Being that July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to shine some light on your awareness of your own mental/ emotional health and how it affects your physical health. Essentially, one affects the other. When talking about well-being, massage therapy discusses a lot of physical ailments and what to do to get rid of physical pain. However, one cause of physical pain is the state of your emotional and mental health.
Stress causes your skin and muscles to contract and tighten because the nervous system is getting fight or flight signals and going into protection mode. For example, you are working to reach the deadline on that big project you have to hand in soon, you are at your desk typing away, your mentally reviewing your to do list before the deadline making sure you don’t miss anything, the clock is ticking away cutting at the days, hours, minutes that you have left to get everything done and at the worst time your neck feels like it’s struggling to support your head, your shoulders are locking up towards your ears and your lower back can’t tolerate the same chair you sit on all the time with no issues. That is your body literally physicalizing the mental stress it is experiencing.
Depression, anxiety, and other more deep-seated mental and emotional issues can sometimes be the main cause of physical pain for the same reason mentioned above. The brain is sending messages to the body that something is wrong and it needs to protect itself. Massage is a great way to address both. As a massage therapist, not only am I directly releasing the specific tension in your muscles but the massage itself also releases the endorphins that start telling the body it’s okay to relax. Other great options to take care of your emotional well-being are exercise, meditation, journaling, and surrounding yourself with people you love.
If you are going through a stressful time, take a moment to show yourself some love through self-care. If you know someone going through a stressful time, show them some love and compassion. Simple things like lending an ear or a simple hug can be very healing.