What benefits can I expect from a treatment ?
An exhilarating feeling of aliveness, tranquility, deep relaxation, freedom from muscular stiffness, and emotional wellbeing are the treatment goals.
about massage is that it’s important to go beyond just the physical level - my definition of “holistic” includes not only the physical body which can be mechanically manipulated to ease muscular aches and pains, but also there are parts of ourselves which cannot be seen in the physical sense and often can be reached in a profound way .
I’m referring to the emotional and spiritual “bodies” which we all carry around with us, and which I believe are equally in need of tender loving care and attention !
That’s why, when I take a comprehensive medical history, I also ask the client about emotional experiences, as these affect the way the body absorbs stress and tension.
Eventually if prevented from free expression, blocked emotions may lead to clinically observable pathological effects, such as raised blood pressure, postural problems such as backache or shoulder pain, migraines or stomach ulcers.
Is it safe to show our emotions during the session ?
Emotional response is a normal human reaction to nurturing touch and nothing to be concerned about. The intention in my Holistic Massage is to provide a safe and supportive environment, where clients can express themselves if they wish, and are assured of compassion, sensitivity and professionalism at all times.
What does it feel like ?
The pressure of the strokes varies in Holistic Massage– sometimes a delicate touch similar to aromatherapy style, sometimes slightly firmer, but never a forceful invasive technique like deep tissue or Rolfing methodology .
Although Holistic Massage as I practise it is not dynamically stimulating and percussive, like a purely Swedish style, the effects of the massage are frequently profound on many levels, as clients comments confirm.
seeks to combine the most effective elements from the various Western systems I’ve studied, together with Eastern aspects of complementary medicine, by which I mean the subtle energies of meridians and Chakras.
These are energy channels or centres which don’t show up on a CAT scan, but I believe they are integral to our body systems, and ideally should be harmoniously balanced for us to live our lives to our greatest potential.
WHY HOLISTIC MASSAGE ? THEORY AND PRACTICE….
A Holistic approach is one where all aspects of the clients are considered when giving a treatment. This in my case encompasses physical, mental, emotional , and spiritual facets of the client. When someone comes to me for a session, not only the presenting “problem” or obvious pain/tension source is evaluated, but also I am interested in their lifestyle, overall medical history( not limited to structural areas like joints and muscles ), state of mind, and a sense of their place in the world. Holism espouses the idea that every thing in the universe is greater than, and different from, the sum of its parts. This means in the case of healing massage, acknowledging the psychological state of the individual - social, environmental factors, and an indefinable dimension which we might call “spirit”
The central principle of a holistic approach is that mind, body and spirit are inextricably linked. Scientifically, a conventional approach to treatment is diagnosis led, but in a holistic treatment, complementary practitioners treat the person as a whole — for them, pain or illness signifies a disruption of physical and mental well-being. Treatment therefore attempts to stimulate the body’s natural self-healing and self-regulating abilities.
The natural tendency of the body is to strive for an equilibrium and the maintenance of this balance is the key to good health. If this equilibrium is disturbed in some way, a holistic practitioner will work in close partnership with the client focusing on all aspects of their life in order to promote self-healing. A skilled holistic practitioner will be able to pick up clues to any imbalance during first contact with the client looking for such things as tension in speech, mannerisms, body language, use of vocabulary, manner of dressing, ambient ‘energy’ surrounding the client. These may be an indication that the clients equilibrium needs to be re¬established.
A strong piece of evidence which supports the holistic theory is the well-known ‘placebo’ effect. This demonstrates the power of mind over body as an inactive form of treatment can produce a positive result. Belief in the efficacy of a treatment, whether on the part of client or practitioner, can be so powerful that the person actually heals. For example, the placebo response has been found to reduce blood pressure, thereby easing swelling, relieving arthritis for example. In actively encouraging patients to participate in their own healing, practitioners may be able to exploit the power of this mind-body reaction.
One theory is that this suggestion of belief and expectation is harnessed by eliciting the ‘relaxation response’, a mental state which triggers significant psychological changes such as slower respiration, reduced muscle tension and diminished stress hormone levels, which accelerate the healing process.
