Pain Relief Power Duo: Massage + Yoga Nidra

In my therapeutic massage practice, I’m committed to empowering clients with practical tools to support their healing journey beyond our sessions. In 2020, I discovered Yoga Nidra—an “effortless” form of guided meditation that immediately captured my attention with its simplicity, calming effects, and robust scientific backing. Intrigued by its potential to enhance client outcomes, I pursued teacher certification, eager to share its restorative benefits through in-person classes and recorded meditations.

Yoga Nidra and massage therapy complement each other beautifully by addressing different factors that influence pain. While massage therapy targets the physical body to soften knots, release tight tissue, and improve circulation, Yoga Nidra engages with the mind and nervous system through guided relaxation techniques. Specifically, Yoga Nidra meditations include guided breathing, body scans, and visualization, which help lower heart rate, reduce cortisol levels, and promote deep rest. Essentially, the nervous system shifts from “fight-flight-freeze” mode to “relax, rest, and digest,” which downgrades stress and anxiety, improves sleep, and upgrades the ability to self-regulate—a perfect environment for the body’s natural healing processes to flourish.

I genuinely believe that the pain relief and posture improvements experienced during therapeutic massage can be maintained and even enhanced between sessions through the simple practice of Yoga Nidra. One of the main culprits that interferes with forward progress is chronic, unhealthy stress. It’s the kind of stress that triggers a survival response: tense muscles, elevated blood pressure, shallow breathing. Without an intervention, the old aches and pains will start to make their comeback.

Yoga Nidra offers an antidote, both in the moment and in the long term. It’s a tool to calm an overly activated nervous system in the moment; used regularly, it trains the nervous system to be more resilient and self-regulating. It also heightens one’s awareness of the body’s subtle signals and messages, which can be invaluable.

The accessibility and simplicity of Yoga Nidra make it shine. Whether attending a live class or accessing audio recordings on platforms like YouTube and wellness apps, it’s readily available for regular use. This flexibility allows individuals to incorporate the practice into their lives regardless of location or schedule constraints, fostering inner peace and resilience beyond the massage table.

Ultimately, by incorporating Yoga Nidra into a wellness routine, individuals can not only enhance the benefits of therapeutic massage but also build a deeper connection with themselves and tap into the body’s innate ability to heal. Together, Yoga Nidra and therapeutic massage pave the way for a brighter, pain-free future, empowering individuals to live life to the fullest.

Stressed, Sleepless, in Pain? Yoga Nidra Can Help

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I love everything about Yoga Nidra, especially that it’s a tool of self-empowerment and easy to use. Many of my clients find that stress melts away in just one session. Regular practice leads to lasting results and significant therapeutic effects on sleep, stress and pain management.

Yoga Nidra is guided meditation that doesn’t require any knowledge of Yoga. The listener simply gets comfortable and follows along with a trained guide through sequences of breathing, body scan, visualization and sometimes intention-setting. As the process unfolds, brainwaves shift to a state bordering on sleep. Focus moves progressively inward, cultivating deeper relaxation for the body and nervous system.

It’s absolutely fine to start in any way that works for you (remember, it’s a “practice”). Consistency develops mental “muscles” that help you gain influence over your own nervous system, mental state, and general health. Some benefits to look forward to include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Enhanced focus and mental clarity
  • Pain & stress reduction
  • Ability to self-direct relaxation
  • Replenishment of key brain chemicals 

Successfully navigating the side-effects of life is a learnable skill and teaching others to develop effective self-care is my passion. I’m excited to offer a growing collection of recorded Yoga Nidra meditations, and invite you to experience this incredible deep rest therapy (here’s a 9-minute one to get you started). More personalized, in-depth self-care coaching is also available in private or group sessions. Schedule a consultation to see what’s right for you.

Interoception. It Does a Body (and Brain) Good.

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Learning to notice your body’s sensations can positively impact sleep, focus clarity, stress regulation, pain and more. If you intend to live your best life, honing this skill is a must. Happily, it’s also pretty simple and very relaxing. For those interested in more details, keep reading. If you prefer an experience, click here to try a 12-minute guided meditation. Here’s to you!

One of my clients recently explained how  she demystified the phrase listening to your body. She said, “my neck was tight, and I noticed that it felt better when I moved it into another position. I moved it  back and forth a few times to make sure it wasn’t just a coincidence, and that’s when it hit me:  listening to my body  just means noticing the sensations  in my body.” 

Noticing body sensations is called “interoception” in professional and scientific circles.  It’s really just a fancy name for  a powerful tool that anyone can master. If you’re aiming for vibrance, wellbeing, longevity and solid performance,  then self-sensing is essential.  Realize it or not, you already have skills and if you decide to actively practice them, you’ll probably gain influence over many important areas of your life. 

Sensing the inner landscape of the body is all about becoming aware of something that’s already going on, such as breathing or a beating heart.  Some others:

  • noticing thirst, hunger, a full bladder
  • becoming aware of a cold, headache or fever coming on
  • feeling well-rested, or feeling tired
  • awareness of emotions, mood, gratitude

In sessions with my clients, it might be:

  • perceiving changes in pressure or stretch 
  • sensing muscle tension or relaxation
  • observing flow, rhythm and sensations of breathing
  • noticing areas holding stress, tension, trauma

It makes intuitive sense (and science is also proving in clinical studies) that noticing and appropriately responding to the body’s subtle and not-so-subtle cues can lead to better self-regulation of stress, improved sleep, less pain, gains in focus and mental clarity, and even faster healing. Imagine being able to turn the tables on stress or mood by noticing early signs (ex: increased heartbeat, short, fast respiration, clenched jaws, not thinking clearly) and taking measures to counteract them. Or maybe you sit at a desk all day. If you’ve trained yourself to notice mild discomfort, you could decide to revamp your workspace or take movement breaks to prevent additional problems.

An easy way to practice self-sensing  is taking notice of yourself breathing. It’s not hard, and before long you’ll build up a natural awareness. Perceiving your heart beat is another simple method. It’s more subtle than the breath, but learnable all the same.

Body sensing meditations might be the most relaxing way to practice interoception. You can follow a guided meditation, or try it DIY style. I’m certified in a type of guided meditation (Yoga Nidra) that uses body sensing.  All you need to do is get comfortable, press “play” and follow the guidance of my voice. Here’s the link again for my free 12-minute recording.  I’ll be sharing more of these meditations in the near future. 

If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into the science of interoception, I really recommend this  HubermanLab podcast episode. Dr. Huberman is a medical school professor at Stanford, and he’s also dedicated to bringing science-based information and tools to the public.