It’s been over a year now and still nothing has gone back to the way it used to be. Things that we used to do daily, weekly, and monthly are still gone. Does anyone remember what the inside of a movie theatre looks like? Our social lives have been dramatically changed where physical contact has been reduced to a minimum unless it’s with someone in your small circle.
Since we are a social species, physical contact plays a huge role in our mental health and how some of us feel day to day.
The seclusion of the pandemic already has many people suffering from depression and anxiety. “Touch starvation” due to COVID-19 is a real thing. It encompasses how, due to the pandemic, we have been practicing social distancing and stopping anything that involves physical contact like shaking hands, giving hugs, or a reassuring hand on the shoulder and how that is affecting us psychologically. Touch starvation puts more stress on the body, which will increase a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.
As a Massage Therapist, I use positive touch on a regular basis to relieve tension, but I have found that it is more important now more than ever due to this because of the lack of contact we are having. I have found that even more since the start of the pandemic. Only half of what I’m treating are actual physical issues. I am by no means a professional in the psychological field, but I am someone who is here to listen. I’ve heard from some of my clients that their appointments are the only time they really leave the house, it’s a break from their work/family/responsibility even more now than it has been in the past. It is a way to, as safely as possible, socialize with someone other than in their household. So many people come in and just want someone to talk to. Sometimes it’s about what is going on in their life, but a lot of time it’s just mindless conversation; whether its books, music, sports, or the weather. “So, any big plans this weekend?” has become a chuckle spot every time I ask it. But that one time someone has something exciting to tell me, means so much more. I’ve now noticed that with this pandemic I’m super excited when people have something fun to tell me. It’s always great to hear “We got a puppy”, and hearing the update about how he learned how to sit, and he hasn’t peed in the house in 3 weeks. This is what comes as excitement these days and I embrace it!! So as much as I try to help physically by removing tension through the soft tissues, that hands on treatment, as best that I can, I am also an ear for people to vent to.
Here To Help Your Physical & Mental Health
This pandemic has played a huge role in our lives and the lack of physical contact has made depression and anxiety even worse. Coming in for a massage is a great idea to help treat your lack of positive touch, to decrease tension, and to have a person to listen and interact with. I would like to thank my clients for coming in, as much as I am glad to help them with their problems, they are a huge piece in my own mental health.
Written by: Stephanie O’Neill-Beetham, Registered Massage Therapist & Athletic Therapist