The Art of Living Therapeutically

by Mia White

Our design is divine. Our bodies are a magnificent network of systems with amazing intelligence and capabilities. Each of these systems—cardiovascular, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, respiratory, digestive, nervous, etc.—is a ‘superhighway’ delivering nutrients, patrolling for pathogens, sending and receiving messages, and removing wastes. When these systems are functioning optimally, we think most clearly, sleep most deeply, feel, look, and perform our best, and find the most delight in life. But lots of things can cause traffic jams: eating bad food, thinking negative thoughts, lack of fresh air and exercise, poor sleep, cluttered closets and calendars . . . . In addition, each of us has unique wiring that makes us best suited for different types of activities and life rhythms. The level of activity and people contact that energizes an extrovert is draining to an introvert; some thrive on marathon running while gentle yoga is just right for others; the job tasks or hobbies that delight one person may bore another to tears.   But we often ignore our inner voice, pushing ourselves into activities that don’t enliven us, thinking we are supposed to like doing what everyone else likes doing, . . . resulting in more traffic jams.

Another way to look at the state of your wellbeing is to think of your life as a garden. We know that for a garden to be healthy, it needs good soil full of healthy organisms, fresh air and natural light, plenty of clean water and nutrients, pruning and deadheading, and that if we pull weeds regularly when they’re small (in our diets, thoughts, routines, and relationships) they don’t get a chance to take over. And some plants need more sun than others. Some grow much better when placed next to each other.

Regular massage can help clear your traffic jams (and prevent them) and weed your garden. At the most mechanical level, massage improves the flow of energy and fluids in each of your ‘superhighways’, which is essential to vibrant health. This is especially important if you are unable to get much healthy movement on your own due to illness or injury, as it will help to maintain good circulation and muscle tone. But massage is also much more: Quantum physics teaches us that the cell is the smallest unit of consciousness. We think, feel, act, and remember with our whole bodies, not just our minds. Massage can be a gentle yet powerful tool for change, helping to release energy patterns that don’t serve, and fortify those that do. It can build a reservoir of more positive tissue memory to help you get through stressful times with more grace and ease. It can bring your awareness to things you hadn’t had time to notice. Healthy touch is an essential biological need, both physically and developmentally. Having your therapist’s undivided and customized attention, acceptance, and guidance can be deeply nurturing. We all need to be cared for, to have our batteries recharged on a regular basis, so we can be our best and keep giving our gifts.

Health is a journey, not a destination.

So, live therapeutically. Plan for health. Don’t wait until you’re sick, stressed, or in pain to take care of yourself. Be true to you. Eat good food. Exercise. Think good thoughts. Get quality sleep. Clean out your closets. Breathe deeply. Express gratitude. Do what you love. And develop sustaining routines–including regular massage.  Most people schedule massage weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or every six weeks.

Give yourself the gift of a better you.  You’re worth it.