luxury, to something more intentionally chosen for care and my own desire for healing.
My first glimpse of a significant pause. Time set aside for me, permission to exit the rat race, even if just for an hour, and allow someone to tend to the tired, worn out, wound up, stressed out muscles that were keeping me on edge. And in that hour, the rest of me, the tired, worn out, wound up, stressed out parts of my brain and my soul felt like they were being tended to as well.
My fascination with the process of healing through touch, and a marvel at the ability to be one of those people who could help others with their own tired, wound up muscles and minds led me to the study and practice of massage.
Since 2008, I’ve been working as a massage therapist in Santa Barbara doing a combination of private massage, spa based massage, and event contracted massage. My current modalities include deep tissue, trigger point therapy, barefoot massage, shiatsu and acupressure, reflexology and aromatherapy. But because every person I work on is so uniquely different in body and preferences, I most often integrate the different styles, seeking a rhythm that is most compatible with whoever is on my table.
What I’ve really been doing since 2008 is exploring the seemingly subtle, but often profound power of touch. The shifts that occur when we take the time to pause. We’ve internalized the pace of our society, and each of our individual worlds seem to demand so much, so often, and so quickly. Especially because of this, there is an invaluable power in healthy, healing touch.
I’ve found that as I loosen up tight shoulders or smooth through the tension that lands so often in the upper back, as the muscles relax, the breath deepens. As the breath deepens, resistance lessens, the furrows in your brow begin to soften, and the common rush in the air gives way to calm. It’s quite tangible, the ability of touch to permeate levels beyond relieving physical stress, but in easing mental and emotional stress as well. Your posture changes, but so does your gaze, the pace of your speech, and the way in which you interact with your surroundings. When your body is finally able to relax, you will find some deeper, more internal places are able to relax as well.
I love to work with people who feel constricted by time, but see the value in taking a moment to pause every now and then, helping them to create some time and space for the care of their own bodies and minds. When you allow yourself that pause, your ability to create some change in those nagging aches and tensions will expand farther into your life than you may expect.
When was the last time touch was not about giving for you, but receiving?