Archive for March, 2011

Why Are There Different Styles Of Thai Massage?

There is Thai Massage. But this by itself is not sufficient to clarify what we are talking about. It is somewhat like saying “There is Christianity”. Well – are you talking about Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Born Agains… It is similar with Thai Massage. There is a northern style, a southern style, a royal style, the strictly traditional style and a whole number of styles that have been mixed with other Asian healing arts or with yoga therapy or energy work.

Why are there so many different Thai Massage styles? Why not just one? There is the saying “variety is the spice of life”, and this is very true. Imagine if there was only one car, or one mobile phone – wouldn’t you agree that it is much more fun if you have many choices? Just like you can match a car to your preferences, so can you match a massage style to your body and your likes.

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Some people like strong massage, some soft, some like stretching, some prefer oil massage, and some love rocking massage. And then some people love foot work, some love abdominal work, others love head massage. I think I made my case why it is an advantage to have many massage styles and variations.

Here is another good reason. Once a therapist becomes seasoned and experienced, he or she does not want to just follow the routine which they learned in massage school. Massage is a creative, intuitive, graceful, flowing art, not a mechanical system of pressing or rubbing on predetermined points. Therefore it is natural that therapists express their creativity by developing their own styles.

This leads to an ever developing evolution of massage techniques. Without that there would be no growth, no spontaneity, no improvement. Of course there are traditionalists who believe that everything should be done like it has been done for hundreds or thousands of years. And that can also be a good thing. In this way a core style can be preserved and maintained as a bench mark against which newer styles can be measured. And some traditional systems are very good the way they are.

At some point every single massage system has been invented and developed by someone. And those persons were innovators. Innovators create, and traditionalists maintain. There is a place for both. The world would be a boring place without innovation, new creative ideas, and new styles and techniques in the massage and healing arts arena or any other field.

Thai Massage is often not practiced the same way in western countries as it is done in Thailand. The reason for that is that western therapists, unlike their Thai counterparts, have much more access and exposure to other massage styles. Therefore there is always a tendency to mix and blend and combine techniques. Therapists in Thailand have generally never been exposed to anything but the traditional way of working, and therefore you don’t find much blending and changing in Thailand.

Also western therapists have often started out learning massage, and mostly Swedish massage, on a table. Therefore many of them have adapted Thai Massage to the table which of course changes it somewhat, and many blend Thai Massage with Swedish massage.

Personally I have studied Thai Massage in Thailand with several excellent and well known teachers. They all had their own style and their own unique techniques. And that is without blending Thai Massage with any other modalities.

So what style should you choose as an aspiring Thai Massage practitioner? This depends on 4 factors mostly:

1. What style do you most enjoy receiving? You will do best giving what you like to receive.

2. Which teacher do you resonate with? You will be most inspired if your teacher can bring the technique alive for you.

3. Which style works for you and your body? For example, if you study a very rigid style which relies on a lot of thumb pressure work, but your thumbs cannot handle it, then this is not the best choice for you. You will do better with a softer style. Or if you study a style which uses a lot of difficult stretches, but you are 5 foot tall, then this might be difficult for you. So make sure that you study a style that works for your body.

4. What is your objective? Do you just want to learn a few good moves to spice up your main style? Or do you want to learn and practice Thai Massage as a complete system? In the latter case it is much more important that you pick a style that suits you.

The best way to find out what works for you is to receive Thai Massage sessions from a variety of practitioners. In addition to getting general full body treatments, ask for specific therapeutic work and get a feeling for how they are being handled by various therapists.

Using Massage to Reduce Cellulite

Can cellulite massage get rid of that dimpled skin on your thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen?

First, let’s look at what cellulite is. According to the Mayo Clinic, as fat cells beneath the skin enlarge, they push up against the skin. At the same time, connective cords that attach the skin to the underlying muscle pull down. The effect is an uneven surface or dimpling, called cellulite.

