What is Holistic Massage?
The term ‘holistic’ comes from the Greek word ‘holos’ meaning whole. The holistic approach takes into account the person’s whole being, and not just the physical symptoms or problems. Treatment thus takes into account the effect on the body arising from psychology, environment and nutrition. Massage is a form of tissue manipulation which has evolved over 4000 years. Holistic massage thus treats each person individually in the context of their own life. The treatment enables the person to improve their health and re-establish their body’s natural equilibrium, known as homeostasis.
How can massage help you?
A treatment plan normally consists of a number of massages performed weekly or every two weeks. Each session will consist of a full body massage lasting about 1 hour, in a relaxing and private environment. Please note that the first session will take a little longer because an interview is required to determine your special needs (if any) and for your therapist to explain to you the procedure more fully. All information is kept in strict confidence and will not be divulged to any third party. Each massage will be tailored to meet the individual requirements of the client. The number of sessions can be as few or as many as the client wants/needs. The positive benefits of holistic massage are too numerous to cover completely here, and will of course depend on the individual. Here are a few examples of the physiological and psychological benefits that are known to occur.
Physiological benefits of Massage
Massage has a direct effect on the muscles. The pumping action helps remove lactic acid, which builds up in over worked or over exercised muscles, and toxins, thus reducing fatigue and stiffness. Massage improves circulation, which results in quicker delivery of nutrients and oxygen to muscles and faster removal of carbon dioxide enabling muscles to function at their optimum level. Manipulation of muscles leads to relaxation and lengthening of that muscle, improving flexibility and range of movement. The beneficial effects of massage on the muscular system have a positive knock on effect for the skeleton. The soothing, stroking, effleurage techniques of massage help to reduce stiffness and immobility around joints whereas improved muscle flexibility and tone reduces any strain on the joints and bones and improves posture.
Circulatory and Lymphatic
Massage movement increases the rate of blood flow, which is rich in oxygen and other nutrients vital for growth and repair. The lymphatic system, unlike the blood has no pump to help it move around the body therefore massage is important in supporting lymphatic functions such as removal of waste and boosting immunity. It helps reduce lumpiness and reduce cellulite and improves lymph circulation.
Massage contains several different techniques, some of which are invigorating whilst others are more relaxing. The effect of massage on the nervous system will thus depend on techniques used and the desired goal. A more relaxing massage can help calm the nerves helping to release tension, stress and promote relaxation.
Massage encourages better digestion. It does so by improving the circulation thus speeding up delivery of nutrients, it also improves elimination by speeding up removal of waste and increasing the flow of blood to the liver. Also by improving muscle function it helps strengthen the muscles of the abdomen thus assisting peristalsis and preventing constipation. Massage encourages waste removal at every level of body function.It thus encourages urine production of excretion which helps rid the body of toxins and excess liquids. Massage also helps the body breathe more easily and deeply. This enables better absorption of oxygen and more efficient removal of carbon dioxide. The soothing effects of massage will generally make you feel better, enhancing the feel good factor. In the long term massage can help relieve stress, insomnia, high blood pressure and increase energy levels and can also help improve your self-esteem and general feeling of well being.
Psychological benefits of Massage
Massage will relax the body thereby reducing tension and the effects of stress. Massage will also relax the mind thereby reducing anxiety and its effects.
The soothing effects of massage will generally make the client feel better, and generally enhances the ‘feel good’ factor. Scientific theories for why this works involve the release of endorphins in the brain, but the fact that this does work has been known for many centuries.
Insomnia, which is the inability to sleep during a period when sleep should normally occur, is thought to be due to a disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm. Massage, which relaxes the body and mind, and also helps the body to reach homeostasis can lead to a dramatic improvement in this condition.
Depression and anxiety
A number of clinical researches have shown that massage has a positive effect on brain activity in depressed teenagers. More specifically, it has been shown that masage decreases the EEG asymmetry in the brain which is correlated to depression and anxiety. Post natal depression has also been shown to be aided by massage.
One of the main benefits of massage is that it helps to balance the effects of stress in our lives and thus relieve the symptoms caused by stress such as tension headaches. It also reduces anxiety levels and restores a calm mind and feeling of well-being. Many companies are now realising the benefits of massage within the work environment.
In the long term, regular massage will make your body more efficient, and this in turn will have the psychological effect of improving your body image and self esteem.
Increased energy levels
Because less energy is spent holding the body in a state of tension and strain (both physical and mental), your general energy levels will be higher. Increased energy will also result from invigorating all of the body systems and reducing fatigue.