Holistic means ‘whole’ and refers to the fact that mind, body and emotions are all interconnected. Holistic massage is sensitive to the fact that physical tension may represent unexpressed feelings or reflect an individual’s thought patterns. The Holistic practitioner looks for the underlying energy pattern and seeks to release blockages to rebalance the body, activating its natural healing ability.
A lot of people think of massage as simply a pleasurable indulgence, but a really good massage can be far more than that, and can offer wide-ranging health benefits. In fact soft-tissue manipulation is probably one of the oldest forms of therapy, and has been around for thousands of years, and in many parts of the world is considered a health practice as common as eating the right foods and getting enough sleep and exercise. Recently, more and more people in the west are coming to appreciate the positive role that massage can play in their lives.
THE PHYSICAL BENEFITS
Massage works on many levels. Firstly on a physiological level it improves the functioning of all your bodily systems. Muscle tone is improved through the constant micro-stimulation of the fibres, and toxins trapped within muscles (sometimes felt as little granules in the muscle fibres) are broken down and released, leaving the muscle loose, healthy and able to function efficiently. A loose and healthy muscle will decrease the stress and tension on the nearest joint allowing there to be a good range of movement in the joint itself. Many athletes have regular massage as they understand its benefits for performance. It helps muscles to recover much more quickly after an event and prepares them to work more efficiently before an event. It aids recovery after strains and sprains and can soften scar tissue, which might otherwise impede performance.
A WONDERFUL ANTI-STRESS TREATMENT
Massage is useful in the treatment of all stress related symptoms, such as heart and circulatory disorders, high blood pressure, digestive problems, insomnia and anxiety. Massage improves blood and lymph circulation and thus the elimination of toxins from the body. It can bring about relief from headaches and sinus pain, and is invaluable in the treatment of back pain.
A NATURAL HIGH
Touch itself stimulates the body to produce endorphins and other feel-good chemicals. And because the brain perceives signals from the light pressure receptors in the body more quickly than from pain receptors it can actually reduce our perception of pain in our bodies.
THE POWER OF TOUCH
But a description of all its physical benefits and specific techniques can also miss the point because it fails to attest to the power of compassionate touch itself. In its essence massage is something simple. It makes us more whole, more fully ourselves. Massage can console, nurture, calm the mind and help promote feelings of well-being and self-esteem. It can help people to overcome past trauma or get through difficult periods in their lives.
OUR COMMON SENSE
In everyday language we refer to things that affect us as having ‘touched’ us, and a good caring massage goes further than skin-deep, deeper even than muscles and bones – it penetrates right to the depth of your being.
SO WHAT CAN MASSAGE DO FOR YOU?
- Firstly, massage puts you back in touch with yourself. For far too many people stiffness, pain or even chronic tension have become a way of life. And it is not until they receive a massage for the first time that they realise how much tension they are carrying.
- Massage is also extremely helpful for all sorts of emotional states: grief, anxiety, depression. The way we treat our bodies affects our minds and vice versa, so massage, apart from all the physical benefits, calms the mind and helps promote feelings of well-being and self-esteem. It can help people to overcome past trauma or get through difficult periods of their life. Touch in itself is extremely important for our well-being, and stimulates the body to produce endorphins and other feel-good chemicals.
- Massage can be an important part of your own personal stress management programme. After a good massage you feel taller, lighter, more connected with yourself, more grounded, sexier, healthier and happier. And if you feel good in yourself the whole world feels good!