Let me start off with a disclaimer: I get a massage once a week. Lots of people think I’m nuts. Even more think I’m made of money. I’m neither (okay, maybe a little of the first, but almost none of the latter). I am an average working mom; and the majority of my paycheck goes to bills, gas, groceries, and tuition, with a few incidentals thrown in for fun. You might find it strange, then, that I splurge on massage so often. After all, massage isn’t cheap. Indeed, it isn’t. But neither are all the other things I pay for. Massage, as it were, is simply one of the ways I prioritize my funds, and I’ve determined that a weekly massage far outweighs its monetary costs.
Perhaps a weekly massage seems ridiculous to you. Perhaps you’d love to have a massage each week but an inner voice tells you that you don’t deserve all that pampering. Perhaps you truly can’t afford a weekly massage—there just isn’t room to squeeze it into your budget. I get it; I really do. But before you decide if it is worth the money, consider some of the benefits of massage:
It decreases acute and chronic pain
It improves flexibility through stretching
It increases feel-good hormones
It decreases stress-related hormones
It improves circulation
Not too shabby, eh? But there’s one more thing I want to float out there: it’s the fact that massage provides you with an opportunity to unwind. This is perhaps its most valuable benefit.
There is a lot of talk of technology overload these days, and increasing press on the practice of mindfulness. I think these things are worthy of our attention (and even debate). But even without discussion, I think we have an awareness that we are stretched increasingly thin. Most of us rarely put our cell phones down, we flutter on and off of the web all day. We listen to books on audio in the car. We sport iPods when we run. We fall asleep to the television, and wake up to the screeching of an alarm. Everywhere we look, ads scream for our attention, and we give it, unendingly.
This is where massage provides its most crucial benefit. By booking ourselves regular massage sessions, we ensure that no matter what is going on and no matter how many gadgets or people are pulling at our attention, we have a brief respite from the chaos. This is invaluable. Which is sort of the point.
No, massage isn’t free (your massage therapist needs to make a living, too). But, to my mind, the benefit of unplugging from the world on a regular basis is worth its weight in gold. I don’t have access to your finances, so I realize I can’t speak to you individually with any real authority. But I can say this: most of us spend money on unnecessary things with relative frequency. We buy lattes like they are going out of style. I, for one, feel confident that they aren’t. If we were to take stock of the things we buy that we don’t reap any real benefits from, I think many of us would find enough money for an occasional massage.
If you can’t get them every week, that’s okay. But I urge you to try fitting them into your life. They are about much more than pampering: as I often tell my husband, sometimes they are about maintaining a little sanity.