I’ve had a lot of clients coming to me recently complaining of tension. Nothing new there as you can imagine but this tension wasn’t caused by extensive training, manual handling or even starting a new job. In fact, in most cases the person could not pin point anything significant that could be causing this mystery tension but still the stiffness, tightness, aches and pains continued.
As a holistic therapist, I pride myself on breaking down knots and banishing muscular tension. I get a great feeling of accomplishment when a client leaves a massage session feeling like a brand new person. It also gives me great pleasure identifying the root of the problem. After all, if we keep doing the same things then the tension will continue to return and return and oh well, you get the point. This is what I term the simple every day.
Ok, quiz time. Take ten seconds and think about the two things you do most during the day.
Alright, so we work, a lot of the day and we sleep for a fair amount of it too. The rest of the time we are in transit, preparing food, socialising, relaxing and what not. Of the 168 hours in a week, what percentage do you work? Sleep? Commute? Prepare food and eat? Socialise? Relax? Sit in front of a television screen/computer screen? Meditate? Stretch? Exercise?
Think about what you do for a living. Are you sitting at a desk? Driving a vehicle? Standing at a reception? Carrying heaving loads? Walking? Whatever your line of work, chances are that you are repeating the same movements over and over, or holding your posture in the same position day in and day out. That’s fine every so often; it would probably have very little impact on the body. But when you are doing the same thing or sitting/standing in the same position for an average of 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 48 weeks of the year for say 20 years, that my friends is a very different story. Hello chronic neck issues, there you are now creaky shoulder and I almost forgot you, our old pal sciatica.
I know what you’re thinking, “I need to quit my job, now” but before you hand in that resignation letter let’s think about this logically: Close your eyes and imagine your workspace. When was the last time you actually inspected the space that you spend a big chunk of the day working in? Your chair or seat, desk or countertop, computer and equipment? Are they in the correct position for you? Everybody is a different height and limb lengths differ from person to person, therefore I think we can all agree that no one space will suit everyone. One size does not fit all!
We tend to arrive at work and launch into the work day without acknowledging the space and equipment we use. Check your workspace. Check your equipment. If you’re standing or walking a lot consider your footwear. Invest in a good pair of shoes; your feet will thank you for it. Think about all the other things you rely on to do your job effectively and make sure they are working for your greater good and not creating a negative impact on your body. Is there anything else that you feel you need to make your workspace more workable for you? Some companies like to get a visual display unit or display screen equipment assessor in to check employee’s workspaces, this is a great investment. Employees, make sure that you are taking short regulars breaks away from your workspace to stretch and shake out tension. This will definitely help.
We can apply the same principal to that sacred space that is your bed. We spend a lot of time in a horizontal position during our lifetimes so make sure it’s as comfortable as possible. When was the last time you changed your mattress? Do your pillows completely support your head and neck? Do you sleep in the same position? Are you sleeping in a draft? Is your bedding causing you allergies? Observe these things and if you are getting up in the morning and not feeling rested and rejuvenated then make some changes.
I personally believe that the things we do every day can have more of an effect on our bodies than we realise. Observation is key, make small changes and support your body in every way you can to take pressure off your bones, muscles and sinews lessening tension, aches and pains for a healthier and happier life.
Adrienne, holistic therapist, 15th August 2015