MassageHands

It’s been 26 years since I first got involved with massage. My family goes back five generations, living in both this town and the town next door, and all were tended toward yankee sensibility. My community was conservative. People were very careful with their resources—perhaps a hangover from the Great Depression as well as the thrift of country living. So when I found myself drawn to the field of massage therapy, I was fairly surprised—actually, I remain surprised for a number of years. I am not from a community of people that do things just because they feel good or who even practice leisure on a regular basis, so who on earth would ever come to me for a massage?

As in launching into any new endeavor, I learned those reasons over the years.

Pain

Pain seems to be the first thing that gets people through my door for massage to their neck, back, shoulders, knees, hips—some part of them that won’t let them sleep, get to work, move comfortably or play with their kids or grandkids. It’s wonderful to see how massage loosens up tight muscles, decreases pain, increases circulation and helps people move with more ease.

Mood and Stress Relief

Stress, anxiety and depression also bring people in for massage therapy. Massage in no way replaces physical therapy or psychotherapy, but there is real therapeutic value in creating time for one’s self to relax and receive skilled, professional, nurturing touch. Muscles relax and the busy brain quiets. In our society, we are most often thinking ahead or about what has already happened, rather than being in the moment. During massage there is nothing to do but be there; it is a time to feel where our muscles hold tension and witness how, with gentle manipulation, we can let that tension go. When we are tense, anxious or depressed, our muscles often tense up as a protective response. Massage not only helps release this tension but brings us into greater awareness of our patterns of tension. We then know that we can develop strategies to deal with this in the future.

This is a profoundly relaxing and calming experience. Many people sleep more soundly after having a massage. It doesn’t cure the problem, but it makes coping easier.

Enhanced Movement

Many people come in because they’re tight and stiff, either from activity or inactivity. I see weekend warriors and weeders and others who just can’t manage to get out and move on a daily basis. In addition to the traditional oil on muscles massage, they might choose to receive stretching and range of motion to loosen things up. Those who try the Traditional Massage of Thailand say that is like getting a WD-40 treatment for their joints.
Meet some clients who have touched my heart over the years. So many people have opened their hearts while touching mine over the years, many of whom I might never have guessed would try massage.

The 89-year-old woman who was recently widowed but wanted to stay as “creak and groan free” as possible. She loved her massage and allowed me to work on her for several years until a few days before her death. Even when she couldn’t speak anymore the massage brought a smile to her face.

A big bearded Harley-riding mechanic, who believes massage keeps him able to work hard and long hours without having to take time off for soreness and injuries.

Ministers and priests, since my days as a massage student I have worked on more religious leaders than I ever imagined. It’s not an easy business leading a flock.

The young high school girl whose periods were so painful she would miss school and lie on the bathroom floor in misery. After one session of massage and after being taught to do self abdominal massage she felt ever so much better.

The guy who was a warehouse worker. He was a big, solid guy and could barely bend to get his socks on. He came in once after he had had a Thai Massage and then gone “huntin'” with his brothers. He said “Well, I leaned up against that “berch”(birch) tree, crossed my ankles and slid down into sittin’ injin (Indian) position.. I ain’t been able to do that since I was in grammar school.”

I love the people who are wary of massage, but come to see me because their doctor or therapist has insisted that they try it. They have courage to show up, we discuss their needs and expectations and I give them a safe experience that leaves them feeling great. Their faces are transformed with the joy they feel.

~ Tamara Krenn, LMT

Tamara Krenn shares space here at Foothills, providing massage therapy to her grateful clients. She has been an important part of the Foothills family since the beginning, and is well-known to folks in the waiting room as the woman who calls her clients in with the resonant sound of a large gong.

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One thought on “Why Would A Yankee Get A Massage?

  • April 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm
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    Good blogging! Massage is the best thing ever! It does a body good! So many great benefits! People need to try it once. .they will love it! Its the greatest relaxation ever created! 🙂

    Reply

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