The Therapeutic Effects of Massage: How Regular Massage Can Help You

Massage is an incredibly effective treatment for muscular aches and pains, stress, soft tissue injuries and mild oedema. Massage is a therapy that alleviates symptoms and it does not provide a cure for a client's under ill health. Quite often massage is best applied in conjuction with treatments provided by Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists and as a therapist you should not hesitate to refer a client to any or all of these highly skilled practitioners.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Massage

Massage Therapy affects the function of nerves
Massage does this indirectly by its sedating effect. Massage can also be used to stimulate the nervous hanging on the techniques used.

Massage Therapy affects blood circulation
Capillaries dilate (increase in diameter) due to direct pressure as well as a neurological reflex. This increases venous circulation and removal of waste products of metabolism like lactic acid. Dilation of these vessels allow more oxygenated blood flow into the area.

M assage The rapy affects lymph circulation
Lymph circulation depends on gravity, muscle contraction, active or passive movement, and external pressure then massage improvements lymph flow.

Massage Therapy affects muscle tissue
Metabolism is enhanced through increased oxygenated blood flow and removal of toxins. This accelerates recovery from fatigue which is often caused by lactic acid. This removal of toxins and increase in blood flow reduces the likelihood of muscles suffering from spasms. Massage also slows wasting of muscle tissue due to disease or immobilization if used regularly (ie for people suffering from stroke or those who are bed-ridden).

Massage Therapy affects the skin
The oil producing glands in the skin are stimulated thus improving the secretory function of the skin. The texture of the skin is improved because of enhanced nutrition due to improved blood circulation and because oil friction aids the removal of dead cells on the skin surface. Skin temperature can be increased 2 – 3 degrees Celsius thus improving circulation.

Massage Therapy affects Bones
No massage should be performed for 2 – 3 weeks on a bone that has been fractured, then providing the fracture is healing normally, massage increases the formation of fibrous tissue around a fracture and improving the healing rate of soft tissue.

Massage Therapy affects metabolism
Massage increases the formation of urine by direct pressure on the kidneys and by neurological reflex. The effect on the metabolism is cumulative which is why regular massage is important as a preventive treatment. It affects blood pressure indirectly through relaxation.

Massage Therapy reduces the effects of physical trauma
Massage can help reduce bruising even though no stressed area should be directly touched, all treatments should be done around the injured area. Massage can also help to reduce underdevelopment of connective tissue and dislocation of muscle fibers.

Contraindications for Massage
There are general contra-indications for massage however with clearance from a doctor or other qualified health professional, there can be exceptions. These contraindications may prevent any form of massage from being performed or may require a more specific treatment plan. A professional massage therapist will have been trained in the best way to treat these conditions.

The following are general contra-indications for massage therapy:

  • Increased body temperature.
  • Acute inflammatory conditions.
  • Pus is present.
  • Abnormal condition of the skin ie sever burns, sores, eczema etc.
  • Varicose veins. Only areas above and below the affected area can be treated.
  • Cancer (Cancer patients will normally need clearance from their doctor before receiving massage).
  • Pregnancy. (There are exceptions however these are dependent on the trimester, the individual's history and health).
  • Poisonous Foci (snake bites, spider bites etc)
  • Danger of haemorrhage.
  • After recent severe bleeding.
  • Recent fraction (no massage in first 2 – 3 weeks following injury).
  • Spasticity or exaggerated reflexes (light stroking and passive movements only).

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Massage Therapy Essentials – What Some People May Not Realise

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage Therapy is a form of alternative medicine recognized around the world as being able to treat people suffering from stress, fatigue, anxiety and help with the rehabilitation of injuries. Massage Therapy is considered by most health professionals to be a form of Alternative Medicine however that view is quickly changing as the value of massage for its health benefits is fast becoming recognized as a Complimentary Medicine.

As already mentioned, massage therapy can be used to relieve stress, fatigue and anxiety; all of which are experienced by people at some point during their working lives. Massage therapy can assist with rehabilitation from injuries such as strains, sprains, muscle tears and surgery. In some cases the right form of massage treatment is more effective than strong medications and in every case massage is healthier than pharmaceutical drugs.

How does it work and what are the effective applications?

