Can I make a confession here?
When it comes to “toots,” I’m a total adolescent.
Farts are funny. I don’t care how old you are. The little baby you’re holding in your arms…pffft…Bahahaha!!! The little old lady that lets ‘er rip as she’s struggling to get out of the car. I’m on the floor!
However, when you get to a certain age, they become a little bit more embarrassing, but when it comes to being on a massage table, it may not be as embarrassing as you think.
Without going into a bunch of anatomical mumbo-jumbo, basically the Nervous System has two gears: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic. Mostly they’re remembered by their everyday aliases: “Fight or Flight” and “Rest and Digest.”
The “Fight or Flight” or sympathetic state of the body pretty much sums up the American lifestyle: always on the go and ready for “the other shoe to drop.” We live our lives in the state of always having to do something else and not taking the time to really rest, so that our bodies react by giving us indigestion, high blood pressure, and all the other “fun” maladies that plague the typical American.
Because the body is too engrossed in trying to prepare for the next fight or the next flight and having to flee a situation, like get being chased by the saber-toothed mountain lion, it belays trying to properly digest the last meal, causing indigestion.
On the other hand, there is the “Rest and Digest” or parasympathetic state which occurs when the mind is calm and the body is, well, resting, and truly relaxing.
So after running kids to the bus-stop or directly to school, coming home and cleaning, grocery shopping, and doing laundry, your system is on full-charge! Or you’ve met with the power-team and you’re excited to get to business and get that deal landed that you’ve been working on for six months.
Chances are your body’s systems are in overdrive.
Do you know what your car sounds like when it’s in overdrive on a side street?
It is definitely time for you to recharge and relax a bit. Even if it’s only for an hour.
So once you’re on the table, relaxing music is playing, and your muscles are being massaged, your body starts to go into what I like to call “the zone.” That’s just the only term I could think of before I had been in massage school. Now I know what it is – my body had gone into its parasympathetic state. A state where you’re not asleep, but you’re not exactly thinking about any one particular thing and your mind is basically flying somewhere between the ocean and the mountains – or somewhere way above.
It’s at this point where you may all of the sudden jerk awake because your dream state has awoken you.
Once you’re back in the zone, next thing you know, your belly is gurgling and you have the major sudden urge to pass gas.
Hey – guess what – it’s natural! Your body is telling you that it’s ok…you’re not going to get eaten by a mountain lion in the next 30 to 60 minutes or so.
While the stomach is gurgling, and the body is working at a more optimal pace, gases are likely to go their natural way and exit the body. In our society, this is generally an unacceptable occurrence. However, to a massage therapist, this can be a great (and yet possibly stinky) compliment: they are relaxed to the point of being “in the zone” and their body is getting the downtime it deserves.