Massage Basics

Massage Basics

Massage is the practice of rubbing and kneading the body using the hands. There are several types of massage that focus on different parts of the body or healing approaches. Keep reading and decide which type of massage might be right for you.

Swedish massage

Swedish massage is a gentle full-body massage that’s ideal for people who:

  • are new to massage
  • have a lot of tension
  • are sensitive to touch

It can help release muscle knots, and it’s also a good choice for when you want to fully relax during a massage.

For this massage, you’ll remove your clothes, though you may choose to keep your underwear on. You’ll be covered with a sheet while lying on the massage table. The massage therapist will move the sheet to uncover areas that they are actively working on.

The massage therapist will use a combination of:

  • kneading
  • long, flowing strokes in the direction of the heart
  • deep circular motions
  • vibration and tapping
  • passive joint movement techniques

Usually, a Swedish massage will last for 60–90 minutes.

Hot stone massage

Hot stone massage is best for people who have muscle pain and tension or who simply want to relax. This type of therapeutic massage is similar to a Swedish massage, only the massage therapist uses heated stones in lieu of or in addition to their hands. It eases muscle tension, improves blood flow, and relieves pain by using heated stones. Hot stone massage may help:

  • ease muscle tension
  • improve blood flow
  • alleviate pain
  • promote relaxation
  • relieve stress

During a hot stone massage, heated stones are placed on different areas around your whole body. Your therapist may hold a stone as they massage different parts of your body using Swedish massage techniques using gentle pressure. Sometimes cold stones are also used.

You don’t wear clothes for hot stone massage unless you’ll feel more comfortable wearing your underwear. You will be covered with a sheet. Usually, the massage is 90 minutes long.

Aromatherapy massage

Aromatherapy massages are best for people who want to have an emotional healing component to their massage. This type of massage can help:

  • boost your mood
  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • reduce symptoms of depression
  • relieve muscle tension
  • relieve pain

Aromatherapy massages combine soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils. Your massage therapist will usually decide which essential oils to use, but you can let them know if you have a preference. Essential oils are diluted before being applied to the skin.

During the massage, you’ll be given a full-body massage while inhaling essential oils through a diffuser and absorbing them through your skin. Sometimes an aromatherapy massage will only focus on your back, shoulders, and head. You won’t wear any clothing other than underwear, which is optional.

An aromatherapy massage is 60–90 minutes.

Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage. It’s a good option if you have chronic muscle problems, such as soreness, injury, or imbalance. It can help relieve tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, and anxiety.

During a deep tissue massage, your massage therapist will use slow strokes and deep finger pressure to relieve tension from the deepest layers of your muscles and connective tissues. You can be naked during this massage or wear your underwear.

The massage will last for 60–90 minutes.

While deep tissue may be more intense, you shouldn’t feel any pain or soreness.

Sports massage

Sports massage is a good option if you have a repetitive use injury to a muscle, such as what you may get from playing a sport. It’s also a good option if you’re prone to injuries because it can be used to help prevent sports injuries. You may also use sports massage to increase flexibility and performance. Additionally, sports massage can be used to relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.

A sports massage can be done as a full-body massage or the massage therapist may focus on the parts of the body that need the most attention. Deep pressure may be alternated with soothing strokes depending on your needs.

You can have a sports massage while clothed or naked. If you prefer to wear clothing, make sure it’s thin, loose, and allows the therapist access to your muscles. Loose shorts and a tank top are options.

The massage will last for 60–90 minutes.

Trigger point massage

Trigger point massages are best suited for people who have injuries, chronic pain, or a specific issue or condition. Sometimes areas of tightness in the muscle tissues, known as trigger points, can cause pain in other parts of the body. By focusing on relieving trigger points, this type of massage can reduce pain.

Trigger point massage uses broad, flowing strokes that are gentle and relaxing combined with stronger, deeper pressure. The massage will include work on your entire body, though your therapist will focus on specific areas of your body that need to be released. You can wear lightweight clothing for the massage or be fully or partially undressed.