The effect of massage and how it works differs depending on the type of treatment received with two major categories of massage being Therapeutic Massage and Remedial Massage. Therapeutic Massage is commonly referred to as Swedish Massage. This technique uses long, slow movements with varying depths of pressure to create a sense of relaxation and improved wellbeing. This is done to help alleviate the feelings of stress and anxiety, improve circulation, relieve congestion by loosing soft tissue and help create a positive mood for the client. Quite often essential oils are used in combination with Swedish Massage to enhance the beneficial effects of the treatment with oils such as lavender and ginger are either burned in an evaporator or mixed in with the massage oil to help the customer relax.

Therapeutic Massage is ideally suited to people who regularly suffer from stress and anxiety and it is a great way to enhance the experience of a holiday for people who are traveling.

Remedial Massage covers a very broad range of techniques such as Deep Tissue Massage, Acupressure, Cross Fiber Mobilization and many, many more. These particular techniques aim to address problematic areas of the body that are causing a lot of problems or grief such as back pain, frozen shoulder, sciatica and more. Remedial Massage is used to break down muscle adhesions and scar tissue which will in turn restore proper function of muscles and limbs. Virtually all of the Remedial Massage techniques available use a rather firm pressure which is normally quite uncomfortable.

A common misconception among therapist's and clients is the idea that a remedial treatment has to hurt or be painful in order to be beneficial. Fortunately for the client, this is not the case.

To put it simply, in a way that anyone can understand and that is: Pain is the body's way of telling you “You've gone too far!”

No massage treatment should ever hurt but it may be uncomfortable at times.

Massage Therapist Requirements

Now we need to remember that it is possible for anyone to advertise massage services even without having any proper training or qualifications. The truth is there are no laws preventing this like in the way there are laws preventing unqualified people from working as an Electrician or Plumber. One of the fundamental parts of being a Massage Therapist is being able to understand physical conditions such as injuries and illnesses. Failure to recognize these conditions and implement an effective and safe treatment can potentially result in greater injury or illness to the client which is definitely something to avoid. In this regard it's important to understand your therapist's level of training and how they are able to recognize your body's requirements.

Never be afraid to ask your therapist about their level of training and qualifications, after all your health and safety is in their hands.

Having said that there are, in my opinion certain qualities a therapist needs in order to perform great treatments. Of course these qualities differ depending on the treatment you need. Do you need a strong remedial massage to loosen up your limbs, restore mobility and improve physical condition or would you prefer a relaxing therapeutic massage to emotionally and physically soothe your body? From my own personal experience there is a rather significant factor that determines the quality of a remedial massage and a therapeutic massage.

Remedial Massage :

I have always found Therapists with an athletic history tend to provide a more effective form of Remedial Massage than therapists who never had an interest in sports. Why this is the case I can not exactly say but I believe it may be due to the therapist's personal sporting experience with injuries, fatigue, muscle stiffness, soreness and quite possibly their own experience with receiving remedial therapy and / or physiotherapy. This personal experience which they have built over the years can give a better understanding of the requirements a client needs and they are able to provide the right treatment your body needs.

Therapeutic Massage :

As a highly active massage therapist I enjoy my work and helping other people find the treatment they need, but I also enjoy receiving massages on a regular basis. While I do recognize the benefits of a remedial massage I personally prefer to receive a relaxing therapeutic massage. Therapeutic massage is very soothing and is a great way to relax, unwind and de-stress. While therapists with athletic backgrounds are able to give quite effective relaxing massages, it's not what I would consider their strength. I've found spiritual people who believe in a balance of body and soul to provide the most relaxing massages as they seem to be able to connect with how you are feeling both physically and mentally while you're receiving your treatment.

While each category of massage are, in my opinion, better suited by certain personality traits, this is not necessarily true in every case. Sometimes you will find a therapist who is skilled, talented and / or experienced in both areas of massage and are able to provide treatments that are amazing. Sometimes you may come across therapist's who are a little ordinary with the treatment they are performing but still try their best to give you what you need.

Ultimately, the quality of massage comes down to one thing which is also a determining factor in every job and that's Passion .

A therapist who is passionate about their work will always provide an amazing treatment regardless of their own experience.

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What Are the Differences Between a Chair Massage and a Regular Massage?

Many years ago, a lot of people already rely on massage therapy to tie themselves from pain. They were not actually wrong with what they thought about massage because it is really a healing art that has proved itself for so many generations. Even today, in a very modern and advanced world, many people still rely on it to get rid of stress, neck pain, tension and back pain. But there are some things that were changed or sometimes improved when it comes to massage therapy. Unlike before, there are about 80 different techniques that you can choose from when you want to get a massage. Swedish, shiatsu, and deep tissue massage are just some of the most popular techniques at present. And of course, it is not only provided by a massage therapist like what it used to be. Aside from the traditional way, you can now get a chair massage. In a massage parlor or a spa, you will definitely notice that asides from therapists, there are some massage equipment that can be found on the area.

