Often, a new client begins massage and has never really checked in to feel what is going on in their body. Massage is predictably relaxing, but ends up as well being eye-opening for them. In that first session, they become aware of sensations, tension, soreness, and feelings they have not realized were there.
Our bodies hold stress, tension, and trauma collected throughout our entire life. If never addressed, treated and released, patterns set in. Our muscles develop stress patterns from general life activities and attitudes, like having to hold it all together on our own, without support. Our postures show years of guarding ourselves from pain or abuse.
Most of us do not feel safe or at ease in our own bodies. Actually letting our physical bodies relax and let go of those holding patterns takes a few massages. Trust is essential, of course -- it only makes sense to let guarding, holding, and tension go if the environment is safe and free of potential harm.
When trust grows and clients begin to feel assured that they can physically relax and will not be harmed, the body begins to physically change. I see it before my eyes daily. Sometimes I wish I could snap 'before' and 'after' photos to show the client the changes. They are clearly visible. After a massage, shoulders drop. Backs unhunch. Chests open up and have more space to breathe deeply. Healing brings about a sense of safety and heaviness lifts. Countenances change. People's eyes are softer and brighter after a massage.
The awareness of what's going on in your body is a good thing because you can begin to listen, to tune in, and to better attend to your body's needs. This awareness is the beginning of better health, better self-care, and to a more enjoyable life.