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Swedish Massage is a very relaxing and therapeutic style of bodywork. It combines oils or lotion with an array of strokes such as rolling, kneading, and percussion to help the body improve its circulation. The benefits of this type of bodywork are wide-ranging and include relief from aches and pains, decreased stress levels in the body, enhanced mental clarity, improved appearance, and greater flexibility.
The term “Swedish Massage” refers to a variety of techniques specifically designed to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. Swedish massage was developed in the 1800's by a Swedish doctor named Henri Peter Ling.
The main purpose of Swedish massage is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. Swedish massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic wastes. It increases circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable. Swedish massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves themselves at the same time. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested in a regular program for stress management. It also has many specific medical uses.
Swedish massage feels good, and is relaxing and invigorating. It affects the nerves, muscles, glands, and circulation, while promoting health and well being. The therapist generally uses massage oil to facilitate making long, smooth strokes over the body. Swedish massage is done with the person covered by a sheet, a technique called "draping", with one part of the body uncovered, massaged, and then covered up before moving on to another part of the body.
Swedish massage is the foundation for other types of Western massage, including sports, deep tissue and some aromatherapy techniques.
Esalen Massage vs. Swedish Massage
While the strokes are similar, the philosophy and intent are quite different. Swedish massage was developed as part of gymnastics; Esalen as part of Gestalt psychotherapy.
Swedish seeks to affect specific muscles, joints and organ and relieve pain and increase mobility. Esalen does this but also seeks to help the person live more comfortably in his or her own body and integrate body, mind, and spirit into a more harmonious whole person.
The strokes and manipulations of Swedish massage are for a specific therapeutic benefit. Esalen massage is set apart as a unique style because it also reflects an attitude about touching, caring, energy awareness and emotional, spiritual healing besides just physical manipulation.
Part of the attitude of Esalen is that touching is a basic need, as essential as air, food or water: that caring about others is natural; that getting in touch with one's own body leads to a more effective way of loving and relating to others, and that healing comes from within as well as from the outside.
There is also a difference in conception of what therapy is. Sometimes it is said that Esalen "only" makes one feel good, as if that were a frivolous self-indulgence, whereas Swedish is more "therapeutic". But Esalen is intended to feel good; its creators believed in the wisdom that feeling good is good for you in body as well as emotions and spirit. Esalen massagers believe that pleasure itself is therapeutic.
Few Esalen massagers practice 100% pure Esalen but use a blend of strokes and techniques for maximum physical as well as relational touch and good feelings.
Sculpting is a form of deep tissue massage that is characterized by firm, constant compressions and strokes applied parallel to the muscle fibers. Like other methods of deep tissue work, the techniques are intended to affect the deeper structures of the musculo-skeletal system, as well as the skin and the more superficial fascia and muscles. To reach these deeper layers, the sculptor uses fingertips, knuckles, elbows, forearms, heels of hand, or any bony body part as tools. Pressure is gradually applied to a tight area until a resistance is met. Pressure is maintained at a constant while the tissue relaxes and until release is completed, or until the practitioner accepts that no release is forthcoming. The work proceeds slowly so that the deeper pressures and the intensity of physical and emotional sensations that often occur can be assimilated by the client.
The intention of deep tissue sculpting is to create the following effects:
- To free congestion in the muscular attachments to the skeleton;
- To organize chronically contracted myofascia;
- To liberate and restore elasticity to myofascia;
- To increase circulation in chronically congested muscle tissue;
- To balance intrinsic/extrinsic muscle function and awareness;
- To re-establish independent muscle action;
- To realign posture and movement patterns;
- To liberate psychic and emotional tensions held in the myofascia; and
- To bring consciousness to the skeleton by freeing muscles of chronic tension.
The practitioner should have a sense of sinking, melting, or soaking into the client’s body. Gradual, appropriate levels of pressure and intensity will ensure that any pain experienced by the client will feel cleansing and not produce more tension and resistance. As muscle tension melts, the practitioner envisions the skeleton, thereby bringing consciousness to the bone. By seeing the body as becoming elongated through lengthening of the muscles and the creation of more space in the joints, that very response is encouraged.
Sports Massage is a type of massage designed for highly active people who engage in athletics. Engaging in sports is harsh on the body and can often lead to injuries in both the short and long term. Sports Massage enhances performance and prolongs a sports career by helping to prevent injury, reduce pains and swelling in the body, relax the mind, increase flexibility, and dramatically improve recovery rates. Sports Massage is also highly effective in aiding the rapid recovery of an athlete from an injury by encouraging greater kinesthetic awareness and in turn promoting the body's natural immune function.