This type of massage will usually last for 60–90 minutes.

Reflexology

Reflexology is best for people who are looking to relax or restore their natural energy levels. It’s also a good option if you aren’t comfortable being touched on your entire body. Reflexology uses gentle to firm pressure on different pressure points of the feet, hands, and ears. You can wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows access to your legs.

A reflexology massage lasts for 30–60 minutes.

Shiatsu massage

Shiatsu massage is best for people who want to feel relaxed and relieve stress, pain, and tension. It’s a Japanese type of massage that:

  • promotes emotional and physical calm and relaxation
  • helps to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression
  • may relieve headache
  • reduces muscle tension

Shiatsu massage works the whole body, but your therapist may focus on areas of your body that need extra attention. During the massage, your therapist will use their hands, palms, and thumbs to massage certain points of your body. Pulsing or rhythmic pressure is used. You can be fully clothed during this massage.

Shiatsu massages typically last for 60–90 minutes.

Couple’s massage

A couple’s massage is a massage that you do with your partner, friend or family member in the same room. It brings all the benefits of a regular massage and sometimes provides you with access to the spa’s hot tubs, saunas, and other facilities. Other treatments such as pedicures, facials, and body scrubs are sometimes offered as part of a package.

You can usually choose which type of massage you’d like to receive, and you and your partner can each get a different type of massage depending on your preference and the offerings at the spa. Your partner and you will be on tables side-by-side, and you’ll each have your own massage therapist working on your body. You can talk during the massage if you wish.

Chair massage

A chair massage is best for people who want a quick massage that focuses on your neck, shoulders, and back. A chair massage can also be a way to introduce you to massage if you’ve never had one before. Chair massage also helps to relieve stress and promote relaxation. This type of massage uses light to medium pressure.

During the massage, you’ll remain fully clothed and sit in a specially designed chair. You’ll straddle the chair so that your chest pushes into the back of the chair, allowing the massage therapist to have access to your back.

These massages are usually 10–30 minutes.

Communication 

Always communicate your expectations and intentions with your massage therapist and speak up if there is something with which you aren’t comfortable. Talk to your doctor before getting any type of massage if you have any health concerns or conditions.

Massage may be a way for you to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Experiment with different types of massage and with different massage therapists to find the type and provider that is most ideal for you.

Zen Massage Therapists, Salt Lake City

When it comes to massage therapy, no amount of exotic marble, fountains, lights, and monograms on fancy terrycloth robes and slippers can equal the skilled, experienced hands of a master massage therapist. A luxurious interior can make a great impression, but when you’re back in your clothes again walking out the door, the only thing that matters is how you feel in the real world. The quality of any spa experience is quite literally in the hands of the therapist. Nobody understands this better than ZEN Massage of Salt Lake City. Our partner-therapists make ZEN Massage what it is. We partner with only the best therapists who share a sincere passion for the craft of healing and the art of massage. But most of all, our partner-therapists are approachable. They know how to listen and to understand. They want to make you feel great. They enjoy what they do because they do it exceptionally well.  

Book My Zen Massage

Zen Massage in Salt Lake City

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

(801) 467-3529

 

Source

Stealing a Little Time for Yourself, Guilt Free

Making Time for Yourself Can Greatly Improve Your Relationships

Whether you’re single, married, or in a relationship, the demands of life and the expectations of those nearest and dearest to your heart can make finding time for yourself a huge challenge. Between dedicating time to parents, children, partners, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends, colleagues, and work, it’s hard to even dream of stealing a little time for yourself.

Couple that with the guilt that many people, especially women, experience when they manage to find a few moments of time for themselves, and it becomes clear why so many people feel that finding time for themselves isn’t worth the effort. But worth the effort it is, and not only because of the personal benefits you’ll reap. Alone time has interpersonal benefits as well.

