During and after a great massage, you may find yourself wondering: How did the massage therapist know exactly what spots to work on? How did they know exactly what muscle needed to be unknotted? How did they find an area of tension that I didn’t even know existed? What’s even more incredible, however, are the other things that are somehow disclosed about you after your hour on the massage table. Want to know exactly what your therapist is privy to?
- You’ve been hunched over your smartphone for too long.
It turns out that your neck is paying the price for an overzealous romance with your smartphone. Whether crushing candies or texting, the angle that you’re holding your neck is putting a surprising amount of pressure on your spine. The result? Super-tight neck muscles that are a telltale red flag to your massage therapist.
- You’ve been mowing.
Or hiking through weeds. Or simply sitting outside, and your allergies are flaring. Allergy sufferers experience sore, slightly swollen lymph nodes in the neck, chest, and underarms. Your therapist can also notice that the area around your jaw, eyes, and forehead are extra tender. (FYI tip: massage can actually help relieve your allergy symptoms. Certain reflexology spots in your feet, shoulders, and back, when massaged, can lessen the swollen, sore eyes and nose we experience with allergies)
- You’ve skimped on your eight glasses a day.
Even slight dehydration will cause your muscles to be less malleable, and a bit harder to work. You’ll also be extra-sensitive in various spots up and down your back. To get the most out of your session, be sure to catch up on your water intake the day or two leading up to your massage appointment.
- You have a lot of baggage.
Or else just a heavy purse. What you chalk up to excelling in the Boy Scout motto of “being prepared” is causing a body-wide imbalance and posture shift. This unevenness is revealed by tighter muscles on one side of your entire body, neck to feet.
- You’ve been in cold weather, or else some powerful air-conditioning.
Cold-haters tend to hunch up their shoulders when chilled, leading to tighter muscles and stress-related tightness in their necks and upper shoulders.
- You’ve been at your desk too long.
Aside from wreaking havoc on your 10,000-steps-a-day goal, working all day at a desk job provides some unique brands of body strain, including tight glutes, tight legs, a weaker lower back, and, oddly enough, uneven hips.
- You’ve been out having fun.
Or, at least, being active. Whether you’re a runner, a hiker, a backpacker, or even like to go out dancing, your therapist has a good idea what you’ve been up to. Each activity carries its own brand of body tightness, whether it’s strained foot ligaments or knotted muscles from your backpack straps, or tight hips.
Even though it can seem like your massage therapist is a mind-reading magician, it’s really just that they’re doing a great job of reading your body, and knowing what your muscles need. Even if you try, your body is practically incapable of keeping secrets and is a living example of cause-and-effect. Even given their intuitive abilities, be sure to keep talking with your massage therapist about anything you notice going on with your muscles. And then lie down, breathe deeply, and enjoy the magic.
Elements of Health is sponsored by Elements Massage. The Franklin studio is located at 539 Cool Springs Boulevard, Suite 140 Franklin, Tennessee 37067. The Brentwood studio is located at 782 Old Hickory Boulevard, Suite 113 Brentwood, TN 37027. You can contact the Franklin studio at (615) 771-0003 or visit their website here. Visit the Brentwood website here or call (615) 730- 6806.