Category Archives: Tips & curiosities

The “give up moment”

A massage, doesn’t matter what specific technique, induces relaxation all through the body. Despite the obvious effect on the tight muscles, the key for a successful treatment is the attention and dedication of the massage therapist to his/her client.

200_sPeople book a massage for many different reasons, but a common denominator for all the diversified tensions and personalities is the need a calming, relaxing, touch.

In every successful massage there is indeed what I call a “give up moment”: when I feel that my client releases most of his/her tensions and does not react any more to my treatment, but kindly accept it.

Unfortunately not all the massages work in this way, as it can happen that the client is too tense for whatever reason, and does not stop to keep controlling the situation.
I say unfortunately, because in the “give up moment” the body drastically decreases the production of Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, and as a result the well-being of the clients is emphatically felt by the masseur… me! 🙂

This is what I call a win-win situation!


There are many reasons why cultivating a peaceful life is convenient for both the single person and the community. In fact, while a stressed person induces stress on the others, a calm person induces calm on his neighbours

Check this documentary about stress: how stress affect well-being.

Find here the whole series: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B5ZKzPiHcJt9fklFaTN3bTRMTzhCcmkzR3RrTnpOcGZwWjRCV0pBc0RGLXk1bGFfMGdlQ0k&usp=sharing

Bear in mind that our western culture, while it can teach people how to contain the stress, does not offer any real clue about how to cultivate a peaceful life. A massage can be of a great help in difficult moments or the balsam of a tense life, and it can be the trigger for starting a deeper research, but the way to a joyful life passes through a deeper capacity to be in touch with your body feelings day by day.

I personally found a very useful resource on Vipassana.
For more information: https://www.dhamma.org/en/index

Massage at the park

Enjoy a massage in a green place,
Benefit from the cleaning energy of the trees,
Relax with the vibration of music and birds singing.

Massage your body and mind with the sight of waving branches and leaves.

massage-in-the-park

 
 

Verification

Massage and physical exercise treatments for elderly

Each stage of our life presents challenges and rewards. Youngsters have a lot of energy and a free mind, while elders has less energy and a lot of experience, but we all have a common necessity: support.

As massage therapists and health care assistants, we developed a personal approach to support the senior members of our community through a mix of massage and physical exercise.

One of the major problems of the latest stages of life is the limited mobility, that leads to different disadvantages, like diminished independence and a more vulnerable body. In fact, moving our limbs stimulates the lymph nodes, that work as pumps for our lymphatic vessels, that carry substances vital to the defence of the body as well as help in the removal of waste products.

Researchers believe massage, and touch generally, can strengthen the immune system by stimulating pressure receptors under the skin, which in turn reduces the stress hormone cortisol, the chief culprit in killing natural disease-fighting cells, said Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Without touch, studies on monkeys have shown, there’s a rise in aggression.

But elderly people, who could use the immune-boosting benefits of touch the most, are getting it the least.

elderly-massage-islington-camden

We provide a special dedicated service that helps maintain mobility and independence:

  • physical exercise helps keeping or recovering the muscles tone and mobility, leading to a more independence life;
  • massage increases a sense of well-being and human vicinity;
  • lymphatic system plays a vital role in the body by regulating the immune system, in fact when the lymphatic system becomes compromised in any way, lymphatic fluid builds up and stagnates causing the entire system to become toxic.

Lymphatic drainage massage:

  • clears blockages
  • eliminates metabolic wastes and toxins from the body
  • helps in the transport of nutrients to cells and
  • increases metabolic efficiency
  • It also has a very calming effect on the nervous system and helps relieve stress and tension
  • Helps reduce swelling
  • is particularly recommended for soft skins, thanks to it very soft application

Read more about Lymphatic Drainage Massage

If you are interested, reserve a free consultation.
This is a domiciliary service.