Personal Benefits of Solitude

Taking time for yourself gives your brain a chance to reboot, improves concentration, increases productivity, helps you discover (or rediscover) your own voice, gives you a chance to think deeply, and helps you problem solve more effectively. It also gives you a better sense of balance and self-awareness that can lead to a better understanding of yourself–what drives you, what inspires you, what excites you. This, in turn, can have a positive effect not only on the quality of your relationship with yourself, but also on the quality of your relationships with others.

But in today’s world, how do you find the time to give to yourself? And equally important, how do you deal with the guilt when you somehow manage to find it?

“Finding” Time

As overscheduled as our lives are these days, it can be quite a challenge to find time for yourself. There are a few things you can do, such as using your lunch hour, waking up a little earlier than everyone else, and temporarily disconnecting from your gadgets. If you’ve tried these tricks and still can’t seem to find any time to schedule for yourself, then you may need to take a hard look at your schedule and your priorities.

What are some things you’re doing now that can be consolidated or eliminated? Is there anything that can be postponed? What can be delegated? Maybe it’s true that you can do things better than everyone else, but in most schedules, there are some things that don’t need to be done better; they just need to be done. By delegating those tasks, you can free up some time for yourself, which may be much more productive in the long run than doing everything yourself.

Another important point to remember is that you don’t have to come up with hours and hours of alone time. Just start off small and see what happens. Hopefully, the little bit of time you steal for yourself will become so reinforcing that you’ll find more and more ways to get more of it.

Overcoming the Guilt

Some people, particularly women, feel guilty about taking time for themselves. They see themselves as the one who should be taking care of everyone else, and their needs often fall by the wayside. However, taking care of yourself is something that you should never feel guilty about. It not only models healthy behavior for the ones you love, but it also keeps you happy, healthy, and strong so that you can continue doing what fulfills you; and if that’s taking care of others, then you’re in an even better position to do that.

Guilt is counterproductive to reaping the full benefits of solitude. If you spend all or even some of your “found” time feeling guilty that you found it, then doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

If you need even more justification to lose the guilt, consider these points:

♦ Spending time with yourself is time well spent because it makes you a happier person to be around.

♦ Spending time with yourself benefits everyone because by having a happier and healthier mindset, you’re in a better frame of mind to take care of the people who are important to you.

♦ Spending time with yourself is preventative medicine to combat burnout. What good will you be to anyone if you eventually burnout? (And you will if you don’t take care of yourself.)

Overcoming Resistance

Once you begin making time for yourself, dont be surprised if you don’t run into a little resistance from those in your life who are used to you always being available. There are many reasons why this resistance might happen–insecurity, overdependence, feeling slighted or rejected, or simply because they have become accustomed to always having you around. Don’t let their resistance stop you. Reassure these people that you’re still there for them, but in order to be there for them over the long haul, you also have to also take care of yourself. Then, do it! Just as they’ve grown accustomed to you always being there for them, they’ll get accustomed to you taking time for yourself.

Hopefully, the ideas here will leave you inspired and motivated to find ways to make time for yourself.

“When we take some time to solely think about ourselves, and not have to consider our impact on others, we begin the process of true self-awareness. It can be a little daunting at first, but the result of this awareness is that you learn what drives you, what excites you, and what motivates you. This new-found self-awareness is a beautiful thing and it can have a dramatically positive effect on your life and relationships.” – Marty Herald’s Personal Growth and the Art of Inspired Living blog.

So give yourself a gift that will keep on giving … time for yourself.

Booking a Massage @ ZenMassage.net is a great way to get your free time in.

Take time for yourself and feel great!

Book your Massage online @ ZenMassage.net

Or call  (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage | Luxury Massage in Salt Lake City, Utah

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

 

Source:  Psychology Today

Why We All Need to Touch and Be Touched

Why We All Need to Touch and Be Touched

Our mind, brain, and body are not separate from each other.

