Massage #01


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  • Massage probably goes back in history as far as the existence of man. Although one can only speculate, the fact that we do it instinctively to comfort and soothe pain, suggests that it is the oldest form of medical treatment. Apes groom each other, animals lick their wounds, to cleanse and help heal. We, as humans, rub an aching joint or have a strong urge to touch or stroke our body when it hurts - all are forms of massage. From books and records, there is evidence to show that different forms of massage have been used throughout history and by all cultures.
  • Massage #02

    The benefits of massage

    There are numerous benefits to massage, many still currently being researched to provide evidence-based accreditation. However it is accepted that massage:

  • Aids general wellness and promotes sense of well-being
  • Relaxes the soft tissues and joints
  • Reduces stress and anxiety and so helps boost the immune system
  • Can improve body awareness
  • Helps relaxation
  • Can aid sleep
  • Helps to relieve everyday aches and pains, such as back, neck and shoulder aches
  • Reduces muscular tension and so improves posture
  • Can be used in support of other therapies to assist in the rehabiliation of muscular injuries

    The effects of massage tend to be accumulative. One massage may produce an improvement but it may only last a short time; the more regular the treatments, the longer the effects appear to last.
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  • Massage #03

    Holistic Massage

    Holistic massage is all about connecting, calming, nurturing, comforting and deep relaxation. It is an unhurried approach, with candlelight, soft music and essential oils adding to this a feeling of ease and relaxation. It treats the person as a whole entity with a body, mind, spirit and set of emotions that cannot be separated into disparate units and parts. It provides the receiver with a sense of being and self-worth, a connection with their true essence that has nothing to do with the stressed, busy selves that they often are. Holistic massage can help with the release of blocked emotions, as well as allowing tense muscles to relax. Often both the receiver and the giver will reach a calm, peaceful state that is very similar to meditation.
    Massage #04

    Deep Tissue Massage

    The back, shoulders and neck, calves and thighs, with their complex and multi-layered muscle structures, are often deep-seated and long-standing areas of muscle tension. Deep tissue massage can address the deeper layers of muscle tissue that may not be reached by lighter holistic work. By doing so, the work may also release restricted joints. When carrying out deep tissue work,I use a wide variety of techniques that involve not only working with thumbs, fingers and hands but also with my elbows, knuckles,fists and forearms. I work with a great deal of focus and concentration during this process, "listening" to the muscles, to hear how far they will "allow" me to work. Instinct and experience are powerful tools and I use these to create "light and shade" in my work, understanding that my techniques and the level of pressure applied need to be varied, depending on the person and that particular area of muscles. Of course, I always welcome feedback during the treatment.
    Massage #05

    Hot Stones Massage

    This therapy provides a deeply effective stress release. Clients say that they feel completely relaxed and cocooned in warmth, as the hot water heated basalt lava stones glide over them, releasing muscle tension and boosting the circulation. The heat of the stones lets the massage go deep into the muscles, tissues and joints. Hot stones therapy works on the seven major chakra points (Please click here for more information on Spiritual Healing/ Chakra Balancing.), creating a balancing and meditative experience at a mental and spiritual level. Stone therapy has been used for over 2000 years; this particular approach was founded in Arizona and uses volcanic basalt stones from Peruvian river beds.

    Basic Massage Strokes - some techniques explained

    EFFLEURAGE / STROKING: Rhythmic, long, slow, gliding strokes that form the basis of Holistic Massage. This technique is used to begin and end a massage, to apply oil, to move from one area of the body to another. The energies begin to attune between masseur and the receiver and it helps the receiver to relax. Variety can be maintained by changing the speed and pressure of the strokes (brisk movements are more stimulating). Fan stroking starts with hands side by side, gliding upwards or downwards, leading with the fingers and applying an even pressure through the palms and heels of the hand. Hands can then be fanned out and slid down the sides, moulding to the shape of the body.

    Massage #06THUMB ROLLING / CIRCLING: This is a small circular movement, with one thumb following the other, or working in parallel. The masseur can press the balls of the thumbs away from themselves, into the receiver’s flesh, finding hidden tensions, feeling knots and easing them away. The body weight can be used to add pressure, keeping the hands strong but relaxed. This brings blood to the surface and eases tension; it should be a “good” release for the receiver. Friction can be added using deep, circular movements of the thumbs, knuckles and ends of fingers. Deep circles of the thumbs, working slowly up both sides of the spine can stimulate the nerve endings at the spinal root.
    PETRISSAGE: These are transverse deep stroking movements that help one feel where the problems are on other muscles layers and tissues.
    PUSH/ PULLING is a variation where you place one hand on the far side of the body, with the other nearer to you. Slowly and rhythmically you push with one hand and pull with the other, working away tension and relaxing the receiver. PULLING is the technique where you place one hand on the far side and slowly pull the muscle upward, following the curve of the body. Before breaking contact, one starts pulling a little further on with the other hand. The hands pull in a flowing movement overlapping as they travel along.
    Massage #07KNEADING / WRINGING: This movement is like kneading dough and is useful for fleshy areas like shoulders, hips, thighs. It stretches and relaxes tense muscles, improves circulation, brings fresh blood and nutrients to the area and helps in the elimination of waste products. The depth and speed of kneading can make it slow and deep or fast and stimulating, affecting the top or deeper layer of muscle, depending on the firmness. Using the whole hand,one gathers flesh into the palm and gently squeezes between the fingers and thumb; then one does the same with the other hand, rhythmically compressing and releasing with alternate hands. WRINGING adds a deeper and more stimulating movement by adding a twist.
    PERCUSSION STROKES: These are brisk, bouncy, springy movements that can be useful on fleshy, muscular areas and NOT on bony areas or over broken veins or bruises. They improve the circulation and are generally very stimulating and wake up the receiver. As such, they are used far less in Holistic Massage. They include HACKING, CUPPING,TAPOTEMENT AND PLUCKING.

    There are many other strokes and techniques in massage, limited only by the imagination. They can include stretching, static pressure, holding, connecting, pressing and involve fingers, thumbs, heel of hand, palm of hand, knuckles, wrists, sides of wrists, forearms, elbows.

    Whichever technique one uses, it is essential to stay connected with the receiver, grounded using your centre of gravity and never forgetting that one is working with a whole body, mind and spirit and not just a collection of body parts.

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