Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues, such as muscle, fascia, tendons and ligaments to enhance circulation through the tissues, bringing relief to tense, sore and irritated tissues. These soft tissues are essential to our health – they provide our gross and fine motor movements in partnership with the skeletal and nervous systems. Muscle movement helps to pump blood which carries waste products to the lymph system. Muscles move food through our digestive track, help our heart beat and our lungs inhale and exhale. Having healthy, nourished soft tissues in the body supports our overall health and sense of well-being.
What causes distress in the soft tissues: injury, illness, weak posture, dehydration, lack of essential vitamins and nutrients, stress, tension, emotions such as anger, grief, anxiety, guilt, shame, and depression. Massage works to bring relief to the tissues so that the tissues can do their part in keeping us healthy and well.
Styles of Massage: Swedish, deep tissue, sports, pre and post natal are the main classifications. There are also numerous specific massage techniques that a massage therapist can be trained in to treat a variety of conditions. Massage can be used in some acute conditions (with caution) and for relief of chronic conditions. Lisa’s focus on massage: utilizes primarily Swedish techniques, with some deep tissue, combined with the use of reflexology and reiki.
Who would benefit from massage? Newborns thru the elderly. The sense of touch and care that is received from massage provides benefits beyond simply relieving physical symptoms.
Who is massage not suited for? If you have a cold or flu, unmanaged high blood pressure, acute cardiovascular or other health conditions which your physician advises you against receiving massage care. Why? Massage increases the circulation in the body and while for most people this a good thing, for some health conditions it could aggravate symptoms.
Reflexology (for hands and feet)
Reflexology on the feet and hands stimulates the nervous system throughout the body. On the hands and feet, there is a “map” of the organs and areas of the entire body. There are over 2000 nerve endings in the feet alone. By using very specific pressure points on the feet and hands, this elicits response in corresponding areas of the body. The stimulation of these nerve endings is important as it is sending a message to increase circulation and response, reminding the body to wake up those areas and function and detoxify in a balanced fashion.
Reiki is a form of energywork, drawing upon lifeforce energy. A Reiki practitioner assesses the energy field around the body, looking at the feel, consistency and patterns in the field. This is performed by the gentle laying on of hands and awareness of the practitioner. Reiki can be performed through touch or distance. It is a gentle, soothing practice which supports the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, and decreases the response of the sympathetic nervous system (stress-fight/flight symptoms). It helps the client clear mental debris, feel rested, grounded and centred following a session. This complements massage as the Reiki can work on deeper levels of the being, requiring less massage pressure to be applied on the tissues for therapeutic effect.
By combining practices of energywork and reflexology with massage therapy, we see an enhanced result from a session. These practices support the system in releasing and letting go of that which no longer serves us. It is about building our quality of life to feel well and strong, to be able to do what we want to do, whether it be traveling, working, playing with our children or grandchildren, riding a bike and doing errands.