Our breath can be used as an effective tool to assist in eliminating those tight knots and painful areas. Muscles will contract without our knowledge or control due to overuse, as a way to “splint” or protect an injured area, or as a reaction to other tight muscles pulling on bones. This contraction prevents oxygen, blood, and nutrients from reaching the affected tissues which in turn causes the tissues to send pain signals to the brain in order to let us know something isn’t right. This pain will cause further contractions and less oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the area, and thus more pain signals followed by more contractions which locks us into a pain-spasm cycle.
Breath slowly, inhaling through your nose and exhaling out your mouth.
Breath into your belly rather than your chest.
“Breathe into” those painful knots and adhesions. Even if they are in your arms or legs, visualize your inhaling breath traveling down the extremities and wrapping around that painful knot. With your exhaling breath, imagine blowing out the “gunk” in that knot along with all the carbon dioxide and other gaseous waste byproducts that our bodies so brilliantly expel.
A really good massage often makes us realize that the simple act of relaxation is easier said than done.
As you breathe, allow your body to melt and sink more and more into the table with every exhale.
AVOID ASSISTING – Keep your limbs heavy if/when the therapist moves them around. While the therapist is working on more sensitive areas, do a mental check to see if you might be unconsciously contracting the surrounding muscles.
So much of our daily tension is caused by control and the attempt to control. We are constantly controlling ourselves to stay on task, sit up straight, pay attention, etc. and often we attempt to control things that are beyond our power such as relationships, people, and situations. This becomes tiresome, and the tension it causes will creep up and settle in our tissues. It will cause connective tissue to build up and harden.
When getting a massage, it is of vital importance that you are comfortable with your therapist and that you are in an environment that allows you to comfortably let your guard down. A good massage therapist will give a brief explanation of what to expect during a massage to avoid any sudden surprises, especially if they are working around areas of modesty, or if they plan on doing any movement therapy. The massage therapist should make it clear that the client is in complete control in terms of what gets worked on, how much pressure is used, etc.
During a massage, the main thing the client should focus on is to just let it all go. Quit fighting. Deep rhythmical breaths, combined with a “hurts so good” amount of pressure and a conscious relaxation of any involuntary muscle contractions should bring the client into a deeply relaxed state.
Let the therapist find and hit our reset buttons, let ourselves shut down and reboot, lie back and “have” a massage.