Wait, you’re massage therapists. You know how to manage your stress, right?!
But many massage clients don’t, especially this time of year. When stress takes over your clients, and tries to pull them down into the swirl of that frenetic abyss, they can:
1. Call you and make an appointment ASAP.
2. Take a day off from work for a mental vacation.
3. Practice deep breathing, mindfulness, and incorporate some stress-relieving visualization techniques into their day.
For that third option, I love this exercise from Cyndi Dale in her latest Massage & Bodywork column (November/December 2015, page 104). After I tried her Alarm Reaction technique the first time, I knew I would be pulling this out of my self-help toolkit often. It’s quick and easily approachable for anyone.
Dale says the first step is identifying the stress and dealing with its cause head on. “Use your energy where it will count the most in practical reality, and then consider transforming the leftover subtle energy to meet additional goals. I find the easiest way to do this is to incorporate the chakras into the formula.” She encourages us to “drag” our stress-energy into the chakra where it can do the most good and then breathe into that chakra’s location (see her outline on page 105 for more details).
Years ago, I was given a visualization technique by a Reiki Master to slow down my mind and to find a place of mental spaciousness and comfort. It is a beautiful story of walking through a peaceful wooded paradise, and venturing there often calms my mind and my soul. Problem is, I often don’t have time to venture into this visualization for very long. And when I do, I feel rushed to walk the bubbling creeks so I can get back to reality’s task at hand. In that regard, I am your typical client—desperately seeking stress relief and respite, but often feeling too frazzled to do so.
Dale’s simple technique, however, can be adapted for any length of time. I can zip in and out of the moment, mending the internal fences and broken windows as best I can, but promising myself to venture back often … and doing so.
See if this is something you can share with clients—or use yourself. Regardless of what you practice, what you preach, or what you believe, everyone can utilize this exercise. Call on your own Higher Power to assist you, or take the journey on your own. Either way, you can’t lose.
—Karrie Osborn, ABMP Senior Editor