In the United States, anywhere from .5–3.7 percent of all females will meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia at some point in their lives. About 1–4 percent of all females will struggle with bulimia.1 The people who are most prone to anorexia and bulimia tend to be adolescent girls and young women.
When a massage therapist’s hands touch the skin, the effect reaches down to the muscles and ligaments, and then positively influences the circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems. Healing touch, a sensitive style of communication, speaks safety and comfort. “The beauty of massage lies in it being such a simple, direct form of human contact,” says Susan Mumford in The New Complete Guide to Massage (Penguin Group, 2006).
Massage therapy is a partnership—a relationship that feels intrinsically personal. What should you expect from your massage therapist and what is expected of you? Here are a few answers.
From our first venture into the school gymnasium as kids, we’ve been taught to stretch. As adults, stretching is as common a morning routine as brushing our teeth or combing our hair.
Mind-body fitness expert Anat Baniel wants us to know how to move and stretch carefully and start our day out right. Baniel, author of Move Into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality (Harmony Books, 2009), believes excessive stretching is an activity that is contrary to the health and longevity of our muscles.
Following a hit-and-run, head-on car collision in 1997, I joined the ranks of millions of Americans living with chronic pain. Turning to both the conventional and complementary healthcare system, I soon found myself spinning through a nightmare common to those seeking chronic pain relief. I was misdiagnosed, refused tests, dismissed as a hypochondriac, physically injured, emotionally traumatized, and financially drained by the very practitioners who were supposed to help me heal. As a result, I ended up not only in pain, but also in despair.
Hydrotherapy treatments can be a relaxing, healing way to extend the benefits of your massage. Treatments you perform at home can help take charge of your own health. Your massage therapist is your partner in healing and can suggest treatments that are well suited to your particular needs. Aches and pains, injuries, muscle tightness, and even joint stiffness can all be soothed with the following treatments.
Susan walked. After four years of being my client, she rose from her wheelchair, largely due to my work. I had earnestly prayed for this miracle. “Please, God, use me to help her walk again.”
She did much more than that. She now lives independently, drives, travels the world, and does many things she couldn’t do when she was strapped in an electric wheelchair and trapped in the body of a near-quadriplegic. I was in a Christian church then; how this miracle had transpired was no mystery. God did it, and I was his fumbling instrument.
These basic bodywork etiquette guidelines will help you get the most out of your massage, create a healthy client-therapist relationship, and address some of those unknowns.
Between massage therapy sessions, practice self-massage on one of the most sensitive areas of the body—your feet. A brisk foot massage in the morning can stimulate energy for the tasks ahead. In the evening, slow massage on the feet can help soothe the day’s stress. Follow the entire sequence in order, or try each separately.
In Part 1 of this article, I began describing Aaron Mattes’s Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), explaining the seven defining characteristics of this uniquely effective modality. Here in Part 2, I’ll talk in greater depth about the specific ways in which AIS can complement other forms of bodywork and increase a therapist’s efficiency and effectiveness. I’ll also give a brief overview of how these techniques can be incorporated into a massage therapy practice.