Vitamin T the Essential Nutrient in Massage #wellbeingwednesday

Christine Malec is a registered massage therapist with a peaceful home-based practice in the neighbourhood.

One of the more interesting aspects of being a massage therapist is that I regularly encounter people at all different phases in their lives. In any given day, I might hear: “I’ve been working out a lot so…,” “I haven’t been exercising much so…,” “I’ve been spending a lot of time at the computer and…,” “I’ve been on vacation catching up on my gardening so….” All of these things directly affect our bodies, our stress levels, and why we seek out massage.

Recently, I heard a stranger say, “I live alone, and sometimes I go to the salons where they scrub your scalp during a shampoo, just to be touched by someone.” I was deeply moved. I take touch for granted, as something that pervades each day. I approach every client with compassion and respect, but I’d never thought much below the surface of what they tell me, or what I perceive during our intake conversation and assessment.

I could quote studies and stats about the importance of touch, but it’s not necessary; it’s a truism we all instinctively understand. And yet, while we might hear talk about our fitness level, eating habits or work life, the level of human physical contact we receive in a day isn’t on the radar of casual conversation. If we live alone, don’t have a life partner, or don’t have close family members or friends we’re affectionate with, days may go by without touch from another person.

I feel that such a situation is akin to a nutritional deficit. In winter, we can experience a lack of vitamin D from decreased sunlight. In times in our lives when we don’t have physical closeness, we lack the vital connection we all need.

You’ve probably heard or read about the physiological benefits of massage to the immune, circulatory and nervous systems. What’s less often discussed is that these benefits happen alongside, and partly because of the modality itself. Just as there are lots of ways to develop repetitive strain in our forearms, there are lots of places we come from when we choose massage. I never assume that clients tell me everything. If they come to me for the same reason the individual quoted above goes to particular salons, it’s not something a client needs to disclose. It’s unnecessary, because the massage treatment itself is the answer to the unasked question.

Christine Malec is a registered massage therapist with a peaceful home-based practice in the neighbourhood.


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