Sharon K. Farber Ph.D. | The Mind-Body Connection

Being touched and touching someone else are fundamental modes of human interaction, and increasingly, many people are seeking out their own “professional touchers” and body arts teachers– chiropractors, physical therapists, Gestalt therapists, Rolfers, the Alexander-technique and Feldenkrais people, massage therapists, martial arts and T’ai Chi Ch’uan instructors. And some even wait in physicians’ offices for a physical examination for ailments that have no organic cause—they wait to be touched.

The body-oriented approaches are based on a principle that is becoming more obvious to researchers. Ken Wilbur wrote in The Spectrum of Consciousness , “For every mental ‘problem’ or ‘knot’, there is a corresponding bodily ‘knot’, and vice versa since, in fact, the body and the mind are not two. That is, psychic conflict, guilt, shame, unresolved grief all can be lodged in the body as body memories, and when the site of the psychic difficulty is deeply touched through massage or other manipulation, it can not only release the physical pain but may make the psychic pain accessible.

Soon after my mother died I developed a case of “frozen shoulder”. It causes stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint and often occurs for no known reason. My doctor had told me that because my shoulder was “frozen”, there must be adhesions, or scar tissue that were freezing up my shoulder joint. And probably my body lacked something called synovial fluid, needed to lubricate the shoulder joint. I asked him what. He could not tell me what caused this to happen because medicine does not really understand why. I like to understand why things happen the way they do and he could not tell me. But I was in pain. I could not sleep in the usual position I sleep in, I couldn’t reach for something on a shelf without feeling pain. He referred me for physical therapy and so I made an appointment.

As I lay on the examining table, the physical therapist came in, smiled, introduced herself and explained what she was going to do. As soon as she put her warm hands on my bare shoulder, tears welled up in my eyes. I was surprised and embarrassed and turned my head away from her gaze so that she would not see. I suspect she noticed. She continued examining me and I relaxed and found that I enjoyed it. It felt like a massage, something I am not used to having. She recommended that I come in three times a week and I had to arrange my schedule to do that. She did various exercises with me that I was advised to do at home. As I followed her instructions, I thought and felt a great deal about my mother, with whom I had a complex and ambivalent relationship. I stretched and cried, cried and stretched, wrote about what I was feeling, and after a few months I was better. The pain of my loss had lodged itself in my body, and a woman’s warm touch started to release it. It also probably released some oxytocin in me, the hormone of love and attachment. As I mourned her loss over several months, I realized something. I had had a hard time crying for my mother, whom I loved very much but whom I was angry with too. When there are difficulties in mourning a loss, somatic or psychological difficulties may present themselves. The body speaks when we do not have words for what we are feeling. The therapist’s warm touch on my shoulder was lubrication for my soul, needed for me to let go and feel the loss, complicated and ambivalent as it was.

Treatment that uses direct touch can have a depth and potency that can have a great therapeutic impact, which provides some explanation for why so many people are seeking out their own “professional touchers” or are filling the waiting rooms of physicians, waiting for the doctor to find the cause of the pain and make them better. In the process, they are touched. When the patient is assured that the work of the professional toucher is free from infringement, that sexual contact is clearly out of bounds, and that the patient can say “no” to any intervention the body-work practioner proposes, then the patient can have the experience of trust and physical touch in the context of a controlled respectful relationship.

Nature is so intelligent for creating oxytocin, the hormone of love and attachment. Kerstin Uvnas Moberg became a world authority on ocytocin through her personal experience. When she was pregnant, delivered, and nursed her four children, she was struck by feeling a state of mind so different from the stress she was used to in connection with life’s other challenges. Wanting to understand this scientifically, she learned that there is a key biological marker—oxytocin—that can explain this sense of calm and connectedness in pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing, and through this research, discovered that oxytocin is able to influence many vital operations in the body. Her research showed that the level of oxytocin in the blood during nursing was correlated with the mothers’ subjective experiences of calmness, and ability to interact with their babies. Oxytocin stimulates growth during pregnancy and stimulates the uterus to expel the newborn It restores the balance between stress and calm It stimulates the muscle activity of orgasm (in both men and women) and can strengthen the attachment bond. We are told that “oxytocin is with us throughout our lives.” She wrote that

When you were born, oxytocin helped expel you from your mother’s womb and made it possible for her to nurse you..As a small child, you enjoyed your mother’s and father’s loving touch because it released oxytocin in your body. As an adult, you experience the effects of oxytocin when you enjoy good food, or a massage, or an intimate interlude with your romantic partner (Uvnas Moberg 2003, p. 65).

