Q: What is Massage Therapy?
A: Massage therapy is manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to enhance a person's health and well-being. There are dozens of types of massage therapy methods (also called modalities).
Q: What are some of the benefits of massage?
A: Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.
Relieves or Improves With:
Helps improve self esteem and body image
It boosts immunity
Insomnia related to stress
Myofascial pain syndrome
Soft tissue strains or injuries
Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
too many to list all benefits of massage therapy
* * Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection. * *
Q: Do I have to do anything special before a massage treatment?
A: There are several things you can do before your massage appointment to make sure you get the maximum benefit from your massage. First, try to be relaxed. We know you're coming for a relaxing experience, and the best way to take advantage of what we can offer you is to put yourself in a relaxed frame of mind. Get a good night's sleep before (if you can) and avoid caffeine.
It's also helpful if you make a list of what's bothering you. If there are specific problem areas, write down where they are, what the pain feels like, if specific actions cause it to worsen or feel better and other contextual information. Start making the list a few days in advance; it's easy to forget what's been bothering you if it's not hurting at the moment.
Bring a waterbottle with you if you won't be going home right away after your massage. It's important to drink plenty of water following massage (especially deep tissue massage or trigger point massage). You'll be more likely to do that if you have water already in your car.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing that can be easily washed if it gets a bit oily from massage oil residue on your skin.
Five Element Shiatsu
The practice of Five Element Shiatsu is unique among massage modalities, because of it's reflective connection to the natural world. It recognizes that we humans are the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm, or the world in which we live. We are made up of the same basic elements as Earth itself: water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Just as the earth is made up of 78 percent water, so are we. Just as the seasons change around us, they change within us. We are reborn with hope in the spring, and like the trees around us, we let go in the fall.
Shiatsu (Japanese term for "finger pressure") is a theory that has its roots in Chinese medicine, with a strong emphasis on the five elements. From the Tao came the two fundamental forces of the universe, yin (female, dark, hollow, cold) and yang (male, light, full, heat) The two were further broken down into the five phases of energy, known as the five elements; from the five emerge the 10,000 things, or everything in creation. In this view, the body is seen as a kingdom, and our organs are seen as officials in the kingdom. These officials have physical functions that often reflect our Western medical views, but they also have mental and emotional functions as well.
The five-element theory offers us a complete way to explore and understand one’s self and others in a compassionate yet impersonal way.
Each element has both natural and physical correspondences related to it. Each has a corresponding body tissue, sense organ, color, emotion, sound, time and yin and yang organ. The functions of the organs, the tissues being affected, the emotional state, and the pain or discomfort felt along a meridian pathway are all indications that can point to which elements are in disharmony within. These correspondences serve as guideposts for the practitioner, indicating which organs or meridians need the most attention.
The elements and phases move through us and we them in the endless cycles of our lives, providing endless gifts.
~Shiatsu is practiced in loose comfortable clothing both for the practitioner and the client. A clean sheet is placed on a gym mat on the floor. The client & practitioner bring fresh clean socks. After a thorough intake form is completed: Various palming, thumbing and stretching of the meridians that correspond to specific organs is conducted as the client lays as heavy and as limp as a log. The "Kata" or protocol is preformed according to a brief "Hara" evaluation in addition to the intake form.
The Hara is located on the front or anterior portion of the body. It lies just below the inferior portion of the rib cage, forming a kind of circular area reaching down to the pubic crest and sideways about two hand widths on either side of the navel. Just below the navel, about three finger widths, is the Dan Tien, considered the center of the Hara and the energetic focus point for the practitioner.
The Hara is divided into sections, each corresponding with the body’s meridians, or energy channels, which in turn correspond to various body organs.
~ overview provided by Mary Crinnin, LMT, Dagny Alexander, LMT and Danielle Dambach, LMT