An aching back, cramping feet, shin splints, tight quads and even tighter shoulders. These are the ailments my body had been feeling for the last few weeks. If you have never had any of these, you are one lucky s.o.b. This wasn’t my first time feeling these aches and pains, so I decided to start going through my typical routine of trying to get rid of them. All of which are rather enjoyable treatments, if I do say so myself I took epsom salt baths to relax, had J.O rub my shoulders, drank more water with more lemon and increased my Kale intake for detoxing and flushing, ran on softer ground for my shin splints and stretched…a lot. Still, my body was feeling blah, my runs had been dragging and I was tired from all the exertion. So, I went to the final (and always the best…why don’t I ever just do this first?) remedy: a massage.
Our gracious landlord gave us a gift certificate to a local massage studio for Christmas this year, so I decided to bust that out and give them a call. Unfortunately, the gift card he gave us was for a bowen massage, a type of bodywork that is more of a balancing of the muscles rather than a healing and releasing of the muscles. Because I knew I needed some focused treatment, I opted to pay for a 90 minuet healing massage.
The therapists at North Shore Therapeutic Massage in Haleiwa on O’ahu are a God-send. When I arrived at their small and hidden studio, I was greeted by the therapists themselves, not a receptionist. They (I say they because since I was coming back in a few days for the bowen treatment and would be seeing two different therapists, they both wanted to meet me) both sat me down and interviewed me for a solid twenty minuets; asking me questions on my health both past and present, where I was experiencing pain if any, what injuries and car accidents I have gone through (and they made me think), if I had ever broken or injured my tail bone, if I had issues with TMJ or grinding my teeth, if I exercised (how ofter, how far, and what) and even down to how my menstrual cycle was and if I had headaches. At first I was thinking, what in the world did I sign up for….I just want you to make it so my back isn’t screaming at me!
Now I have had plenty of massages before, but I will say that when it comes to overall healing, this one takes that cake. Deb, my therapist, was awesome. Throughout the treatment she would explain to me what muscles she was working and why. She would have me do various exercises after she was done working on an area; having me feel how my mobility had changed. I even discovered that at some point in my life I had injured my tail bone and it was swinging to the right, causing my right leg to be tighter than my left and leaving me with less mobility. CRAZY!
After my session, I relaxed for a few moments on the comfortable, heated massage table and reflected on how blessed I was to be in the care of someone that was not only very educated about how the human body moves and functions, but someone who honestly cared about healing people and was passionate about their job.
Deb advised me to take it easy for the rest and to drink plenty of water. I left the studio feeling a little groggy at first, but by the end of the day I was feeling more refreshed. I slept like a baby that night (something that hasn’t happened often lately) and woke up with more energy than usual. When I geared up for my morning run, I will admit, I was a little nervous. Would things be worse, better or the same? Would my body still be in recovery mode, thus making my run horribly hard? Either way, I decided to take it slow. It wasn’t even five minuets into my run that I could feel a difference. My legs we stretching out further , my feet had yet to start cramping and no sign of an on coming shin splints. By the end of my 3.5 mile run, I still had yet to feel even a sign of a shin splint, my feet never cramped, my back and hips were fluid and although I thought I had taken it slow and steady, when I looked at my MapMyRun tracker, my minuets per mile time had improved by over one full minuet! Oh, and I stopped once for a walking breather about 3/4 of the way through the run. What? How could this be? It honestly felt like I had traded in the body I had yesterday for a new one.
Now, I still have a few quirks to work out in my lower back and my ankles, but over all, I feel I was drastically healed in one session. Even J.O, whom once thought it to be something simply to indulge yourself with, has become a rider on the healing powers of massage train. A few months ago, after weeks of a aching back, I finally convinced him to give massage a try and he will tell you that it was the best thing for him. The man was feeling better ten times fold the next day.
If you were a skeptic on massage before, I beg you to go for at least one hour session. Pay the money, it is worth it every time. Insurance should cover it in my opinion.