So apparently the old rule about lifting from your knees and not from your back applies to both boxes AND babies. I must have missed that memo. Or maybe I was too busy chasing Owen and scooping him up in the face of any number of dangers, to remember.
But like many moms before me, and many yet to be – I’ve been accidentally sacrificing my body in service of my kiddo. The running shoes collecting dust in the corner. The yoga mat tucked away in a far crevice of the closet. The sweet and salty instead of the green and lean. The desperately unpolished and unkempt toe nails I swore I’d never have. And the lower back neglected in lieu of picking up Owen any which way.
Now, I know this doesn’t have to be the case, but life gets busy. And if it ain’t broke – you don’t have to fix it. But when it does break….brace yourself. Literally if you must, figuratively if you will. We all know that maintenance is key if you want to stay healthy. It’s all important and equal only in significance to its sister word, that other dreaded cure-all: moderation. I should have been living in line with these words, but instead - it took a major slow down to quicken my understanding.
I threw out my lower back. And any other time I might have welcomed the break from the 9-5 to recoup. But motherhood offers no such respite. We don’t get time off. We lay on the ground in our PJ’s next to the toy box and keep Sesame Street on repeat and pray to heal quickly. But sometimes rather than simply blessing us to heal, God blesses us with the inspiration needed to know HOW to heal. Maybe that’s so we can help others who might need similar healing along our path later. Or maybe it’s so we learn patience? Or maybe it’s to allow someone else the ability to use their talents in our service. God works in ironically simple yet mysterious ways.
A friend on Facebook responded to my “wo-is-me” status update about my back. She told me about a massage school not far from my in-law’s house. They offer $30 hour long relaxation massages. Yes please! Answer to prayer part one: inspiration from a friend. Thanks Jani!
So I went online and looked up more about the school and what they had to offer. I opted to pay $60 for a medical massage with a professional, rather than the $30 relaxation massage with a student. I had issues the likes of which a little relaxing rubbing wasn’t going to solve. I needed specific help or I was considering setting up long term camp next to Owen’s toy box. I looked at the pictures of the masseuses, prayed about who might be able to help me best and felt like Stephania was the right choice. Answer to prayer part two: inspiration from the Spirit.
Donned in yoga pants and a baggy T-shirt, I arrived at the massage school. I filled out the questionnaire that asked if I had any concerns and where my pain was located. I circled the lower back and added three exclamation points. That should do it.
Then I waited for a few minutes. Stephania came out to the waiting room. Dark hair, excellent posture, warm smile, late 30’s, and an Italian accent. She had that calm voice and eye contact equal only in serenity to a yoga instructor. I was in good hands. Only at that point, I didn’t know just how good. (That sounds weird - so let's be clear that I mean that totally professionally. lol)
On our walk back to the room, I mentioned that I’d been having low back pain which I thought was caused by lifting my son improperly. She looked at me and smiled slightly, “Ah yes, I saw thees on your sign in sheet. But don’t worry, we can fix thees.”
Whew! Rock thees.
Once in the room, I figured I’d get the “dress down to your comfort level” instruction and then have a moment alone to do so. But before she said anything, she sized me up. Head to toe. I’m pretty sure she saw into my soul. Or at least into my bone and muscular structure. Even in my baggy T-shirt and yoga pants she looked me up and down once and concluded, “your right shoulder is lower than your left, your pelvis is twisted, and your shoulders are hooked forward. Your back is hurting because of your pelvis.” I looked down in disbelief that all that was apparent from one glance. Did I really look like a troll? Good thing I was there.
So down to my skivvies, I got under the sheet on the massage table. I had no idea what to expect. But if she already knew exactly the problem in the first 30 seconds I figured I had little to worry about. And besides, there was an instrumental CD of whales talking on in the background. Naked and listening to whales. Not exactly the treatment I initially thought I’d seek for my back – but it was worth a shot.
She came back in the room and explained that she works on the muscles, because the muscles (as they tense and relax) pull the bones. So if she can get the muscles to work properly, the bones should align as they ought and I would be balanced. She proceeded to work on my pelvis first. She rubbed with her forearm up my outer thigh and managed to pin point a knot-like painful spot. Then she pushed. Uh….ooooOOOUCH!
“Tell me when the pain changes,” she said. It was crazy. The pain would start out sharp, then the spot would start to twitch, then the pain would dull slightly, and then she’d push again on the spot and the pain would release and it would instantly relax that specific spot as well as other parts of my body too.
We continued this spot treatment all over my body. I kept laughing in disbelief. She’d point out something slightly tweaked or turned the wrong way or my hooked shoulders, then she’d do the pushing treatment and “poof!” my muscles relaxed and realigned. Most awkward though was probably the spot in my groin on my upper most inner thigh. But at that point in my treatment – I was convinced this woman was a miracle worker and she could have said I needed to join in chorus with the whale CD while eating dirt and I’d have done it. Ok, well maybe not dirt. But you get the idea.
Ahhh. Relief. The pain wasn’t completely gone, but I could move. I could bend. I could be mom again. Answer to prayer part three: The healing power of a talented individual.
I thanked her for her help, and proceeded to the front to pay.
But here’s the clincher. As I’m leaving, the receptionist up front asked how I liked my massage. “It was GREAT!” I offered emphatically. To which she responded: “Yeah, she’s really talented. She used to work on horses.”
Excuse me? What am I supposed to take from that? haha
Whatever, I thought. Lucky horses. Lucky me. But most of all - I want to know how she DID that!! (fixed my pain, not massaged horses)
So, my back is still tender, and I have to be very careful that I pick up Owen with proper form, but thank goodness for the talents of the horse whisperer massage therapist who listens to whales.
And thank goodness for God, who taught me that when one does not lift from her knees…she must fall to her knees and ask for help. And further, that He might not heal me instantly, but rather bless me with the means of learning HOW to heal through the help of others.
Both prayer and Stephania work.