If you read Part One of this series, you found out a few things about me that don’t necessarily exemplify stability. The circumstances surrounding this pandemic have gifted me with a petri dish and time to grow out my under-developed sense of self– magnifying my lack of committment to basic self-care. But, hopefully, you can relate on some level.
Nurses and doctors are said to make the worst patients. Maybe it’s because they have an intimate knowledge of sickness and the vulnerability that comes along with ailing.
Maybe some of us are just jerks.
But if the former premise were accurate, one could make an argument that any caregiver armed with this knowledge has no excuse for not taking the time to prioritize their well-being. However, it could also be argued that– regardless of profession– there are different levels of martyrdom that exist within us all. And for good fortune or bad, some of us just learn best by trial and error.
As a massage therapist, I tend to stay in my lane. I know I don’t talk nearly enough to my clients regarding the specific concept of massage having a positive influence on our immune systems.
But I have my reasons.
My clients, more often than not, seek massage as an adjunct to managing pain syndromes and/or stress. And, perhaps, I have taken for granted that they all understand, on some level, how both pain and stress have the potential to create “dis-ease”–which directly and/or indirectly impacts their immune systems.
As a whole, the immune system is complex and can vary considerably in degrees of functionality from person-to-person.
I am not an immunologist.
However, I can speak to one of the most fascinating tissues I manipulate during a massage session. A tissue that knows each client from their integument to their marrow. I believe even the most rudimentary knowledge regarding the advantages of keeping this particular tissue as supple, hydrated, and free from adhesions as one can– on a daily basis– can considerably assist anyone as they form their own conclusions regarding the efficacy of massage in the realm of promoting a strong immune system. So, let us talk briefly about fascia.
fascia, Fascia, Fascia!
Fascia is the biological fabric that holds us together, the connective tissue network. You are about 70 trillion cells — neurons, muscle cells, epithelia — all humming in relative harmony; fascia is the 3D spider web of fibrous, gluey, and Fasciawet proteins that binds them together in their proper placement.Tom Myers, Anatomy Trains
Other scientific definitions of fascia characterize this dissectible infrastructure as a three-dimensional continuum of cellular diversity that interpenetrates every other tissue, organ, and system within our bodies.
It is this continuum itself that assures the health of the body.Anatomy, Fascia
The properties included within the cellular diversity of fascia account for collagen production, wound healing, fat energy storage, and white blood cell migration–all of which are biochemically responsive to mechanical stimulation.
In addition, the cells responsible for collagen production and wound healing are highly adaptable to their environment. Thus, have the capacity to change their structure in response to the degree of mechanical stimulation, or conversely, prolonged immobilization–Free movement versus contracture.
From these descriptions, one can acquire a sense that our entire body is floating within an all encompassing force that–by nature– in its healthiest state, has both a tensile quality and a certain sense of liquidity.
So, in my humble opinion, it is enough– and it is accurate– for a massage therapist to say, “You’re immune system will receive a boost from a massage” –and leave it at that.
I don’t know about you, but what I needed most was a boost—
what I received was a fascinating lesson in the subconscious and symbolic significance of my scars.