If you’d like to learn more about oxytocin, read Uvnas Moberg’s book The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love, and Healing.

When people lack love and touch in their lives this can result in bodily self harm, such as in eating disorders or self-mutilation. If you’d like to learn more about this and about “professional touchers” , read my book, When the Body Is the Target: Self-Harm, Pain, and Traumatic Attachments.

Source : Psychology Today

The Psychological Benefits of Touch

Massage - Touch

Massage

is often thought of as a way to relax and unwind – And it is! But did you know there is a vital psychological component to massage as well? Touch is one of the most important cues human beings need to be able to form relationships, cooperate with one another and be healthier, too.

Touch is often overlooked and under-appreciated in our society. Many people are spread out and they remain in their homes more than before, communicating via smartphones and computer screens, instead of having face to face conversations and being close to one another. There is an emphasis for people to have a wide berth of personal space and not touch anyone else. But science is proving that human beings need touch more than they think. In fact, it seems to be imperative to good emotional and physical well-being.

The sad conditions of Romania’s orphanages from the 1960’s to the 1980’s is an example of how bad things can get when babies and infants are not held. During those years, contraception became restricted, abortions were outlawed and childless couples were taxed, in hopes of boosting the population, but over one hundred thousand children ended up in understaffed state run institutions because they could not be cared for. There was one nurse to over 20 infants and as a result, these infants did not get touched often. The psychological effects were astounding. They were void of expression, could not form bonds with others, and had issues so severe that many of them remain in institutions as adults.

When infants are touched often, it increases oxytocin levels in the brain and also seems to activate growth, attachment and response. When infants are not touched, the results are usually disastrous. They do not perform well cognitively, they do not form relationships and they are oftentimes disturbed. But it’s not just infants. When adults who are otherwise of sound mind and body get put into isolation, they quickly unravel and become disoriented, agitated and prone to hallucinations. We need human contact to be mentally healthy.

Where does touch come into all of this? One might think, sure we need some friends but why the emphasis on touch, specifically? Because scientific studies have parsed out touch versus socialization and discovered touch may be more important to well-being than socializing, alone.

For instance, When 20 premature infants were transferred to a normal care nursery, they were given ten minutes of touch therapy and stimulation three times a day. Compared to the other babies, they gained 47% more weight per day and scored higher on alertness and motor coordination tests. They were tested at eight months and twelve months, as well, and the benefits were still apparent. [1]

Infants aren’t the only ones who benefit from touch. When adolescent HIV patients were given massage therapy with their treatment, they reported less anxiety and depression, but also had an increased white blood cell count and immune response, compared to the ones who did not receive massage. [2] Some studies suggest the simple act of hugging other people can boost our own immune response. [3] Because of this, touch is starting to gain traction in nurseries and with the elderly, who are less sick and depressed if they receive massage. In fact, some programs pair elderly people with orphaned babies, for cuddle sessions and care, to their mutual benefit.

Human beings are social creatures. We depend on one another and need close relationships more than many of us would like to admit. Even more so, we need intrapersonal touch. Perhaps not everyone has a circle of friends, family, and lovers to fill that need. Long days at work, relocations, and digital communication seem to be pulling us all away from the tighter, tribal circles we once had. But this doesn’t have to be the way we live. Reach out and touch the people around you, visit people who may be lonely, volunteer to cradle infants, or get a massage on a regular basis. Studies show it will make you happier, healthier, and smarter.

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