Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hands On

Couple times a month, which is as often as I can afford to justify it, I have a massage.

No, no, not that kind of massage, no "happy ending." My therapist is a neuromuscular-certified no-nonsense kind of gal, who also plays guitar, fiddle, and mandolin, and between that and her work, has hands of steel. She finds knots I didn't know I had in my back, and lays into them with fingers and elbows, sometimes to the point of discomfort, though it always pays off.

We are talking deep-tissue, sports massage, serious kneading that breaks down the body armor.

I'm a big believer in preventative medicine -- rather than cure an ill, better not to get it in the first place. Diet, exercise, vitamins, and massage, all like that. Won't make me bulletproof and, alas, nobody lives forever, but the quality of time I have is important.

Back in the days when I was a PA-C in the Family Practice clinic, most of what we saw come through as illness was directly related to stress. Most of it. Sure, a broken ankle or the flu, or a sprained back weren't from battling the fight-or-flight syndrome and rush hour traffic, but a lot of what we saw was. Get too tight for too long, build up body-armor, it manifests in somatic disorder.

You have to get rid of at least some of those tigers, or they will eat you up.

If you can find a way to safety-valve the day-to-day stress, whether it's yoga, meditation, massage or doing martial arts forms and climbing a rope, it will serve you in the long run, in terms of the way you enjoy whatever time you have. And massage, you don't have to do the work, you just relax and enjoy it.

Waaay better than Valium.

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