Computer muscle stress - relief is at hand!

75 percent of Americans use the Internet and spend an average three hours a day online, according to Brad Stone in a 2005 report*. That was before the advent of the smart phone, iPad and other technological advances. This also doesn't take into account the amount of time Americans spend at their computers for work-related and other personal use. No wonder I see so much computer-related muscle stress in my massage practice on a daily basis!

So, the computer is a fact of life for us here in the western world. You may cut down (briefly) on time spent in front of a monitor when your neck and shoulders are screaming with pain. This, however, is no long term solution. What you really want is to continue using your computer AND reduce the amount of stress (and consequently, pain) your muscles endure. Help is at hand!

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Getting the Most out of your Massage

How to get the most out of your massage

Being on the other side of a massage today, as I received my weekly session, gave me an opportunity to ponder this question from the client's point of view.


Stay present throughout the session. This means staying present in your body, not zoning out or drifting off. Why? Change happens with awareness. Staying present and fine tuning your awareness gives both you and your therapist valuable information about what's going on.

Practice tuning in to the area being touched and learn to describe the sensations. Notice other areas of your body that are affected. In what way? Are you subtly tightening another area? Do you feel tingling or pain somewhere else?

Notice your thought process. Are old memories being released as the tissue unwinds? Or are you thinking about something non-related to avoid uncomfortable feelings or sensations?


A good therapist will remind you to breathe during your session and will have you work with focused breath during certain procedures. That doesn't however let you off the hook the rest of the time. Your breath is what keeps you present during a session and can help in bringing your awareness to the area being worked.

Does this mean you have to do deep breathing throughout the massage? No. There's no need to change your breathing, for the most part. Being aware of your breath and how you're breathing is the key. When tightness or discomfort is experienced as an area is being worked, sending deep, relaxed breath to that area can help tension dissolve and the tissue let go.

Active Involvement

Many people rate their massage by how quickly they can relax and fall asleep. I don't encourage falling asleep, (unless you're really sleep deprived and that's really the healing your body needs). With certain techniques, you may enter an altered state where you are deeply relaxed, but the key once again is staying present as much as possible.

Certain types of massage may require more active participation on your part than others. Your therapist may ask you to resist against a stretch, or move your body in a certain way to assist a release. Even if they don't, you can still stay involved by giving feedback from time to time of what you're experiencing. By this I mean, let them know when you feel something releasing. Do you notice a difference in an area of the body they have just finished working on? Express that. Apart from providing valuable information to your therapist, this also helps you own the changes that are happening in your body.

At the end of the session, take a moment or two to notice how you feel. Is it different than when you lay down at the beginning of the session? How? Do you feel taller? Lighter? Free from worries?

Stay in that space when you stand up and dress, noticing how you are moving and what has changed in your body. This will give you an opportunity to maintain any new ways of movement. Old patterns persist when we are on automatic and even though much may have shifted during a session, if you don't notice or stay aware of what has changed, the body will simply go back to the old ways it knows.

"Awareness is the beginning of all transformation." Osho, Hammer on the Rock