Tag Archives: habits

Why Stretching Can Be A Savior

As a working Massage Therapist, I see clients for a variety of reasons and I use a variety of integrative modalities with them in order to give them what their bodies need. Every client is different in their reasons of why they have bodywork in their lives, but one thing roughly 85% of my clientele all have in common is living with tight, achy, and painful muscles.

Naturally, the most common question I ask them is, “Do you stretch?” and the most common answer I receive is, “No.”

Most people refuse to believe there is any time to stretch, because they’ve hit the snooze button 5 times until they wake up with only 30 minutes left to get to work in a 45 minute commute. They forego breakfast, water, nutrients of any kind, stretching, and even any conscious breathing; and it all goes down here from there. They spend the rest of their day hangry, fatigued, short-tempered and in a daze until they can faceplant into their couch the minute they get home.

So my question to them, and my topic of discussion today is this:
What did you expect?

You wake up every morning and immediately start pushing your body through the day without warming up your muscles or putting any real food into your body that has been inactive for the last 5-9 hours. You wonder why you’re exhausted by 11am with a pounding headache and stinging, burning knots coming from your shoulders, back, and hips that demolish your comfort and morale for God knows how long?

There must be an easier way….. Right? YES! It’s called ACCOUNTABILITY and SELF-AWARENESS. Through these two simple life-changing techniques, we can change our bad habits and create a positive change that will not only increase your longevity, but it will lessen your stress levels and help produce a happier, healthier environment for you and those who live and work by your side.


Stretching is one of the best things you can do for your body.

Because a stretch is held for 30 seconds MAX – you can stretch at any time during the day. ISN’T THAT MIND BLOWING!? As a professional, I am asked what time of day is best recommended. I always suggest we tackle stretching first thing when we wake up. Our bodies rejuvenate themselves during our sleep time but that doesn’t stop toxins from planting themselves in new areas and causing mayhem. That’s why we feel tight and stiff when we wake up. Our muscles are cold. Have you ever tried driving a car before you let the oil fully warm up? The engine runs completely different and it will shorten the life of your oil, shocks, struts, and even your braking system. Wouldn’t you rather just sit and be patient for 3 minutes to save a huge car repair bill?

I want you to consider for a moment how many moves you think you make on any given day. Add up all the weight you think you contribute to your body (i.e. backpacks, purses, pulling a suitcase, walking 10 dogs on leashes, heavy coats, walking through a city in stilettos, heavy warehouse lifting, moving furniture) – you see what I’m getting at? You are working your muscles; a constant flux of contraction and release. Every move we make from the time we wake up to the time we go back to sleep are being pushed non-stop. Our legs, our arms, and for those of you who work at computers all day long: YOUR HANDS, SHOULDERS, AND NECK. All these muscles are getting tighter and tighter.

When your muscles become too tight, they fight back. They’re telling you, “Dammit, I have had ENOUGH! I am starving, sore, and cold. Stop pushing me for your own agenda and give me some nourishing! I am not taking you another comfortable step until you start giving me something in return! I will break you down if you won’t listen to me!”

To think that we don’t need to stretch is asinine. To put it another way let’s say you’re an employee at a company. You’ve been working there for two years now. You have the highest numbers and more positive feedback than anyone else there. You work blood, sweat, and tears and bring in a lot of money for the company. With that being said, your boss never compliments you on your work; has never given you a raise; has never acknowledged your work; or even offered you an end of the year bonus. Your boss never lets you know they appreciate all the work you do for their company – they just tack on more responsibilities for you.
How do you think that is going to start affecting your morale? Is that somebody you’d want to be working for your whole life?

No? Then why do you treat your body that way?

They stop functioning properly and start causing us problems. When they stop functioning as they should, we become injured. Strains, sprains, throwing our shoulder out, pulling our hamstrings, developing plantar fasciitis, and even causing us headaches – just to name a few. Tight muscles lead to knots, a decrease in our Range of Motion, and an increase to toxic build-up. Those three things, among others (nutrition, water intake, and sanity levels) can cause massive internal imbalances and malfunctions for our hormones, organs, etc.


We are not our body. I’ve said this a thousand times, and I will say it well over a thousand more times. WE ARE NOT OUR BODY. We are a soul. Our body is our machine and everything inside of our body is ours to take care of and feed and fuel in order to obtain a greater longevity. We are not meant to house pain for years and eons. Pain is not something that comes out of nowhere and sets up shop just to dictate what we can and cannot do and then laugh about it… Pain is a chemical signal in our body to let us know something is wrong and needs to be addressed. It is our obligation to listen to our bodies.

Society has made us all out to be crazy, dirty, hippies – just because we encourage the concept of connecting with our bodies! THAT HAS TO BE THE CRAZIEST SHIT I HAVE EVER HEARD. If you refuse to stretch and you refuse to connect with your body, then you mine as well learn to love it and save the rest of us from listening to your enduring complaints. I love you, WE love you, but if you don’t want to make changes to be pain-free, please don’t use us as your vent-station! 🙂


Stretching our muscles is our way of giving thanks to our body. It’s our way of giving our machine and the tools inside of it a reward for letting us destroy it with workouts, vigorous activities, sugar, cross country road trips and 18 hour flights to other countries. We are grinders, hustlers, and DOERS! We conquer what we set out to do!  Stretching opens up our muscle fibers to allow new blood flow and flush out some wading toxicity and old blood. Stretching helps us recycle our system and push toxins and tension out of one of our Channels of Elimination (we have four).

