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When many Westerners think of massage, they often think of health clubs or spas and a vigorous process of kneading, rubbing
However, massage can also be quiet, slow, penetrating and gentle. I define massage as, "any
touch that is capable of evoking a positive change in the body."
Even the lightest touch - when properly
executed - may effectively stimulate circulation or alter the flow of energy within the body.
is an age-old remedy and health practice. It can be found in all major civilizations, past and present. From the ancient Greek
gymnasia and Roman baths to modern day spas and health clubs, massage has been recognized for its many benefits. The healing
systems of many cultures, including our own, use "hands-on" therapy to soothe aches and pains and to facilitate
the body's own healing powers.
In addition to the more commonly known benefits of relaxation, improved circulation
and relief of muscle tension, new applications of therapeutic massage are surfacing in areas relating to mental and emotional
well-being, infant care, aging, and other specialized situations. Exciting new discoveries have linked touch in general (and
therapeutic massage in particular) to improved immune system functioning.
With regards to general health, a therapeutic massage:
Promotes well-nourished and healthy skin...
of blood and lymph...
Relaxes muscles and improves joint mobility...
Improve energy flow throughout the body...
Speeds recovery from strenuous physical exertion...
Improves digestion, nutrient assimilation and waste elimination...
Increases the detoxification functioning of the liver and kidneys...
Improves nasal congestion and sinus conditions...
Restores a state of balance to the body...
Feels really great...
There are many different styles of massage therapy and practices:
Swedish and Russian styles are most common and contain
the familiar long strokes as well as kneading, vibration, friction and percussion techniques and have a tranquilizing, sedative
effect on the central nervous system. This is a direct aid in dealing with the overpowering effects of everyday stress and
Esalen massage is a process of "unraveling toward a feeling of real peace and acceptance in the
individual," of organic wholeness. Often equated to an "improvised ballet without the tutus," the long, flowing
strokes of the practitioner's hands, elbows, and sometimes knees, choreograph a special dance unlike almost any other.
Asian massage and bodywork forms include amma, acupressure and Shiatsu. These Asian styles are generally focused on improving
the body's energy flow according to the Chinese medical model. In both acupressure and Shiatsu the characteristic technique
is finger pressure on individual energy points.
The Ayurvedic medical model from India gives rise to other forms
of body therapy, incorporating yoga and chakra energy flow.
Tantric and Taoist Erotic massage extend far beyond
what most individuals would consider a "sensual" massage. Through a specific series of deep breathing exercises,
conscious focusing of your chakral energies (specifically the sexual and heart energy connections) and tactile stimulation,
you are able to elevate the vibrational frequency of your entire body to a level of sensual awareness which most people have
seldom experienced before.
Side Effects of Massage
Can there be any harmful side effects from receiving a
therapeutic full-body massage?
Tense muscles are often sore and may hurt a little when massaged. Sometimes there
is a delayed soreness after a session.
It is recommended that you take a hot shower or bath, and drink plenty
of water to help remove any waste products flushed out during a session. This is especially important after your first massage.
The more that you receive massage work, the less likely you will experience post-session soreness.
There are some
situations when massage therapy may not be advisable. If you have recently experienced any of the following conditions - please
be sure to notify me prior to your appointment:
High fever, cancer, tuberculosis, high blood pressure, gastric or duodenal
ulcers, varicose veins, diabetes, phlebitis or other blood vessel problems, "pitting" edema, swollen limbs, heart
disease, recent surgery or fractures, epilepsy.
There are certain situations where extra precautionary measures
may be taken to ensure a safe and comfortable experience. In other rare instances, it is recommended that massage be avoided
altogether. If in doubt, check with your personal physician.
Remember, your massage session is designed to be
a relaxing, soothing, comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Listed below are some of the areas in which I have received professional massage
and bodywork training
A non-intrusive precursor of acupuncture, acupressure stimulates the flow of vital energy - known as "chi" - that circulates
along the body's meridians and influences the functioning of certain internal organs.
By applying thumb and fingertip
pressure, specific symptoms are relieved and balance is restored to the entire body.
The Alexander Technique is movement education in which the client is taught to sit, stand and move in ways that reduce
physical stress on the body.
Alexander Technique practitioners use gentle manual guidance and verbal cues to improve
clients' posture and movement patterns.
