Fitness isn’t enough. I need to achieve balance with chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, massage, and nutrition. After all, I believe in holistic wellness for horses, why not for myself?
Being a certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist (ESMT) has its advantages. My own horse receives bodywork that includes chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, and sports massage regularly and reaps the benefits. I joke that my horse has an amazing life. But the truth is, he isn’t the only one that needs these things.
For the past few years, I’ve suffered from periodic back pain due to sciatica. Carrying heavy photography equipment, massaging animals in awkward positions, or sleeping on the ground in a Mongolian ger all take their toll on the human body. Plus, I’m not getting any younger. A few months ago I began fitness training for the first time in a few years. I have several goals that I am working on, and these have helped to keep me motivated. Unfortunately, it has taken a toll on my body.
Recently I woke up in the middle of the night, crying out from the shooting pain in my back. Enough was enough.
Like many of you who provide for your animals, your children, and I tend to my own needs last. I feel guilty about spending the money and the time on these things. Why?
What many people don’t realize about me is that I hold my stress internally. So while on the outside I look happy-go-lucky and chatty, on the inside I’m trying to hold it together. My nerves and yes, anxiety, reveal themselves with nervous talking resulting in many assuming I have a high energy level when in fact, the opposite is true. I have a low energy level and often feel uncomfortable in group social situations, so I overdo it. But inside I become taunt like a guitar string.
This results in migraines, tight muscles, and apparently locked hips and spine. No more. I am actively working on my nerves by facing those things that make me uncomfortable mentally. Physically I need to take care of myself as well with chiropractic work, acupuncture, and massage. Fitness isn’t enough. I need to achieve balance overall and the only way to do that is to address my own needs in every possible way.
My first chiropractic appointment released my hips and locked-up right side. In a sitting position, my right side was almost two inches shorter in length! The radiating pain now made complete and utter sense. My last adjustment was over 25 years ago. I left feeling like a million dollars. The immediate relief made me realize just how much my tolerance is for pain. My practitioner recommended sessions twice weekly for three weeks just to get me back to baseline! Intimidating, but I cannot feel guilty when I am in so much pain.
I am a little sore from the sessions. However, as the sessions continued I loosened up much more quickly and released a lot more. This is very common even in my own animal massage sessions. I plan on following up with regular sessions as well as acupuncture and massage when needed. I am dedicating myself to my health and fitness, not just exercise. The results have been so astonishing that I dropped my stirrups four holes on the right and one on the left. That is how unbalanced I was, without realization.
I will need to adjust my eating and drinking habits as well. Not completely, I do love my food and wine. However, I will focus on drinking more water and eating fewer carbs and empty calories. After all, I want to be the best person I can be for myself, my family, and my animals.
I believe in holistic wellness. Now I have to follow through and commit to it.