Stretching increases our elastin, which helps our tissues retain moisture which, you guessed it, helps us look YOUNGER AND YOUTHFUL without even trying. It releases oxytocin (commonly called the love hormone) and endorphins that make us feel happy and good about ourselves. We feel less stressed and more patient when we take the time to stretch and feed our bodies properly.

All it takes BARE MINIMUM, is fifteen minutes in the morning to stretch our body. A solid stretch sits at 30 seconds. ONLY 30 SECONDS PER MUSCLE is all it takes to wake up your body properly and get your muscles woken up, fired up, and PUMPED UP! When you give that to your body first thing, your body will take you to the moon and back with fewer injuries, fewer pains, and fewer dysfunctions of movement.

You don’t have to become a yogi. You don’t even have to like yoga. You don’t need to become a stretching guru and dance with the wolves. But, you do need to listen to your body. You do need to fuel it and give it what it needs if you still want to have healthy and radically pain-free life at the age of 50+.


As much as I love striking the fear of consequence into you about stretching – that’s not what my intention is. It’s important to me, as a practitioner, to educate you about the WHY of the suggestion. What you do with the information is completely your choice. I’m just trying to help those around you who have to listen to your bodily complaints and see your lack of follow-through to do anything about it.

If I had any other advice to leave you with, I’d suggest you let yourself become vulnerable to your own self. Take the wall down that’s between your connection between body/mind/spirit. And if anybody calls you crude names because you are connected to yourself, remember that ignorance is bliss and with as much love and kindness as possible, give them the middle finger and wish them the best day ever.

One Session Will Never Be a Cure-All

First off, there are quite a bit of known misconceptions about how the treatment plan of Massage Therapy works. Today we are going to be discussing the concept of session length, and why massage is not a one-session cure all like many people think. As massage therapy continues to grow in the Healthcare industry, more and more people are beginning to learn and understand the physiological benefits, on top of the relaxation factor; which is a big deal in the US, considering we have the longest work hour week and lowest amount of paid days off than any other country. Needless to say, getting a soothing massage to relax is just as important as any other medical necessity. It’s been the main reputation maker of massage in North America for the last forty years, but slowly breaking out of the ‘luxury’ word association and giving people more of a reason to get on the table instead of seeing massage as just a luxury.

Note: MASSAGE IS NOT JUST A LUXURY

Massage should be seen as a regular upkeep on one’s health preventative maintenance. Our goal is to help you stay out of the doctor’s office for reasons other than broken bones or serious illnesses, etc. Massage and everything it comes with, is a lifestyle.

For those of you who get your one massage a year, or leap year, and always ask to get bone-deep work on your x, y, and/or z knot….. stop doing that to yourself! Please! You are only worsening the issue.

Contrary to the common uneducated and more importantly, uncorrected belief, a therapist should not sit back and start digging into your muscle compartments, just because they want you as a client and because you sound adamant about what you want. They should not let you tell them that you believe the more painful it is the better it will be, even though you don’t get regular bodywork, and they should not be determined to fix your problems.

1.WE DO NOT FIX, we facilitate the body’s innate abilities to heal itself. We provide for you, tools and resources you will need in order to maintain your good health-standing in between sessions in order to get you on comfortable and effective habitual journey to living a pain-free life. 

2.YOUR THERAPIST SHOULD BE EDUCATING YOU when you have that first session with them. When you request for them to go in so deep and to make it painful because you think that pain is the only way you have formed to believe change will be created, you are wrong on multiple levels.

 

I don’t want you to be wrong. I don’t want to be right. I want you to be educated and I want to share my knowledge with you. You deserve to know what we know. You aren’t just a client, you are a human being with an obligation to take care of your body in every way you possibly can and you have only been taught that massage makes you feel better. Nobody ever expects to leave a session with homework, but they come in expecting to be fixed. But how will you grow and become more aware and have your issues fixed if you are not doing your part? We want you to grow. We aren’t here to be a crutch, but instead, to be a helping guide. Our duty is to work with you. We help you during sessions, we enlighten you on what our observations and insights are, and we ask you intuitive questions that we believe will further help us get to the root cause and continue building a healthy and productive protocol that properly outlines a treatment program.

The key word here is program. Think of this like an exercise regimen. We do not go to the gym or buy the P90X home videos and workout one time and gain the results we are looking for. We have to make a commitment to the workout program. We have to discipline ourselves and make time in our busy lives to dedicate to our health every. single. day.

When you make massage a part of your life, you adopt a mindset of optimal healthy living throughout every day. You vow to become more aware of your lifestyle habits – like eating better and developing a more creative, colorful, and nourishable diet; taking care of your posture by allowing your body to be comfortable in ergonomic positions (like the positions it was made to be comfortable in); and lastly, your mental habits of thoughts! When you are living a healthy lifestyle and getting professional massage relief from your injuries, dysfunctions, and ailments, you are taking back command of your life!

Homework is another super important part to this whole thing: you should be having more than one session, because your therapist should be clearly outlining a perspective with you, while giving you resources and tools (like stretches and exercises to research, re-patterning techniques, postural awareness tools, and even some fun facts about the body) to use at home in between sessions. Homework is what keeps you accountable and motivated to get out of pain. Homework given and homework done is a body more able, more flexible, and more durable than it was a session before.

One massage therapy session will never be a cure-all to your injuries or dysfunctions or stress, but you can make a positive difference towards your health journey by making the most of the information your therapist gives you, and applying it to the fullest.

 

Happy Healing,

Zynnia