A lesson or group class typically involves basic movements such as sitting,
standing, walking, bending, reaching, carrying and lying down. It may also involve more specialized activities such as playing
a musical instrument, working at a computer, etc.
The practitioner's manual guidance stresses the adjustment of the
head, neck and torso relationship. The client learns an understanding of balance and dynamic postural control.
Aromatherapy involves a massage treatment using oil that has been blended with the essence of a plant.
themselves are a little oily, very fragrant, and usually too concentrated to be used neat. Essential oils are usually blended
with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or grapeseed oil.
The different essential oils' fragrance plays an important part
in therapeutically treating emotional disorders through the olfactory glands. Aromatherapy is helpful in relieving stress,
fluid retention, sleeping disorders and anxiety, and helps enhance health and appearance.
This gentle but dynamic therapy was developed by Australian Tom Bowen and comprises sequences of small, gentle moves at
specific sites on the body.
A light, cross-fibre manoeuvre of a muscle, tendon or ligament are used, and the effect
is usually very pleasant for the recipient. The Bowen Technique empowers the body's own healing resources, achieving balance
and harmony, frequently resulting in fast and lasting relief from pain and discomfort.
CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the
cranio-sacral system, comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.
a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams - or about the weight of a nickel - practitioners release restrictions in the
cranio-sacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.
By complementing the body's natural
healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease,
and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.
Deep Connective Tissue Massage
This deep form of bodywork helps to release myofascial restrictions in the body. It relieves chronic tension, increases
range of motion, improves posture and enhances self-awareness.
Connective tissue massage restores length and flexibility
to the fascia, normalizing the tissue and bringing greater health through the fascial system.
Esalen Tissue Work
This style of therapy combines classical Swedish massage, with its precise manner of working with muscles and the circulatory
system, and the deeply personal sensing work brought from Germany by Charlotte Selver.
Long, lengthening strokes with
gentle rocking and stretching, passive joint movement, sculpting of deep musculature, and the precision of Chinese point work
are all part of this unique full body treatment.
Feldenkrais is an educational process involving awareness through movement, a sensorimotor balancing technique and functional
integration, in which a teacher guides a patient through a series of manipulative sequences consisting of information, action
and response to re-establish proper neuromotor patterning and balance.
Integrative Manual Therapy
The combination of structural and functional rehabilitation, integrative manual therapy is a specialty that finds its roots
in osteopathic medicine.
Its basic concept is that structure determines function where no part functions independently.
Manual therapy addresses the entire body, locating the source of pain and disability, not just the symptoms.
non-invasive hands-on methods are used to support the body's inherent ability to heal itself, normalize the structural integrity
and physiologic function and promote optimal health.
Joint mobilization (basic, advanced, thrust, as well as traction and gliding) is a passive movement technique that when
applied to joints increases mobility and may be localized or regional.
Traction, vibrations and oscillations are used
as techniques relieving symptoms.
A "muscle testing" form of chiropractic introduced in 1964, practitioners also examine structural factors such as posture
and gait and make recommendations about lifestyle changes.
Kinesiology is also a non-invasive therapy, in which applied
kinesiologists apply light finger-tip massage to pressure points on the body or head in order to stimulate or relax key muscles.
therapy also includes muscle test for diagnosis, then emphasizes the role of the brain, spine, and nerves to assess and restore
balance of the body's skeletal structure.
Kinesiology is used to improve digestion, energy, and sports performance
and to ease back and joint pain, allergies, asthma, depression and headaches.
This Hawaiian system of massage utilizes very large, broad movements. Two-handed forearm and elbow application of strokes,
which cover a broad area, is characteristic of Lomi Lomi.
Lomi Lomi is Hawaiian for rub-rub. Oils are used in
the application of cross-fibre friction techniques. The practitioner often uses the forearm and the elbow in the application
Similar to Swedish massage in many aspects, this system uses prayer and the acknowledgment of the existence
of a higher power as an integral part of the technique.
Muscle Energy Technique
A technique that when applied directly is based on the principle of reciprocal inhibition and when applied indirectly is
based on post-contraction relaxation. The goal is to relax a muscle spasm.
This slow and subtle technique can be used to release fascia and muscle throughout the body. The therapist uses light to
moderate traction and a twisting approach to achieve biomechanical and reflex change through an appropriate tension on the
This therapy is applied with a combination of effleurage or gliding, petrissage or grasping, friction, muscle energy, and
Neuromuscular Integration and Structural Alignment
A technique developed from SOMA bodywork, NISA is a soft version of Rolfing.
