Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2017

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Page 29 of 120

SAVVY SELF-CARE best practices C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 27 Caring for the Senses By Jennie Hastings On my own path of savvy self-care, I have gone through many stages of learning about myself, my body, my mind, and my emotions. At each stage, there is a refinement in my self-care practices. One of the first stages of learning to care for myself was to pay attention to the food I was putting into my body. I remember being fascinated as I noticed the way different foods made me feel and the power that seemed to give me overnight. After paying attention to the food I was eating, and learning a little about nutrition, I began to understand how different foods affect me and so could choose how I wanted to feel. It was no longer a mystery to me when I woke up bloated and with a new crop of acne after a day of eating pastries and drinking coffee. I knew it was an inflammatory response in my body, and I discovered how to balance my system again with food that kept my blood sugar stable. Over time, as I have learned more about self-care, I have come to learn that food is not the only way junk can get into my system. Besides my tongue, I have eyes, ears, a nose, and the surface of my skin, and for each of these senses there are both beneficial and harmful things to consume. Our senses are, well, sensitive. They are directly connected to our nervous system and brain, and through them we gather the perceptions that create our thoughts and emotions. If we regularly expose ourselves to harsh sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures, our nervous system will begin to withdraw our sensitivities. Too much sensory exposure causes a deadening of our senses as we subconsciously disconnect a bit from life to protect our inner experience. A cycle then begins where it takes more for us to feel something, so we seek even more extreme sensory experiences. The trouble with this continual numbing is it takes us out of connection with ourselves. As massage therapists and bodyworkers, our bodies and minds are the instruments we use to do our work. If we blunt our senses by exposing them to too much, we will not be sensitive in our work with our clients. The work we do is subtle. Our ability to put our hands on a person's body and feel what is going on with their muscles means we already have refined our subtle awareness. The more we are able to support this awareness by caring for our senses, the better our work will be. NURTURING OUR SENSES There are many ways to protect and nourish the senses. I am sure if you think about it, you will realize there are many things you already do to take care of yourself in this way.

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