Richard Matthew Smith is one of the youngest and most promising massage therapists in his field. While attending classes at the California Healing Arts College in West Los Angeles (one of the top schools for massage therapy in the nation,) he not only developed a natural instinct for healing, but also graduated at the top of his class, completing the 13-month course in only 8 months. Since then, he’s returned to his alma mater to teach advanced massage techniques to new students, as well as providing exceptional treatment to clients in both the West LA and Beverly Hills areas. His unique technique, incorporating principles of Deep Tissue, Shiatsu, Swedish Massage, and Tragre therapy, transcends the idea of a ‘traditional feel-good massage’. I am glad to have him as a contributor to this community. I look forward to all his advice, as he helps us all learn new ways to listen to our bodies, and take care of ourselves.
Ever wonder why the terms “relax” and “take a deep breath” always seem to come in succession to one another? Well breathing deeply, more than it being a seemingly quick fix to tame your anxiety, actually does help your body physically relax itself. Studies have shown that slowing down one’s breathing pattern can have immense benefits to the homeopathic state of the body. As a massage therapist, I’ve found that most have a habit to hold their breath when facing a potentially uncomfortable situation (both figuratively and literally). I always encourage my clients to focus on breathing in for a count of three and out for a count of six to take their mind off of the apprehension they may have when in session. You’d be amazed, however, at the immediate effects that it has on the body. Along with slowing down the heart rate and increasing circulation throughout the body, breathing in a slow controlled pattern allows the subconscious to go to work on the muscular system, releasing tension, and a lot of times, releasing what we’d call ‘knots’ that have been developed due to stress. It is perhaps the most valuable advice I’d give someone when doing anything stressful, whether you’re at your desk, in the weight room….on Fear Factor…take your time and breathe through situations and see if it not only leaves you feeling a little more weightless, but gives you the opportunity to re-evaluate circumstances from a relaxed, more positive state.