I got an email from my massage therapist confirming that she would be closed for another month because of social distancing and the coronavirus pandemic.
This is bad news for her clients and for the millions of other people who depend on manual "touch therapies" like chiropractic and massage to manage pain or stress.
In fact, every year in the US, 35 million people seek out chiropractic care, while 21% of the population reports getting massages - and of those, 78% use massage to treat a health issue.
Consequently, those suffering with joint or muscle pain, circulation issues, tension headaches, and chronic stress are now trying to figure out how to get by while their massage therapists and chiropractors are closed.
Even after businesses reopen, fear of personal contact means social distancing is probably going to be around for awhile. So, people are looking for a way to bridge the gap between their needs and the professional care they are used to receiving.
If you find yourself in this predicament, here are three ways to take care of yourself at home or work.
1. Keep Moving.
Have you ever tried to get up after a long car ride, only to have your joints feel stuck and rusty?
This is because still joints become stiff joints. Joints that don't move can lose mobility and cause pain.
You probably noticed that after getting out of the car and hobbling around for a couple of minutes, your body began to move better.
The reason for this is that activity acts like a lubricant to your joints and muscles. The more you move, the more blood flow your joints get and the more mobile they feel.
Making a conscious effort to move all your parts periodically throughout the day is going to keep your joints lubricated until you can get back to your therapist.
Try little movements like opening and closing all of your fingers as wide and stretched as possible followed by closing your fists as small and tight as you can.
Then try big movements like walking. Walking is one of the best whole-body lubricating movements you can do. You could even try walking around the house with your shoes off so the little joints of your feet can move and bend.
My favorite thing to do right now is to swing a golf club 5 times on the right side and 5 times on the left side. I do this in the middle of my work day, and it only takes a couple of minutes. The rotation of my spine, along with the movement in my shoulders, wrists, knees, and ankles feels so good and releases a lot of muscle tension.
One of my go-to resources on staying active in everyday life is Katy Bowman, Biomechanist from Nutritious Movement. She teaches movement as a powerful tool that can be regenerative to muscles and joints. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to watch her 5-minute VIDEO where she explains the importance of moving all your parts.
2. Buy A Massage Chair.
Admittedly, I used to think massage chairs were just a luxury item for those who have extra money to burn.
However, now that I have done the research and have seen the effect that a massage chair can have on health, I'm a believer.
Massage chairs help people feel better and lower heart rate, blood pressure, and stress.
In 15 minutes, a mechanical massage chair can support many of the therapies that your chiropractor or massage therapist utilizes, like a full-body sports massage, intersegmental traction (stretching the joints of the back), infrared heat therapy for dissolving muscle tension, fascia hydration and release, and compression therapy to improve lymphatic drainage and circulation.
One of my clients, who was injured last year, works from home and put a chair in her office. She called me recently and said, "This massage chair has saved me during the quarantine! It's paid for itself 10 times over, and I look forward to sitting in it everyday."
I repeatedly hear from professional therapists that more progress is made more quickly when a daily routine in a massage chair is added. So even when your massage therapist or chiropractor reopens, a massage chair will support and enhance the work they do.
People always ask me what chair they should buy. The answer depends on what you are looking for, whether it is for the office or home, and what kind of budget you have. The family of chairs from FFL have a strong history of quality, design, and service. If you need help deciding, you can inquire here.
3. Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods.
What you put into your body will have an impact on the inflammatory response of your system. Inflammation leads to joint pain and other negative health outcomes. So one of the best ways to keep your body healthy during the shutdown is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
Here's the point when I have to admit that I have a secret crush on Dr. Greger of www.NutritionFacts.org. This is because Dr. Greger scours at all the evidence concerning foods that support health. There are gazillions of studies done on nutrition each year, and I would never have the time or patience to review them all individually. He has earned my confidence and respect.
I recommend watching his VIDEO that discusses the link between 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and its benefits in not only reducing inflammation in the body, but also in protecting against cancers and controlling blood sugar.
In fact, flax seed is so healthy that it has its own category in the Daily Dozen food list. Daily Dozen is a simple tool that provides a checklist of all the best foods to eat to keep inflammation down and immunity up. It's a free iOS or Android app.
All 3 of these things can be done at home or in your office to support your body while you wait for your chiropractor or massage therapist to open for business again. Bridge the gap in your care, and keep moving, get a massage chair, and manage your inflammation through the food you eat. You've got this!
If you need help implementing these ideas or would like a free consultation, please schedule a call with me HERE.
Now that COVID-19 has hit, we are all quarantined and working from home.
People have started reaching out to me about how they should set up their home offices to maximize their health. So, I thought I would weigh in on my idea of good seating options.
Staying active is key to creating a healthy workspace.
Remember...the next position is the best position.
As we prepare to move back into office buildings, consider bringing some of these ideas with you to your workspace.
If your company is interested in getting a free 12-point workspace wellness audit, schedule your online appointment here. https://activeoffice.org/talk
My name is Stevyn. I am a wife, mother, and exercise physiologist with one foot in the world of travel and one foot in the world of fitness. Learn more about me here.
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