Women are far more likely than men to develop cellulite. One big factor in who develops the condition may be genetics. Other risk factors for developing cellulite include stress, inactivity, and using hormonal contraceptives.

Using Massage for Cellulite

Cellulite massage is based on the theory that vigorous massage will reduce excess fluid, increase blood flow, and remove toxins in the areas with cellulite, leading to reduced fatty deposits.

While massage will probably not completely remove cellulite, massage may improve how the cells function and temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. Helpful massage techniques may include draining, stroking, smoothing, and cupping. Although cellulite massage rollers are available for home use, no evidence suggests they are effective.

One cellulite massage option often available in spas is Lipomassage, which uses a hand-held machine to knead you skin between rollers. Although Lipomassage claims that it can permanently get rid of stubborn fat that is resistant to physical exercise and dieting, the Mayo Clinic writes that you may see a slight improvement after this treatment, but the results are temporary.

An interesting side note is that two medical therapies being tested for cellulite include massage. One therapy combines negative tissue massage, infrared light, and radiofrequency. Another therapy combines massage with diode laser energy.

The use of massage for cellulite is controversial. Some people say it works great, while others say, at best, massage temporarily reduces the appearance of cellulite. If you want to try massage for cellulite, ask your massage therapist what you can expect from the treatments and how long it will take to see results.

Aromatherapy Massage for Cellulite

Massage with essential oil blends may also help reduce the appearance of cellulite. One possible blend is:
2 drops fennel
2 drops juniper
5 drops bergamot
5 drops cypress
5 drops geranium
5 drops grapefruit
2 ounces vegetable oil

Combine the oils. For home use, rub the blend directly on cellulite once a day. (Spot test the blend first to make sure you are not sensitive to it.) Or ask your massage therapist about aromatherapy massage.

Self Massage – How 5 Minutes Can Increase Productivity at Work

Stress and relaxation; is it possible to have a balance between the two in the work place? Dealing with the constant pressures of deadlines and the toll it takes on the body can be draining. Spending more time at your desk may seem like the best solution but sometimes there just isn’t enough time in a day to do it all. Or is there?

Dr. Joyce Brothers once said “No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax for at least five minutes every hour, you’d be more productive.” How can you possibly relax at work? Self-massage! Instinctively, we do it without even understanding why. Allowing the body to hoard tension not only increases muscle pain but also waists an unbelievable amount of energy which can ultimately reduce one’s focus and productivity.

Self-massage distracts or blocks the nervous system from sensing pain in a way that lessens its intensity. The psychological effects of massage are also well-known for reducing anxiety, stress, and even depression. According to Wendy Turnbull’s 1994/95 article “Massage and Medicine Merging” from the Ontario Massage Therapist Association Newsletter no.8, studies have shown that a 15 minute on-the-job self-massage was not only effective on increasing mental alertness but also in solving computerized problems in half the time with 50% fewer errors.

Here are some quick self massage tips for muscle pain relief at work:

1. Scalp: If you don’t mind messing up your hair, using your finger pads to massage the scalp can feel amazing. Don’t forget the forehead or behind the ears.
2. Temples: Rub your fingertips in circular motions at your temples for a few seconds.
3. Eyes: Take both thumb pads and place them just below the eyebrows where they meet the bridge of the nose. Let the weight of the head sink into the thumbs for a few seconds. Then slowly glide the thumb pads along the brow bone towards the outer end of the brows. Repeat a few times.
4. Jaw: Lots of tension can accumulate in the jaw. Massaging your palms on the sides of the mouth can relieve a lot of tension.
5. Neck: Use your fingertips to massage the back of the head where it meets the neck. Then glide your fingers in circular motions downward along the spine without applying direct pressure on the spine. Bending the head forward can give you better access to those muscles.
6. Shoulders: Squeeze the shoulder muscles between your fingers and thumbs on each side. This may create some headache-like sensation. If so, squeeze until the pain diminishes and add a heat source for 10 minutes such as a hot water bottle or beanbag.
8. Feet: If you have a tennis ball that you can bring to work, place it under your feet (shoes removed) to roll on while working at the desk. This will reflexively relax the entire body.

