What a Pandemic Feels Like

How does it effect us?

This pandemic is being experienced in a very physical way by many of us. Maybe the work from home setup is not ideal. Or, if you are like me, the regular workout and maintenance routine has slipped away. Or it could be you feel the burden of the entire world’s worry resting squarely on your shoulders.
As a Bodywork Professional I’ve got a treetop view to what this does to the muscle and connective tissue In the body. The most obvious place to start is to address the stress of it all and what that does to your physical body.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is an interesting thing. Stress wants us to be prepared, be ready for something to happen…. maybe even something bad to happen. It’s fine in small doses as your senses are heightened you become more alert. However ladling out a serving of stress stew morning, noon and night can cause problems in the neck, specifically scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, around the jaw, the semispinalis muscles and upper traps.
For those with glasses, this has been a special kind of hell. With all the fog and the slipping.
Secondly, I’ve noticed arms and hands in many people are very constricted, like they are holding onto something very tightly, or typing or texting a lot. I’ve always said computers are the way of the future for Bodyworks, not in a technology way, but in a postural way. A full day of computer work can be punishing on your body.

Focused Bodywork Massage Helps Pandemic Stress

These two things contribute to rounding forward of arms and shoulders, and tightness in the chest. The antagonist muscles in the neck and upper back turn to steel as they counter this pattern. Some focused bodywork can help bring these muscles back into balance with each other.
An antidote to this is the following stretch Amy is doing. With a rope or band, its a great chest and arm opener. While doing this, actively try to “make space” for your heart. I know it’s kind of an abstraction but your heart lives surrounded, protected by your lungs, ribs, and muscular chest. Opening the chest muscles helps “make space” for your heart.

How is the Massage Industry Doing During the Pandemic?

“So Nick, how’s business?” I hear that each day and I just want to say that we are hanging in there. The last few weeks have brought out some distressing things including much of my family including my 92 year old grandmother contracting Covid-19 during thanksgiving. My family and I didn’t go because we felt I was a risk to her, but masks really do work however annoying they are.

We are in a moment where the global pandemic has home to perch, an unwanted bird nesting in your attic and needs to be addressed. I feel very confident about our protocols and routines at Bodyworks and we will continue to abide to a high level of safety. Our scheduling in more dynamic lately. More bookings and cancellations than ever. Some days are great, while other days are difficult for new therapists who didn’t roll into this with a steady book of clients.

The business is largely flat as a whole. Amy has done a amazing job heading up Niskayuna and it’s grown faster than either Latham or Saratoga ever had. That said, adding a third location is has just kept us even with last year and I had anticipated some growth. Staffing has become more challenging as exposure warnings and testing delays can mean days out of work.

 

Challenges the Pandemic has Caused

The other challenging is the enduring nature of it. It feels like there is an endless stream of obstacles and that has grown wearisome. We are all ready for the other side of this rainbow. They say “This too shall pass.” I say… “When!”

I want to circle back to opening up your heart. In many ways that part of our anatomy is getting closed down with all these changes. Try to make room for your heart.

“And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of*ten Grinches, plus two! – Dr. Suess

 

 

Shoulder Self Massage