If you look around you at the natural world, you might be surprised by what you can learn from it when it comes to your own self-care. You can get attuned with the cycle of seasons, allowing that awareness to provide your life with a healthy balance of various self-care measures. For example, spring is the season when new growth takes place. It is associated with activity, physical exercise and movement. Summer is a time of warmth and abundance, and has a natural association with nourishing food. This is also a great time to connect with others via travel, community activities and social interaction. Fall is the time for reaping the harvest coming from earlier seasons and then letting go of anything that isn’t useful any longer. Focusing on breathing- inhaling and exhaling- fits in naturally with this particular season. Winter time is a time to rest. Stillness and sleep is also associated with it.
Just like we learn from watching the yearly season’s natural cycles, we can also learn from respecting the day and night cycles. We go from a resting place, and then into activity, as we reach for nourishment and connection outside of ourselves. We let go, breathe, eat, move, sleep, and then once again surrender to the cycle. We live and also thrive, like all other living creatures do, in natural cycles of inactivity and activity, of elimination and nourishment, and of exhalation and inspiration. We honor all of the changes that come inside the cycles of one day, one week, one year, and of a complete lifetime.
So how can bodywork and massage support us the best through the course of the changing seasons? The seasons represent various times with different preferences and needs, whether these are metaphorical or literal. Let’s take a look at how each of the seasons relates to a different bodywork style.
Spring is the time of change and growth. It naturally gives us the urge to want to be more physically active. The warmer days and growing light are conducive to more movement, including recreational and therapeutic exercise. Bodywork that helps to support you with your exercise routine can be quite useful during this stage and can help you stay motivated as well.
This season is a natural for sports massage therapy as well as other techniques that help to ease muscle soreness following exercise. Orthopedic modalities or deep-tissue massage therapy can address tension or specific muscle pain. Having work done on motor points or trigger points of the muscles can help them to relax following exercise. In addition, having a massage before exercising and using specific or broad compression techniques can help to prevent soreness through activating and warming up the muscles.
Many individuals discover that having a massage therapy during the early part of their day can be rejuvenating as well as relaxing. It can help motivate them to exercise. It can also help you feel very in tune with what is going on with your body and feel energized as well. Any discussion that takes place during your massage session needs to focus on what your specific needs are. Letting your therapist know what types of exercise you do and what goals you have that relates to the physical activity you perform can be very useful.
Summer is a time of warmth and abundance. It is the season for enjoying the natural world’s nourishing gifts. This is a time that you want to have new experiences, travel, and connect socially with others. Bodywork and massage during this season can help you feel integrated and whole within your body. This is very nurturing for both your mind and body, and gives you the opportunity for emotional and physical healing.
Integrative massage techniques can be the ideal modality for nurturing you during the summer. The technique makes use of gliding, firm strokes, full hand contact and a slow rhythm that emphasizes the inter-connectedness of various parts of your body. Massage during this season, like the summer sun’s warmth, enables you to completely relax your body, and let go effortlessly of patterns of tension that have been long held and to open your mind and heart up to new experiences.
Summer is naturally a good time for traveling. Therefore, it can be a great time for indulging that spirit of adventure that you have and trying something new when it comes to your self-care regimen. Go to a day spa and get a massage therapy and seaweed wrap, indulge in some hydrotherapy or visit a relaxing mineral hot springs.
As summer’s fullness gives way to the changing colors and the fall leaves, fall is a great time for taking a look at what our priorities are, to express gratefulness for all that we have, and also have the willingness to let go of anything that isn’t useful any longer. Bodywork’s focus may include attention to your breathing’s natural rhythms of exhalation and inhalation. Massage therapy is a great time for letting go of your emotional stress and physical tension as you become open to new forms of inspiration.
Bodywork during this season may vary. It will depend on what your preferences and needs are. Pay attention to the specific body position that enables you to breathe the easiest, whether you are seated in a chair or on a massage table for your massage therapy. As an example, a majority of individuals have an easier time breathing when they are in a supine (face up) position or side-lying position as opposed to a prone (face down) position. Ask that more time be spent in the position that you find most comfortable so that your therapist can make adaptions according to what your needs are.
Another option that can be very helpful with facilitating effortless breathing is having a shoulder massage while sitting in a regular chair. Stimulating the acupressure points of the large intestine and lung meridians, which appear on the feet, arms and hands, can also support easy breathing, along with the elimination process.
Winter, with its extended hours of darkness, is naturally a time for stillness and resting. Deeply relaxing bodywork is characteristic of this season’s energy. It stimulates your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which enables your body to make use of its own restorative and healing processes. It involves lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Relaxation massage therapy enables you to experience an altered state of mind that is blissful as you surrender yourself to comforting touch.
Any relaxing massage modality can be effective. As an example, effleurage has slow, gliding strokes. For many people this is one of the most pleasant of all the Swedish massage techniques. You can be transported into a place of serenity and peacefulness, providing you with a small vacation away from your busy life’s stresses. Other modalities that might be relaxing include various energy-related therapies, nurturing acupressure and manual lymph drainage.
With nurturing touch, quite often a soothing massage oil or lotion gets applied. This can help with hydrating dry winter skin. Another thing that can contribute to the session’s ambiance is relaxing music, which can help you experience the season’s quietness.
With all of the suggestions for bodywork and massage therapy for all four seasons, you can recognize what your own preferences and needs are any time and let your therapist know. As an example, before the session state what your intention is. Say, “Today I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. I just need to relax right now.” Or, “This week I have ridden my bike every day. My leg muscles need some extra attention today.” You might be feeling over committed in your social or personal life or maybe it is very stressful at work right now. Use your bodywork sessions as times for focusing on nurturing yourself. Reclaim your sense of feeling whole and allow your mind and body to be integrated. Perhaps you have experienced a personal challenge or loss that is significant in your life and you need to have a place that is safe where you can process and feel your emotions. It can be helpful sometimes to talk during your massage session. Then at other times the best thing to do is to experience things deeply without having any distractions from conversation.
No matter what your preferences and needs are, be sure to communicate them clearly to your massage therapist. Also, just be aware that you can enjoy all of the benefits that bodywork and massage therapy can provide you with during all four seasons of the year.
Spabene is a true upscale boutique spa and massage therapy practice. Talk to Spabene therapist about your lifestyle and physical health, as a good massage therapist will adapt your massage to suit your body’s needs. All of our massage therapy specialists, nail technicians and aesthetician will offer you with excellent care and services according to your particular needs and wants. Spabene also provide personalized facial treatment to your particular skin type. Leave your stresses and worries behind and let us assist you to restore your sense of inner peace. Call us for more information at 212-362-2867