Over the past month, I’ve come to a rather amazing conclusion.
The person who named the muscles in the body resides in the same Hell as the individual who decided it was okay to put numbers and letters together. There’s something sadistic about naming a small muscle semimembranosus and expect normal, everyday Joes/Janes to be able to pronounce it without a lot of stumbling. Semimembranosus. That’s a mouthful. Semitendinosus is also a rather large whopper of a word, and its also in the same part of the leg (back of the thigh – hamstrings, people) as the semimembranosus.
For those of you who are keeping up with the whirlwind that’s my life, you know I’m a Massage Therapy student. I have three weeks of my first term left and roughly six months of schooling left altogether. In that time, I’ve learned a handful of muscles (Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Medalis, Vastus Lateralis, Rectus and Biceps Femoris, Trapezius, Rhomboids Minor and Major, Gastrocnemius, Soleus, and Tibialis Anterior). I can pinpoint where on the body those particular muscles are located. Some better than others.
There’s probably a lot of you who may be staring at that list of muscles and wondering what kind of crack I’m on. I ask myself that same question often enough, these days. I’m insane. To top of that insanity, I’m already jumping into Kinesiology (which is supposed to be taken in my last term – I’m doing the reach now, alongside hunting down all the information and pictures I can on the muscles and tendons and bones I’m being introduced to).
The massage portion of the classes is a dream. We spend about an hour massaging one another, learning the muscles as we work them, and the basics of Swedish Massage. We started with the Five Basic Strokes, each which have a name (only three causes trouble when it comes to spelling and pronunciation: effleurage, petrissage, and tapotement), and the names are rather large and drawn-out. The Strokes themselves aren’t large.
Effleurage, for instance, is the Gliding Stroke.
This is essentially an open-palmed stroke used to apply oil on the skin and is also used as a transition during the massage. That’s the basics of it. When the massage starts, each Massage Therapist (MT) begins by applying a small amount of oil or lotion to the skin. For the most part. If they start with the face, neck, and shoulders – oil and lotion are put on hold. Most people frown on having either combed through their hair or rubbed into their scalp.
In my own studies, we take a test every Monday. I’ve been doing well. Four ‘A’s’ and one ‘C’ to this point. Tomorrow will be another test, where the two long-winded muscle names come into play (the ones beginning with semi-), and I hope I do far better this time around. I wasn’t happy with the ‘C.’ I’m accustomed to having a 94% or higher (94% marks an ‘A’ in my school) and the 84% I received wasn’t pleasant. Yes, an 84% in my school is a ‘C.’
Horrifying, isn’t it?
There’s so much to learn, at this point. I’ve been taught the steps for a Full Body Massage, which takes at least an hour, and now it’s time to learn how to pace the massage itself. It’s hard, at the moment. We went from having thirty minutes on a body part to a few minutes. Every stroke, every action, has to have a purpose. It’s a change from the slow, explorative measures we were taking in class, beforehand.
I’m not sure what I think, just yet.
I enjoy the classes, the things I’m learning. They’re new, it’s introducing me to the human body on a level I hadn’t known, and teaching me a lot about how to heal on a naturalistic level. A hollistic approach, truth be told.
For those of you who haven’t gotten a massage before: Go Get One!
I promise you, it’ll be worth it. Your body will thank you.