Fear. Anger. Sadness. Joy.
What do you want from emotions? To learn from them? To love them? To see the value in them? To avoid all but joy?
I want to find allowance of them. I want to access joy as much as possible. I want to be aware of the value and lessons in fear, anger and sadness, and I want to be able to let them go with ease.
Do you ruminate in one of these? Do you repress one, only to have it come out with a strong intensity under pressure? Do you repress one and feel as if your life is missing something? When I think of repressed emotions, I think of a child who eventually acts out after not being heard. At first the child may gently ask for what they need. If they aren't heard, they may cry. Then scream. Later on, if they're still not getting what they need, they may act out violently toward others, or "misbehave," in order to get attention in an attempt to get what they need. If emotions are held in and not allowed to move, they'll act up later on. The body holds on to them and reveals them as pain and discomfort.
How do you personally want to relate to emotions? If you want help dealing the more challenging ones, talk to me. If you want help accessing more joy, let's work together. Call me for a free consultation, or go ahead and schedule a session.
Have you noticed any correlations between your emotional state and your physical body? Do you have any tricks to help you release or move challenging emotions? I'm curious - please comment!
Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they don’t like. For many people it’s a minor issue, no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.
When I tell people that I’m a massage therapist, once in a while someone has a strong reaction. They tell me, whether verbally or through their reaction and body language, that massage is not for them. Their body image is such an issue that they don’t think anybody else can accept them.
The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school we were all nervous about taking off our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn’t take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies, and we became much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened – when our bodies felt better, we felt better about our bodies!
Is your body image holding you back? There are 3 options to consider. Let’s look at the risk versus reward for them.
1. Don’t get a massage.
This is the easiest because it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all.
The reward is zero. You didn’t get a massage so your body doesn’t feel any better, and you still have the stress you had before.
2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist makes note of how you look (as if it matters).
If this has happened to you, I’m sorry. You got a lame massage therapist. That’s a bummer, and they missed the training in how to be a professional, compassionate, caring therapist. If this happened to you, you took a risk and reaped little reward.
This is not going to happen if you come to me. Never. No way. I can’t say this strongly enough. It goes against the very nature of who I am, how I treat people, and what I believe.
3. You get a massage. A great massage. And the therapist does nothing to make you feel uncomfortable about your body. In fact, you feel pretty good about your body after the massage!
In this option, your risk is low. I’m not judging you or your body. I just want to help you feel better. Your reward is high. Your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.
I have no idea how your body got to be in the condition that it’s in. You may be dealing with something that you can’t control, such as a medical condition, injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. You may not have had time to shave your legs. All of this is welcome, with understanding and compassion.
I’ve worked on hundreds – maybe thousands – of people. Each body is fascinating and unique and I’ve yet to come across one that I could not help.
If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let’s find an option that works for you. You don’t even have to explain anything to me. Leave your clothes on if that's more comfortable. Stay sitting up or face down or lying on your side or however you want. It’s up to you.
It’s my job to help you feel better. That’s it. Together let’s find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. Don’t let your body image keep you from feeling good.
Intention plays a significant role in therapeutic work - as we dive into a healing journey, intentions or goals are like a compass that leads the way. Here are 7 of my goals in healing work:
Freedom of movement is the goal that got me started in the massage profession. I later realized all the other reasons. Sometimes artists don’t know what they’re painting until it’s finished. Likewise, my reasons for diving in to the healing field continue to reveal themselves.
So about freedom of movement – I am a dancer. I’ve always wanted a wider range of expression in my movement. It’s a delightful creative outlet that helps me feel awake and fluid. At the time I started considering massage as a career, I was swing, blues and salsa dancing at least four times a week. I felt so alive! I wanted to help others feel comfortable in their bodies, and to find creative, joyful movement in their everyday lives. Let’s be clear, though – I don’t want to push an agenda for dancing. Many activities are hindered when you’re injured – hiking, baseball, disc golf, running with the dog, playing with the kids, acting, cycling, sleeping… My healing goal to increase freedom of movement comes from a desire for everyone to live a more joyful life. Having the freedom to move how you want to move plays a significant role in that.
So how do you want to move?
What would your life be like with greater range of motion, more stability, flexibility and strength?
And how can I help?
Here are a few things that will inhibit movement:
The good news:
All of this is reversible – just depends how much time and effort you’re willing to spend on changing it. Some things can be healed in one session – adhesions can be broken up (they’re basically “knots” that can be relieved with myofascial release or other massage) and trauma patterns may be resolved through two-chair coaching – but a lot of things, like caved-in shoulders for example, were built up over time. They will take time to change. Additionally, the shoulders can hold that posture for multiple reasons – working at a computer every day with sub-par ergonomics, emotional guarding around the heart, excess weight lifting in the pecs, compromised posture elsewhere in the body that also affects the shoulders (because everything in the body is connected). Massage and craniosacral therapy are excellent on their own for achieving greater range of motion. However, to have a bigger impact that lasts longer, I like to approach healing from multiple angles – mental, emotional AND physical. I’m seeing more and more people these days who recognize that their physical pain manifested from more than just physical issues. If you only want to work with the physical aspects, that’s totally welcome. And if you’d like to explore the broader picture, what might that look like?
First, we want to build a ground of support, trust and resource. A resource is whatever feels good to you. Perhaps a relaxing massage is what’s needed to help regulate your nervous system. It may be helpful to bring to mind a supportive person and notice the somatic (physical) sensations you feel when that support is present. The body naturally responds to an imaginary vision, and the somatic response can help you settle and feel nourished. From this resourced place, perhaps you can dip a toe, or even jump right in to the pool of challenges. Are you challenged a rocky relationship or stressful job that feels like a literal weight on your shoulders? This may contribute to a collapsed posture. Or maybe it’s simply depression, which could be caused by a number of factors. We can observe the emotional and mental components of your life that are creating physical limitations, and if this even starts to feel overwhelming or too uncomfortable for you, we can always go back to that resource to strengthen the nervous system. We can always drop the threads to pick up another time when you’re feeling ready.
How does this sound to you? What are you willing to explore to unlock the greatest freedom of movement you desire?
Call me at (720)432-3032 for a free 15-minute consultation, or go ahead a schedule a 90-minute session if you're ready to dive in.
Intuitive massage therapist, energy healer and coach in Boulder, Colorado, bringing you news and insight on healing and conscious living.