Structural integration employs soft tissue manipulation with the goal of realigning the body in relationship to the force of gravity. The theory underlying structural integration asserts that often the body's connective tissue is "bound up," thus restricting opposing muscles from working independently of one another. Thus, the aim is to loosen the restricted connective tissue by using a practice very similar to deep tissue massage. Practitioners typically prescribe a specific sequence of ten sessions lasting between 75 and 90 minutes in order to "unlock" the whole body.
Structural Integration aligns the major body segments through deep manipulation of the fascia or connective tissue. A hands-on manipulation developed by Ida P. Rolf 50 years ago, it works on the connective tissue to release, realign and balance the whole body. Unlike general massage, Structural Integration focuses not on the muscles but on their protective layer, called fascia (also known as connective tissue). Muscles are contracting tissues that give the body and organs physical movement. The fascia surrounds the muscles, bones and organs in the body. The fascia gives muscles their shape and the body its structure.
Structural Integration aligns and balances the body by lengthening and repositioning the fascia. As fascia is lengthened it allows the muscles to move more efficiently. The practitioner will apply pressure to the body, working the entire fascial system in a systematic way. When restricted fascia is released and lengthened the body can return to its structurally optimal position
The continuing pull of gravity, the stress of daily activities and physical injuries can pull the body out of alignment. The fascia gradually shortens, tightens and adjusts to accommodate the misalignment. When the body is out of alignment it creates inefficiency and imbalance resulting in stiffness, discomfort and loss of energy.
When a body is aligned and balanced it moves with greater ease. It requires less energy to function. Good posture is effortless and breathing is easier. The body becomes more flexible, more coordinated and athletic performance improves.
Structural Integration enhances our posture and freedom of movement. It can resolve pain and discomfort from many different causes, including back pain, repetitive motion injury, trauma, and aging. It is also an excellent foundation for and complement to yoga, pilates and other personal wellness practices.
Pregnancy Massage is a style of bodywork designed specifically for pregnant women. Pregnancy is a time when a woman's body endures tremendous stress due to dramatic physical and emotional changes. Using various techniques specially developed for the expecting mother, Pregnancy Massage helps release the pain and discomfort experienced throughout pregnancy. The benefits are profound, including emotional support, the relief of joint pain due to extra weight and postural imbalance, and improved breathing and relaxation.
Warm basalt stones induce deep relaxation and encourage the removal of cellular waste from the tissues. Cool stones are applied to enhance the cleansing process and tone the cellular tissue.
Reflexology is a type of bodywork that focuses on applying pressure to the specific nerve zones in your feet. Unlike other foot massages that intend to mostly relieve tension in the feet themselves, reflexology is a far more in-depth science that aims to harmonize your entire body. According to reflexology, every part of the human body is mapped into your feet. Reflexology treatments have been found to be highly effective for conditions such as allergies, headaches, and depression.
Reflexology is a form of natural healing for the body that has been practiced for centuries. Through gentle pressure on areas of your foot that correspond to specific body systems, an overall sense of relaxation and renewal is achieved.
Reflexology stimulates the:
- Central Nervous System
- Endocrine System
- Circulatory System
- Lymphatic System
- Respiratory System
- Digestive System
- Skeletal System
The benefits of Reflexology include:
- Strengthened immunity and resistance to disease
- Restoration of the balance between the body's systems
- Increased energy levels
- Enhanced feeling of well-being
- Release of toxins in the body that could lead to disease
Reflexology can help:
- Relieve muscle pain
- Restore normal sleep patterns
- Decrease sinus pain and pressure
- Improve circulation
- Normalize blood pressure
- Aid the digestion process
- Relieve stress
CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle yet powerful technique that is effective in releasing neck pain, back pain, and mental stress (among other things). It does this by optimizing the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spine and around the skull. Developed by physician William Sutherland, this therapy provides a very soothing and relaxing healing experience.
Via a gentle, non-invasive manipulative technique, this encourages your own natural mechanisms to improve the functioning of your brain and spinal cord to dissipate the negative effects of stress, promote good health, and enhance resistance to disease.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the body’s own natural healing mechanisms. The focus of this work is on the craniosacral system – which consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth, which make up the cranium, down to the sacrum, or tailbone area.
