I usually use this forum to share my thoughts on the importance of massage for our dogs. That is important; and, just like the preflight instructions when you fly, when putting on oxygen masks in the case of an emergency, you, the caregiver have to put yours on first.

So this week, I’d like to talk about how we can cope and keep our sanity in this unprecedented international cultural stress Coronavirus (COVID-19) we are all experiencing.

Isolation, worry, and fear! Oh, my! The stress can feel overwhelming. Devastating. Debilitating. If you feel you need some respite from everything that’s going on, please get help. You don’t have to suffer. My suggestion is to get a professional massage.

This is massage. Imagine: compassionate human touch from someone professionally and scientifically trained in the arts of massage; whose sole focus for an entire hour is on helping you rediscover comfort.

As a caregiver, I was thrilled to discover in massage, a vocation in which I had the opportunity to provide personal one-to-one undivided attention to a client/patient for a full hour. Sometimes, an hour and a half! This is an approach that is seldom possible in big highly leveraged medical systems. When I was practicing as an RN, spending this much time with someone who was in need was inconceivable. To my sensibilities, this restrictive approach to wellness care was plainly wrong-headed.

Massage therapy is the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for the purpose of normalizing those tissues. It consists of manual techniques that include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and/or causing movement of or to the body. https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/massage+therapy

Massage can enable us to release some of the stress that’s keeping us from moving well, thinking well, and feeling well.

When our stress-calm scale is tipped toward stress, we feel bound up. Restricted. Massage helps us feel better by defusing the dysfunction that we feel within us, and softening our reactivity to the dysfunction all around us. The beneficial effects of massage therapy are well documented. And, they are cumulative. The more often we receive massage the stronger our coping abilities are. That’s the reason massage therapy is an integral part of every rehabilitation protocol.

Since the time in the 1990’s when I became a Licensed Massage Therapist, a lot has changed. One fundamental element in massage scientific medical training, clinical anatomy and physiology is now classifying connective tissue, fascia, pronounced fah-shia, as an organ. Medical textbooks are being rewritten as we speak. Fascia used to be thought of as the tissue surgeons would cut through to get to muscles and organs.

So far, we’ve figured out that fascia is the connecting media for all of the other organs. The body’s matrix. It holds and controls the heart and flow of blood through our vascular systems. It holds and controls the transmission of neural energy. It holds and controls all the muscles and the entire digestive system; beginning to end. And all the connective tissues within the body are interrelated. The hand bone really is connected to the knee bone!

This is significant because when I press into the skin, what I’m really affecting is what’s happening in the connective tissues beneath the surface, the fascia.

When you look into the sun and sneeze, that’s the fascia connection. When your blood sugar is low and your mind goes fuzzy, that’s fascia. When your traps are so tight you get migraines, that’s fascia. When someone pulls your finger, well, that’s just funny.

In my practice of MFR, Myo-Fascial Release, the fascia I track and reshape holds, and stores, and maintains, all of our unconscious memories, our hopes, dreams, and fears. Fascia, we’ve learned, is the storehouse, the conduit, the organizer, the balancer, and the gatekeeper of our mind, body, and spirit.

Massage directly influences the fascia: what it holds, how it performs, and the ways it influences the function of everything else in your body. That’s the reason massage is so profoundly effective.

Licensed massage therapists are medical professionals, tested, and in most states, licensed by your state medical board. Massage is safe. It’s respectful. It can accommodate your comfort level and can be received clothes on or off, lying on a massage table, seated on a chair, or standing. For many, the touch of massage is the saving grace that makes the difference between surviving and thriving.

You can find massage therapists in clinical group practices and as individual practitioners who will come to your home. And it’s affordable. It may be covered by your insurance. Even if it’s not, your physical and emotional well-being is more valuable than what ever it costs. Your health and happiness -and sanity- are certainly worth your investment.

Please take care of yourself. Before taking care of your (pets) children, you need to put your mask on first. That’s a metaphor. Massage therapy can help you get through this.

By extension, your pets will be less needy and happier. After all, they will not have to expend their resources patterning after you during your delirium (Serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of surroundings.)

-Jonathan Rudinger, LMT, RN, Founder of the PetMassage.com canine massage school, provides massage to dogs and therapeutic MFR, Myo-Fascial Release for people.

Find hundreds of Jonathan’s weekly blogs cached at https://petmassage.com/category/petmassage-blog/jonathans-helpful-hints/

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