Back in my 40s I started having joint and muscle pain. At that time in my life, I did race walking, yoga and some light weight lifting. I remember being surprised that, as I approached my 40s, I began to have joint pain. I didn’t think too much about it until I really had pain.
Over the years I had neck and shoulder surgery, and carpal tunnel surgery in both hands. I remember saying to my doctor, ‘really?! I’m not old! What’s going on?’ He gently explained that as we get older, our joints and muscles also get older. (Well, duh!) It was hard for me to realize that while I could still exercise, I didn’t have to beat my body up to stay fit.
And then I discovered massage therapy. If you have never had a massage, it’s a wonderful experience. Massage therapists are angels as far as I’m concerned. They are kind and considerate and they know what they’re doing. Being a certified massage therapist takes a lot of time, study and practice. They do what they do because they want to help people feel better.
I already have lower back issues and have to do stretching exercises to loosen it up so that I can actually get out of bed. Just a few days ago, I did a real number on my upper back; somehow I twisted something and the pain throbbed in my neck and down my arms. It was so painful that I could not lift my head high enough to put eye drops in my eyes. That, along with my back issues made just getting out of bed a real nightmare.
So I booked a massage and it was amazing. It’s almost as though the massage therapist (a woman around my age) could feel exactly where the pain began. Slowly she worked from my neck down to my waist and I could actually feel the pain start to dissipate. It was a 30 minute massage, and by the time I got up from the table I felt wonderful. I slowly turned my neck from side to side; no pain. I tilted my head up and all the way down; no pain. I felt so good that I wanted to dance (I didn’t, though)!
Massage therapy is not just for young folks who lift weights, run marathons, etc. It is for anyone who needs help with some area of their body. With me it was my neck and upper back, and I felt (and looked like) a cripped crab. It was almost impossible for me to get out of bed, to dress and to wash up. The massage therapist I saw yesterday worked on my upper back and made it possible for me to be flexible again, and to feel better.
Know this, too: massage therapists are non-judgemental. They don’t care if you are heavy, thin, wrinkled, spotted, tattooed, old or young; it doesn’t matter to them. All they see is a person in pain who needs their help. I have benefitted greatly from massage. What they do is a gift; don’t be afraid to enjoy the gift.