We’re talking posterior neck pain and tension, and the protracted posture that might develop from years of working with computers (or cleaning teeth, fixing cars, painting tiny models, etc.). This isn’t so much about “fixing” as it is about helping clients feel a sense of freedom. As they stand up from the table, I’d like them to say, “ahh, it feels like I can stand up straight.” Between our work on the table and small changes they make through their day, I find that even previously persistent neck pain can resolve fairly quickly!
And that brings me to the topic of our sermon today: Emphasizing resilience and adaptability. During our sessions, we can send a variety of messages, often without meaning to. For instance, let’s say we spend an hour digging into the back of the neck. The message that might get received is, “this part is broken, it’s gummed up like a poorly maintained transmission, and it needs to be repaired.” Not only can this reinforce some self-stigma that the client might already have about a painful part, it’s also false! That part isn’t broken, and it doesn’t need to be fixed by a someone with special tools.
Why? Because the body can frequently fix itself. It got itself into this tight and painful situation, and it can get itself out just as readily. A muscle is short and hypertonic because the spinal cord says so, not because it needs to be broken down or stretched like taffy. That body just needs new inputs and a wider variety of activity, and change will surely follow.
That’s what I’d like us to communicate as clients are telling us about their pain, and about how they’ve got a bad shoulder, and how their posture sucks. We can mirror their concerns and their emotions without mirroring that specific language of self-alienation. We can emphasize how resilient the body is, and how little changes and tweaks can build up over time. We, using massage, can inform the body about how it’s already capable of feeling ease and freedom, just with a little considerate contact and patience.
Okay, sermon over 😁 Let me know what you think about the video in the comments (these last two have been deep dives… is the length and pacing okay? Is the information useful and easy to implement?), and I’d love to hear your strategies for working with these areas.
Also… two videos in two months! Who is this guy?!