1. Heed the Warnings
“Listen to what your body is telling you,” Kathleen Gramzay, a massage therapist and developer of Kinessage, encourages. “If you’re in pain, it means something needs to be tended to, not ignored.” Don’t try to push through the pain, and be aware of when you’re mentally or emotionally feeling overwhelmed. “Your health and well-being are as important as your clients,” adds Gramzay.
2. Get Moving
At the very least, make sure you are stretching in directions counter to your habitual patterns throughout the day,” explains Gramzay. “For example, place your forearms—elbow to palm—vertically against a door frame and lean in for a pectoralis stretch.” Or, make good use of whatever time you have between clients and lie over an exercise ball in extension, arms out horizontally, and breathe deeply.
3. Schedule Yourself
Yes, you should schedule regular massage therapy sessions for yourself—but don’t stop there. Particularly because self-care is so important, make sure you set aside time for the activities that help keep you in shape, both mentally and physically. Gramzay advises, “Make the first appointments in your calendar yours: one for your daily exercise or stretching routine, and one for your daily meditation, breathing or relaxation practice. Honor them as if you’re being paid for the time, because the value of them is priceless to your well-being and career longevity.”
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Excerpted from the Summer 2015 Massage Therapy Journal