With all my travels and running my business, I’ve tried a lot of things when it comes to physical relaxation. (And it seems I’m not the only one.)
Of course, I get massages. In fact, I used to ask my masseuse, Aaron, to text me on the first of every month to remind me to schedule a two-hour deep tissue massage. With long flights, walking through airports and standing in security lines, different hotel beds and pillows, a massage sometimes makes all the difference in the world for my stiff muscles.
I’ve also tried craniosacral therapy, which involves applying gentle pressure and manipulation to the joints in the skull, spine, and parts of the pelvis. From “Your Inner Physician and You,” I learned how proper alignment of the spine can help create a more relaxed and centered self. In fact, when a good friend of mine was having headaches and tension, I recommended she go to my CST therapist, Katja, for some relief. My friend now sees her on a regular basis. She said, “Even though I didn’t feel bad per se, I feel so much better after the therapy.”
When I was in Hawaii a couple of years ago, I tried Reiki (pronounced RAY-kee). Reiki is a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body, and restore physical and emotional well-being. I like to say that my Reiki practitioner “moves the energy” in my body, focusing on whichever of my seven chakras needs attention. Sherrel rarely touches me, but I always find myself going into an almost meditative state during our hour-long session. I get up feeling mellow, calm, and centered.
And of course, almost a year ago, I started meditating daily. The 20-minute guided meditation each morning really grounds me for the day. As I have heard from other meditation practitioners, when you meditate regularly, you experience the ability to listen better, to be more present, and to find an inner peace.
OK, readers, if I haven’t lost you by now and you’re not thinking I’ve gone cuckoo with all this “woo-woo” stuff, I’d like to share my latest discovery with you.
A few weeks ago, my good friends Mark and Vicky introduced me to Christopher, their Rolfing practitioner, whom they have been seeing for over 10 years. Rolfing is a form of deep tissue massage that helps realign your muscles to improve movements and posture to relieve aches and pains, and creates an overall sense of well-being.
So, this past Monday, I went for my first session. Christopher asked me if anything was bothering me that day. I told him my left ankle seemed out of sorts. He worked on the muscles all over the left side of my body. My forearm. My calf. My rib cage (which was apparently out of alignment). I wore a sports bra and yoga shorts so he could see my breathing and my muscles. He did a little work on my right side, but said it is part of Rolfing to do small areas at a time, so the body can adjust.
Christopher told me that many people describe Rolfing as body muscle sculpting. Through soft tissue manipulation and movement education, Rolfers affect body posture and structure over the long term. Unlike massage, which often focuses on relaxation and relief of muscle discomfort, Rolfing is aimed at improving body alignment and function.
The results: I find myself standing straighter and taller. Breathing seems easier. All the tension is gone in my shoulders and neck. And of course, my ankle does not hurt.
The only limitation after the Rolfing treatment is no weightlifting for 24 hours. I’ve scheduled my next appointment for next Monday. I’m looking forward to another session of getting in alignment.
If you travel a lot like me and want to get rid of the aches and pains, you’ll do whatever it takes to feel well. I hope you’ll give these alternative therapies a shot. You might find just the right touch and come out feeling amazing.