TEL: 07856100420
EMAIL: massage@massagetherapistmike.co.uk
LOCATION: 24 Campdale Road, N7 0EB, London

Listen to your Emotions

Don’t be surprised if during a massage one day you suddenly, for no reason at all, feel like crying your eyes out, or laughing hysterically. Massage some­times has that effect on people. Some of the reasons for this emotional response include:

  • Certain emotional memories — usually the result of powerful experi­ences — can resurface when your body is massaged.
  • No one has touched you with care, compassion, and gentleness for a very long time. In that case, the experience suddenly overwhelms you with gratitude, bringing forth tears.
  • You’re a very ticklish person.

massageAs esoteric as the first two explanations may sound, they’re entirely plausi­ble. In fact, certain types of massage are famous for stirring up emotions. Rolfing, for instance, often triggers this type of experience. The explanation for this emotional component of massage is straightforward — your body and mind have faithfully recorded your every experience, but some of these experiences were so unpleasant that you filed them away in your uncon­scious and shut down certain feelings in the corresponding part of your body. Massaging the affected areas can bring your awareness back to your body, thus unlocking the memories.

If you encounter one of these emotional peaks yourself during a massage, relax, breathe, and allow it to happen. Remembering that you are safe in your present environment, let your mind drift to whatever images or memories seem to be surfacing. You may find yourself remembering all sorts of things that you hadn’t thought of for years, and you can benefit from letting the attendant emotions flow freely through your body, without trying to stifle them. Professional massage therapists are accustomed to this type of emo­tional release and know how to make you feel comfortable while it’s happening. There’s no need to feel embarrassed by the experience.

If, as occasionally happens, one of these resurfacing memories is particularly traumatic, as in the case of abuse, do whatever is necessary to comfort your­self. Communicate with the person massaging you, letting her know that you need to sit up again, or get wrapped in a blanket for a feeling of safety. Have some tissues nearby to dry away tears. Later you can decide whether you want to pursue these memories further with the guidance of a psychologist or other counsellor.

A lesson from the animals: an important massage for newborns

by Steve Capellini, massage therapist.

Have you ever watched a cat give birth? Directly afterwards, mamma cat begins licking her babies all over, with a special concentration in the genital area. The same is true for dogs. And horses. And cows. And aardvarks and antelopes and giraffes. In fact, every species of mammal with exception of man lick their young immediately after birth.

massage-therapist-mike-newbornAt first, you may assume that this licking is to clean of the gooey stuff, plastered all over the new-born’s body. That’s partially true, but far more important that the cleaning is the licking itself, the touch of tong to flash or fur.

I was in my first massage therapy class, in California, when the instructor steted that massaging a new-born baby’s perineum (the area between the genital and the anus) with a warm moist cloth was a good idea to simulate the action of licking engaged in by other animals. In other words, he was advising us to metaphorically lick the baby’s butt.

At the moment, and for several years afterwards, I thought this California massage instructor was a little too “out there” for his own good. But now, after discovering the importance of this type of stimulation in every other species of mammal, it makes perfect sense. This critical form of early contact jump-start the new-born’s gastrointestinal tract and is perhaps the most primal type of “massage” that we can offer our young.

You can recreate the natural sensation of licking for your new-born by taking a baby-wipe or moist towel and rubbing it gently over the skin in this important area a couple of times a day for the first few months of life, starting on day one.

The power of massage

The massage principle is simple: touch means stimulation. This means that wherever touch is used, the body reacts.

In order for our bodies to work efficiently, the many complex systems that exist under our skin have to work together in a coordinated way. Bones, muscles and soft tissues help us to move. A circulatory system consisting of heart, lungs arteries and blood allows oxygen to be transported around the body to keep cells alive. The nervous system keeps the brain informed of what’s going on and allows us to think, act and feel. Our digestive system helps us absorb energy from food and keeps us hydrated with water. An immune system prevents attack from viruses, bacteria and other micro-organisms that could cause us harm or spread disease.

bodiesMassage can help each of these systems work optimally, boosting general health and well-being and encouraging healing and growth, right down to a microscopic level.

Bones, muscles and soft tissues

Thanks to our skeletal system, the network of bones and of soft tissues that surround them, our bodies are capable of an amazing range of movements. The effects of massage on the skeletal system are long term – they continue to work long after the actual massage ends, stimulating healing and repair of soft tissue adhesions for up to a month afterwards.