NISA consists of 12 sessions
and approaches the body somewhat more gently to accomplish the same goal of structural alignment. The NISA technique is designed
to affect the fascia by separating and stretching it.
Reflexology is an ancient healing art based on the principles that there are reflexes in the hands and feet that correspond
to every part, organ and gland in the body. By using acupressure and massage on the hands and feet, the client benefits from
improved circulation, detoxification, reduced tension and the body's ability to heal itself.
Developed in Japan, Shiatsu is a finger-pressure technique utilizing the traditional acupuncture points of Oriental healing.
Similar to acupressure, shiatsu concentrates on unblocking the flow of life energy and restoring balance in the meridians
and organs in order to promote self-healing.
With the client reclining, the practitioner applies pressure with the
finger, thumb, palm, elbow or knee to specific zones on the skin located along the energy meridians. The treatment brings
about a sense of relaxation while stimulating blood and lymphatic flow.
The benefits of this treatment may include
pain relief and a strengthening of the body's resistance to disease and disorder.
Consists of specific components designed to reduce injuries, such as alleviating inflammation and providing a warm-up for
amateur and professional athletes before, during, after, and within their training regimens.
Massage can help you prepare
for a competitive event. A pre-event massage is brief and invigorating, usually lasting, 15-20 minutes. It is given within
an hour before the sporting event, through the clothes.
Post-event massage will be calming and relaxing with the goal
of easing pain and soreness and reducing inflammation, also lasting 15-20 minutes and through the clothes. Post-event massage
can bring blood and oxygen to tense areas and flush out metabolic waste products built up during heavy muscle use.
Stones of all shapes and sizes and varying temperatures, ranging from 0-140 degrees F, are used during Stone massage therapy
to elicit physical healing, mental relaxation and a spiritual connection to earth energy.
Warm stones encourage the
exchange of blood and lymph and provide soothing heat for deep-tissue work. Cold stones aid with inflammation, moving blood
out of the area and balancing male/female energies.
Stones are placed in varying positions on the body for energy balancing
or may be used by the therapist for specific trigger-point work. The alternating heat and cold of thermotherapy brings the
entire body into the healing process, with a rapid exchange of blood and oxygen and alternating rise and fall of respiration
rate as the body seeks homeostasis.
Stone therapy requires less effort from the practitioner's own body and delivers
healing warmth to the hands, benefiting the therapist as well as the client.
One of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed
to energize the body by stimulating circulation.
Five basic strokes, all flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate
the soft tissues of the body. Therapists use a combination of kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive and tapping movements,
with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin.
The many benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized
relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from
Thai Massage is based on the theory that the body is made up of 72,000 sen, or energy lines, of which 10 hold top
Thai Massage also involves peripheral stimulating, meaning it acts as an external stimulant to produce specific
internal effects. This point serves as the main division between Thai and Western massage.
Thai Massage is practiced
on a firm mat on the floor instead of on a table, instrumental in the effective use of the practitioner's body weight. Except
for the feet, the client remains fully clothed, so draping is not necessary.
Tui Na Massage
Chinese massage that can be used alone or in combination with other treatments to relieve pain and muscular tension. It
includes acupressure to stimulate specific points as well as pushing or grasping strokes to the muscles with specific attention
paid to the meridians and the flow of "chi". This treatment can relax the muscles and improve circulation.
A word that means WATer shiatSU. Zen shiatsu incorporates stretches which release blockages along the meridians, the channels
through which Chi, or life force, flows. The effects of Zen shiatsu could be amplified and made more profound by stretching
someone while having them float in warm water.
By supporting, rocking and moving the whole body while stretching a
leg or arm, Watsu lessens the resistance there is when a limb is worked in isolation. When the whole body is in continual
movement, each move flowing gracefully into the next, there is no way to anticipate, and thus resist, what's coming next.
water (96 degrees), and the continuous support it provides, help free the spine.
Zero Balancing is a simple, yet powerful hands-on method of aligning body energy with body structure. It integrates fundamental
principles of Western science with Eastern concepts of body, mind and spirit.
By correcting imbalances between energy
and structure, the Zero Balancing practitioner can enhance physical, mental and spiritual health. A Zero Balancing session,
which consists of gentle pressing, stretching and bending, generally takes 30 minutes and is done through the client's clothing.
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