Therapeutic Massage Articles from Brenda hughey, LMT & Julie Van Tassel, LMT
Massage Therapy for Health Maintenance
By Brenda Hughey, LMT
When I tell people that I'm a massage therapist, I'm almost always pleased at their response, which is usually something along the lines of "wow that's great, I'd love to have a massage." It's wonderful to know that so many people are interested in massage therapy and know about its benefits. Yet most of these people only rarely "indulge" themselves with a massage. It is unfortunate that massage therapy is still generally viewed as an occasional luxury rather than an important part of a preventive health maintenance program.
Massage, simply put, is physical manipulation of soft tissue in the body. There are many different bodywork styles and techniques available to meet individual specific needs. And there's something special about the human touch that a machine can never replace. Massage therapy is probably best known for its ability to relax the body and relieve pain. The basic Swedish style uses long flowing stokes to help get the blood flowing to improve circulation throughout the body and lower blood pressure. This type of massage also helps rid toxins after physical exertion or exercise thus speeding recovery time. Skilled hands, working deeply and specifically in the tissue, can help relieve stiff or painful muscles and joints. Massage can also help heal injuries and limit scar tissue formation. These are just a few of the many benefits.
Like regular exercise and good nutrition, receiving frequent massage can promote wellness and improve health. Regular massage keeps muscles supple, can prevent injury and even improve posture. Perhaps more importantly and fundamentally is this RELAXATION aspect. What massage offers is a break from our fast-paced lives and an opportunity to de-stress ourselves. So often we don't really even take the time to notice what's going on in our bodies. And by reducing stress through massage, we're often removing the greatest impediment to healing. Once stress is removed, the body can begin getting well. In the mean time, massage can help alleviate the immediate symptoms of stress like muscle tension, headache, and insomnia.
So take time to experience relaxation. Make massage therapy a part of your regular health maintenance program. Brenda Hughey is a graduate of the Florida School of Massage in Gainesville, Florida. She is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University where she obtained a B.A. in Sociology. Brenda also served as a logistics officer in the U.S. Army from 1987 - 1999. She was practicing massage therapy part time at the Saleeby Longevity Institute in Downtown Savannah.
Massage for the First Time
By Julie Van Tassel, LMT
One of the biggest barriers that stop people from ever making their first massage appointment may be the fear of the unknown. The truth is: The thought of venturing into a room with a stranger, not knowing what to expect, would make anyone feel somewhat vulnerable. Take a moment to think back. Can you remember any experiences that were not scary the first time you tried something new? Your first day of kindergarten, or as an adult going back to college for many of us, that was scary! Getting your first massage is just another step along the path to self discovery. When you meet with your massage therapist for the first time, you may be asked to fill out an intake form regarding your health history. Following this, your massage therapist may share with you their education background and talk with you specifically about your needs and expectations to the effect of your treatment. Next, your massage therapist may explain how you should get on the massage table, pointing out where you head should be, and whether you should be face up or face down. During your massage, your massage therapist only exposes those areas that he/she is working on at the moment. This technique is known as draping and this makes you feel comfortable. You may then be asked to undress to the level of your comfort, to lie on the table, and to pull the sheet up over your body while the therapist steps out to wash his/her hands. After the massage therapist has left the room, remember to take your time. He/she knocks before coming in, and usually waits longer than necessary.
Your therapist will then make sure you are comfortable, adjust the lights and music. The first moment of contact can tell you a lot about how the rest of the massage is going to feel. When your therapist is attuned to you and your body it becomes a joining together of your consciousness with the consciousness of another, which just doesn't occur often in our modern society. Take advantage of this and pay close attention to what is happening in your own body. This is a great opportunity for you to concentrate on breathing and relaxation.
During your massage feel free to give feedback to your massage therapist. If at any point you would like to change what he/she is doing, you have the right to express it. This is your sacred time! Your massage therapist will let you know when your session has come to an end. He/she may ask you to take your time getting off the table and back into your life. Relish these few moments where your cares and concerns seem a million miles away.
Some people think of massage as a luxury, and may only use it only in times of dire need. With the pressures in modern society, and particularly the increase of stress-related illnesses, touch therapies should become a part of everyday life. Massage is valuable in preventative health- both for the client and the therapist alike. Massage is truly self-discovery that reveals how it feels to be more relaxed and in tune with ourselves, to experience the pleasure of a body that can breathe, stand, and move freely.
Julie Van Tassel is a licensed and nationally certified massage therapist. She completed her requirements for massage & hydrotherapy from the Florida School of Massage in Gainesville, Florida. She previously spent many years as a certified dental assistant. She wa the full time massage therapist and office manager at the Saleeby Longevity Institute. She now practices in NJ.