There are a lot of differences between a chair massage and a regular massage performed by a therapist. The way it is being performed is one of the most evident differences between them. When you are going to get a regular massage, it would be done using the hands of the therapists. The therapist will apply different strokes and pressure to the different parts of your body to make you feel relaxed and relieved. On the other hand, if you are going to opt for a chair massage, you will be the only one around and your massage chair. Of course human touch will not be involved because the equipment will be the one to do the massage job. You just need to select your desired massage technique and adjust the setting appropriately. After this, you can simply sit or lie down on the equipment and that's it.

When you are getting a massage from a therapist, you will be able to talk to him / her about what he / she is doing. You can ask for some suggestions on what technique will best work for you and the things that you should do before or after getting the massage. All these information would really be helpful to avoid any possible problems. But when you are going to get a chair massage, you will not be able to start a conversation unless the chair is designed o be really interactive. There will not be a lot of information that you get from the equipment but you can use it in the comfort of your own home. You do not need to set up an appointment ahead of time or drop by a spa. You can get a massage during your most convenient time at home.

To sum it all up, chair massage and regular massage are both associated with some advantages and disadvantages that everyone should take into consideration. They are similar in some ways but a chair massage can never be like a regular massage.

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Massage Therapy – How to Start Your Business With Wholesale Massage Oil and Lotion!

You've heard me talk a lot about starting your own business. That's because in this economy, it's nice to know that you are in control of your finances and job security. One of the easiest business with the lowest overhead cost is massage therapy. Marketing yourself as a massage therapist is easy with the Internet. Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist allow you to find your clientele as easy as a click of a button. You can determine the pricing, and if you do good work, word of mouth will drive in new customers and you will develop a solid base of repeat customers.

So away from a massage table and Internet connection, what else do you need? Product. Massage oil and massage lotion can be quite expensive, if you do not know how to shop. Buying wholesale is easy, but not if you do not know where to start. First, find a manufacturer that sells oil and lotion by the gallon. You will want to start with a gallon and find a product that works for you. Do NOT go to the store and buy a small bottle of massage lotion from your local drugstore. You will wind up paying the same price for a small container that you would buy a gallon from a good wholesale supplier.

In terms of massage oil, how can do you know which brand to use? Does it matter?

Manufacturers have a very low cost for the base of the product. For purposes of this article, let's say that a company gets their massage oil for $ 7 a gallon. Then a company goes to that manufacturer and buys the product in large quantities for $ 10 a gallon. They slap their label on the product and sell it to retailers and representatives for $ 20 a gallon. The retailer then prices the product out for $ 40 a gallon. Suddenly, something that only cost $ 7 to make is retailing at your near store for $ 40 or more per gallon.

So what do you need to do to make sure you get quality product at the best price? Find your wholesaler, get the ingredients and compare! Let's say you like a certain brand but they retail out for over $ 40? Get that brands ingredient listing, compare to your cheapest wholesaler. Most of the time you will find the ingredients are very similar or even exact. Try the product and you will find that 9 times out of 10 it is the same quality as the expensive brand, but will save you hundreds in the long term.

So take a chance, get started and make your own money. Massage therapy allows you to have freedom of a flexible schedule, working from home and no previous experience necessary. Find a solid massage therapy school in your area, buy some product and get started!

Bulk Apothecary is a huge manufacturer of wholesale massage oil and lotion base among other soap and lotion making supplies.

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Benefits Of Massage Without A Spa Or Club

It is easy to get the benefits of massage without a spa or club. Getting a massage frequently can do more than make you feel pampered. It is therapeutic and available for the home, in the office, or anywhere you are feeling the need to relax or relieve tension in your body. There are chairs, cushions, hand held accessories, shower heads, and foot baths affordable for any budget and easy to find.

In addition to simply feeling wonderful, massage also provides therapeutic benefits. It enhances immunity, stretches weak or tight muscles, increases joint flexibility, improves circulation, releases endorphins, lessens depression and anxiety, and relieves migraine pain.

The massage chair and cushion have rollers built inside that press, knead, sweep, and roll up and down your back, simulating Shiatsu and Swedish massage. This motion relieves tension in specific locations of the body and improves stronger circulation. The chair or cushion is used in the home, car, and the office because of the strapping system used to fasten them to any chair.

