Last Friday, desperate for some physical human connection, I took a risk and went for a massage.
Pre COVID, semi-regular massages were part of my self-care routine.
I don't go to the beauty salon, I find the massages there a tad superficial. I seek out female masseuses who've studied the human body extensively and understand the mind-body connection.
I like a deep-tissue massage, often accompanied by alternative therapies such as Ayurveda or Aromatherapy. I've tried many alternative therapies over the years. If I hear of something new, I'll give it a go. I'm fascinated with the 'why' of things - how does it work, and why does it work? What can it offer me? So far I've experienced:
- Cranial Sacral Therapy
- Yoga Therapy
Medicine for the mind, body and soul
Alternative therapies aren't a replacement for Western medicine but can be useful for minor or chronic elements - things you wouldn't necessarily see the doctor about, alongside holistic wellbeing.
So I'm for alternative therapies in a big way. That said, I've had some poor experiences over the years, admittedly mainly in other parts of the world, but not always.
When you go to see a therapist, you're opening yourself up to be vulnerable.
A great therapist should make you feel welcome, safe, and be able to hold personal space for you in a professional and supportive way.
What do I mean by holding space?
They'll acknowledge anything you tell them with kindness, compassion and confidentiality. And the focus of the session should be wholly on you - you're a paying customer, remember!
This all might sound obvious but believe me, not all therapists are created equal.
I'd like to share 4 tips with you for finding a suitable alternative therapist:
1/ Do your research into the therapy first. Can it provide you with what you're looking for? If so, contact the therapist and speak to her: Tell her what you want and why you want it. Can she definitely deliver that?
2/ Try to get a recommendation from a friend or someone you know - someone who's had the experience already and whom you trust. Failing that you can always ask for suggestions in local Facebook groups.
3/ Check reviews on Google and Facebook. If they've only got one or two, be careful, they could have asked their friend to write it.
4/ Finally, as with all things, trust your intuition. Suppose their communication with you via email, text, or the phone seems off or unprofessional? In that case, they'll probably be off or unprofessional in real life too.
So my massage was risky because of COVID (everything's a risk really!), but also because I'd never been to this particular masseuse before. Luckily, she was recommended by a friend, she'd taken extensive COVID safety measures, and it was terrific.
There's nothing like a massage to help us feel grounded in our body, and loved and cared for by another person.
Alternative therapies are a huge part of my general wellbeing and my spiritual path and I wholeheartedly recommend them.
Even Homeopathy, which the mainstream media suggests doesn't work. My experience has been the opposite, it's worked incredibly well for many other women I know and for me. We need to try these things for ourselves.
If you don't have any spare cash for alternative therapies right now, or you're anxious about COVID (understandably!) please take a look at my self-massage post below:
Useful when you're single, and also when you're not.
When we invest in ourselves, our health and wellbeing, it raises our self-esteem and confidence, and everything in life becomes more manageable.
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Hannah Anstee is a former British Wellness Journalist turned Women’s Midlife & Wellbeing Coach.
You may know her from her work as Beauty Editor at YOGA Magazine or her contributions to The Independent or Psychologies Magazine.
Hannah uses a kind and candid approach to help women rewrite their stories.