Imagine, if you will, a scenario. Two women, both of the same age, similar physical characteristics, and similar lifestyles. They both have rather intense careers in similar fields and find that stress builds up in their lives on a daily basis to the extent that it begins to impact their health. One woman simply grits her teeth and muscles her way through each day. She won’t let anything slow her down, and as a result, she starts to notice that little health concerns tend to grow into much larger ones. Her blood pressure had been mildly high before, but now, she needs to go on medication to keep it under control. Her body seems to be constantly running down and getting sick, even when it’s not cold and flu season. Added to that, she keeps getting fierce tension headaches and is dismayed to discover that they often affect her ability to do her work properly because they are so distracting. She finds that her determination to not let anything slow her down is being constantly overridden by her ever-present issues. It’s almost as though her body is hitting the brakes to try and slow her down despite her determination! She continues to grit her teeth and push on, however, now with good doses of blood pressure and headache medication. Eventually, her body can’t take it anymore and something fairly major happens that lands her in the hospital, where she must spend several days recovering. There, even though her insurance covers most of the care, she still racks up a decent bill as well as several uncomfortable nights in the hospital ward and several even more uncomfortable tests.
The second woman, in quite the opposite fashion of her counterpart, decides as soon as she feels stress starting to detrimentally affect her life that it is high time that she gets a massage and promptly schedules an appointment with a highly-recommended therapist. While she takes a brief hour on the massage table under the caring touch of her therapist, she is able to let go of her stresses and just enjoy. Her blood pressure goes down due to the profound relaxation she is experiencing. That pesky tightness in her neck and shoulder muscles which was leading to so many headaches and bad nights’ sleep is also being carefully worked out, and the relief it brings to feel flexibility and blood flow in that area once more is so wonderful! By the time the massage is over, her whole body feels totally relaxed as well as refreshed. Both mentally and physically, she feels light years better than she did, and she happily schedules another appointment with the therapist to continue the very pleasant activity that helps her feel in top shape. This woman notices, as she makes massage a consistent part of her monthly schedule, that she is able to perform better at work, she sleeps more soundly and with improved quality, and she has very few health problems. Those that she does have remain minor in nature and she is able to live a generally healthy, pain-free life even while maintaining her demanding career.
Now, I can guess which of these two scenarios those of you who happen to read this post would choose if the choice were given to you. No one wants to have to spend several hours or days of their time in doctors’ offices, getting uncomfortable tests performed; or paying for expensive prescriptions and having to take mouthfuls of pills. Massage therapy is infinitely preferable to that, and the fact is that it can truly help many conditions from exacerbating to the point where an individual might need intensive medical attention.
Some people argue that at least the healthcare is covered by insurance, whereas massage therapy rarely is unless it is considered “medical” in nature. However, an important question to ask yourself is this. Would you rather spend a slightly smaller amount of money (based off of whatever the insurance agrees to cover) to sit in doctors’ offices and hospitals trying to diagnose and treat your ailments which have gotten somewhat out of hand? Or would you rather spend a little bit more to take the prophylactic measure of seeing a massage therapist who can give you an hour of bliss and a huge dose of preventive care to keep your minor ailments from becoming major ones? I know which one I would choose. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and that is rarely more true than when you are considering steps to maintain your health.