So the next time you feel stressed out, over worked or in need of some muscle pain relief, just remember to take five. Your body, mind, and boss will thank you.

Tips and Suggestions For Choosing A Back Inversion Table

For many, inversion tables are popular for relieving back pain, relieving stress, improving blood circulation and a person’s overall health. Back pain and stress are among the major reasons that people turn to back inversion therapy. These days there are more and more employees who are visiting their doctors because of chronic and debilitating back pain. Additionally, stress has become a staple in our current fast paced-lifestyle. These two issues, when combined cause significant tension and for many, pain, in the lower back region.

Inversion therapy can help many deal with the pain and stress caused by modern day living. When a person is inverted, the space between the vertebrae increases and this helps relieve the pressure on the disks and ligaments, and can eventually help reduce back pain.

Stress can trigger back pains, should and neck muscle spasms. It could also cause serious headaches. However, a 25 degree angle for a few minutes on the inversion table may be able to help reduce these muscle aches and encourage the flow of lymphatic fluids that work to flush toxins out of the body.

There are many different tables available in the market, with different designs, from different manufacturers and to serve different purposes as well. There are also manual and motorized inversion tables. A manual table only uses the individual’s weight to shift the angle, while motorized tables use motors to control the angle or the position of the individual.

The price range is usually from $200 to $1000 for each table. Motorized tables are of course more expensive compared with manual tables, especially with the technology it incorporates on the equipment.

Since there are numerous choices, it is important to choose the one which best suits you. Here are some important tips:

Be sure to check the maximum height and weight supported by the model you are considering. This will ensure that you would be getting the right support suitable for your body. Also, look for those with comfortable and secured padding and straps.
Look for tables that are stable and made of quality materials. There are models that have non-skid floor stabilizers to ensure the equipment would not skid while being in used. Inversion tables that use metal tubes are also generally better than those with plastic tubes.
You may also want to consider tables that are relatively easy to install and use. Your choice should also easy to understand support material, like a manual and ideally an instructional CD or DVD.

It is important to consider the quality of the back inversion table, over simple price consideration. Remember that you will be hanging upside down and during this process a cheap or low-grade table may collapse during use. One of the best ways to determine whether a back inversion table model is both safe and quality made is to do a thorough reading of reviews by both experts and users.

Massage Therapy Helps You Treat Different Critical Health Issues

In the present fiercely competitive environment almost every one of us has lots of tasks to perform on a daily basis. Therefore, there are more chances of getting tired and feeling fatigue during your hectic working schedule. To overcome such situations, you are best advised to find out a viable alternative that can lessen your stress while at the same time can also boost up your tired energy level. It is true that the market is flourished up with numbers of options in order to get the relief from such situation. However, your first preference should be one that benefits your health in many ways without creating any critical complications. This is where the need of a massage therapy becomes so vital for anyone.

Since the recent times an astronomical rise has been noticed in the demand of this therapy because it has come with the results that can’t be compared to anyone. This method works as a boon to bring your stressful life on the track of normal life. Most of the renowned medical experts say that this therapy are really helpful in treating different health problems, including cleansing the toxins from the human’s body, improving sleep and lowering blood pressure. In addition to it, people also notice wonderful results in the improvement of circulation, and in getting the relief from the tension, and muscle spasms as well as soreness. The importance of this method can’t be ignored during the time when it is used to help you rid the body of excess lactic acid.

This is why more and more people are showing their great interests in adapting massage therapy in order to experience a more relaxed and tension-free life. A single session of this method is enough to see tremendous results during the treatment of back aches, headaches and shoulder and neck pain. And, of course, there are a plethora of massage therapists who are known to deliver the best massage therapy services to heal many health issues.

