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Massage Therapy

Important aspect in choosing your massage therapist is rapport, how do you & your body feel in his/her presence?

The Power of Touch
Before your session begins, you and the practitioner should discuss what kind of massage will be practiced and which parts of the body will be touched. A typical full-body session includes work on the back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck and shoulders.

Oil or lotion allows the muscles to be massaged manually without causing too much friction on the skin. Most massage therapists use light lubricants that hydrate the skin and are easily absorbed. They are usually mildly and pleasantly scented to enhance the overall experience.

Stress Relief Through Massage
Plain and simple, the effects of stress on the body can be extremely detrimental. When a muscle is stressed, circulation is reduced and both oxygen and nutrients are blocked. Massage is a terrific way to loosen up the muscles, increase the circulation and bring oxygen and nutrients back to the area. It may also release stored toxins, so it's important to flush out your system by drinking water after a session.


Massage Therapy


Defining Massage
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 Therapy
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 well-being.

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.

Deep-Tissue Massage
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 and inflammation

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 Massage
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.

Shiatsu Massage
Shiatsu 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.)

Calf massage
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 pressure.

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.

Toe massage
Rub each toe between fingers and thumb, pulling up gently, then press the flesh between the toes.

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.

Healing Properties of Massage
Though massage is certainly a great way to pamper yourself, its original intent has always been to help heal certain physical conditions. Many illnesses and symptoms can be at least temporarily alleviated through various forms of massage. Before starting massage therapy, consult your doctor to make sure it's recommended for your condition. Massage is often effective for problems associated with stress, PMS, menstruation and menopause.

Massage Fixes
Is massage a cure for an ailment, a way to maintain good health, or a means to pamper yourself? The answer is "all of the above." At its best, massage can be curative, preventative, and soothing. If sitting at a desk every day has done a number on your back, a good massage therapist should be able to help; you could opt for specific work on the upper or lower back to deal with a particular problem, or you might want to improve your posture to avoid a recurrence of the problem in the future. Or, perhaps you just want to spend an hour at a spa getting an allover body massage purely for muscle (and mind) relaxation.

Massage Sessions -- Is Longer Better?
The duration of the session, as well as the type of massage, depends on you. The average full-body massage lasts about an hour. A half-hour appointment allows time only for a partial massage, such as neck and shoulders, back, or legs and feet. For optimal relaxation, a 60-minute bodywork session is recommended. You should also try to schedule time before and after the session for quiet relaxation.

The Latest Massage Trends
As with all beauty and medical treatments, new practices in massage appear regularly. Warm stone therapy, for example, combines massage with the use of heated lava rocks for a very relaxing experience. Choose your treatment based on your particular needs and desires; also decide how much you want to spend and how often you wish to visit your massage therapist.

Rolfing Muscle Therapy
Rolfing, also known as structural integration, aims to move the body back into alignment by manipulating the muscles and the tissues that connect them. Basic body structure can be altered by day-to-day activities -- anything from sitting at a desk all day to sleeping in the same position every night. Rolfing vigorously works the muscles and tissue by gradually stretching, lengthening and repositioning them to restore their normal length and flexibility. When proper alignment is achieved, the body is returned to its central axis, which translates to good posture and carriage. Rolfing practitioners often take "before" photographs to see the problems that need to be addressed, and "after" shots to gauge how effective the work has been.

Prenatal Massage- Massage during pregnancy is therapeutic bodywork which focuses on the special needs of the mother-to-be as her body goes through the dramatic changes of the childbirth experience. Massage therapy enhances the function of muscles and joints, improves circulation and general body tone, and relieves mental and physical fatigue.

Compact serrated leaves on short square stems contrast with the long spearlike spikes bearing the tiny purple, pink or white flowers of the peppermint plant. Originally native to Asia and Europe, this member of the Lamiaceae family is now grown commercially in humid regions of Australia, Brazil, China, England, France, Japan, Morocco, Spain and the United States, which is the primary producer of peppermint oil.

Steam-distilling 1,000 pounds of mature Mentha piperita plants in full bloom will produce about one pound of peppermint oil. This clear or pale yellow oil emits a strong, sharp menthol aroma that is pungent and powerful, even overwhelming.

Beauty Benefits

Peppermint oil fights bacterial infection and reduces the oiliness present with acne and blemishes. It stimulates circulation and helps enliven dull dry skin. Peppermint oil leaves skin feeling soft and silky. It also regulates and normalizes oily skin and hair. It constricts capillaries and minimizes the redness of broken capillaries and varicose veins.

Emotional Effects

Peppermint oil cools emotions and dissipates anger, hysteria and nervousness. It energizes and relieves mental fatigue. It diminishes depression. Peppermint oil increases alertness and improves concentration. It awakens the central nervous system, stimulates the brain and clarifies thought processes.

Michelle Hudson-Owner
We are here to offer you the highest quality products.


Muscle-Spasm Headache Relief This formula is great for easing muscle-spasm headaches. What you need: 2 drops peppermint 1 drop rosemary 1 oz. carrier oil such as sweet almond oil How to: Add the peppermint and rosemary to the carrier oil. Rub on pulse points or on back of neck.

Michelle Hudson
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