To complement the Buyers Guide self-care category in the January 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: These expert tips can help massage therapists ease strain on their bodies, work longer with less effort, and enhance general health and well-being.
Your work helps keep clients’ bodies healthy—and you can’t skip health practices for yourself. Here are 10 easy self-care activities, contributed by massage and spa industry experts. (Read the articles on these topics in their entirety by clicking the title of each tip.)
Practice portion control, drink water, and use breath work and other techniques to control the amount of food you put in your body on a regular basis, wrote yoga expert Beth Shaw.
An adult breathes in and out 17,000 times or more each day. Harness this activity with breath work to maximize your energy. “Developing a breathing practice is essential for keeping your body strong and healthy during your work hours, as well as protecting yourself from accumulating negative energy throughout your day,” wrote bodywork developer and educator Yamuna Zake.
3. Roll on Foam
Reduce pain and stiffness by trying this new self-care technique. “Therapeutic foam rolling affects both fascia and muscle tissues,” wrote trigger-point therapist and educator Cat Matlock, L.M.T.B., R.Y.T. “When we roll out an area, we increase circulation in that area by freeing up the fascial binding, warming up the loose connective tissues, and releasing chronically held tension, or trigger points.”
4. Go Pro
Mounting evidence indicates probiotics are beneficial for gut health and overall digestive function—and it’s important to choose high-quality probiotics. “Some products might not have sufficient numbers of live bacteria in them to make them effective,” wrote Michael Shahani, as director of operations at Nebraska Cultures. “Also, some products might not be well-cared for, and the number of live bacteria on the label might not be correct.”
5. Walk it Out
Physical activity, even a small amount done regularly, is important to maintaining health. “Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week is enough for most adults to notice health benefits,” wrote naturopath Jonci Jensen, N.D.
6. Stand Tall
Practice good habits, including self-awareness, hydration and weightlifting, to maintain a proper posture. “It is difficult to maintain good head posture without the proper strength and support in those muscle groups, so don’t be tempted to skip the weights when you visit the gym,” wrote Bing Howenstein, founder and CEO of BackJoy.
Keep your iPhone out of your bed. “Artificial light at night, particularly the blue light emitted from electronics, can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to effects that range from poor sleep to a possible tie with increased risk of obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions,” wrote naturopath Shawnti Rockwell, N.D.
8. Get Herbal
Lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, hawthorn and passionflower are all herbs that provide a variety of relaxing benefits, according to naturopath Natalie Walsh, N.D.
9. Look Away
Eye-health practices, including focusing on faraway distances and avoiding an increase in corrective lens prescription strength, can benefit vision in the long run, according to therapist and educator Meir Schneider, Ph.D., L.M.T. “[Y]ou can make the lens of your eyes more flexible, and may even prevent what often happens after the lens stiffens: cataracts,” he wrote.
10. Be Thankful
“Training yourself to take notice of what you do have—and be grateful for it—can lift your spirits and create optimism, which can significantly improve your quality of life,” wrote educator and author Suzanne Scurlock-Durana, C.M.T., C.S.T.-D. Health benefits of gratitude include stress relief and improved immune function.