Power of the breath

When a client lies down on my massage table I observe their breathing patterns as a clue to their stress level. Rapid, shallow breaths are typical of a higher sympathetic nervous system firing, also know as fight or flight mode. I find an effective way to get into a more relaxed state quickly is to invite my client to take longer and deeper breaths. Full inhalations feed the cells oxygen to boost energy levels, while full exhalations release toxins and rejuvenate. Increasing awareness of the breath can be very powerful and enhances the effectiveness of the massage treatment. During a more intense technique, I may ask a client to bring their breath into where my hand is placed on their body. It may not technically be possible to breathe into one’s foot for example, but the imagery helps to mentally let the tension go and relax the overstimulation of the nervous system. Incorporating breath work into a massage brings a mind-body connection that lasts beyond the session and becomes part of my home care recommendations. Mindful breathing is a simple form of meditation and can decrease stress levels significantly, even a couple of minutes a day helps. Now take a moment to focus on your breath…