The Healing Habit of Monthly Massage (Extra News: how to break bad habits)

We all know massage is good for us. Most of my clients report how wonderful they feel after getting a massage. It brings life to their bodies and they feel invigorated. I have shared with you in the past the ideal schedule for getting a massage – and I stick to that recommendation. However, I also understand life just doesn’t allow us to naturally follow that guideline. I would like to offer a compromise: Dedicate yourself to just one massage monthly. And, I am going to show you exactly how to make that happen for you.

Here are 7 Common Benefits of Monthly Massage:

  1. Manage Anxiety and Stress – Numerous studies have confirmed that massage is instrumental in REDUCING Stress and Anxiety. Even just one massage per month could change your ongoing stress levels.
  2. Muscle Relaxation – Our muscles carry the weight of the world (our world, that is). Trauma, Anxiety, Worries and other negative emotions hide inside muscles. Then, there are the problems with sitting too much, driving too much, looking down at our phones too much, etc. All of those repetitive positions create chronic pain.
  3. Increase Blood Flow and Circulation – Fresh blood brings life to cells, organs and limbs.
  4. Provide Lower Back Pain Relief – A simple procedure involving a stretch in the hips can alleviate lower back pain, leg pain and sometimes foot pain.
  5. Improve Your Mood – Massage is a positive experience that affects you on many different levels: psychologically, physiologically, mentally and spiritually. The healing power of safe, loving touch is amazing.
  6. Relief from Symptoms of Fibromylgia, Arthritis, Carpel Tunnel and other chronic conditions.
  7. Improve Sleeping Habits – It is reported that in order to allow your body to heal and maintain a healthy body weight, you need to sleep effectively for at least 6-8 hours every night.

Would you agree that these are true benefits of massage?

Have you found massage to be an overall positive event in your life?

So, what is stopping you from getting a massage every month?

I will tell you EXACTLY what is stopping you from getting a massage every month. But, first, let me tell you what ISN’T stopping you:

  • It isn’t money. A monthly massage costs less than a daily cup of java from Starbucks.
  • It isn’t time. You find time to surf Facebook, binge watch shows on Hulu and Netflix, or go out with friends on the weekend.
  • It isn’t a question of whether you feel it’s worth it. You already have experienced the benefits and have felt wonderful.

So, what is stopping you then?

HABIT!

You haven’t created the habit of getting a massage every month. Habits dictate the majority of our lives. Our brains conserve power by creating habits to deal with everyday decisions.

Habits decide what we do when we get home from work, or even how we drive home from work. Have you ever driven home from work and can’t remember how you got home? I call it Auto Pilot Driving. Your brain didn’t have to really think about the route or even basic driving decisions. It had already mapped out the appropriate responses and then allowed another section of the brain to operate according to those habitual patterns.

Your brain has already made decisions and patterns concerning your health. You run on auto pilot when you “decide” what to eat, when to sleep, and how to relax. In order to incorporate new healthy choices, you have to adjust your habits. This works on more than just adding a monthly massage to your schedule. It can be used to change eating habits, quit smoking or begin working out.

There are 3 parts of a habit:

  1. Cue
  2. Routine
  3. Reward

The cue is the signal to begin the habitual routine. It is going to your car and starting the engine. Once you have done this, another part of your brain takes over.

The routine is the actual actions that take place. They are step by step, premade decisions that automatically flow without you having to “think” about them. Think about the last time you brushed your teeth. Bedtime probably signaled or cued the occasion. You automatically grabbed your toothbrush the same as you always do, adding just the right amount of tooth paste. Then you proceeded to brush your teeth in an efficient manner. You rinsed and closed the routine as you always do.

The reward is that tingly feeling you get when you mouth is clean. Or, it is walking in through your front door and sighing a relief that the work day is over.

How do you change a habit?

When you desire to change a habit, you must leave the cue and reward alone. You make changes to the routine and repeat this change often until it becomes part of your habit.

How can you add a monthly massage to your habit list?

First, you need to identify a cue. Normally, people wait until they are overwhelmed with pain or stress before they schedule a massage. The pain/stress is the cue. They put if off to the last minute. I propose that you look at your monthly calendar and pick a day to schedule your massage. Book that massage with me in advance. In fact, I recommend that you tentatively book 1 massage for every month for 6 months in advance. You can always call to reschedule (please give 2hrs notice). Just knowing that you are committing 1 or 1.5 hrs per month to your well being and committed by booking in advance will start signaling your brain.

Then, you need a routine. Every month (or the week of appointment if needed), review your calendar to make sure the appointment still works for you. Figure out what you need to adjust for that day to make your massage experience even better. Do you need to get your work done early? Do you need to not go to the gym afterwards? How about scheduling yourself a nice soak in the bath when you get home? Make this an experience to look forward to.

Finally, claim your reward. In this case, the reward is simple. You feel better. You feel invigorated. You feel relaxed. You feel less stressed. Your muscles work better. You are rejuvenated.

This probably seems like a lot of hard work for a simple monthly massage. But, when it is all said and done, is it really? The benefits completely outweigh the temporary uncomfortable habit setting efforts.

I want to see my clients happy, healthy and in charge of their lives. I hope you use this information to alter or add new habits that will make your life better. Thank you for trusting me with your massage needs.

Coming soon….a program specifically to help people quit smoking

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