I'd like to share with you a self-care technique that I have found very helpful...
After clearing all that snow, you're probably sore, with painful, achy muscles. Besides coming in for a massage, there is a simple self-care technique that you can use to release muscle tension that causes pain and discomfort. It can also help you feel the benefits of a massage for a longer period of time between your sessions. It's called "Constructive Rest", inspired by the Alexander Technique.
It's really pretty simple. Here's the brief, but visit the link for more information. Lying on your back on the floor with knees bent, you relax for 15 minutes. You are noticing, but not analyzing, and you're not worried about whether you're doing this "correctly" in every moment. While allowing yourself to relax, you will start to notice where your body feels pain and holds tension. Notice that parts of your spine touch the floor while others don't. Try committing to doing this 15 minutes a day for one week to start. You will find that you can help yourself relax your nervous system and tight muscles, and relieve some pain by practicing this technique regularly. You will probably feel the benefits after the first time you try this. See the link for this practice at the end of this post, you can also find alternatives to lying on a firm hard floor if that is not possible for you.
It's a good idea to set a timer. Fifteen minutes can feel like a long time when you're sort of doing nothing. I began using this practice when I took on the 'Liberated Body 30 day Challenge' which is about getting more movement into your life, using your comfy furniture less, and finding relief for pain, chronic tension and mobility issues - ( here's the link if you're interested : https://www.liberatedbody.com/30-day-challenge/). If the idea of not doing much while lying on the floor for a stretch of time annoys you, don't give up already. It's only fifteen minutes. You will be surprised at how much discomfort and tension you feel lying on the floor after a day of work or a busy day of running errands, or something very strenuous like shoveling snow, or weight lifting. I was surprised to find that in 15 minutes, the pain I felt was greatly lessened and those areas that hold a lot of tension had softened. Another interesting thing you can be aware of is how your thoughts and emotions are linked to holding tension in your body. When practicing constructive rest, my thoughts will inevitably wander. I noticed, for example, that a thought about something that once stressed me out at work led to unconsciously holding a sustained level of tension in the muscles of my chest, arms and hands.
Awareness is key to making changes. We find ourselves taking on certain postures and movements for hours a day, whether it's working at a computer or spending hours clearing snow. A lack of varied movement in our lives can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, lack of balance, and even injury. I think that Constructive rest, practiced regulary, is a great way to help yourself counteract those effects.
Go to Alexander Technique, Constructive Rest: http://alexandertechnique.com/constructiverest/
Stay warm wherever you are.
Until Next Blog,
Myofascial Release Sessions to Relieve Pain, Discomfort and Tension, and Create more Ease in Your Body
(An exerpt from my latest newsletter. You can subscribe by filling out the submission form on the Home page.)
In 2014, I advanced my education and techniques with a 20 hour seminar, Foundations in Myofascial Release 1, with Walt Fritz, PT. I have aquired skills in myofascial release before, but since this workshop, my practice has been growing and evolving to use this form of bodywork much more often to address pain and tightness in the body. I have been finding it to be more effective in many cases than the traditional deep tissue techniques I've been practicing. This kind of myofascial release involves long, slow holds that apply pressure and stretch to areas of pain and tightness. This approach allows the body and nervous system time to let go of tension and hyper activity, and creates more ease and freedom in the body, reducing pain and tightness over nerve pathways and around joints. The approach is gentle, yet deep, and never exceeds the receiver's acceptance and tolerance for discomfort. When working over areas of pain, I ask for feedback from the receiver to ensure that we are working from a point of minimal discomfort, and as the body responds and releases tension, we are able to work more deeply. This is slow work, so sessions run anwhere from 60 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how much of the body is being addressed and your availability for length of sessions. Give me a call if you have any questions regarding these sessions, or schedule online via the Services page.
Did you start the new year off by making resolutions to improve yourself and your life? For many people, when they set out to achieve a goal or stick to a new resolution, the mindset is often one of strictness and harsh judgement of self. Although hard work and discipline may be required, without allowing a certain amount of ease into your life, success may not be as sweet as expected. "Ease" is not about slacking on effort or taking lots of naps, although a nap or a time-out is sometimes what we need. Ease is allowing gentleness, patience, humor in serious times, room for expansion, success to happen. Ease allows. It allows circulation to flow, muscles to soften, injuries to heal, joints to move more freely, bodies to be lithe, ideas to flow, intuitive insights to surface, negativity to leave, and life to grow. Allow yourself to take some time to consider more deeply the meaning behind your goals or resolutions, the real reasons you want to achieve them. Write them down and consider them along the way as you bring these meaningful changes into reality. I hope in this new year, you find the right amount of ease that you'll need to see your goals and resolutions bring growth and meaningful fulfillment into your life.
Happy New Year,