Massage is the therapeutic manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, which has been used for centuries, worldwide, to promote health and relaxation. The mechanical action of massage physically loosens muscles taking pressure off arteries, veins, lymph vessels and nerve pathways, thereby relieving the restriction of their functions and helping the body's own healing processes. The loosening of the muscles also aids in the relief of pain and decreases tension, producing a feeling of deep relaxation and a state of well-being. I offer a range of massage techniques. The massage can be peacefully relaxing, using light pressure only which will help to relieve stress and increase the circulation. A stronger pressure can be used in order to break down the deeper, knotted tissue and stretching techniques can be used in order to increase the range of movement and to increase the elasticity of contracted muscles.
I also use neuromuscular techniques and soft tissue release which are very effective to increase the range of movement of a muscle and therefore relieve the pressure and tension on the joints and nerves.
HOW MASSAGE CAN HELP?
There are many techniques that a massage therapist can use to help alleviate tight muscles. Firstly it is extremely important to warm up the muscle tissue; if a cold muscle is stretched it can tear causing further damage. The therapist will stroke (effleurage) kneed (petrissage), use frictions and tapotement (light hacking on the muscle) in order to warm and loosen the muscle fibres. After this is carried out stretching techniques can be used to enable the muscle to achieve its full range of movement.
MUSCLE ENERGY TECHNIQUES
When a muscle has been contracted for a short period of time and then allowed to relax, the relaxation will be greater than normal. During this relaxed state it is possible to stretch the muscle and thereby increase its range of movement.
As one set of muscles has to relax in order for another set to contract, it is possible to relax a very tight muscle that is too painful to be worked on by contracting its opposing partner.
The aim of this technique is to inhibit the neural messages from the muscle to the central nervous system by applying gradual pressure to tender spots in the muscle. When the neural messages are not getting through to the central nervous system, the pain in the muscle will reduce, the tension will also reduce and the muscle will be given the opportunity to relax.
WHY DO MUSCLES BECOME TIGHT AND CAUSE PAIN?
Skeletal muscles function by alternatively contracting and relaxing. This is needed to produce movement, one set of muscles will contract and shorten pulling one bone towards another, at the same time the opposing set of muscles must relax and lengthen. This constant requirement of muscles to relax and contract is also needed to maintain posture and balance and usually occurs without conscious thought. The minor adjustments only affect a small number of muscle fibres at a time which will be contracting and relaxing in a constantly alternating pattern. This is known as muscle tone. These contractions are strong enough to maintain posture but not strong enough to produce movement.
When a muscle contracts it forces fluid from the surrounding connective tissue; as it relaxes, fresh, available fluid flows back in to the muscle, hydrating the tissue and bringing with it vital oxygen and nutrients.
Muscle tension is caused by repetitive or constant contraction of a muscle, most often the cause is overuse of a particular muscle, bad posture or stress. The muscle tightens and loses its elasticity, the eradication of toxins and the rehydration of the muscle is lessened; this causes muscle irritation which can set off inflammation. The muscle will shorten which will affect the movement of the associated joint causing joint pain and can also force the body out of alignment. If the dehydrated, tight muscle is then extended beyond its restricted range of movement, it can suffer damage, such as torn muscle fibres. The muscle fibres can matt together, scar tissue and adhesions may be formed and it could set of muscle spasm which would cause extreme pain in the surrounding area.
When a muscle or set of muscles are damaged and unable to work to their full capacity, another set of muscles will work harder to compensate; these will then also become overused and tight and eventually pull on other joints.
HOT STONE MASSAGE
Hot Stone Massage has been used all over the world for over 2000 years and is becoming increasingly more popular. The special basalt volcanic stones are heated before each treatment and can be used for the entire massage treatment or just as part of the treatment in order to warm, relax and loosen tight muscles. I have also been using them as part of the Reflexology treatment in order to relax the tight muscles and fascia of the feet.
