Thursday, February 7

Massage Therapy Changed My Life

“Nothing happens until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change.” - Arthur Burt

It's hard for me to even being writing about this, because of how much I've been impacted by it. So let's start at the beginning. It was one year after I graduated from AAU and was working as a concept artist on an MMRPG. The long hours, bad food, lack of exercise, and poor sleep was catching up with me and my health was slowly starting to deteriorate at a very young age. I remember it hurting bad. The pain started in my hands, then my wrists, my arms, legs, and finally my neck. I was to the point were I was wearing a wrist brace to work every day and I had to tell my art director that I was having problems holding a pencil.

As an artist, this scared me beyond measure. Would I be able to draw and paint again? Was this permanent? Did I have carpal tunnel? Was this the end of my professional art career? So one can see how frightening this all was. It led me to ask other artists about their situations and found that most of them were having similar issues or have lived with it for a long time. How can this be! I was furious, because all of these people were suffering the same way. How is that possible, and why isn't anything being done to change it?

High on emotions, I went to HR at my company and explained what was going on with the artists. They expressed their sympathies, and began to work with ergonomic specialists to help solve the problem. I got a foot rest and was going to be resigned to a desk that was the proper height for my size. That day I learned a valuable lesson, and that was that as an individual we have to look out for ourselves and can't rely on others all the time. If I would have known better, I would have requested this change on day one. Getting a proper setup is vital for one's longevity and productive, but it doesn't end there.

I never liked the way most Western doctors work, but I was desperate for help and my hands and wrists weren't getting any better. So I set the appointment that I credit as being my wake-up call. This doctor didn't care one bit about me, conversed for only about five minutes (I waited a long time to see them of course), prescribed some pills, suggested expensive surgery, and told me that I needed to go out and buy another arm brace for the time being because they wouldn't cover it. I left with a broken heart because I knew deep down that this didn't help and I wasted my hard earned money.

That night I got high on just one of the prescribed pills (half of what was recommended). I hated how it made me feel. Such a little amount caused my tiny body to shake and I felt like I was out of my mind. That was the last time I saw a Western doctor, and I quit my job shortly after.

There was a point to going through all of this though, and I see it clearly now. Around that time I was told about sports massages for artists. Just like an athlete, an artist could hire their own personal therapist and slowly rebuild their strength. Now this was exciting, because it sounded like it could really work out for me. Maybe I could get better, and not have to define myself as 'someone that has wrist problems.'

So I started to look up the best therapists in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it seems like fate now because I found my doctor (it's going on six years now). Anthony has a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and his views align with my own. The body wants to heal itself without drugs or surgery. There's no reason for either of them, and sure enough my wrist problems are a thing of the past. I don't define myself as broken. I'm healed and am stronger because of it.

The way that it works is that massage releases toxins from the muscles, breaks up any stagnation, gets the blood flowing once more, and the caring touch of another human being is stress reducing. This deep-tissue work is painful at times, but it's just the release of all of the built up tension. I walk out of my appointments feeling like I can take on the world again and I'm truly grateful. It's beyond words.

Massage therapy also led me to shift my thinking on a lot of things in life. I began to raise my standards and realize the vital importance between mind and body. They're inseparable and one can't function at their best, in anything, without that connection. I began to work less, started to follow my heart (that's what led me to blogging and YouTube), exercise became a must, and my diet improved.

I close with this, if you're hurting or suffering there's a lesson to learn from it. You're not where you need to be, and a change needs to be made. Look inside, and transform from within. We can't control the world, but we most certainly can change our own thoughts and actions. Fear holds us back. Believe me I was frightened when I quit my job, but it all worked out for the best and now I'm a better person because of it. Find balance in life again my friends. Don't wait another day.

You always have my help and please pass this message on to others.

Much love,
~Claudia

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