Massage is the manual manipulation of the soft tissue of the body. When properly applied, it helps balance the body, assist
with posture, relieve aches and pains and increase the flow of oxygen and other nutrients to the blood and bones. Massage
techniques range from a basic working of tight muscles for relaxation and stress reduction to extensive treatments (some that
don't even involve physical touch) to alter and affect the body's energy. There is a wide range of massage techniques, so
you'll need to decide which one best addresses your needs. Whether you just need help with a back spasm a couple of times
a year or want to incorporate the tenets of massage into your daily life, there's a technique that's right for you.
Cranial sacral therapists use gentle movements applied to the skull and vertebrae to balance the circulation of the liquid
that surrounds the brain. Because the whole body expands and contracts with the rhythm created by the cranial pulse -- the
pumping of this fluid -- the cranial sacral system affects the entire body. Working on the cranial sacral system brings the
body into balance, releasing accumulated stress to create a general sense of well-being. It also can help with headaches,
neck and jaw pain, and problems with the pelvis and the diaphragm.
PMS and Menstruation Relief
Although every woman is different, most of us experience
at least some of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Whether you suffer from bloating, cramps, headaches or abdominal or
back pain, exercise and massage can help by increasing the circulation of oxygen in the blood, creating a greater sense of
There also are specific pressure points indicated in shiatsu massage
and acupressure for alleviating the problems associated with PMS. According to certain acupressure theories, disarming the
liver, where energy stagnates during PMS, can mitigate the monthly pain and discomfort.
The pelvic and abdominal pain that accompany menstruation often
can be eased by a lower back massage. Reflexologists can also help relieve cramps by massaging the small intestine and liver
reflexes in the feet.
When muscles are stressed, they block oxygen and nutrients, leading to inflammation that builds up toxins in the muscle tissue.
A deep-tissue massage gets to the heart of the problem, working intensely on the muscles and connective tissues to loosen
toxins and get blood and oxygen circulating properly. Because many toxins are released, it's important to drink plenty of
water after a deep-tissue session to help eliminate these toxins from the body. A mild pain reliever helps reduce soreness
Trager Massage Method
Trager work, also called psychological integration, consists of shaking, vibrating and gentle kneading, all pleasant movements
designed to make the body feel good. Along with moving the body in playful ways, the Trager practitioner constantly explains
what the body is revealing. The underlying theory is that most physical problems start in the mind; the physical and verbal
communication are used to contact the subconscious, communicate with the muscles, and coax them back to health.
Watsu is a form of massage that combines hydrotherapy with shiatsu. While the client is submerged in warm water, the therapist
does a combination of acupressure and long strokes over the body's energy fields. The buoyancy the water provides allows the
practitioner to use stretches and muscle manipulations that would normally be impossible. Being underwater also increases
the body's sense of tranquility and relaxation.
is a form of acupressure that combines pressure with the application of long strokes over the body's energy fields. According
to practitioners of this ancient form of massage, the strokes are just as important as the activation of the pressure points.
Using stretches, joint rotations and joint manipulation, shiatsu is a holistic treatment that aims to heal mind, body and
spirit. The client is usually fully clothed, lying or sitting on a futon on the ground. (Shiatsu also can be practiced in
warm water, where the muscles can relax intensely.)
Thai - Also called Nuad Bo Rarn,
Thai massage has been thought and practiced in Thailand for approximately 2,500 years. Although the origins are somewhat vague,
credit for the origin of Thai Massage is given t o a famous Indian doctor, Shivago Komarpaj, who was the personal physician
to the Buddha and Magadha king. Historically, manipulation
was one of four major branches composing traditional Thai
ceremonies of magical practices. This is based on the theory that the body is made of 72,000 Sen, or energy lines, of which
10 hold top priority. Thai Massage also involves peripheral stimulating, meaning it acts as an external stimulant to produce
internal effects. This point serves as the main division between Thai and Western massage. Thai massage involves a lot of
stretching and energy balancing.
Foot Massage Made Easy
At home, they recommend that the massage be preceded by a foot soak in warm water mixed with ordinary
table salt. Use a pan or a bubbling foot spa and keep the feet immersed for 15 to 20 minutes. Then dry them thoroughly.
Place a pillow or folded towel in your lap topped with a hand towel. Apply cream to your hands, rubbing
them together briskly to warm them. (Don't use oil: When hands get slippery, applying pressure is difficult.) Have your partner
in a relaxed position, knees bent, feet in your lap. The four techniques described below may be repeated as desired, with
one hand on each foot or with two hands on one foot. (When you work on one foot at a time, keep the other warm by draping
it with a towel.)
Place your hand under the knee, squeeze gently on the calf, then slide hand down to
the ankle, squeezing five times along the way. Repeat the action on the front of the leg from knee to shin. Repeat, increasing
Foot pad and arch massage
Place fingers lightly across top of toes, thumb against the sole. Use
your thumb to press in a circular motion. Continue the circular motion as your hand moves across the foot in a horizontal
path. Removing your fingers from the top of the toes, slide your hand slightly closer to the arch and repeat the side-to-side
massage. Continue until you have massaged the area under the instep.
Rub each toe between fingers and thumb, pulling up gently, then press the flesh between
Heel and ankle massage
Support the heel with your cupped hand and move your thumb in a circular
motion around the heel pad, applying increasing pressure. Finish by pinching behind the ankle several times. Run your fingers
along the top of the foot, then stroke the entire area from foot to knee. Repeat, more gently each time, until done.