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Massage – Is It Really For Me?

June 9, 2009

v  For first timers. What do I need to know?

v  What to look for in a therapist?

v  Which types of places are best to visit?

v  Understand the differences in the common styles of massages.

v  Building up a relationship with my massage therapist.

As a Massage Therapist, let me help you with your decision.

massage

Massage is age old art of touch therapy.  Back in the ancient times, massage was more like stroking the body or rubbing ointment on to injured areas and/or creams applied to the skin to nourish the body. This form of massage or human touch was known and was so highly sort after in the high kingdoms  as being essential for all human development. This is slightly different today!  Bring these methods forward thousands of years and you have a very well developed art form of healing through touch and the manipulation of muscles.  Sure ointments, oils and creams are still applied and human touch is still required but the method of delivery has change.

Massage can now be performed with clothes on or off, with or without ointment/oil, lying down or sitting up in a chair.  Also, the variety of massages have changed amazingly over the years and therapists are still developing better ways to help relieve all sorts of ailments or stresses of today – even whilst you read this article. Massage of any form is just one of the great ways to help you with relieving today’s stresses.

The benefits of a massage far outweigh any fears you may have of receiving one.  It’s not just rubbing cream or oil on to a body, it is about human touch and the effects of feeling wonderful from a professional massage.  Whether you have had a swedish, remedial, deep tissue, therapeutic, shiatsu, aromatherapy or one of the many other massages that are out there, the end result brings so much profound relief to your body that lasts longer that the treatment itself.  And massage does not discriminate on your age.  Massage is so beneficial for people of all ages from premature babies to the elderly, especially pregnant women and yes men!   It is no longer ‘macho’ or ‘cool’ to hold onto your sore muscles or the stresses and  worries of the world.  It is much better for you and your body to have them massaged out to aid in better performance for your daily life. Mentally and physically!

First time I’m having a massage?  What should I look for in a therapist?

There is not too much you need to do to enjoy your first massage.  One of the main things is thou is ensure that your therapist is a fully qualified massage therapist, Certificate IV or above and that they are a member of an appropriate association like AMT (Association of Massage Therapists), ATMS (Australian Traditional Medicine Society LTD) or the like. This information should be displayed somewhere in their practice. Your therapist should also be fully insured.

In a Day Spa or Health Retreat these details may not be displayed within the spa as most often it is the individual therapist that is covered.  The requirements to hiring a therapist in Day Spa or Retreat are very strict – there will be no unqualified or uninsured therapist working within any day spas or retreats.  You can be assured that qualified therapists are there to look after you in the best possible way.

For your peace of mind, a qualified therapist can not get insurance with out holding a membership to an association.  This upholds and guarantees the quality of your therapist. Training is never ending for any therapist as this is apart of maintaining any association membership.  Again, assuring you of a qualified professional therapist who is always updating their skills through courses and gaining knowledge in today’s techniques.

Please do not feel like you can not ask any questions of and about your therapist.  As your first time, sure it can feel quite daunting. Your therapist is here to help and make you feel as comfortable as possible.  Just remember that everyone that has regular massages was once in your shoes!  Your therapist has looked after many new people all shapes and sizes and the whole time with the upmost care for your privacy and wellbeing.  When being massaged you are covered at all times and we (therapist) only expose the area that we are working on at one time.

You usually are not required to bring anything extra with you when you go for your treatment.  Unless sometimes a doctors authorisation for massage certificate is required before commencement of any treatment. You should be asked to complete a medical history form.  This helps the therapist to know a little more about you so they can then look after you in the best way.

Remember to Relax; this is so important as this helps you to get the most out of your treatment.  And for the helpers out there, this is your time for you so let us therapists help you by not helping us and just relax.  You will be back out there in no time helping again.  Relax and breath is the key in any good treatment.

The many comments that I have had over the years from many first timers are. ‘So, this is what they are talking about, man this is good!’, ‘Why have I waited so long’, ‘I so like it, I will defiantly be back for another massage.’ ‘I’ll be bringing her next time instead of her dragging me’, ‘It’s just bliss, can I stay here for a while’, ‘Oh! So good, I feel so good!’.  These comments could be one of yours after your first massage.

