Happy World Health Day! April 7, 2018, marks the 70th anniversary of World Health Day under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO).1
Mahatma Gandhi once said that health is the real wealth, not pieces of gold and silver. In our society, that still rings true, but you might think of the wealth in question as pieces of green paper, expensive cars, or social media followers. Health should be at the top of all of our lists; it’s a connective thread that ties us all together. What do you value? How does one become a healthy person?
When you think about your own health, think about empathy. I recently read an article in The Atlantic that compared self-control to empathy for your future self.2 So, rather than wishing you were eating potato chips for your snack instead of vegetables and hummus, think about how much better your future self will feel with a balanced diet.
Health goes beyond the physical body, beyond a flat stomach or bulging muscles. Health is about how you feel—it is an umbrella many subjects stand under, including nutrition, mental health, self-care, and sleep.
6 Ways to Be Healthier
- Sleep more: Easier said than done, right? Again, think about self-control as it is related to empathy. Instead of watching another Netflix episode or replying to those late-night client emails, power down and reason that your morning self will be happier with more time to meditate, cook a balanced breakfast, or exercise.
- Eat right: Harvard researchers found that a balanced diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy proteins like fish and poultry, and healthy oils like olive and other plant-based oils.3 Limit your intake of red meat and refined grains to lower your risk for chronic disease and weight gain.
- Stay hydrated: Make sure you are drinking enough water! If the idea of water makes you want to snooze, try infused water. Here are infused-water recipes that include mango ginger water, melon mix, and citrus mint.
- Take care of your mind: Meditation reduces stress, improves focus, and helps you manage anxiety, among a myriad of other benefits.4 There are downloadable apps to help get started with this new habit. Some require a paid subscription but have enough free resources to get started. Calm has a series of guided meditations and offers a free session each day. Insight Timer is another option; the app offers more than 8,000 free guided meditations, music tracks, talks, and courses.
- Keep it moving: How do you stay healthy? There is no set workout for health, but you can be sure of the benefits of exercising. Whether it’s weight lifting at the gym, Vinyasa yoga, or sunset walks in the park, treat your body to as much movement as you can.
- Of course, stay healthy with massage and bodywork! Research has shown that massage provides relief for a variety of health issues, like migraines, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, and much more. Massage also aids with the immune system, nervous system, and sleep.5
Self-Care for MTs
You will not be able to help others unless you are a healthy, balanced person yourself. Self-care is about more than lavender bubble baths or a weekend vacation. Self-care is not a one-time thing, but a practice you must learn to sustain and embody as part of your health program.
ABMP offers many self-care resources, such as Massage & Bodywork magazine articles, online webinars, and blog posts. See our list below for resources.
“Personalize a Self-Care Strategy” blog post
Savvy Self-Care, a self-care column in every issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine
Self-care issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine
For ABMP members:
ABMP members have more than a dozen self-care resources in the ABMP Education Center. Watch the online webinars or read the Massage & Bodywork article bundles at your convenience, then earn free CE hours! Here are just a few to get you started.
Self-Care for Your Wrists and Upper Body
The Art and Science of a Good Night’s Sleep
Touch Tools with Erik Dalton: Self-Care for You! Great Bodywork for Them!
Self-Care with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation webinar
Massage & Bodywork Magazine Article Bundle: “Self-Care for the Spirit”
More Information About Massage and Health
What Research Says About the Benefits of Massage
How Bodywork Eases Fibromyalgia Pain
Child Massage for Kids and Parents
—By Tara Doyle