Although this blog post was written for groomers, these tips can apply to nearly every profession and person.
I have been a dog groomer for almost twenty years. Three years ago I became a massage therapist, as well, after I discovered how much better I felt when I started getting massages regularly. My healing experience was powerful, and I knew that I wanted to be able to do this for other people.
I want to reach out to groomers everywhere to let them know that getting regular massage is probably one of the best ways to take care of themselves if they’re in the grooming business for the long haul. As groomers, we have to regularly contort our bodies into awkward and strained positions for the safety of the animals and the quality of our work. The more we subject ourselves to this unusual (and underappreciated!) form of gymnastics, the more our muscles become stuck in these unhealthy patterns. This leaves us with pain and restricted mobility, affecting not only our ability to function at work, but often our quality of life away from work. It’s not hopeless, however! We just need a little professional help. That’s where massage comes in.
To really get to the root of your troubles, you need to find a massage therapist that understands deep tissue techniques—real Deep Tissue as a studied modality, not deep pressure! Try to find someone who incorporates relaxation massage into a deep tissue treatment, because relaxation is vital when on the healing journey. Most deep tissue massage therapists will also send you home with self-care tips, like stretches and strengthening exercises. These will help you maintain healthy posture and tackle pain issues when you are away from the massage table and back at the grooming table.
A few tips when looking for the right massage therapist:
- Massage should feel good. Sometimes you might experience a little pain or discomfort during a treatment if a muscle is really stuck, but as a rule, you should never come away feeling battered and bruised.
- Don't expect to be magically healed after one massage. Although most massage therapists hope for this as much as you might, it's important to remember that healing is a process. Consider how many hours, days, years, you’ve had to adapt your natural posture to suit your work environment. A therapist can’t unwind all that in just an hour!
- Find someone you like! Even if the person may not meet all the specifications I’ve listed above, ultimately you are going to get the best healing from someone that makes you feel comfortable and cared for.
- Avoid corporate chains. Although their low prices are very tempting, they have a high turnover rate, which can make finding and keeping a good therapist challenging.
Please pass this information on to anyone that could benefit, even if they are not groomers. You can also follow my Facebook page to receive notifications about new self-care blog posts and DYI massage. And, of course, if you live around Portland, Oregon, come see me!
I wish you the best of luck on your healing journey!
Anna Horvitz, Licensed Massage Therapist