Where can I go and have a massage?

massage 1

Places for professional massages are becoming more and more varied too.  Starting from your Small Business Massage Therapist working from home to your companies like Day Spas or Health Resorts/Retreats.  The main question to ask yourself is; What am I after?  Are you after a regular massage from a local therapist whom you can build a relationship with or are you after a full indulgent treat or weekend away stress release.

Your local therapist can help you to maintain a healthy body and being with regular massages.  They can offer quick treatments to keep you going or longer treatments to particularly target areas or full all over tension / stress release massages even combination treatments.  A at home treatment can also be very tranquil and serene to offer further relaxation. No one talking loudly from the next cubicle.  No hustle & bustle outside.  Although, you may have to drive a bit to reach your therapist. Sometimes it is all worth it!  Then you have a Massage Practice in your local shopping centre or a massage therapist can be found in your local Beauty Salon.  These can be a great way to start receiving massages or are easy to get to.  Still you should find very qualified massage therapist waiting to look after you.  Massage Practices usually offer a variety of massage modalities for you to explore.  It can be quite rewarding for you to feel the benefits of many kinds of massages.

Then there are your Day Spas that seem to be popping up in many good quality hotels and your health retreats that are found on large pieces of land and are there to help you in many more ways than just massage.  They usually provide accommodation and exist to give you an overall self indulgent way of helping you to feel the best you can possibly be without leaving the grounds.  They too can offer small time treatments up to a day or a weeks worth of massages, facials, body scrubs and soaks in a spa plus many more treatments for you, even some holistic modalities can be on offer.  They also can offer exercise inside or out, dietary eating and body analysis to get you on the road to good health.  Not all day spas or health retreats have all forms of massage they mainly have your most common styles remedial and or blend of remedial and swedish. The names may vary too.  Just ask if you are not sure they have the style of massage you are after.

If you are lucky enough to live near one of these wonderful establishments then you can build up a good relationship with any one therapist although usually with these establishments they have a few kinds of therapist if not many on stand by and you just may not have the same therapist twice as many may work on a shift basis.  You could request your choice of therapist but then you may be limited to when you can go for a treatment.  Although if an Indulgence for yourself is what you are after you can find it at one of the many day spas or health retreats as well as with your local therapist.

Where ever you go, your therapist should always offer you a glass of water to drink before heading on your way and drink plenty of water for the rest of the day.  This aids in hydration and helps your body to continue to relax and de-stress your muscles further as you go about your day.

Understanding the different styles of the common recognised massages.

There are so many massage modalities or styles out there from the health fund recognised common massages, roaming around the sporting fields to the more holistic modalities it is hard to know where to begin to know which massage style is for you.

Most people want a massage to help them feel good and relieve tension / stress and they don’t want (as I have heard) a fluffy rub down.  These days the once good Swedish Massage (light pressure) is no longer required for your every day massage and all of a sudden has been appearing in the bedroom as a sensual touch massage. Again, it just goes to show you that all forms of touch is important for us humans.  Swedish massage seems to have been incorporated with many other styles to create a more therapeutic form of a treatment.  Now known as the basis for most styles of massages.

The most common these days and recognised by most health funds is:

Remedial Massage

From: http://www.uws.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/9672/What_is_Remedial_and_Relaxation_Massage.pdf

Remedial massage uses several specialised techniques to locate and repair damage to muscles, tendons and joints. Massage therapy supports and speeds up the body’s own repair mechanisms. A lubricating medium (usually oil) is applied directly on the skin. This ensures that the muscles associated with the disorder are deeply penetrated. Passive joint stretching moves are also used.

Other common massages are:

(Some may be covered by a health fund just check with your health fund provider and your therapist.)

Aromatherapy massage utilises essential oils with a carrier oil to help with many ailments on the skin or a way of helping the beneficial properties within essential oils to be delivered into the body.  This massage pressure is lighter than remedial to allow the oils to do their work although the pressure can be varied to suit.  This massage also delivers an aroma effect to the client which can deliver other therapeutic benefits.

bottles resized

Therapeutic massage from: http://www.massageschool.com.au/articles/therapeuticmassage.pdf

Therapeutic Massage stimulates the skin and nervous system. It reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested as a regular treatment for stress management. Therapeutic Massage is greatly beneficial and can reduce symptoms by relaxing the tension in the muscles, stimulating the flow of blood through the muscles, breaking down and eliminating toxins, enhancing oxygenation of the brain and relaxing the nervous system and mind.

