So often, during a conversation, someone will ask me a question where as I am answering I say to myself,’This would make a great blog post!‘ I had just such a situation happen last week at the Atlanta Pampered Ladies’ Expo.
As I was manning my massage chair, waiting for the doors to open, a nearby booth mate asked, “Who is your best type of client?”
My best client is one who has never had a massage before, but have always wanted to get one. They want ask a lot of questions, but they don’t want to feel they are pestering you by asking a lot of questions. I encourage the questions, because I would like you to understand what your body is telling you. As Sy Syms would say, “An educated consumer is my best customer.” (Yes, I’m that old!) I try to relate information in plain English, so that the jargon doesn’t confuse or disinterest the client. (My husband is a computer programmer, so when he uses technical jargon to convey his story, I tend to look like the
RCA/Victor dog.) Now, if the technical jargon doesn’t throw you, I’ll use it. It also helps keep me sharp on my anatomy; what muscles work together to do a specific action and what muscles work against each other. I also try to throw in some humor, because if it’s even a little funny, the message tends to be memorable.
I’ve had all kinds of questions thrown at me, so not too much tends to throw me off my game. If I don’t know, I don’t know, but I’ll do my research. This way, we learn together! So come on, ask those questions, you’ve always wanted to ask!
OK, it’s almost halfway to the middle of November, and I am trying to avoid that space…you know what I am talking about- Not having nearly ANYthing on your “To Do” list done, but feeling like I just want to chuck it all, and stay home for the rest of the year. Now, that is an extreme idea, even for me, but one wonders…
What usually works for me, not always mind you, is to sit and take a breath. A nice DEEP breath. When we are stressed, our hormone response tells the body to take quick, shallow breaths. When this happens, our mental and physical decision-making skills are overloaded with too much information, and sometimes renders us into a huddled mass, down in the trenches, waiting to strike out at the right moment.
With the holidays looming, one way to enjoy the upcoming hustle and bustle is to take care of YOURSELF first. Have a get together with your friends (who are also probably as stressed out as you are) and share ideas – find out who has the best babysitting resources, coupons, recipes, etc. and do a Swap of sorts. Have a Massage Therapist on hand (hint, hint) to give those ever so needed stress relieving Chair or Foot massages, to get everyone in the spirit!
Understanding your reality (all of us are NOT Martha Stewart), prioritizing your lists, collaboration, delegating tasks on the list(s) and asking for HELP will also help lower those stress levels, as well. If you are trying out a new dish or project, try it out ahead of time, so you can make the mistakes without the ‘pressure to be perfect’ at any holiday event. Ask others for help – I use Pinterest as a resource for all kinds of ideas, so I can enjoy and not just endure the holidays. We still have about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, so we can send the DEF-CON Level back to 4.
Before you go ahead and run off the cliff, stop, take a breath. A nice, deep breath.
I walked a 5K this past weekend for the American Cancer Society in Atlanta. Now normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I’ve had breathing issues most of this year, so walking even at a brisk pace was a challenge.
I walked it, in better time than I had the last time (I came in with the truck that picked up the cones at my last 5K). I was so happy that I went shopping to treat myself for a job well done, and was out for hours.
When I got home, hours later, I was tired, but wasn’t as tired as I had been in the past walks. My feet felt fine, but apparently were beginning to throw a serious hissy fit. As I slept, my feet held a meeting with the muscles in my calves.
They regaled my calves with stories of abuse and mistreatment, and after all the stories, the calves believed my feet! In solidarity with my feet, my calves began to twitch, ever so slightly, my brain didn’t even notice. My feet were really upset that the brain still didn’t tell me to get up, that they gave an ultimatum – move that leg one more time, and SEE what happens next!
Again, as far as the brain was concerned, it was off the clock. ‘Time for maintenance, please come back later,’ the message replied. As I fell back to sleep, my legs shifted into a more comfortable position, and the feet seized the opportunity to wake me up.
The foot began to curl, as the calf muscles contracted. Just before it fully seized up, I bolted out of bed, and almost stood up on my foot, like I used to when I would get a Charlie horse. Once I calmed down, I took deep breaths, massaged the muscles, and got in that knot before any of the other muscles tried to gang up on me.
Now, as a massage therapist, I should know better. Yes, I see you shaking your head as you read the post. Everyone has a slip now and again.
Here’s how you can do better than I did. If you don’t take care of your feet, no matter how long your to-do list is, your feet will take your whole body hostage.
– After doing an activity, such as a 5K or a run, have a banana. The magnesium in the banana will help feed the muscles the nutrients they need to regulate and repair. Don’t like bananas? Here is a link of magnesium rich foods.
– A cool water bottle rolled under foot will help soothe sore soles. A golf ball will help address knots, but don’t press so hard, the cramp in your foot may just get worse. Apply pressure to your level of comfort only.
– Self massage always helps when you just want to take care of that knot that’s been bothering you. Again, digging into a knot may not be the best idea; bruises look cute on noone.
– Warm ups before and gentle stretching afterwards helps the muscles prepare for and recover from an activity. This is a hotly contested idea, and opinions vary widely. I’d rather let my muscles know that they’re getting ready to work, than to cramp up in the middle of an activity. Check out the last post – Leg Cramps – for some great stretches that you can do for your legs.
– A pre-event massage helps warm the muscles up and prepare them for your upcoming activity, as a post-event massage will help the muscles calm down and recover. If your event has therapists on site, go and check them out. They are there to help you!