To some of us, it seems like the obvious solution, but for many people the idea of combining natural therapies to bring about lasting and effective change rather than reaching for the panadol and anti-inflammatory drugs doesn’t even cross into the hemisphere of the mind. Let’s investigate how simply combining these therapies could save you a lot of pain, time off work or study, and money.
First of all, pain relief and drugs to ease inflammation have their place. And no, not just in the back of the medicine cupboard, but for when there is acute pain or inflammation and you don’t know what else to try and it’s 3am then yes, take them if you have them. But in the morning call your therapist and book a massage. Then trot off down to your local yoga school and take a class.
The way these two therapies compliment each other is far out. You come in for a massage, we get everything loose and aligned and released and by the end of the session you are feeling great, the pain is lessened, you have more flexibility, you are calm, happy and feeling well… Then depending on your therapist and your condition, an hour, a day, a week or fortnight later, that pain is back, you are feeling tired and lethargic, cranky, tight and miserable. You don’t want to have to shell out for another massage/physio/insert other therapy here, so you head down to the doctor’s office or chemist, take some pills and place a fluffy bandaid over the problem. (This, actually doesn’t heal the part of the body that is affected by the way, it provides Symptomatic Relief only, so eventually, you will find your self back at the massage/physio/hospital most likely worse off then you were before)
You have a treatment, feel amazing then go to your local yoga school (ASMY is my recommendation) and you take an easy or gentle class where you can explain your pain to the teacher and they can ensure you are working safely. You stretch and strengthen the area on a regular basis and boom! Your treatments step down gradually to monthly maintenance, your chemist bill shrinks, your mood improves dramatically and you are moving around pain free.
How does this happen?
Yoga keeps the body mobile and in correct alignment. It works on your posture and strengthens and stretches the whole of the body. It stabilises your core and builds muscle and internally heats and warms the body as well. When coupled with a massage treatment, which gives the initial repair, the yoga asanas can help to maintain this state and improve on it further. It’s like when you take some cheese out of the oven.. if you keep it warm the cheese stays soft and malleable, you can move and mould it easily. If you let it sit on the bench or in the freezer it becomes hard and brittle and does not bend, or flex even though it was so bendy when it was warm.
The same goes for just doing yoga without a massage. Sometimes you need to get in deep and specifically into the muscle or area that is causing the problem, while you can stretch generally, it is difficult to pinpoint a few fibres through yoga asanas. So the most benefit is the combination of both. Try it.
You don’t even need to go every day. A massage weekly to start and yoga a couple of times a week is okay, although chances are you will feel so good after a class that you will be chasing that feeling, and you know what ? That’s fine. Being addicted to feeling your best is okay when you are doing it safely and with your optimal health and well being in mind.