Relaxation massage

From: http://www.uws.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/9672/What_is_Remedial_and_Relaxation_Massage.pdf

Relaxation or Swedish massage is a smooth flowing style that can help reduce:

• stress and tension

• improve circulation and range of movement

• eases and tones muscles

• provides the deep relaxation that allows our minds and bodies to recharge and rejuvenate.

Deep Tissue Massage from: http://altmedicine.about.com/od/massage/a/massage.htm

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders. Some of the same strokes are used as in classic massage therapies, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain.  This massage can be a painful treatment.  With you feeling the benefits days later.

Sports Massage from: http://spas.about.com/od/sports/a/sports.htm

Sports massage is a type of Swedish massage that stimulates circulation of blood and lymph fluids.  Some sports massage movements use trigger point therapy to break down knots in the muscles and increase range of motion.  Sports massage is designed to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after a big event, or function well during training.  But you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from sports massage.  Sports massage is also good for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion.

Just to inform you of a few.  There are so many more out there. Why don’t you go and explore some of the other massage modalities for yourself.

Each therapist can choose whether to be associated with a health fund provider or not.  And not all qualified therapists can be associated to a health fund especially if their qualifications are not recognised by health funds.  This does not make the therapist any less qualified or wonderful.  Check with your therapist prior to your visit if you require a health fund receipt and notify them which health fund you are with.  This can make a huge difference to your chose of therapist.

Is having a professional relationship with a Massage Therapist a good idea?

Building a relationship with your massage therapist can be quite rewarding for you and your therapist.  As the massage therapist always has you in mind and a way of helping you to feel fantastic, their passion and attitude usually stems from wanting to help and heal which comes from within them.  You are in good hands when you find great well rounded professional therapist.

When you find a professional therapist to suit you, great things can be benefited from such a relationship.  You can really talk to your therapist about your concerns and in turn your therapist can tailor each treatment especially for your needs.  They can bring in other modalities like essential oils (if they are trained in them, of course) to help you or advise you of other ways or therapists to help you.  When a trusted relationship is formed you usually find that the therapist is eager to see your health / wellbeing prosper as much as you do.  Remember, to maintain your good health is the within your therapist interests too!!  After all that is usually their passion, to help all people feel good.

The choice is yours at the end of the day.  A local therapist is great to have on hand for your general health to be maintained and visited at least once a month or at most once a season.  Whilst a massage therapist always does their best for you in one treatment sometimes regular massages are required to really move blockages or loosen tight muscles and to continue with the release of tension and anxiety from a over worked body.  Then the occasional break away and a visit to a day spa or a health retreat can have huge benefits as well as the time away from your usual daily life.

As a Massage Therapist and a Wellbeing Therapist there is nothing more rewarding for me than to see a stressed filled client come out of a massage room after a treatment, floating in the clouds in a state of bliss or so relieved that they can move their neck, finally.  Seeing your regular client’s health improve with every visit, that for me is just fantastic. And to see your smiling relieved face, priceless.  Yes, I love it!!!  And so will you!!

Remember for your first or next massage:

Relax, Breath, and Enjoy being looked after even if its only a short while.

Oh Yes! And drink plenty of water after wards!!

So, to answer your question; Is a massage for me?    Yes, of course it is. It is beneficial for everyone young or old, big or small and is waiting for all to explore and feel good.  All there is for you to do is to visit a massage therapist today.

Relax and Enjoy!!

Sharon Mitchell.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2009 2:20 am

    Great article! That had a lot of useful information about massages. Personally, I am a huge fan of them and I believe they really help reduce stress and promote relaxation. For that reason, I think they are useful for everyone.

  2. John853 permalink
    June 19, 2009 8:30 am

    Very nice site!

  3. July 28, 2009 1:14 am

    Its hard to imagine a regular massage with a trustworthy and professional therapist being anything but good for someone. Whether you work a strenuous, stressful, or physical demanding job, everyone should look into finding the right massage therapist and building a relationship with them, as it will benefit both sides.

  4. john3baldwin permalink
    September 17, 2010 12:09 pm

    Do You Want To Learn More About Aromatheraphy?
    You can visit :
    AROMATHERAPHY FOR BODY AND SOUL
    http://aromatheraphy-4-bodynsoul.blogspot.com

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