Muscles are made up of bundles of fibres that glide over each other and contract to generate movement. Muscles are attached to bones by tendons and bones are attached to each other by ligaments. Muscle fibres only work in one direction – that is, they contract to shorten themselves but cannot extend. This is why, all around the body, muscles are arranged in opposing pairs so that as one contracts the other expands to allow movement in all directions. Muscles, tendons and ligaments can all be affected by adhesions and small scars or tears that create sore spots. These can stop the tissues from working properly, and can also become severe if left untreated. Massage helps to break down these adhesions.

Circulation

Massage not only stimulates the general circulation system of the body, but it also boosts circulation at a very localized level.

Our bodies are made up of thousands of cells and every one of them needs a regular supply of blood. Blood brings all the ingredients the cells need for growth, nutrition and repair; it also takes away waste products and toxins.’ Massage stimulates the flow of blood and boosts the supply of nutrients – such as minerals and vitamins for health and sugar for energy – and the removal of toxins.

Lymphatic drainage

The body has another, separate, circulatory system that transports a fluid called lymph around the body via a series of glands and vessels. Impurities and toxins are filtered through the glands (called lymph nodes) and the clean fluid drains back into the bloodstream. This helps the immune system by removing bacteria, viruses and other foreign matter, thus fighting infection and draining away excess fluid. Damaged or stiff tissues can become thick and fibrous, causing blockage of the pores and affecting lymph drainage. Massage helps fluids to travel towards the heart and also stimulates muscle contractions that remove fluid blockages. Lymphatic drainage is one of the reasons that all the techniques in this book – and all good massage therapists – work from the outside of the body in towards the heart.

manbodiesNervous system

There are two nervous systems that run throughout the body. The first, the sympathetic nervous system, responds to pressure, touch, temperature and so on, passing messages to the brain and responding to sensory stimulation. The second, the parasympathetic nervous system, is the unconscious system that controls body functions, such as heart rate, function, digestion and metabolism – the ‘behind the scenes’ mechanisms that work constantly to keep you alive. Massage stimulates both of the nervous systems, working on the sympathetic system’s nerve ending and receptors in the skin and muscles to reduce tension and over-activity and also the parasympathetic nervous system, having a positive effect on conditions such as abnormal blood pressure, digestive disorder, migraine and insomnia.

Skin

The skin is the body’s largest organ, providing a flexible protective covering to all body parts, living us shape and holding us together, containing body fluids and acting as the first tine of defence against injury and invasion by bacteria, viruses and microbes. There are three main layers – the upper, epidermis; the middle, dermis; and the lower, subcutaneous.

The epidermis, which is the visible, outer Layer of skin, is constantly regenerating itself, producing new cells in the lower layers that rise to the surface and are eventually shed. The dermis lies directly underneath the epidermis and is filled with a rich supply of blood vessels, lymph, nerve endings, sweat and oil glands and hair follicles. The subcutaneous layer lies beneath the dermis and provides a storage facility for fat, which acts as a heat insulator and also provides a protective layer. Massage boosts circulation in all three layers of skin, encouraging renewal, growth and repair, preventing build­up of dead skin cells and stimulating sweat glands to remove waste products and clear out the pores. It gives the skin a healthy glow and promotes cellular healing at every level.

Massage mediums

mediumsA massage medium reduces frictional drag and lubricates the surface of the skin. The massage medium I use depends on the skin type of the person being massaged. Skins differ greatly in the amount of oils, lotions and other mediums they absorb.

Lotions

Body massage lotions are a combination of oil and cream, which is good for massage because it doesn’t absorb too quickly into the skin and can therefore be used sparsely. Lotions are also kind to the therapist’s hands, keeping them well moisturized. Massage lotions differ from normal body lotions, which do not contain oil, so they last longer on the skin and are therefore better for massage.

Creams

Excellent for massaging small areas with light contact, creams moisturize. Hand and foot cream and moisturizers containing urea, which doesn’t absorb as quickly as other constituents, are particularly good.