How Massage Therapy Works To Help People

Used for centuries, massage therapy provides both physical and emotional relief. It helps to heal by increasing blood flow and releasing built up emotions. Other benefits include relieving sore muscles and reducing stress. Practitioners that are licensed must take numerous courses prior to licensure and then even more after to fulfill continuing education requirements.

Natural remedies, such as touch, appeal to many people. They believe that an individual should not be overly reliant on prescription medications or technological medical procedures for most of their ailments. The elderly, athletes and people with a lot of stress usually find this type of procedure very beneficial.

The tendency to store emotions within the body is completely human. Once they build up, they cause aches in places that a person would not think would normally hurt. A regular occurrence of this for many is at the bottom of the neck, just between the shoulder blades. However, this is not the sole place that it occurs. Massage forces these emotions to be released from their storage areas and from the body itself.

During sessions, many people tend to get emotionally overwhelmed and without knowing why. They may begin crying or become angry with very little reason that they can see. However, the reason is the release of pent up emotions, which following the initial outset, will help the person to feel much more relaxed. Having regular sessions reduced the overwhelming nature of the releases.

Those who are athletic in nature, perhaps competing in races or working out frequently, tend to put added pressure on their joints, tendons, muscles and bones. Massage reduces inflammation, which causes pain and injury. As it is very beneficial for two key ailments of most athletes, shin splints and joint pain, it should be sought regularly.

The aging effects of a reduction in blood flow are apparent in the look of the skin. The epidermis is tremendously benefited from applied pressure. The elderly cannot only benefit in their exterior looks by increasing their blood flow, but also in the pain felt in their joints or from arthritis. These symptoms are often reduced by massage.

This type of therapeutic treatment has been very useful in helping women that experience water retention and cramping during their premenstrual cycle. It helps to provide a release for the fluids and get the blood moving better. For those carrying a child, it helps to relieve some of the pain associated with child birth. The power of touch has also been known to help lessen breathing and respiratory problems associated with asthma. This all has to do with the advantages of increasing the circulation of the blood.

For many purposes, massage therapy is not meant to replace modern medicine as a treatment. It is a holistic approach to staying healthy and reducing negative stress or symptoms that could be problematic in the future, causing a need for modern medicine. Everyone receives a session in a different way and has a different need for it. However, anyone that makes it a regular occurrence can benefit from its provisions.

5 Ways To Make A Good Massage Experience Even BETTER!

As a massage therapist, I am always trying to find ways to help my clients get the most out of their massage experience. Here are a five easy-to-implement ways to turn a good massage into a GREAT one!


There’s nothing worse than stressing out, working up a sweat, and screaming at other drivers when you’re running late on the way to a massage or reflexology session.

Give yourself extra time so you can arrive a few minutes early and relax in the waiting room prior to your session. If you are late or are stuck in traffic, just take a couple deep breaths and know you’ll be there soon.

Stressing out will not get you there sooner and will also make it harder for you to relax once you are there.


We are a helping people. As such, many of us are inspired to try to help during a massage session. We lift our leg or arm or neck, in anticipation of the therapist’s move.

Please, please, I beg of you… DON’T HELP! It’s much more difficult for therapists to work with a flexed muscle than a relaxed muscle. We’d prefer to do the work (it’s our job!).

So please, just relax, and let us take care of everything. When you are thinking about what we’re going to do next, you’re NOT relaxing.


Is the pressure too deep? Let us know.

Would you prefer NOT to have facial massage? Tell us!

We cannot give you the best possible session unless we know exactly what you want.

Are you worried about asking for something different because you don’t want to hurt your therapist’s feelings? Trust me, you WON’T hurt our feelings.

We’d MUCH rather have you communicate clearly about what you want rather than have you go away unhappy!


We live in a body conscious culture. As such, some people come in embarrassed about their bodies.

Rest assured. Therapists are people who have a great reverence for the body. We love all shapes, all sizes, all bodies.

Ladies, we don’t care if you didn’t shave your legs today. Gentlemen, we don’t care if you have a hairy back. If we did, we wouldn’t be in this business.


