People who are not writers often have the impression that writers have it easy, sitting in front of a computer, lazily pushing words around in a way that makes sense. This is far from the truth. The truth is that it doesn’t matter what type of writing they do (online content, novels, magazine articles, etc.), they all experience pressure to perform, stress to meet deadlines, and the anxiety of writer’s block; not to mention the need to make ends meet at the end of every month.
There are physical problems too, including headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain, back spasms, and posture misalignment.
Together with pain, stress, and anxiety can cause other problems with symptoms that resemble those of burnout. These include lack of focus, difficulty concentrating, and lethargy.
So, what is a stressed-out writer to do?
There are several options, such as hiking and taking up hobbies like baking and card making. One of the most indulgent ways in which writers can relax is a good massage. In fact, massage is not just indulgence, it is self-care.
What types of massage help writers relax?
There are a lot of massage techniques, each of which helps with different problems.
Swedish massage is one of the most well-known techniques. It has overarching benefits so it helps with relaxation and alleviates muscle tension and strain from poorly designed ergonomic chairs, which results back pain and headaches.
Aromatherapy massage uses essential oils which have therapeutic or healing properties. The choice of oil depends on the reason for the appointment; for example, if you specifically have trouble sleeping or relaxing or need a zing of energy.
Deep tissue massage is great for chronic tension and muscular pain. Therapists have to use a great deal of pressure to dig down into the muscle and knead out knots. You’re supposed to feel the pressure, but not feel pain. So if you get sore, you need to tell your massage therapist to ease up.
Shiatsu massage targets specific pressure points that are essential to the positive flow of energy (chi). It’s believed that blocked chi results in a range of health problems, including headaches, insomnia, joint pain, and digestive distress. Blockages can occur when writers sit for too long without taking a break to walk around and stretch. When the blockages are cleared, people feel relaxed, health problems clear up, and even injuries start to heal properly.
Hot stone massage uses warm stones placed on certain points on the body to promote deep relaxation and loosen the muscles so the therapist can work deeper in the muscle with less effort and discomfort. The stones can be used to work into muscles or simply to convey coziness. It’s a good technique to relieve pain, anxiety, and insomnia. The stones should be warm, but not hot. If you’re uncomfortable tell your massage therapist immediately.
Reflexology uses the premise that points on the feet connect to parts of the body. Like shiatsu, it unblocks energy points so that energy can flow properly. Reflexology stimulates the body’s natural healing ability, as well as the pleasure response, which promotes relaxation. It also increases endorphins in your system which alleviates pain and combats stress. Unlike most other massage techniques which can only be administered when you’re lying down, reflexology can be done with customers sitting in comfortable massage chairs.
Chair massage is when a qualified massage therapist gives you a stress-relieving massage while you are sitting in a purpose-designed massage chair. Companies sometimes hire therapists to come to the office and give employees 10 — 20 minute massages to relieve on-the-job stress. This is helpful if you work in an office. Home-based writers could probably book a private session. Or you could look at some of the common spots where chair massage therapists hang out, such as shopping malls and markets.
Being a writer can be tremendously satisfying. In many ways, it lets you live your dreams. But dreams aren’t perfect and sometimes, while you’re decking away at your keyboard, your body is taking an indirect beating. Massage is a great way to decompress, rel. your brain, and get rid of niggling (and chronic) muscular pain.