To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Guest Editorial: Retreat, Relax, Recharge,” by Patrick Lee Ingrassia, in the April 2011 issue. Article summary: Nurturers need to be nurtured. After all, how can you provide positive energy and healing for your clients when you are not living it yourself? This is one reason I am an advocate for destination training.

by Jonathan A. Tripodi

Massage therapists, myself included, are caregivers. We give not only caring touch, but also the vital, healing energy that is transmitted through it. Appreciating the energetic potency of healing touch in all its forms, we massage therapists learn to value ourselves, our service and the need to periodically rejuvenate.

Certainly, staying hydrated, nourished and rested are essential to maintaining a massage therapist’s potency—but when is something more needed? When is it helpful or even imperative that we get out of Dodge?

Simply put, when I am vital, I love my job. When I am fatigued, especially over a long period of time, I dread my job. Dread is a strong indicator that your cup is empty and a retreat is in order. Below are a few more indicators.

  • Fatigue
  • Dissatisfaction with work
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain, stress or tension
  • Anger, frustration and agitation
  • The need to withdraw

A retreat is different than a vacation, in that the emphasis of a retreat is you. Ideally, a retreat environment will provide you with the opportunity to receive care rather than give care for a change.

A retreat can unplug you from your day-to-day environment and caregiving routines and place you somewhere you can simply be without obligations or expectations on your energy. Retreats can also get you out from behind the desk or four walls of your treatment room and place you in the beautiful surroundings of the outdoors. Mother Nature is a natural healer and freely provides life-giving energy, such as oxygen and chi, which sustains all life, including ours.

Lastly, a retreat can provide you time and space for reflection and reconnection to your body, feelings and spirit, which can become lost when we focus on others day after day.

“Physician, heal thyself,” said Socrates, the father of modern medicine. If he were alive today, he might have said, “Caregivers, take a retreat.” Do yourself and all those you touch a favor and plan to take retreat, today. Mark your calendar. Once you book your retreat, your energy will already begin to improve just knowing that a break is right around the corner.

Jonathan A. Tripodi is author of Freedom From Body Memory— Awaken the Courage to Let Go of the Past and founder of the Body Memory Recall (BMR) Approach . For almost two decades he has explored body memory and its relationship to pain and stress conditions. Tripodi operates The Body Memory Treatment Center, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia (