Since ancient times, people have been turning to massage therapy for many reasons, but the most popular purpose of seeking out massage treatment is still the same as it has always been: Relaxation. People enjoy the feeling that comes after a good massage, but there are so many healing benefits that take place during these sessions that many people are not aware of. For example, did you know that an ordinary massage can trigger the brain in a way that can evoke memories and emotions from your subconscious mind? If you have ever heard the term “breakthrough” used in describing a massage experience, then you are getting warmer. As massage therapists, we have to be extremely careful and cautious with the power potential of massage therapy. The mental aspect can be so overwhelming that it is not uncommon at all to see a patient in tears. Fortunately, in my experience, these tears were part of positive emotional experiences. But if you combine that with the physical releases, like releasing the knot of a tightened muscle or adhesion, there are also psychological releases in which someone getting a massage could break down and cry uncontrollably.
Since a massage can have many health benefits, both physical and mental, it is extremely important for the massage therapist to have a great sense of their patient’s needs. What is their physical health status currently and historically? What are they going through in their personal lives? These things determine the course of a massage and it is very important to be open with your masseuse in order to have the best and most beneficial experience possible.
You may have heard of Hot Stone massage. The origins of this massage are ancient and have roots in Ancient Chinese history when heated stones of various shapes were instrumental in treating disease. In addition, Native Americans used stones during rituals for physical and mental healing purposes. Thus, the benefits of heated stones live on to this day, particularly through massage therapy. This is currently one of the most practiced massage techniques in the world.
It is best to find smooth stones to use during hot stone massage therapy and these are placed along the client’s body based on energy points or chakras. The massage therapist will use the smooth stones as a tool to work on various parts of the body while the aforementioned stoned remain placed in select areas. The pressure that can be applied with a hot stone is significantly greater than regular massage which allows this form of massage to achieve certain things that other techniques cannot. Furthermore, hot stone therapy can therefore be considered a form of deep tissue massage, depending on how the service is conducted.
Another interesting technique with a surprising number of health benefits is aromatherapy. Given that athletes are one of the main beneficiaries of aromatherapy, you might already imagine there are ways in which this can help people. Essential oils are involved in this process and different oils can accomplish different things.
Following are some of combinations of essential oils that can be used to treat different sports related injuries and issues. While you are doing pre-workout exercises and loosening up those muscles, rosemary, eucalyptus, and lavender oils are beneficial. Following the exercise, the essential oils of choice include juniper berry, sweet marjoram, and lavender. Lavender is also a great anti-inflammatory and tea tree oil can treat wounds. What about those sports related injuries? Helichrysum is effective in treating strains, sprains, and bruising and the combination of helichrysum and jojoba will help treat more chronic injuries.
Hot Stone therapy and Aromatherapy are two of my preferred massage techniques, but there are many others that yield great benefits. The most profound experience I’ve ever had actually came after a Deep Tissue massage that targeted adhesions in my body. Sometimes we go through our lives oblivious to the physical problems that have accumulated over the years. Since the relationship between masseuse and client is critical, it can take a few attempts until discovering a massage therapist that is compatible with your needs, but this should not be overlooked. A good therapist is also sensitive to each person’s unique energy field and aura. When a person experiences proper execution of massage for the first time, the resulting reaction is very memorable. My first lasting experience with my current therapist occured after a deep tissue massage at Walnut Creek Massage, a practice that is conveniently located in my home town. The first thing I remember was not phyiscal, even though I definitely felt that I had recovered a lot of flexibility, but the first thing that comes to mind is actually coming to tears after a past intimate memory had somehow resurfaced in the process. The time that I discovered the amazing benefits of massage for myself I became hooked for life.