Talcum powder

Talc allows a large range of contact with minimal movement and retains a high degree of the natural friction between skin surfaces. It allows for some movement, but also means that the masseur can achieve deeper contact for correctional and friction work. It is a great alternative for people who are allergic to oils, creams and lotions and is more likely to be chosen for deep work on specific areas than for general massage.

Oils

These do not absorb into the skin very well, which means they are good for light contact. Oils differ in absorption but are good for a soft, relaxing massage.

Aromatherapy oils

Aancient-Eqypt_03Essential oils can be combined with a base carrier oil, such as almond, to further the therapeutic benefits of the massage.

Lavender

Sleep-inducing, calming and antidepressant. May help: headaches, skin compliants, stretchmarks, high and low blood pressure, muscular pains, rheumatism and arthritis. An excellent carrier oil because of its beneficial effects.

Black pepper

Warming, stimulating and invigorating. May help: stiff and tired muscles and joints, sluggish circulation, decreased mobility. May irritate some skins.

Camomile

Sedative, antidepressant and sleep-inducing. May help: high blooo pressure, general aches and pains, dry skin and eczema. Approved as sale for use with children because cf its mildness, it is also good for using on the elderly.

Marjoram

Sedative, circulation-boosting and warming. May help: sore and tired muscles, joint pains, headaches and arthritis. Marjoram should not be used in combination with children sage, as the mixture could be potentially intoxicating.

Orange and Grapefruit

Uplifting, stimulating and antidepressant. May help: depression, sluggishness and lack of motivation.

Bergamot

Antidepressant, mood-boosting and balancing. May help: depression, anxiety and winter blues. Bergamot is phototoxic, so exposure to the sun and sunbeds should be avoided for 12 hours afterwards.

Rose

Calming, antidepressant and a general body tonic. May help: insomnia and dry skin conditions.

Frankincense

Mentally stimulating and boosts self-awareness. May help: meditation, concentration and self-reflection.

Sandalwood

Confidence-boosting, anti-inflammatory, sedative and boosts the immune system. May help: low self-esteem, sciatic pain and dry skin.

Tea tree

Antiviral, antiseptic, fungicidal and boosts the immune system. May help: promote healing, reduce swelling and fight off infection.

Eucalyptus

aromacolorsImmune-boosting and a decongestant. May help: sinus problems, coughs and colds, and chest infections. Eucalyptus can produce erythema in some people.

Rosemary

Memory boosting and mentally stimulating. May help: stimulate memory and brain activity, prepare your brain for exams, presentations, speeches, etc.

Combinations

For stress: lavender, bergamot and camomile.

For aching muscles: lavender, black pepper and marjoram.

For an energy boost: lavender, rosemary and grapefruit or orange.

For depression: lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint.

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Essential oils should be avoided in pregnancy – especially in the first 12 week

Aftercare

338105The period of time after massage is very important for ensuring maximum therapeutic benefits for the body and mind.

Massage not only relaxes and unwinds tension, it also acts as a detoxifier, soothes away problems in the body’s soft tissues and boosts circulation and lymphatic drainage. But the benefits do not have to stop when the massage is over. Making a few small changes could have far-reaching benefits for your whole health.

 

Making the most of massage

Massage can sometimes elicit an emotional response. When toxins and tension trapped in the body are released, fears, anxiety and sadness may come to the surface. Some people feel sleepy, faint or light-headed immediately afterwards and may need a little time to readjust to the pace of normal life. Take care if you’re driving right after a massage, as deep relaxation may cause reaction time to slow down. Never drive if you feel light-headed or sleepy; sit quietly or have a snooze and wait until you feel ready to drive.

On rare occasions there may be a physical response like headache, feeling hot, mild nausea or perspiration. However, these symptoms are usually only experienced during the first few massages or in people who haven’t had a massage for a long time. They should disappear quickly with rest.

Detoxify

Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine or smoking for at least 12 hours after to help your body continue the detoxification process. Adding toxins like alcohol or nicotine could adversely affect the process. Regular massage will help your body cope with everyday toxins, and keeping it as free of toxins as possible before and after a massage will help you stay healthy long-term.

