Basic rules for stretching and massage:
1.) I AM NOT A DOCTOR! Nor a physical therapist, occupational therapist, physical trainer, or anything other than what I DO claim to be, a massage therapist and reflexologist. I do NOT diagnose illnesses, prescribe anything (including medicine), or in any way intend for my recommendations to be taken as instructions for what I think YOU should do. Please understand that anything I write in any blog is intended as my sharing what I have learned throughout my massage career. These are my experiences and lessons that I choose to share with you.
2.)Don’t stretch to the point of pain, only stretch till you feel the comfortable warming. Make sure you can breathe normally throughout the entire stretch. If you are wincing, holding your breath, cringing, or any other pain signs, you could be doing damage. BACK OFF! Just like when you overdo at exercising and wake up the next day sore, you can hurt yourself if you force the stretch farther than your muscles can go.
3.)Make sure that when you are stretching you either are sitting or laying down, at the very least have a safe way to sit on hand, just in case the stretch causes you to feel a little dizzy, or light-headed. Make sure you are in a place where if you fall you won’t get too hurt. (In other words, don’t ever stretch on the edge of a cliff!) I usually stretch while sitting or laying down, as then I don’t have to worry about falling at all. If you do feel a bit woozy, just take a breath and pause before driving or doing your housework.
4.)Stretch for the amount of time you feel comfortable with. It doesn’t have to be 5 minutes per stretch, just till the warm feeling stays with your muscle for a while afterwards. The best thing is to stretch often. So if you can do 1 or 2 of theses stretches at your desk at work, watching T.V. at home, or even when at a stand still in a traffic jam, DO IT. Throughout the day our bodies tighten up, so throughout the day we need to stretch them.
5.)When massaging your achy muscles, don’t press into them so hard that you wince or otherwise feel as though you need to limit your breathing. Using special massage tools can be helpful, but not necessary. Feel free to use whatever you have around the house. Kids toys often have fun angles and bumps, dog toys too. Door knobs, counter edges, wall corners, and bits of furniture are wonderful tools, as well. Don’t forget kitchen utensils! They often have the proper hard edges and small radii.
6.)Don’t think about stretching as “one more thing to do today”. Think about the fresh blood getting to the achy places, thus helping your body adjust to all that life throws your way. Look forward to the warm happy feeling your body gets when the blood flows easily throughout. Knotted muscles are like stepping on a garden hose. Nothing good happens when we step on a garden hose.
Live well, my friends,