By moving, nourishing, and restoring your mind, body, and soul is a powerful way to create longevity in your career. We are told Massage is a lifestyle job, except we are healers. Here to help heal the body and nurture the soul. Starting out, it is easy to visualise doing a long day of massage, sitting down to a glass of wine at night, relaxing – imagining the amazing impact we’ve had on other’s lives, feeling surrounded by the calm energy of giving.
The reality though can be quite different. A full day of massage for many is sitting down at night exhausted and sometimes sore, thinking “Urgghh…so much more to do.” It is this feeling that drives us to limit our hours or accepting it for what it is. This does not bode well for longevity in a career that you genuinely love and want to pursue.
So… how can you build longevity into your career so you can have the positive impact you set out to have on other’s lives? Enter your new mantra – Move, Nourish, and Restore.
Moving for Longevity
Set time aside each day to focus on your own physical fitness. It doesn’t need to be more than 30 minutes, but that 30 minutes daily will keep you functioning in a healthy way for a long time to come.
Our clients come to us because of the experience and positive outcomes of their treatments. To keep them coming back, it is necessary that they experience this consistently. To provide that consistency across multiple treatments on multiple days, we must be strong enough and have the physical endurance to be able to deliver that.
Look to exercise to increase your core strength, build your strength in movement. When choosing exercise think about how we move. As therapists we move in multi-planar directions consistently, so choose an exercise modality that you enjoy but builds strength in these movement patterns. Exercise modalities such as body weight flow movements and yoga are perfect for supporting the strength needs of a massage therapist.
Nourish for Longevity
Eat to support your goals. In this case, your goals are to be able to have the energy to complete a full day of massage.
Our bodies are made up of 55%-60% water (depending on whether you are male or female). So, water has a very big impact on how our bodies function. Being only 5% dehydrated can impact on our ability to function by as much as 25%. So how much water do we need to consume? Look to 30-35mls of water per kilo of body weight a day (Add more if we are in a humid climate or performing physical work or sweating more).
Eat a serve of complete protein every meal
Protein is the building blocks of tissue and act as a hormonal transport system within our bodies. Hormones affected are our hunger hormones (Leptin and Grehlin), insulin, and our thyroid hormones to name a few. They are also harder to break down and digest, so go a long way to assist with satiety. By eating a serve at each meal, we are keeping our hunger levels in check, and are less likely to grab that chocolate bar in between massages and calling it lunch!
Eat the Rainbow!
Make sure you include fruit and vegetables into your diet daily. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals. Being deficient in any vitamin or mineral can affect our energy levels, increased muscle soreness, susceptibility to and our ability to ward off colds and flus, our ability to absorb other vitamins and minerals etc.
Don’t avoid Carbs! They are necessary for prolonged energy throughout the day. We do however need to choose wisely. Unprocessed carbohydrates such as potatoes, oats, whole grains, etc. will assist in maintaining your energy levels at a consistent level throughout the day. These are slow-digesting carbs and provide for a long slow release of sugars so that you don’t get the energy troughs.
We hear so many bad stories. Avoid Fats because they will make you fat. However, fats are necessary for normal hormonal function and brain function. But like carbs, it is the choices that you make that will make or break you.
Choosing healthy fats (and this includes saturated fats such as milks, yoghurts and meats) can have a really positive impact on your overall health. Make sure you include foods that include Omega 3 fats such as oily fish, chia seeds, flax etc to help stop body aches and pains.
Eating well 85% of the time will help you feel great all throughout your day.
Restore for Longevity
While many reach for that bottle of wine to relax, preventative maintenance practices such as getting adequate sleep, going for gentle walks, stretching, meditation, and receiving massages ourselves are more effective and vital to ensuring that we remain effective in our work and outside lives.
I could write another entire article about the importance of restorative work for therapists as it is not only critical for physical function but helps to manage the mental stressors of such a physical job. Instead, I will leave you with a few dot points and tasks to get you through your day and to help prepare you for your day ahead.
To prevent shoulder, back and hand pain, we can put in place daily practices to help you keep your massages consistent, strong and our energy levels high.
At the beginning of each day, perform a 15-minute dynamic stretch routine to prepare your joints and muscles for the day ahead. The routine should include stretches for your back, shoulders, neck and hands and wrists. At the end of each day, factor in a 15-minute static stretch routine focusing on those same areas to lengthen those muscles shortened by repetitive movements throughout the day.
Even with the daily stretch routine, booking a massage for yourself monthly will make those stretching routines more effective, while fixing those niggly tight spots that we haven’t quite been able to work out through stretching.
Whether you are spiritual and practice traditional meditation or are somebody who just likes to find a cosy spot to have a quiet cup of tea, calming the mind is essential to ensure the energy you bring to your treatments is calm, supportive and healing, and you are better able to connect with your client.
Undertaking a massage while still thinking about the electricity bill that is overdue, how angry you are at your significant other because you have a tiff, and what you need to still buy for your child’s camping trip does not make for good connections with your clients.
Factor in a short routine that you can adhere to calm the mind before each and every massage you do. It won’t only benefit your client, but also yourself as this practice lowers cortisol levels and allows you to achieve balance.
My advice for longevity is all about health practices, so don’t forget to
- Move with a purpose for 30 minutes each day.
- Eat good nutritious food 85% of the time to keep your energy levels high and to ward off illness.
- Restore your mind and body with meditation, stretch and massage to reduce injury risk and connect with your client.
Always remember your mantra – Move Nourish Restore
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