Massage in the Goldilocks zone

December 17, 2016  |  no comments yet Starr Starr

Our goal here is simple: Provide your nervous system with sensations that feel “yummy” while avoiding sensations that feel “yucky.”

This approach is therapeutic and in line with pain science research. Professor Lorimer Moseley, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and Foundation Chair in Physiotherapy, University of South Australia, writes: “Any credible evidence that the body is safe will decrease the likelihood and intensity of pain. It is as simple and as difficult as that.”

Do you feel safer, and therefore more able to relax, with quiet music or no music at all? Do you prefer heavy blankets or a light sheet? Do you prefer your bodyworker be silent, checking in only as necessary, or gently conversational? What pressure range is most delicious for you? All these nervous system inputs contribute to your primal, not-necessarily-conscious sense of safety.

“Be kind to your nervous system. Create pleasant, safe sensory experiences — positive inputs. Seek comfort. Be a hedonist. If your brain thinks you’re safe, pain goes down — and pleasure feels safe.”

From “Pain is Weird” by Paul Ingraham, science writer and former massage therapist

Back to Goldilocks

This is why we set the temperature not too hot or too cold. Whether to use scent, and which ones, is a matter of what makes you go “Mmmm” — or at least not “Ugh.”

Touch, too, should fall in this just-right range; too-light or too-firm touch touch would be irritating. We may ask whether you want us to spend extra time (or the whole time) on your feet, or not touch them at all. What’s yummiest for you today, the moment you’re here?

Talking about these things sounded familiar to a client, who sent me an article about the Goldilocks zone. In astrophysics, the Goldilocks zone “refers to the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is just right – not too hot and not too cold – for liquid water to exist on an planet.”

On the massage table, we also seek the Goldilocks zone. With your self-observation and willingness to communicate your responses coupled with our best efforts, together we create for you an experience that’s just right.