THE HOT STONE MASSAGE
The Hot Stone massage is a therapeutic massage technique in which a heated stone is held by the massage therapist who uses it to apply the customary and traditional Swedish massage strokes. Because they have the tendency to absorb heat and retain it for extended periods of time, the stones which are used are usually smooth, black volcanic basalt rocks of various sizes and shapes. For the most part, these rocks are heated in water at 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Native Americans are known to also have used hot stones for medicinal purposes but those were heated by direct fire. This technique of fire-heated stones was restored by Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona and she trademarked it as LaStone Therapy.
Primarily due to the effects of the heat from the stones, the Hot Stone massage is profoundly calming and delightfully relaxing as it rapidly releases the tension out of every soft tissue, be it muscle, tendon or ligament, which is included in this treatment while gentle and comforting peace washes over the client almost immediately. The hot stones are used throughout the entire session to massage, to stroke, to press, to manipulate and to knead the client’s soft tissues. On occasion, heated stones are laid out to rest at strategic spots along the spine as well as in the palms of the client’s hands and between the toes. This maneuver promotes the optimal flow of energy throughout the entire body. As soon as the stones cool down, the massage therapist will replace them with newly heated ones but areas that are inflamed, injured or swollen, will often be treated with cold stones instead of the hot ones.
To derive the most out of the Hot Stone massage therapy, clients are encouraged to:
* Indicate any discomforts such as those which might be created by stones which are too hot, by the massage therapist applying pressure with too much force, by the background music which may be too loud, by the room temperature which could be too hot or too cold and so on.
* Refrain from consuming a heavy meal and to abstain from ingesting any amount of alcohol shortly before the session.
* Arrive in plenty of time to check-in and to relax before the treatment.
* Take a sauna, a steam bath or a hot tub before the session as it will relax and soften the muscles for better end results from the entire treatment. If the hot tub was treated with chlorine, the clients are asked to take hot showers in order to rinse off the chemical.
* Remove all their clothing and be assured that they will remain completely covered with a towel. This will give the massage therapist better access and direct contact with the skin.
* Take slow, deep breaths throughout the session as it helps to relax the body and release more toxins.
* To banish irrelevant thoughts from racing through their heads by concentrating on the feel of the therapist’s movements over their bare skins.
* Get off the massage table after the session very slowly as dizziness may set in otherwise.
* Absorb the full results of the massage treatment by allowing some quiet time in a peaceful place.
* Drink extra water after the massage to flush out and wash away the toxins released during the treatment.
The Hot Stone massage is beneficial in many ways as it promotes deep muscle and soft tissue relaxation, eases stress, releases toxins, alleviates pain, improves circulation and calms the mind. Quite appropriately, therefore, there is an impressive list of ailments which are treated with Hot Stone massages and they are:
* Muscle aches and pains due to overuse, injury or stress.
* Back pain caused by injury, poor posture or misuse.
* Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
* Stress, anxiety, nervousness, and depression.
* Any number of circulatory problems.
The Hot Stone massage requires specialized training, it involved more preparation time for disinfecting and heating the stones, the session is often somewhat longer than usual and more time is spent cleaning up. As a consequence, the Hot Stone massage tends to be more costly than any other conventional and basic Swedish massage. But it is worth it and you are worthy of it!
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Who better deserves and needs a good massage therapy than a mother to be? I cannot think of anyone, can you? Pregnancy is a very stressful time in a woman’s life; on the physical level as well as on the emotional. By increasing the blood and lymph circulation, by lowering the heart rate, by relaxing the body and by easing the mind; massage therapy can be very beneficial on both of these levels as it relieves common symptoms of this delicate feminine condition: muscle cramps, spasms and myofascial pain of the lower back, neck, shoulders, hips, and legs; the excess stress on weight-bearing joints; the swelling of the extremities (arms, hands, legs, and feet); sleep difficulties and the psychological turmoil (stress, anxiety, fear, and restlessness). Many independent studies have conclusively shown that the positively beneficial effects of massage therapy during pregnancy also benefit the growing child in the mother’s womb as well as resulting in an easier labor and in a less painful delivery.
What is the difference between Pregnancy Massage and any other massage? Well, there are a number of very important differences which should not be overlooked. And due to those differences, therapists who perform massage therapy on pregnant women must be specially trained and certified accordingly, and they must always take those extra few precautionary measures:
* Pregnancy Massage should not be performed until the first trimester of the pregnancy has been concluded because the increased blood circulation may lead to dizziness and a worsening of the existing morning sickness symptoms.
