A wellness plan is different than a massage treatment plan. Where a treatment plan focuses on treating an injury or acute physical problem and prevent it from happening again, a wellness plan focuses on your overall health and well-being. A wellness plan aims towards preventing illness and diseases, on improving your life quality and wellness.
It’s been proven by various studies that our mental well-being is closely related to our physical well-being, just as our physical well-being affects our mental well-being. Both in direct effect; such as depression causing poor sleeping patterns which cause our immune system to become weaker. And indirectly where our habits and behaviour stops us from taking the actions needed to improve our well-being; such as regularly exercising, eating healthy food or go to bed at a proper time.
In order to achieve wellness, you shouldn’t only look at the physical aspects of your life. But also include the spiritual, mental and emotional aspects. Ideally a wellness plan will include advice and support in all four areas, creating a holistic plan of action, which you can follow and work on to improve your health and well-being in all areas.
A wellness plan could include the following advice to a client:
- Exercise for half an hour every day, 3 times a week by brisk walking, 2 times a week strength training.
- Eat healthy; cut out junk-food and quick microwave meals, and eat at least half a kilo of fresh fruit, vegetables and greens every day.
- Eat breakfast every single morning within one hour of waking up.
- Make sure you get at least 7 hours of good sleep every night.
- Meditate for 15 minutes each morning and each evening (this doesn’t need to be any specific type of meditation), or half an hour once a day.
- Focus on the positive in life and let go of what’s annoying you (here a life coach or psychotherapist might be needed)
- Make a plan for what you would like to change/achieve and break that down into small steps. Focus at one step at a time.
- Make time to meet up with friends at least once a week for socializing and relaxation.
- Get a massage at least once a week to help you get into touch with your body and relax and accept physical contact (Again, a psychologist or therapist might be consulted and a plan worked out together if there are serious issues).
- Look at yourself in the mirror each morning and tell yourself; “I love me, I can do anything I truly want.”
The therapist will help you set up these steps, adjusting the plan to your situation and your needs. The list I’ve mentioned might seem big, and it is. You might have a big list, but be told to only focus at one or two steps at a time at first, or the list will be a short one at first and during later sessions be increased and adapted to suit your specific situation. Some advice are physical and directly related to your physical health, and other advice is more related to how you approach life and counter stress and create good habits.
A wellness plan is not only linked to your physical well-being, but your emotional and mental health as well. It is important to make sure the therapist making you a wellness plan is suited and educated. She must be qualified to cover all aspects of the wellness plan you are getting in your current situation.
Due to the nature of wellness plans, it’s important to find a therapist whom you trust fully, and you be willing to follow the advice and work on the points listed. Wellness can’t be achieved without you dedicating and commiting yourself to it fully.
When the aspects covered are smaller matters related to daily life, general advice and common sense can be sufficient. Most massage therapists will know how to advice you on physical maintenance (such as exercise and simple nutritional advice), the importance of relaxation and meditation, encourage positive thinking, socializing, remind you to love yourself, be appreciative of what you have and are supportive in situations of crisis.
Once things become more complex and there are deeper underlying problems and reasons, it’s important to find a therapist who either has complementary education in coaching or equivalent, or who works together with a professional life coach, psychotherapist, psychiatrist and the like.
If you’re uncertain about your massage therapist’s qualifications, don’t hesitate to ask about them or insist to contact a mental health professional and get a second opinion. If the massage therapist refuses, then you know that he or she isn’t the right therapist for you. Most massage therapists will be happy to work together with your life coach or psychotherapist to create the best wellness plan for yourself.