It can be stressful to have to rush out of bodywork session in order to get to another appointment or engagement.

While it’s not always realistic to totally clear your schedule after a session, try to plan for a lighter activity day.

Though some people feel energized after a session, the majority of us are actually pretty sleepy and relaxed…a ten mile run is probably not in the cards for the day.

So, if at all possible, try to minimize the things you plan for after your session. Allow yourself the opportunity to ride the wave of relaxation the whole day through!

Here’s to your health!

Recovering From A Sports Injury With Massage

Whether a person plays sports professionally or just for fun, the inevitable is sure to happen sooner or later. The sports injury. While it is a pain (literally), it is quite possible to recover from an injury just using natural healing. Be aware that not all injuries fall under the umbrella of natural healing, such as open fractures or a severe tear that requires surgery. Other injuries that have to do with soft tissues, such as ligaments, tendons and muscles can be put on the road to recovery quite quickly if a few simple steps are followed. Let’s take a look at some of the natural ways that sports injuries can be healed.

Nutrition is nature’s greatest healer. Often we don’t think of food as being something that can heal our bodies, but as a matter of fact it is a key player in our body functions. Eating the wrong stuff can cause the body to rebel against itself and cause more damage, but the right food eaten in the right quantities can have amazing results. In particular the super foods that contain antioxidants have almost magical healing powers for the body. These include fruits and veggies like blueberries, concord grapes, pomegranate and even the dark leafy vegetable kale. Every effort should be made to eat these in their raw form as much as possible to get the maximum benefits for healing.

Apply natural salves and ointments. A few of the really good ones out there are arnica for bruising, peppermint oil for swelling of joints and tea tree oil which has astringent properties. Other supplements can be taking orally such as omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil), Vitamins E and C. All help in the natural process of healing injury within the body.

Acupuncture. Not often talked about, acupuncture is a traditional Chinese healing procedure that involves the insertion of tiny needles subdermally into reflex points along the body. It is very effective in the natural healing process.

Deep Tissue Massage or Sports Massage. Both these types of massage assist with healing of soft tissue related to a sports injury. Expect the therapist to give a more intense massage than normal and to spend extended time at the site of the injury to aid in the healing process. Usually, this type of massage is done regularly to assist in speeding up the healing of the sports injury.

All these natural ways of healing a sports injury are excellent for those who perhaps don’t want to get involved with using traditional medicinal ways of healing. The injured individual does not have to rely on prescription drugs (which can often slow down healing time), or endure a grueling surgery and weeks of physical therapy. Used in combination with each other, natural healing of sports injured individuals can have them back playing their sport quicker than ever. Natural medicine is gaining more and more popularity over traditional methods, and it can help people recover much quicker than other medicinal methods out there today.

Is Massage Therapy a Good Way To Treat Back Pain?

Of the many different causes of back pain, one of the most common involves damage to the muscles of the back.

Pain associated with an injured muscle is often short-lived. Muscle sprains from overuse, stress and overextension generally heal within a week. The muscles of the back can, however, experience long-term injury. If a muscle is constantly strained, tense or weak, a serious injury can develop that effects more than the muscle itself.

Fascia is a connective tissue that serves many functions in the body, one of which is to surround and protect muscles. Muscular fascia, or myofascia, becomes inflamed when it is near a damaged area. Inflammation is an attempt by the immune system to flood compromised areas of the body with chemicals that promote healing. Chronic inflammation, however, is harmful.

Inflamed myofascia causes severe muscle tightness and pain. Symptoms of this condition include sciatica, headaches and a limited range of motion due to the muscle restriction.

Massage therapy is often used to relieve muscle-related back pain. This non-invasive treatment alleviates pain caused by short-term muscle damage and long-term myofascial inflammation.

How Massage Therapy Works

Massage can stretch out tensed fascia and press inflammation fluids out of the area. Massages also relaxes tensed muscles. This reduction of tension and inflammation greatly decreases back pain. Massage also releases endorphins that boost mood and modify pain perception.

