How to know what kind of massage or yoga class I need?

Sometimes when seeking help with tight shoulders, back aches, anxiety, low energy levels or overall health it can seem difficult to know what to pick because there is so much out there on offer in terms of massage treatments, alternative therapies, yoga classes, etc. It is hard to know how to choose. There might be descriptions out there to guide us somewhat but ultimately we cannot be sure if that specific type of treatment or class is suitable to our body and what it deals with. Sometimes what we feel is actually a symptom rather than the actual root of the problem. And sometimes it is the actual issue but our bodytype and medical history will mean certains ways of dealing with it are best suited.


The best things to do are as follows:

– talk to a professional, giving them as much information about what you are experiencing, your medical history and your overall life circumstances. This is of course within the boundaries of what you feel comfortable sharing and if you feel you can trust the person in question. Doing so will enable them to have a global picture of what factors could be affecting you and therefore to suggest a solution/solutions suited to you, rather than a ‘one size fits all’

– give whatever route of healing you have chosen a bit of time to start taking effect. Many of the issues we deal with in our bodies and minds are the result of imbalances and/or habitual patterns that are longstanding. We need to give time to the method chosen to take effect by undoing the chain of reactions within us. But be realistic about whether or not we feel things moving in the right direction, even subtly, because if nothing is changing then maybe you need to try a different avenue.

– discuss complementary methods or practices to help the recovery. Sometimes the chain of issues that needs to be addressed is quite dense and another form of treatment or practice could help bring results more deeply or swiftly. For example nutritional changes alongside a bodywork course. Acupuncture and yoga, etc… Always discuss this with your practitioner and doctor to see whether contrindications apply.

-try new practices or methods. Cautiously, mindfully try something new if what you have been doing helps but has reached a plateau. Trying new yoga styles is sometimes the best way to get unstuck in specific postures or to evolve a practice because we suddenly have a new approach and get out of autopilot mode. It also means that you can start to put together a wider toolbox so you can find the best fit for what is going on on different days and at different stages.

– as you become more familiar and knowledgeable about what is going on with your body and your mind, you will know much better how you are feeling and what you need depending on that. For example on days when the energy is low and the mind is racing it might be a better idea to approach it more gently with a more relaxing massage, or a restorative or gentle yoga practice. If on the contrary you feel hyper maybe you do need to get some of that excess energy out with a flow yoga class before being able to rest and relax. Or your body has deep layers of tension built in and a mix of deep tissue massage and breath focus can help let go of it.


In short, find a practitioner with whom to discuss your issues before committing to anything, be patient with it, be curious about how it feels, try new avenues if habitual ones no longer work, and be honest about what you need at that specific moment.

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