I hurt my back.
Lower left, around the sacro-illiac joint–common site of acute and chronic pain for many folks. Mine’s acute; I noticed it this morning in the midst of spring cleaning, during a particularly animated reach with the vacuum hose. I’m not sure what kicked off this twangy discomfort. A misstep on yesterday’s run? One twist too zealous in my burgeoning, unsupervised, at-home, yoga practice? Or maybe something got pulled with last year’s tomato plant husks in the garden this past weekend. I really can’t say.
Whatever the cause, this is no big deal. I’ll be mindful of my movements over the coming days and will be in fine fettle by the weekend. Why I am writing about it? Two reasons:
1. Hi! It’s been a while. I should do this more often.
2. Whenever I experience the minor pains of a life actively lived, I think of my horsey friends. How does their daily wear and tear manifest in them? How do they communicate it? And how, if we as their stewards do not accurately interpret and accommodate those communications, might their minor pains evolve over time?
My intuition (and trial and error) tells me that, as caregivers of non-speaking beings, we are highly prone to both over and under treating a variety of conditions. I have been both the hypochondrial and the blasé pet owner, and neither goof has done my animals much good. What most of us learn after one last call too quick or too slow to the vet is that there’s a sweet spot that relies on intimate familiarity with our charges' norms–their demeanors, habits, movement patterns, and appearances in general. It seems obvious that the better we know our animals, the more accurately we perceive irregularities in their conditions.
Massage, of course, is not veterinarian science. My clients are well aware of the scope of my practice–I don’t “diagnose"! I don’t “treat”! And however much I sometimes wish I could, I definitely don't “fix." Here’s what I do: I notice when I hurt my back. I pay attention to the subtleties of my own body so that I may be better attuned to the subtleties of your horse’s body. I strive to gather a thorough understanding of your horse’s optimal state of wellness so that I may do my part to gently guide him and you back to that place, if ever he strays. Such understanding takes time, and it’s a team effort. And as I’m increasingly learning, those two qualities–time and collaboration–are the heart of massage therapy.
As a final note, with spring comes a new schedule for me, and I’m delighted to announce that I’ll have space to receive a few new clients this season. I’m really excited about this! I’ll be reaching out first to those of you who’ve contacted me over the past several months and whom I haven’t yet been able to work with. I’ll also post a link here where other interested parties can be in touch about these springtime slots. If my Facebook followers know anyone whose horses are primed to receive some special attention by way of massage, please have them be in touch! And to my regulars, I look forward to a milder season ahead with you and your horses.
To your health!