The craniosacral system is a very important system in our body and directly influences the performance of the brain and spinal cord. Imbalances or restrictions anywhere in this system could cause any number of sensory, motor, or neurological problems.
Craniosacral therapy can help:
Migraines and Headaches
Chronic Neck and Back Pain
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Stress & Tension Related Problems
Traumatic Brain & Spinal Cord Injuries
… and many other health challenges and conditions including emotional difficulties. CST speeds recovery, increases the health of the entire body, improves resistance to disease, and assists a return to total wellness.
Anyone can receive CST… newborns and infants, children, adults, the elderly, and even family pets and other animals.
Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy aims to gently and rhythmically move the lymph through the body, especially swollen areas of the body, relieving pressure and enhancing the functioning of the immune system. As both a preventative and remedial technique, MLD can be used for a wide range of purposes including faster recovery from injury, reduction of swelling and discomfort from pregnancy, and strengthened resistance to illness. I was trained in the Original Dr. Vodder method of Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) and Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT) - I am also able to treat those suffering from lymphedema, whether primary or secondary (post cancer, post surgery, etc.). There is currently no cure for lymphedema, but with proper treatment (MLD therapy, CDT using bandaging and compression garments), one's quality of life can be dramatically increased. Please also see www.vodderschool.com for more info.
Contrary to popular belief, cancer cannot be spread by massage, and oncology massage is not a separate modality. Oncology massage is a customized bodywork session that is designed to meet the unique and changing needs of someone who is undergoing or has a history of cancer treatment. An oncology massage trained therapist is someone who is able to recognize and work within a framework of clinical considerations, which may differ from person to person and may frequently change.
In an oncology massage session, I observe the essential and fundamental Oncology Massage Standards of Practice to ensure that the bodywork I provide is clinically safe and therapeutically effective for oncology clients. I can also offer oncology massage sessions at a discounted rate compared to other massage and bodywork sessions, if needed (please inquire directly). For more information on oncology massage please see http://www.greettheday.com/
Reiki is a Japanese form of energy work that cleanses and balances the energy system in the body. As a result, the body's natural self-healing mechanisms strengthen, helping to establish optimum health. During a session, the practitioner works directly with the receiver's energy field to remove blockages, detoxify the system, and restore vital life force energy. Reiki utilizes a gentle laying on of hands to conduct the necessary energy force. The benefits of Reiki range from the release of habitual mental/emotional stress to alleviating chronic pain.
Reiki is a specific type of subtle energy work in which healing is performed by the touch of the hands, allowing the flow of the energy from a limitless source (“God Force”) to the receiver via the Reiki practitioner. It is extremely powerful, yet gentle energy that can be easily channeled to oneself and others, just by intention.
Reiki healing is a pure energy form. When it is combined with the sincere desire of the recipient, who is willing to effect a cleansing within his or her emotional and spiritual consciousness, a total healing can occur.
One of the greatest Reiki healing health benefits is stress reduction and relaxation, which triggers the body’s natural healing abilities and improves and maintains health. Reiki healing is a natural therapy that gently balances life energies and brings health and well being to the recipient.
This simple, non-invasive healing system works with the Higher Self of the receiver to promote health and well being of the entire physical, emotional and psychic body. Therefore it is truly a system of attaining and promoting wholeness of Mind, Body and Spirit.
Jin Shin Jyutsu is a disarmingly simple system of acupressure. It lays out a set of 26 "points" along the major energy pathways of your body. If one of your pathways becomes blocked, this creates stagnation in your energy field and leads to illness or discomfort. I use my hands to gently release any blockages in your energy pathways, and restore balance to your entire system. The whole experience is very relaxing, nurturing, and therapeutic.
Aroma-Reflex Therapy regulates the body’s needs with aromatic essential oils in a gentle, noninvasive massage to stimulate the lymphatic system and deepen one's state of relaxation. A blend of essential oils chosen to support one's constitution and bodytype is applied to the body through reflexology and gentle massage along the neural reflex pathways. Energetic balancing completes this profoundly relaxing and healing treatment.
After an initial consultation, a customized blend of essential oils is prepared specifically for the client. The oil is then used as in the Aroma-Reflex Therapy for its particular purpose. The recommended treatment plan is one treatment every 7-14 days for 2-6 months, depending on the issue at hand.
A thorough dry body brushing session is followed by a therapeutic massage using a nourishing seaweed oil. The body is then wrapped in a relaxing cocoon of warm towels while the nutrients in the oil absorb into the body. Skin is left soft, supple, and revitalized. No shower needed.