When massaged, the flow of blood increases and tissues like fascia become more pliable. This helps to restore proper functioning to the area.

Massage therapy was adopted from Chinese tradition. It was founded on the theory that the body contains energy fields that become blocked, and that massage can loosen blockages. Some practitioners still perform massages with the intent of balancing the flow of energy throughout the body.

Finding a Massage Therapist

Your search for the right massage therapist should begin by asking yourself what results you are seeking. Massage can serve many functions, and not all therapists perform every kind. Do you want stress management, energy balance, pain management, realignment therapy or injury treatment?

Another factor to consider is cost. If you’ve obtained a referral from a doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist or osteopath, your insurance may cover the bill.

Masseuses generally earn by the hour. Rates vary widely between different regions, but the University of Minnesota estimates the national average at $60.00 an hour.

If you are seeking occasional relaxation, maintenance or energy balance, one session a month may suit you. For stress management, two sessions a month is recommended. If you are require pain management, one session a week is suggested.

Before, During and After the Massage


Take a hot shower to loosen the muscles of the back.

It is generally a bad idea to eat just before a session, since lying on a full stomach while pressure is applied to your back can be uncomfortable.


Remember to breathe. When painful areas are pressed upon, the discomfort can lead you to unwittingly hold your breathe. Remind yourself to breathe, since oxygen must be delivered to the massaged area.

Speak up. If something makes you uncomfortable, whether it is the pressure applied or the fact of being touched, communicate this feeling with the massage therapist. The more the therapist knows, the better he or she can help you avoid discomfort.


It is important to stay well hydrated for 24 hours after receiving a massage. Massage releases toxins that must be flushed out of the system before they begin to recirculate.

Take a bath to prolong soothing effects by keeping your muscles loose.

Try it Out

Massage can reduce inflammation and repair muscles. If you’re suffering back pain due to muscle damage or myofascial inflammation, massage therapy may be a vital component of your treatment plan.

Keep in mind that massage can improve the health of the back in a number of ways. Aside from its effectiveness, massage has the benefit of being pleasurable. Not often do we encounter medicine that we can enjoy; massage can please your body and your mind.

Massage Therapy – The Advantages Are Many!

Massage therapists calm our mind and sooth our body from the daily wear and tear of life. After a good massage session, we are filled with fresh energy to face the next day with confidence. The job has tremendous potential. If you are planning to become a massage therapist you should know what clients expect from a massage therapist and what massage therapy provides to a client.

1. Massage therapy is highly beneficial to diabetics and elderly persons as they help in increasing blood circulation. Lack of circulation develops infections on feet and other areas of legs.

2. Massage therapy plays a vital part in reducing body pain. There are people who struggle from the pain and inconvenience caused by diseases like arthritis and conditions like muscle strain. They have to take medicines to get relief from pain. It offers relief without the help of medicines.

3. The benefits of massage therapy assist in healing injuries fast. It can be used in combination with other medications to heal injuries. It has been found that patients who are recuperating from injuries, sprains or even surgery are benefited by this combined method of treatment. This is greatly useful for elderly persons who have not so perfect an immune system.

4. Massage therapy makes muscles and body joints flexible and mobile. This helps people with stiff joints to move about more easily.

5. Further, this helps in reducing stress. However, one should be careful not get addicted to it.

Massage therapists are highly paid and is in great demand. If you are interested to be a massage therapist you should enroll for a good program. A high school diploma is the basic necessity to apply for this training. The course will educate you on various body related subjects and body mechanisms. When the course is completed successfully, and license received you will become a professional massage therapist.

However, there are certain things you should consider when you apply for the license. Different states have different rules for certification. In some states the set up is local while in some others it might be a more complex process. It is important that you are well informed with the licensing rules of various cities when you apply for them.

Licensed massage therapists can look for job opportunities in health related areas, rehabilitation centers, hotels, spas, beauty centers, airports and in many other areas. The job can be taken up as a part-time job as well as full time job.