Blogging after a long, hard day at work sucks!
Today I started at 9:45am… I finished at 6pm. In total I did 6.5 hours of massage (5 x 60 minute massages, 1 x 90 minute massage) all with 15 minutes between and with a 45 min lunch break (which by the time you have turned the room around, cleaned up the table, talked to the previous client and completed the notes means you get less than a 30 minute lunch break!). The 15 mins I get between massages is barely enough to do all that needs to be done.
It may not sound like a lot compared to your average office worker, but I have mentioned it before, and that is a LOT for a massage therapist to do in one day, especially one like me who specializes in deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy… the vast majority of what I do each day is very physical – I am using my entire upper body-weight on my forearm (ulnar border) or elbow to get deep enough for what most of my clients want and need… but it is worth it because they love it!
And when I do a lot of trigger-point work, I always follow it up with a whole bunch of stretches (see the stretching page!)… it is not only important that I stretch them after the treatment (if you don’t stretch after trigger-point work you should always use heat!), but I always give them a bunch of homework that almost always involves stretching the muscles that need attention…. And that makes it even more physical because I nearly always uses MET stretches that involve resistance to the muscle that is being stretched as it is so much more effective. And of course I have to demonstrate the stretches that they need to do as homework as well (meh – that means that I get to stretch my muscles as well!)
I did have a 1 hour relaxation massage with a client who is 10 weeks pregnant. She wanted nothing more than an hour of pure relaxation – upper body only and a very light touch. That was a welcome respite. And BTW it is perfectly safe to have a massage in the first trimester of your pregnancy, it just needs to be modified to take into account your body’s special needs. A lighter touch, no sacral work and I personally avoid work on the ankles as there are reflexology points there that can stimulate both the uterus and ovaries.
But as I said, it is worth it when your client gets up from the table saying they feel great and that the treatment they received was just what they need. And when they start raving about you to other people it makes it even more worthwhile!
I knew that there was a reason I love my job… it is that instant feel good satisfaction when you say “how do you feel” after the treatment and they say “better” or “I feel great” or “that did the trick”…
That is WHY I am a massage therapist – because I want to help people and make them feel better!
It is the comments like those that make days like today possible – it keeps me going even when I am on my knees. I don’t care if I am virtually crawling up the front steps to the house on my way home from work after a day like today because every single person told me that I had helped them.
And that is what makes my job so worthwhile…
But that isn’t the reason I can put in those kind of hours and this kind of effort… Back when I was eating the SAD (Standard American Diet), I was diagnosed with both Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia (and fwisw, when I was tested for fybromyalgia, I had every single one of the tender points bilaterally – now I am convinced they are trigger points! – more on that in a future post!) But back then I was a mess… I could barely get out of bed, I was crawling up the stairs on my hand and knees. It was all I could do to go to school for my massage class, and by the end of the once weekly class I was physically and mentally exhausted. I went home, I slept. Doing my practicum was a challenge – I barely had the energy… There was no way that I could have done 6.5 hours of physical activity I can do now. I would have collapsed in a heap after the commute down to work (it takes me aprox 45 minutes btw). Eating Paleo cured me of that!
The Paleo diet provides me with the nutrients I need in order to keep my body in tip-top shape.. I do not feel hungry during my long stints at work – often I find a good, protein rich breakfast (today was 2 eggs and one breakfast sausage patty that I found in the freezer along with some blueberries) will sustain me until dinner time, so there is no need for me to eat lunch – instead it becomes a stretching break when I can make sure my muscles don’t protest too much about the “abuse” I have put them through. Occasionally I use self massage techniques on my arms and hands, other times I postpone those until I get home in the evening. Sometimes I will go for a walk, or I will sit in the park with a book and read for half an hour. Sometimes I go and buy a coffee!
My blood-glucose and insulin levels are stable, so I don’t get an sugar-crash in that mid morning period. I don’t need to eat because I am feeling hungry as a result. Yes by the time I get home at around 7pm I am feeling starving… but that just gives me a really healthy appetite for our evening meal….