It is a paradox that plagues one too many professional massage therapists and bodyworkers—you provide healing and care to clients all day long, but rarely take the time to invest in your own overall health and wellness. This may not be true for all touch therapists all the time, but the trend to neglect self care measures while at the same time pouring tremendous energy into caring for others seems to be all too prevalent.
There are both mental and physical reasons to take steps to turn this trend around. Massage therapists and bodyworkers who become drained either mentally or physically or in both areas of their lives may find that they have much less to offer their clients, and their practices may suffer the consequences. Therefore, making time to make both your mental and physical fitness a priority is important for the success and longevity of professional massage therapists and bodyworkers.
When we think of fitness, we may first think of a routine for working out on specific days of the week and perhaps eating a more nutritious diet. It is true that these two factors can be core components of fitness, but there is so much more to fitness in general. For massage therapists and bodyworkers to avoid burning out mentally and physically—or suffering from chronic pain or injury due to the physical nature of their daily work—it is crucial to make personal fitness a priority.
Now, what that fitness routine will look like specifically will tend to depend on the individual practitioner. For example, one massage therapist may find that her fitness levels increase dramatically simply by engaging in a yoga practice at home for 15 or 30 minutes each morning or evening. Another massage therapist may find that he needs to attend an actual yoga class three days per week for one hour per class in order to feel he is deriving the necessary fitness benefits.
Of course, yoga is just one example and one aspect of what a fitness routine may entail. Other massage therapists may find that going jogging three times a week and lifting weights twice a week boost their ability to perform in the session room without feeling achy and exhausted after those especially busy days. Still other massage professionals may feel that swimming five mornings per week is the key to their increased level of personal fitness.
No matter what type of fitness routine you choose to pursue, the important part is to explore and experiment until you find the facets of fitness that most benefit you as a professional massage therapist and bodyworker. You want to be able to use fitness to relieve mental fatigue and tension, and also to increase muscular strength and prevent injury.
Massage therapists and bodyworkers also may need to remember that drinking plenty of water, getting the right amount of sleep and eating foods that feel good all can be considered part of a fitness routine as well. These habits also can serve to not only improve your fitness, but also boost your ability to happily help clients, too.
Brandi Schlossberg is an avid bodywork client and full-time journalist based in Reno, Nevada. She has written on many topics for MASSAGE Magazine, including “Are You Covered? Liability Insurance Protects Your Practice” (January) and “Build A CAM Network” (May).