I am a qualified Holistic and Sports Massage Therapist.
The holistic approach to massage therapy can touch an individual’s whole being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The term “Holistic” comes from the Greek word “holos” meaning whole. A great definition for it is: “…the consideration of an individual’s whole being in any treatment which is to say, having regard for the person’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state as well as social and environmental factors.”
Holistic massage is a nurturing process of touch and response. Treatments are adapted to each client’s unique needs and physical characteristics and history. The holistic massage therapist understands the body’s structure, function and malfunction.
Massage can help reduce the effects of stress by encouraging relaxation, which supports the parasympathetic nervous system. It can help reduce tension in muscles, improve circulation, reduce heart rate and blood pressure, and improve lymph flow thereby boosting immunity.
But what does “stress” mean?
From the Black’s Medical Dictionary: “Any factor or event that threaten a person’s health or adversely affect his/her normal functioning. This causes the body to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, resulting in changes in blood pressure heart rate and metabolism. These physiological response increase physical and mental performance, known as the fight or flight syndrome.”
From the Oxford English Dictionary: “Pressure, tension, compulsion, demand on physical or mental energy, emphasis.”
Signs and Symptoms of Stress:
Physical: Tense muscles, Aches and pains, Headaches, Migraines, Psoriasis, Acne, Indigestion, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Increased heart rate, Weight loss, Excessive sweating, Frequent colds, Frequent infections, Sexual difficulties, Fatigue, Insomnia, Allergies, Weight gain, Changes in menstrual cycle.
Emotional: Tearful, Anxious, Depressed, Apathy, Moody, Worried, Irritable, Feeling out of control.
Behavioural: Forgetful, Increased smoking, Increased alcohol, Increased caffeine, Over eating, Under eating, Inability to relax, Poor concentration, Oversleeping.
Massage therapists use long, smooth strokes, kneading and other movements to focus on superficial layers of muscle using massage oil or lotion. With massage it is possible to improve circulation by bringing oxygen and other nutrients to body tissues. It relieves muscle tension and pain, increases flexibility and mobility, and helps clear lactic acid and other waste, which reduces pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.
Massage can alleviate, prevent or relieve a variety of conditions:
Headaches and migraines
Circulatory and respiratory problems
Muscle and related conditions such as spasms, strains and sprains
Stress and stress related conditions
Holistic massage helps to detox wastes from the cells of the body flushing out toxins. In this way it improves lymphatic flow and remove excess fluids. It also lowers blood pressure to normal range by improving blood vascular circulation. It tones muscles and firms the skin which will appear better toned and healthy.
What happens before a massage session:
Holistic Massage involves using oils on skin, mainly almond oil, grape seed oil, wheat germ oil. If you are aware of any particular allergy you have for some of these products you should tell to the therapist before to go for a massage and she will provide a suitable carrier oil for your special needs.
During your first session you will be assessed with few questions about medical history, lifestyle and diet habits only in order to establish the right treatment for you.
During this consultation you will also been asked if you have any particular contraindication that can affect the massage, in other words, situations that prevent you to have a massage.
Being under the effect of alcohol or recreational drugs;
Diarrhoea and vomiting;
Scar tissue (2 years from major operation / 6 months for a small scar;
Either you ask for a full body massage or just to focus on a specific area (back and shoulders, legs…) you will be asked to lay on the table without clothes but wearing your underwear. During the session you will be covered all the time with clean and fresh towels and only the massaged area will be uncovered.
If you find uncomfortable to undress in presence of your therapist, she can either help you to cover your body with towels or you can ask her to leave the room and you can easily undress, get on the massage table and cover your body allowing the therapist to get back in the room and start the session.