Five Reasons to Get Your Bodywork
Bodywork is an umbrella term many use to refer to healing modalities addressing health and wellness through the physical body. It can be anything from massage therapy, to “body therapy”, osteopathic manipulation, chiropractics, acupuncture (depending on who you ask), craniosacral therapy, assisted stretching, …, etc.
At this point in my life, I’ve long accepted that receiving bodywork is an important part of my self-care routine. As a mover and bodyworker, I do my best fit in time to receive a session every other week. I recommend that people with injuries or chronic pain get a session once a week, possibly every 3 days depending on the source of discomfort and type of work. For those with no complaints, I say get a tune-up about once a month. A bit more often, say twice a month or so, usually works well for athletes and people who do physical labor.
Bodywork should not be confined to spas or physical therapy offices. It can therapeutic, preventative, or just plain comforting. Here are some of the many reasons why I put it up with exercise, rest, and nutrition when it comes to maintaining the good and releasing the adaptive tendencies causing me strain.
RESOLVE CHRONIC PAIN
Often, repetitive motions and habitual holding patterns will cause our body to accumulate little quirks in our connective tissues, posture, and range of motion. If enough of these little hitches in the system build up, the body starts to reorganize around the imbalance. While this adaptive ability is amazing, it can pull us out of alignment and lead to inflammation or compression of a nerve.
Bodywork can help resolve chronic pain caused by habit or injury by making the path the tissue needs to realign available, and helping the mind recalibrate to it’s original settings. The body knows what it needs, bodywork is just there to make it more accessible.
2. INJURY PREVENTION
When our body is out of balance, normal daily stress won’t be distributed as evenly. Again, our body reorganizes to protect itself, which ultimately exacerbates the problem. When our body’s ability to flow and distribute stress becomes hindered enough, our body can withstand much less. In addition, the positive feedback loop of imbalanced motion can lead to inflammation and injury on it’s own.
Exercise, bodywork, rest, and nutrition support your body’s natural resiliency and tendency towards balance.
3. GET TO KNOW YOURSELF
Bodywork has a knack for uncovering those spots we didn’t even know we held tension in. Relax into a session and notice your body’s response to therapeutic modalities. Discuss your own observations with those of the practitioner. It’s a chance to acknowledge holding patterns, breathing habits, alignment, and more, in a safe environment. Maybe you have an emotional response to a certain area of your body. Maybe your sore shoulders overpowered the attention your knees have been needing. What ever it is, bodywork is a great place to get to know that about yourself. It’s also the perfect opportunity to work with a professional to create new habits to get out of the way of your body’s equilibrating systems.
This aspect of receiving bodywork is empowering and often overlooked when people talk about its benefits. In my opinion, it’s one of the most important parts of receiving bodywork. Bodywork offers information and perspective you can incorporate into your every day. Self-knowledge helps us enact change consistently, no matter how small, that have profound and lasting effects in our wellbeing. It reminds us that the power to feel good is ultimately in our own hands.
4. HELP YOUR BODY COMMUNICATE WITH ITSELF
I’m talking about your circulatory and neural networks: your veins and nerves. These structures act as highways for information, nourishment, detoxification, endocrine and hormonal signaling, sensory input, immune function and more. These are the pathways along which your body sets the cycles, long and short, that keep you strong and kickin’.
Bodywork can help relieve structural strain on these important highways. That way, there are less obstacles to overcome on your body’s coordinated quest for restoration, balance, and vitality.
No need to muscle your way to wellness. Bodywork sessions can sometimes just be a great way to set aside time for deep relaxation. While that may be good enough for most in these hyper-productive times, relaxing has great health benefits in and of itself. It can help balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, boost your immune system, enhance your sleep, heal trauma, reduce inflammation, think more clearly…
Letting yourself relax, lets your body reorganize and restore so many of its functions. Sometimes we just need to get out of our head and let our body do its thing. It’s simple and simply enjoyable.
All in all, bodywork has the potential to offer so much all at once, and in varying degrees depending on the session. It’s usually helpful to have clear reasons behind what is worth precious time and money. I hope the few I’ve shared will help inform your decisions on what self-care you invest in, bodywork or otherwise. Either way, I share this sort of blog as a little reminder that we can take care of ourselves by drawing on our strength. In this case strength might look like acknowledging that we are already healed and perfect while simultaneously allowing our healing process, and finally, being able to call in help when it’s time. That balance is one I’m always learning, and one that gives me so much relief when I get it. :)