* Positioning of the pregnant woman is detrimental to her safety and the safety of the child she is carrying. If using a massage table for the Pregnancy Massage session, it must be a semi-reclining table. In the event that such an appropriate table is not available, the pregnant woman should lie on her side and switch sides in midsession to make both her hips available for the massage treatment. A wide variety of pillows (body pillows, wedge pillows, and extra padding pillows) set in a few strategic places under the pregnant woman’s body can greatly add to her comfort.
Important safety measures: The pregnant woman must never lie directly on her belly and
the flat, horizontal table with the hole for the belly must never be used as it inflicts too much stress on her lower back.
* There are certain parts of the pregnant woman’s body that must never be massaged or pressed; both sides of the ankles, as well as the webbing between the thumbs and the index fingers, are pressure points that can induce early labor when exposed to sustained pressure.
For the great majority of the time, Pregnancy Massages are perfectly safe and much advised. However, under certain very specific conditions, Pregnancy Massages should not be attempted without consulting a medical specialist and those conditions may be: women who are at risk of preterm labor and women with blood clots or related blood clotting disorders.
How are Pregnancy Massages and any other massages similar to one another? Every human being, (pregnant or not, female or male, young or old, rich or poor) enjoy the touch of another human being as it conveys comfort, love, awareness, caring, security and too many other wonderful sensations to name in this single short oration. Pregnancy Massage, as well as any other kind of massage, provides all that and more.
You’ll get an introduction to massage therapy all the way down to how to find, choose and work with a trustworthy and affordable therapist.
We’ve all had aches and pain in our muscles, joints, and bones that just don’t seem to ever go away.
Reflexology Massage, which is also known as the zone therapy, is an alternative medicine technique in which massaging, stroking, squeezing, pressing, rubbing and pushing on very specific areas of the feet, hands, and ears is applied to promote or stimulate beneficial effects to other corresponding remote parts of the body such as the vital internal organs (heart, liver, brain, stomach, bladder, sinuses, spleen, gall bladder, pituitary grand, adrenal gland, pancreas, kidneys, ureter, colon, small intestines, thyroid, bronchial tubes, coccyx, lungs, and appendix) and other essential systems (voice, neck, throat, eyes, ears, armpits, shoulders, arms, breasts, solar plexus, sciatic nerve, diaphragm, and Peyer’s patches). The intent is to improve the subject’s overall health of the body as a whole and the mind.The American Association of Reflexologists claims that Reflexology Massage results in improved blood circulation, detoxification of metabolic wastes, reductions of tension and the facilitation of the body’s capability to heal itself. The Associations also claims that Reflexology Massage is effective for back pain, migraines, infertility, arthritis and a long string of other mind and body problems.Since studies and research failed to reach clinical conclusions about the effectiveness of Reflexology Massage, medical professionals of the Western persuasion have repeatedly expressed concerns that the belief in this practice may dangerously delay treatments of potentially serious health conditions. They have even resorted to calling reflexology’s claim to maneuver energy (gi) pseudoscientific as there is no scientific evidence for the existence of life energy, crystalline structures or pathways in the human body. In the United States, the same medical critics and others disapprove of the lack of medical training and the short duration of training such as it is. They further disparage over the fact that there exists no central regulation for accrediting and licensing Reflexology Massage therapists. Conversely, several European countries, among them Switzerland, require reflexologists to be trained and licensed medical practitioners with a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology.
However, based on ancient Chinese healing, reflexologists claim that the human body contains an invisible energy field which is the life force or the gi and they insist that a blockage or an obstruction of this life force prevent or puts off the body’s natural inclination for self-healing and the improvement of health and wellness.
Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat specialist and his partner Dr. Edwin Bowers are said to have been the first to pioneer reflexology in the United States in 1913. Referring to their theory as “zone therapy”, Drs. Fitzgerald and Bowers claimed that, in fact, imposing pressure at some very specific sites of the body provides analgesic and anesthetic effects on other distant parts.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Eunice D. Ingham, a nurse, and a physiotherapist declared that the hands and feet are particularly receptive and proceeded to diagram the entire body into associated impulse or reflex points on the feet. By doing so, Ingham changed the previously spoken of “zone therapy” to “reflexology” or “reflexology massage” and his charted reflexes are still followed today.
Whether Reflexology Massage truly attains the exact results it alleges to attain is, in my opinion, not all that important. The more important issue here is the fact that a vigorous massage to the hands and feet feels so very good, especially after a hard day’s work, that it must be therapeutic in one way or another. Or maybe it just feels good and that’s OK too.
If you’ve ever thought massage therapy could help you, let me tell you, you were right but you need to know how to get on the proper program for you.
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