Heal Thyself: Massage Therapy

It only seems fair to start with Maril.  31 has been a year of healing.  I finally landed a job as a real, live midwife in Missoula, MT, which is another story for a different time.  When I’m working, I work hard.  Really hard.  But I also have a lot of days off.  And on my days off, I play hard.  I have been nursing one hurt or another since October – my main complaint being pain in my right anterior deltoid area.  I’ve also had a fair amount of left shoulder pain between my scapula and spine (rhomboid?  trap?), but that pain has come and gone ever since I fell off my bike way back in 2004 and so the fact that it became constant is almost not even worth mentioning.  Then there’s the occasional left hip pain flare up (thank you, Camino), the on-off low back pain (age?  sitting too much?), the occasional left knee pain (supposedly from having over-developed quads…), the random left ankle pain (a case of adulthood), right forearm pain (mousing), and terrifying bouts of right jaw pain (who knows!) and just overall constant state of achey, tight muscles despite enjoying a heightened range of motion and flexibility unheard of in most average every day humans.  So I started seeing Maril.

Maril Bevan is a massage therapist here in Missoula.  I found her on the internet after doing a Google search and choosing to look at her practice in the most biased fashion I could think of – the name of her practice is Satori Massage, and hey, anyone using a Japanese word for their practice name must be a kindred spirit, right?  Seriously, though, it worked out in Maril’s case.  I saw the modalities she offered on her website, and noted that they were more than your run of the mill “Deep Tissue” or “Swedish” massage.  I also noted that she did not charge based on modality, but rather on the length of the time of the treatment, which is always a good sign (good massage therapists will choose the modality (or modalities) that’s right for your body’s needs at the time and charge for their time and expertise, rather than using only the modality that you paid for).

Maril and I chatted a lot during our sessions together (it’s really the only time I haven’t minded chatting with my massage therapist) and she had a lot to say about what was going on in my body.  The most important of which was, “Look, you can come in here every week if you wanted and I could work on you and you’d feel better when you left, but then you’d be right back in here the next week with the same issues.  I think if you really want to get to the root of these issues, you need to see another practitioner.”  And then she gave me a stack of cards for chiropractic, acupuncture, shiatsu, reiki and physical therapy.  That’s another reason why Maril is so rad – she genuinely wants her clients to feel better and she doesn’t shy away from referring them out when she thinks someone else could help them better, or at least, differently.  I ignored her advice for a while, but after a few months of feeling better after a massage, but not really getting better, I decided to take a look at those cards.

I’d like to note that all the practitioners I’ve encountered on my road to healing are wonderful and amazing.  However, due to the intensive and consistent nature of the treatments I’m receiving, I’m only financially able to see one of them at a time.  Once I get better and need fewer treatments, I plan to re-incorporate all of them into my regular “maintenance” routine (just on a rotating, less frequent basis!).

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