There are many physical benefits to be had from regular Holistic Massage, including relief of muscular aches and pains, improved mobility, reduced stress and tension, stimulated circulation and hence improved removal of waste products and better nourishment of skin, stimulated digestive system, as well as promoting ‘joie de vivre’ or a ‘feel good factor’ and psychological health. Many recognized clinical conditions can be helped by massage, lower back pain, headaches, depression, osteoarthritis, whiplash injuries, stress, chronic fatigue syndrome (M.E.), eczema or other skin conditions, high blood pressure, frozen shoulder, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety attacks, asthma, insomnia and many more.
My philosophy is that it is important to go beyond just the physical level, I would define ‘holistic’ as including not only the physical body which can be mechanically manipulated, but also there are parts of ourselves which cannot be seen in the physical sense and often can be reached in a profound and powerful way. I am referring to the emotional and spiritual ‘bodies’ which we all carry around with us and which I believe are equally in need of tender loving care and attention.During an initial consultation with a client, I always ask them about emotional experiences, as these affect the way the body absorbs and resolves stress and tension Eventually if prevented from free expression, blocked emotions may lead to clinically observable pathological effects, such as raised blood pressure, postural problems such as backache or shoulder pain, migraines or stomach ulcers. The treatment goals of Holistic Massage are an exhilarating feeling of aliveness, tranquillity, deep relaxation, freedom from muscular stiffness, and emotional well-being.
Healing symbol of the Caduceus
carried by the god Hermes
Clients will often connect with their feelings and emotions during a treatment session, this is a normal response to the nurturing touch and Holistic Massage provides a safe and supportive environment where clients are assured of compassion, sensitivity and professionalism in a confidential setting.
The holistic method that I use, draws on the many different styles and techniques of massage that I have studied and trained in, bringing together various Western styles, so that the pressure experienced by the client will vary during the session, partly according to the muscle group I am working on, but also what I sense intuitively from that person’s body during the session. I seek to combine the most effective elements of both western techniques with many eastern aspects such as using meridian energy lines, and chakra energy centres in the body. These are energy channels which although invisible, are integral to our body systems and must be maintained in a harmonious balance if we are to remain healthy. I selectively combine the best elements of all these different techniques to create a unique experience for each client.
My holistic technique is never as strenuous as Deep Tissue I Rolfing type work, or even as percussive as classical Swedish massage, but it provides a relaxing, nurturing experience through gentle strength.
Occasionally I am asked about the difference between Holistic Massage and Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is a type of massage where the strokes are usually performed with a very light touch, since most of the effects of the treatment are due to the active healing properties of the essential oils used, rather than the particular movements employed by the therapist. The oils used are usually made up at the time of the session based on the symptoms described by the client.
Therapeutic Holistic Massage also employs “aromatherapy-type” essential oil blends derived from plant sources, but in my practice I use a range of five pre-blended essential oil mixtures. Each blend has a particular set of attributes and healing effects, mixed in a pure organic grape seed carrier oil. The client can choose between two or three blends based on their presenting history and current state of their physical and emotional condition. Nowadays I carry around a range of special blends for my clients to choose, and sell them on my travels around the world.
Spiritual concerns are as important as physical ones in Holistic treatment. The connections that link our inner selves to each other and the external world can be affected when injury or illness present us with the reality of our vulnerability and our own limitations.
Holistic practitioners can suggest ways in which a combined approach can best cope with the challenges that exist in their lives at the time. Methods which may be as simple as walking in the woods, appreciating the beauty and harmony of nature, a very effective way of winding down from an exhausting day while uplifting the spirit too. Other examples of methods that could be used include taking a long hot bath using fragrant oils or herbs, listening to a favourite piece of music by candlelight, or even meditation.
Finding a method of exercise which you enjoy or an activity which appeals is essential - and healthy life….something which will be practiced on a regular basis such as golf, cycling, football or hiking. Such exhilarating exercise will stimulate the release of chemicals called endorphins in the brain, which have an uplifting effect on the spirit.
Maintaining a regular network of friends and companions who can support us in times of stress as well as on a day-to-day basis, is important in our lives. Without friends we can feel isolated and hence stressed , because of our isolation. Relaxing in the company of friends over a satisfying meal and perhaps with a glass or two of wine is a pleasure which ensures that we feel accepted and loved in the world.
Reinforcement of self-worth or self-esteem is valuable in maintaining good psychological and emotional health, which is as important as good physical health to our well-being and contributes to the quality of our existence, again a holistic approach to maintaining a fulfilled and healthy life.
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