Last week, I was privileged enough to meet with Madeline Michaels, a wonderful massage therapist and bodyworker on the Upper East Side who did wonders for my stressed out soul, my achy body, and quite frankly, my cranky attitude.
reenter the world gently after a massage
After nearly two hours of personal attention and therapeutic healing (through traditional massage and holistic energy work), I arose from the table-greeted with two cups, one filled with alkaline water and another with coconut water-feeling refreshed, renewed and, for the first time in weeks, ready to step out into the streets of this ever-hectic city feeling generally good.
But as I zipped up my coat and picked up my grocery bags, I began to panic a little. How will I continue to harbor these feelings of ease and freedom once I turn my cell back on and return to reality? (Apparently, the inner workings of my brain think in prose.)
To find out, I went straight to the source-Madeline-and asked her, in all of her infinite wisdom, to equip me with five practical tools to prolong that "yummy balanced feeling" of a massage after a great bodywork session. "The lingering sensation of a good bodywork session and healing can last for days," Madeline says. Here's how.
1. Rest is key. The body has gone through a shift, from a sympathetic state (fight or flight) to a deeply relaxed state (parasympathetic) in a very short period of time. Madeline recommends taking the day off from weightlifting and aerobic classes at the gym and instead going for a nice long walk in the park. Get to sleep early, and give the physical and emotional body the chance to recuperate from the session. Sleep on a good mattress with a plush pillow.
2. Drink Water. Help flush toxins from the body by drinking water-and lots of it. During a massage there is an energy exchange within the cells of the body; old toxins and waste are pushed out of the cells and new oxygen enters. Water flushes toxins and waste from the body and transports nutrients to where they are needed. Try to drink eight to ten glasses of pure, filtered water a day.
3. Eat healthy, be happy. After doing something good, like a massage, for your body, Madeline recommends maintaining healthy habits. Eat big green salads with low-fat dressings during meals, and consume less alcohol, sugar, red meat, soda and chewing gum to retain that inner glow.
4. Meditation. Sit or lay down quietly and close your eyes. Place one hand over your heart and one hand over your belly. Inhale, taking a deep breath from down within your belly, allowing it to fully extend. Exhale. Focus the energy of your inhalation and exhalation into the palms of the hands and connect with what you're feeling. Repeat this breath five times slowly. Thank yourself for taking the time to meditate and feel more relaxed and at ease.
5. Exercise and sunshine. Go take a brisk walk in the sun! The body needs sunshine and oxygen to thrive just as plants do. Sunshine on your face and body increases vitamin D synthesis. Brisk walking raises metabolism, stimulates the adrenals in a healthy way, keeps you limber, and clears the lungs while activating the pineal gland-responsible for the body's circadian rhythm. Overall, taking a sun-soaked walk can endow you with more energy and an overall feeling of wellness.