Movement & Massage complements each other

A combination of massage and movement truly provides a whole-rounded approach in supporting our body. Massage can alleviate discomfort from pain and muscles experiencing hypertonicity (more tension). Movement can provide balance by strengthening body parts that may be weak or muscles that are in a state of hypotonicity (deficient tension). 

It doesn't have to be a whole exercise routine, it can just be 10-15 min. of movement in certain areas of your body ;)

How can you start?

  1. Which body part do you usually experience more tension in?
  2. Look up the body part that's antagonist (does the opposite action) to that muscle.
  3. Add in a movement that targets that antagonist muscle group.
  4. Start with one to two movement, 3 sets of 10 repetition.

Example: You're mostly on the computer most of the day and maybe you find yourself slouching. The slouching posture consistently contracts/tightens your chest muscles, causing the upper back muscles to lengthen. In this case, find a movement that targets the upper back. 

(P.S. As a licensed massage therapist, movement/exercise is out of scope of our practice. Feel free to refer to a physical trainer for movement advice.)

You're probably thinking, "Chrizza, if movement is out of scope of your practice, why are you suggesting this?"

Here's a short story of how I realized adding 10 minutes of targeted movement can easily alleviate tension discomfort:

Sometimes while I'm massaging, my body mechanics isn't the greatest and during those times, I catch myself thinking, "I really should contract my abdomen to support my back." Then, while I'm going throughout my day (not massaging), there's moments that I'll notice my lumbar spine is arched, causing tension in the muscles surrounding that. The arching position naturally lengthens the abdomen while contracting the lumbar area. (In this case, the abdomen is the antagonist muscle of where I experience tension.)

When I started applying core supportive exercises called 'the dead bug' and 'bird dog', I noticed right away that the excessive arch on my lumbar spine became neutral! I thought, "Wow! That was easy!"

Now, you may be thinking, "Couldn't we just massage those tight areas instead?"

Of course we can! But, if that area is caused by a certain posture or repetitive movement, most likely, you'll keep coming back for massage to focus on that area. What if applying 1-2 movement, one to three times a week can help balance that and then, we actually have more time to focus on other areas of concern?

Just food for thought. It is Spring after all and it's a great time to move your body!

In TCM, Spring is associated with the wood element and movement/exercise supports this element.

If this post inspired you to apply more movement throughout your day, do let me know how it goes for you ^_^

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