The heat from the stones not only relaxes the muscles allowing for a deeper massage, it also has a very comforting and relaxing effect on the mind and the body.
Reflexology is the belief that all the functions and organs of the body are represented on the feet and hands. The application of pressure to these areas using specific thumb and finger techniques will stimulate the whole system, opening energy pathways which will encourage the body’s own healing potential.
A Reflexology treatment can induce a deep state of relaxation, this is to be encouraged as the deeper the relaxation that is achieved, the more effective the treatment will be. When the tension is relieved, the muscles will relax allowing the circulatory systems to flow freely, which in turn allows the necessary oxygen and nutrients to reach all parts of the body and toxins and impurities to be carried away.
Reflexology does not diagnose and it does not cure, as with Reiki it works on the whole system, dispersing energy blockages and increasing circulation, therefore encouraging the body to heal itself.
As part of the Reflexology treatment, I incorporate a thorough foot and ankle massage in order to help relax the feet, improve tight muscles and ligaments and to loosen the joints of the feet and ankles. This gives relief to tired, aching feet and helps to relieve the discomfort of painful arches and toes.
INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE
Indian Head Massage involves massage, frictions and the stimulation of pressure points to the upper back, arms, neck, face and head. The physical action of the massage helps to break down and eliminate the build up of toxins in the body and also increases the circulation which brings vital nutrients to the head and brain, resulting in a clearer mind and greater concentration. Other benefits can include, better hair growth and improved hair and skin condition.
Indian Head Massage is generally performed through the clothing with the recipient in a sitting position and does not have to involve oils making it the ideal massage treatment for the workplace. However, a face and head massage can also be given on a massage couch as part of a normal massage treatment.
Reiki was introduced to the west by Hawayo Takata which she modified in order to make it acceptable to the western population.
The training introduced by Reiki Master, Taggart King, is known as Reiki Evolution. It blends the western style Reiki teaching with the very simple yet powerful methods developed by Reiki's founder, Mikao Usui, which until recently were not taught in the west.
The Japanese word Reiki means universal life force energy. It is a way of channelling the energy, that is inside and all around us. It is not connected to any religious belief system and was introduced as a way of self healing, to put our bodies and minds into a state of equilibrium.
The Reiki practitioner will channel the Reiki from the universe into the recipient simply by intention. We are all connected with the universe and everything that surrounds us, once we are attuned to Reiki we become more aware of this energy and learn to channel it for our own well being and for that of others.
Reiki often produces a deeply relaxed state similar to that achieved during meditation - when the mind is relaxed, it will allow the body to relax giving it the opportunity to heal and renew itself. Please refer to my page on stress.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND REIKI
There has been research carried out which suggests that during a treatment, a practitioners hands will pulse in unison with the earth's magnetic field, known as the Schuman's Resonance, linking the practitioner to the energies of the earth which will in turn link with the recipient. We all will instinctively hold an area that is hurting as this helps to ease the pain. For more information on The Science Behind Rieki, click on the following link:- www.ttem/forum/index.php?topic=143.0 www.ttem.org/forum/index.php?topic=143.0
As part of the Reiki treatment I offer Reiki empowerments which will enable the client to channel Reiki, for self treatment only, between sessions.
Massage is the most commonly used method for applying essential oils. In general the massage techniques used during an aromatherapy massage are relaxing movements in order to relieve stress and tension. The aromatherapy massage differs from basic massage as it is performed much more slowly with the aim to achieve total relaxation. A great deal of attention is given to the spinal muscles by applying pressures along either side of the spine; this relieves tension from the spinal nerves which supply the whole body.
The essential oils are extracted from plants, flowers and trees and are absorbed into the body by three main routes. The molecules are inhaled into the lungs where they enter the blood supply. They are absorbed into the body through the pores of the skin during the massage.
The inhaled molecules also pass from the nasal cavity along the olfactory nerve to the part of the brain that deals with memory and emotion.