Sleep like a baby

One of the major side-effects of massage is a feeling of tiredness – as toxins are released the body can become profoundly heavy. If your body feels fatigued during or after massage, don’t fight it. Giving in to tiredness is a luxury we do not often allow ourselves. If you feel sleepy afterwards, it is because your body is telling you it needs to slow down.

Visualization

While the massage is in progress, close your eyes and think of a place that makes you feel comforted, relaxed and calm – it could be a perfect landscape, a gentle lake at sunset or a favourite view – then mentally transport yourself there with all your senses. Think about how the place smells, feels and sounds as well as what you see. While you visualize this special, timeless place, allow your breathing to become deeper and rhythmic and let worries and tension flood away. Take time to bring yourself slowly back to the present, concentrating on what is going on around you, before you open your eyes.

Keep it light

Avoid eating or drinking heavily straight after a massage, or engaging in physical activity. This could divert energy away from vital healing processes toward digestion – steer clear of stimulants like caffeine and stick to water or herbal tea, light snacks and fresh fruit. Make sure you drink enough water to avoid the dehydration that can follow massage. Water keeps the body working efficiently, gives the lymph and circulation systems a helping hand and plumps up skin, making it look and feel fresh and young.

Boost circulation

Slow circulation can affect your body’s system and make the skin dull, dry and flaky. Massage helps circulation but there is also a lot that you can do for yourself in between massages. Use a body buffer or loofah the shower to rub dry skin off your legs and arms, remembering to work from the extremities towards the heart. Slight redness of the skin is a sign that the blood is flowing strongly to the surface.

Warm down

A post-exercise warming down will help prevent cramp, injury and muscle soreness, as it helps your muscles rid themselves of toxin. Aim for at least five to ten minutes of gentle exercise to end your workout.

Think tall

Good posture can help you get through life without pain and injury. Try to think about how you sit or stand. If you are still for long periods of time – sitting at a desk, cooking or watching television – aim to keep your spine in the neutral position, which will help to reduce stress on the back.

Take a break

Giving a massage can be very draining on your energy levels so, after you have given someone a massage, make sure you take some time to recharge your own batteries. Make sure you drink plenty of water and avoid rushing on to the next thing. Allow your body ten minutes of relaxation and renewal, sitting or lying somewhere quiet and calm.

Vitamin boost

You should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day to boost your intake of vitamins, minerals and anti­oxidants. Vitamins A, B and C, found in abundance in tomatoes, fruit, leafy green vegetables and watercress, are particularly important for a healthy diet.

Essential nutrients

Fatty acids and elements like zinc and calcium are essential for strong skin, bones, hair and nails. Seafood, leafy green vegetables and nuts all contain these nutritious elements and will help to keep your skin in top condition. Consuming oily fish like mackerel and salmon ensures you have the right building blocks for all-round health.

Antioxidize yourself

Pollution, toxins, alcohol, smoking and stress can lead to a build-up of free radicals in the body, which, if left unchecked, can cause long-term damage. To combat this, make sure you include free-radical busting anti­oxidants in your diet; these are found in fresh fruit and vegetables, garlic, onions and nuts and seeds.

Time out and general well-being

One of the primary benefits of massage is that it gives you time to unwind and be with your thoughts, away from the strains of everyday life. Peaceful surroundings and a calming atmosphere allow the mind time out to relax and recharge. The soothing touch of massage, alongside the space to concentrate, helps to reconnect the mind-body links that can be lost through busy lifestyles. This enables your physical and emotional sides to work together to combat future stress.

The feeling of physical contact stimulates the release of endorphins – also known as feel­-good chemicals – in the brain. These lift the mood, help fight pain, boost self-esteem and dissolve the effects of stress, which allow the immune system and major organs to return to functioning normally. Massage reminds your body of the pleasure of taking time out and helps to reduce blood pressure, breathing rate and stress.

The nervous system controls tension in the entire body, which is why nonphysical pressures, such as stress, can lead to physical symptoms like digestive problems and headaches. Massage helps by affecting the nerves to reduce tension and thus increase positive input to the body’s systems.