For those of you who don’t already know, I live in the sunny state of California. Where, as most of you probably have heard—Proposition 64 has been passed. Which basically means that marijuana, used recreationally is legal. (For more on the specifics of that, read this.)
What most of you probably don’t know, however, is that I’ve struggled on and off for years with lower back, heel, and hip pain. From a young age my hips were off—the left one almost an inch and a half shorter than the right. My mother would have to hem my pants differently, I’d often find myself uncomfortably shifting my weight or standing for long periods of time, and when I started playing collegiate softball, I dealt with chronic issues with my hip flexors.
During my college years, I tore my hip flexor multiple times as a result of both over-working my body, and having an alignment that was always slightly imbalanced. I went to chiropractors on and off, getting adjusted and readjusted, seeking treatment for sore muscles and subluxations in my lower discs, and wearing a Spica wrap whenever I pitched or played a game.
The pain traveled from my hips, to lower back, to heel intermittently. In my junior year I threw out my lower discs simply carrying a heavy suitcase, and the pain was so unbearable I couldn’t reach down and put on my socks. Then I started to develop plantar fasciitis—hereditary from my mother—after babying my back and shifting my weight onto one foot more than the other.
Needless to say, my injuries have held me back throughout the years. I was in shape, I was strong, but I was never well. I always felt like something was bothering me, or holding me back.
After my collegiate season ended, I resolved to work on my body—bringing myself back to health, reducing stress, rebuilding my weakened muscles, and fixing what was wrong once and for all. In moving to California, I adapted my own strength training program, sought help from professionals, and saw a chiropractor religiously. But I was still battling on and off pain, soreness, and irritation.
Then I heard of Traveling Hands—cannabis-infused massage therapy. And I decided to give it a chance. At this point, I had been in and out of chiropractor and doctors’ offices, multiple rehab clinics, physical therapy, and personal training. I had rested. I had taken MRIs on my hips. I had worked on stretching, icing, and adjustments for my out-of-alignment body parts. I was sick of people telling me my heel pain ‘couldn’t be fixed,’ or to ‘take an ibuprofen.’
I wanted a change, and I was ready to try something new. That’s why I opted for a cannabis-infused massage.
What is cannabis-infused massage? It’s similar to traditional massage therapy, just with oils that have been infused with CBD/hemp oil. What does that mean? Basically the therapists use the oil to topically reduce swelling, inflammation, and irritation directly at the source.
And before you ask, no, it doesn’t get you high.
Because the CBD has such a low quantity of THC (not even enough to cross the blood-brain barrier to cause changes), you don’t get the psychoactive effects that you might get if you smoked. There’s no weird feelings, dizziness, confusion, laziness, or hunger. In fact, you’re just a normal person with a normal massage. Until you realize how damn great you feel.
I sought out Traveling Hands and owner Zac Smith (to read more about his company and practice, read this) to see for myself. And I wasn’t disappointed.
First of all, one of the coolest things about Traveling Hands is that it’s mobile. The therapists will come to you, at your convenience—anywhere from your home, work, or even hotel room. So I was able to have a massage in the comfort of my own apartment. Second of all, I was briefed on what was happening (and the fact that it was legal, safe, and wouldn’t make me feel high and crazy) before I even began so that I was comfortable, relaxed, and ready.
Then the massage began, and honestly, it felt like a normal massage at first. Until the oils set in. And then I started to feel peace sweep through my whole body. Instead of over-thinking every little thing (which I often do, especially when sitting in silence getting a massage), I was only focused on my body—feeling the tension release from my hips, my legs, my feet.
I was keenly aware of what was going on, and not at all dissociated or ‘out of body,’ but I was also experiencing the sensation of relaxation in the muscles that were sore. I could feel the tightness literally loosen while resting there. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced.
I was totally conscious, totally there in the moment, totally ‘normal.’ But my body was softening with each touch. It was as if all the toxins and soreness and pain were simply dissolving with the oil. And when I stood up, there was this total body calm that went from my head to my toes.
I worked out intensely the day before (honestly just to test the effectiveness of the massage) and what was already aching in my lower legs felt less tense and also stronger somehow. I wasn’t walking with that post-workout soreness, or feeling that numb in my lower back as I often do after intense exercise. Instead, I felt, honestly, wonderful. And for someone who’s battled pain for a number of years, this almost brought me to tears.
So often I think we resort to medicine to mask our pain. Maybe because we can’t understand why we feel a certain way. Maybe because we don’t have the time, money, or resources to investigate the reason behind our ailments. Or maybe, simply, we’re too busy and have too much going on to be out of work/not exercising because of an injury. So we go from doctor to doctor, pop pills, and do whatever we can to cover up our symptoms to lead a ‘normal’ life.
But a normal life is not one that relies so heavily on medication to simply get through the day. A normal life is not dealing with pain and feeling like you have no options.
I don’t know what your experience is, or what you’re going through, but I’ve felt amazing things with this cannabis-infused massage (and so have others!) and it’s honestly changed the way I view health and medicine. Maybe these non-traditional treatments are not as ‘bad’ as we think we are. Maybe these are our bodies, and we deserve to pursue as many options for healing as we can.
Featured Image Credit: Larm Rmah