Moving to a different town, especially if it is for a career opportunity can be a very exciting time of transition. Anyone who has ever moved knows that the first few weeks are full of so many new things. You’ve got to set up utilities for your new dwelling and fill out countless Change of Address forms, you will likely join a new church, a new gym and you will eventually find a new doctor, new dentist and hair stylist. And once the dust settles, you will look for a new massage therapist. While I may be slightly biased, I believe the search for the new massage therapist should begin as soon as you know your new address, and here are the reasons why.
Moving can be very physically demanding. Unless you are able to hire a moving company to pack, load, unload and unpack, moving is serious physical labor. If we pack ourselves, we are likely to overload boxes to save on packing materials. Lifting heavy loads increases our risk of back strain. Even if we remember to bend our knees and lift with our legs, repeating these motions when we are not accustomed to it can result in muscle fatigue and soreness. Perhaps your move involved a long drive, flight or nights of sleeping in uncomfortable hotel beds. Massage can certainly help relieve some of the physical discomforts involved in a move.
While moving can be very exciting, it can also be very stressful. Uncertainty and lack of familiarity can lead to increased stress levels. Increased stress levels can contribute to increased anxiety, and the stress cycle begins. Massage therapy has been proven to decrease the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol; it helps decrease heart rate and blood pressure and can help break the stress cycle.
This is especially important for the single person moving to a new location who doesn’t have an established social network and means of healthy, physical contact. As far back as Harry Harlow’s experiments with rhesus monkeys, we know that lack of physical touch leads to failure to thrive in infants. And more recent research shows that touch deprivation in children is associated with increased aggression. On the positive side, people who receive healthy touch have less anxiety, increased immune function and perform better in basic math and reading comprehension tests. Massage therapy provides an opportunity for someone who does not have an established social network to experience healthy, physical touch.
I’ve often joked that being a massage therapist is like being a priest or a bartender; people tend to tell you things while they are on the massage table. While most people aren’t confessing their sins or giving me the neighborhood gossip, I do hear a lot about what landscaper just installed the most beautiful raised beds, or who catered the 50th Anniversary party. We hear reviews of the newest restaurants, art exhibits, wineries and microbreweries. We typically have loads of business cards for chiropractors, doctors, personal trainers, and more. A massage therapist can be a great resource to help you learn your way around your new town.
If a new opportunity has you moving to Reston, Virginia I would love to be your new massage therapist. If your adventures take you elsewhere, check out the Therapist Finder at the American Massage Therapy Association.