What is a massage?
Massage is a manipulation of the body’s soft tissues and muscles. It is perhaps one of the oldest healing traditions - ancient peoples including the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians were convinced of the therapeutic properties of massage and used it to treat a variety of ailments.
Mainstay techniques such as rubbing and kneading are complemented by joint mobilisation, stretches and manipulation of pressure points, using hands, fingers, knuckles and elbows.
Massage is performed on a massage table or couch and the level of undress is based on the client’s comfort. Only exposed areas will be the one worked on.
What are the benefits of massage?
Some of the benefits of massage include:
Pain relief for tight muscles (knots) and other aches and pains
Reduction of stress hormones and increasing relaxation
Reduced muscle tension and easing muscular strain by flushing out toxins
Corrects posture and muscles imbalances
Stimulation of the lymphatic system and improving blood circulation which nourishes cells and improves waste elimination
Improved skin elasticity and muscle tone
Effective in addressing hormonal imbalances
Improved recovery of soft tissue injuries
Enhanced alertness, energy and vitality
Lowering of heart rate and blood pressure
Improved immune function
Release of compressed nerves (carpel tunnel, sciatica)
Help healing scar tissue as well as tendon, ligament, improving mobility and flexibility
Studies have shown that massage is effective in treating or preventing a range of symptoms related to a variety of physical or psychological conditions.
One of the immediate benefits of massage is a feeling of deep relaxation and calm. This occurs because massage prompts the release of endorphins – the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that produce feelings of wellbeing.
Studies have found that massage can lower levels of stress hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol and norepinephrine which put the body into fight or flight mode, straining the sympathetic nervous system, and impairing immune function.
Manipulation of the soft tissues releases restrictions within muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which can ease the flow of blood, lymph, and other fluids in the body, reducing the strain on our internal systems
Massage can be used to counteract the thickening or stiffening of connective tissue caused by high blood sugars, by increasing the mobility and elasticity of tissues.
Massage is generally considered part of Integrative Medicine. It's increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection or TLC.
A contra-indication is a symptom, a lesion or a situation that will prevent treatment, all or in part being given safely.
A massage therapist is not trained to diagnose such a condition.
Total Contra-indication - The therapist cannot perform the massage if the client has any of the below conditions:
Any contagious or infectious (Covid-19, skin conditions like tinea, herpes, scabies, impetigo, chickenpox, severe psoriasis, open skin)
Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Pregnant woman under 14 weeks (after 14 weeks yes with permission from GP or midwife)
Bleeding disorders or take blood-thinning medication
Burns or healing wounds
Deep vein thrombosis
High blood pressure
Severe heart problems
Localised contra-indications – The therapist needs to check localised conditions on each visit and cannot massage over any areas affected by:
Bruises, cuts, wounds, abrasion, burns, rashes, undiagnosed lumps and bumps
Areas of undiagnosed pain or inflammation, these should be first diagnosed by a suitably qualified person
Scar tissue after 1 years for major operation and 6 months for a small scar
Contra-indications that require medical approval
If a client suffers from any of the following conditions, massage can only take place with permission of a GP or medical Specialist:
Pregnancy after 14 weeks
Cardiovascular conditions – thrombosis, phlebitis, hypertension, heart conditions
Any condition being treated by a GP or another complementary practitioner
Nervous/ Psychotic conditions
If you have recently had surgery, chemo or any other medical procedure
During massage, waste products trapped within over-contracted muscles can be released. The body will then process this over the next 24-48 hours. Massage shouldn't ordinarily be painful or uncomfortable. If any part of your massage doesn't feel right or is painful, speak up right away with your therapist.
Massage can also leave you feeling thirsty and needing to go to the toilet more than usual - this is because the massage has got your lymph circulation going and your body is flushing out toxins.
Other effects may occur after or during massage including: sore muscles, feeling sleepy, dizziness, perspiring, flatulence, micturition, runny or blocked nose and change in body temperature.
Any dormant conditions which have been suppressed could flare up temporarily as part of the healing process. Emotional release such as crying or expressing any kind of emotion can occur. These are positive signals that your body has responded to the treatment and is balancing itself. Treat yourself gently after a massage and know that these feelings arising should be replaced by a feeling of increased well-being.
Massage is not intended to replace any doctor-approved treatment plan.
Post massage healing effects
What to expect from a massage session?
On site massage is performed in the comfort of your home, hotel or work if you have a private room where you will not be disturbed.
The therapist will show up to your door 10 minutes early to set up, ask you to fill out a consultation form, ask you about any symptoms, your medical history and what you're hoping to get out of massage to customize the massage based on your needs.
The practitioner will bring the massage table and oil. Your therapist may play music during your massage or talk to you, but you can tell her if you prefer quiet.
The client should provide their own towels (2 big and 1 medium) and make sure they will not be disturbed. The room where the treatment will take place needs to be at least 7ft long and 3ft wide in order that the therapist can walk around the table. It may help to put the heating on to warm up the space beforehand. This ensures you are comfortable throughout the treatment allowing muscle relaxation.
Please make sure hair is adequately held away from your face and remove all jewellery before the start of their appointment to allow the therapist to reach every part of the body. It’s recommended to take a hot shower before treatment, It warms and relaxes your muscles preparing them nicely for an even deeper relaxing experience. Also, you may want to silence your phone and let your loved ones know you will be in a massage and would like to remain undisturbed.
Your massage therapist will perform an evaluation through touch to locate painful or tense areas to determine how much pressure to apply.
Your therapist will then talk to you about what you'd like to focus on, what's hurting you or which parts you prefer not to be touched.
The practitioners use organic oil to promote relaxation and prevent excessive friction. You can choose if you prefer scented oil combined with organic essential oils or just plain.
Tell your massage therapist if you might be allergic to any ingredients.
A massage session lasts from 1 hour to 120 minutes, depending on your request.
If at any time during your massage you feel there's too much pressure, too little pressure, music is too loud/quiet pain in an area, uncomfortable with the technique/stretch, too cold or anything that keeps you away from relaxing then let your therapist know so that she can adjust the pressure or anything you need to help you to relax and feel at ease.
If you're worried about anything, don't hesitate to say so.
Make sure you are hydrated before your massage , this allows for more pliable muscle tissue . Also hydrating after massage helps your body to recover faster and flash out toxins. This is very important in order to not feel post-massage stiffness.
If you can avoid heavy meals and coffee before your massage this is better Massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being. The goal is to relax and focus on the touch bringing awareness to your body and patterns that might creates muscle tension.
Why it's important to breath during a massage session?
Breathing throughout the session helps you to release muscle tension, reduce muscle pain and calms your mind for experiencing a deeper state of relaxation and wellbeing.
Breathing deeply will help the following processes which may occur during massage:
The body releases endorphins which are the feel-good hormones and natural killers created by the body itself
Remove toxins from the body promoting better blood flow and more oxygen in the body, consequently increasing energy levels
Improved body posture through strengthening of the spine
Reduce acidity in the body making it alkaline and potentially reducing inflammation
Helping lungs to do their work to expel toxins and nourish the cells with oxygen and guarantee vital function of the body