To tie tension or muscles knots that come along with sitting at a desk or peering into a monitor for hours on end, the hand held instruments are perfect. They are easy to store on or inside a desk. One instrument has round knobs and is for use on pressure points to relate sore muscles and knots. A second type is a roller, effective for relieving tension and relaxing tight muscles. A third type, made of copper or metal prongs, is used on your scalp. It is used often as a novelty because a person feet shivers and toes through their body while relieving pressure and stress on your scalp.

The shower head has been on the market for decades, so popular that some hotels and motels now have them in rooms. There are many styles to choose from. You can personalize the pressure and pulse of the water to create a refreshing and invigorating experience. Circulation is also improved while washing away the dirt from the day and relieving tension.

A foot bath or spa is often thought of as a luxury or pedicure. True, but they also offer health benefits. They relieve stress that has an impact on blood pressure, anxiety, pain, and even digestive problems. Also, the massaging effect of the warm water bubbling around your feet helps to rid your body of toxins that have weakened immune systems and has other negative impacts on health. After this experience, the body feels restored, refreshed and pampered.

Massage is fast becoming popular with people from all walks of life. All of the tools listed in this article are available at specialty stores, drug stores, discount stores, on line and department stores. Prices vary from a few dollars to over one hundred dollars. Comparative shopping will produce the most savings.

Due to busy schedules or limited budgets, many are neglecting their health. However, the benefits of massage are available without going to a spa or club. When traveling or at work, it is possible to have relief from tension and soreness that is affordable, convenient and beneficial to health.

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How to Recognize a Good Massage Therapist

There is a growing interest in the relaxation business.

No wonder: technicalventions, social media, higher expectations on the job an at home gives an overload of stimuli, that one sentences that the body sufferers from the stress as well. Luckily it is no longer a (cultural) taboo to get a massage. But how do you know what you can expect from a good massage therapist?

Before taking a client in for the first time I always give a medical checklist which must be truthfully answered and signed by the client. Some of my first time clients think it is awkward at first. But giving a massage is one thing, receiving one is another. For example, some of my massages include stretching moves. But, when someone has quite a loose shoulder joint, this is not a good idea.

Another: Some people suffer from asthma. You should not use some photographed oils than, this will give them trouble breathing.

A massage therapist should work hygienic

  • Each client gets fresh linen.
  • I no sooner put new linen on the table, as when the client sees me unfolding it.
  • Also I make sure everything smells fresh and is spotless.
  • Furthermore my hands are washed before and after a massage with a sterilizing solution.

Sure, I know I work clean, but my client does not know that before he sees it!

Telling what's going to happen

With new clients, I always mention on forehand that I am applying oil, or put the end of the towel in the underwear. I do not want to startle clients by something i do, I want them to feel save and relaxed!

No (unwanted) talking

I often have clients who are so happy they can choose to talk. Or not. Multiple times I hear from clients about massage therapist who talk on and on. This should not be. 'I give the massage, but you pay for it.' Is what I say say if people tell me they are relieved cause no chatter is necessary.

Also a good therapist does not gossip about his other clients.

Seriously, if he or she is talking about other clients he or she trips, what are the odds that the same is not said about you?

A good therapist knows his limits.

I always say: there is a fixer for (almost) everything. If a client has a pain problem or issue which I think I can not solve, I just say so. A masseuse does not everything, so I suggest they see a doctor or other therapist.

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The Fix – Sitting Is Killing You and Massage Therapy Can Help Reverse the Effects of Sitting

Recently I've come across a few articles on the negative effects sitting on your body. Most notably “Sitting is Killing You”. The graphic has some beginning information we should all be aware of. With 9.3 hours a day are spent on average sitting. That's a lot considering we're suppose to be wake for 16 hours, so well over half our day is spending doing little or no physical effort and probably for many not much of the other 7 hours are spend doing much physical activity. With obese people sitting for an extra 2.5 hours a day.

No wonder industrialized nations have such poor health. We spend way too much time doing nothing physical and on top of that feeding ourselves over processed food. Combining the two poor health habits really is a very slippery slope, is not it?

Some of the other negative effects sitting has on your body that were noted in the graphic were; electrical activity in the legs shuts off, you only burn 1-calorie per minute, enzymes that break down fat drops by 90%, just to name a few of the facts.

So what can you do to balance your day or better yet lifestyle to get your butt moving? It really is not hard to really know what it is, GET MOVING. If you have a desk job; when you take a bathroom break use the bathroom a floor or two away and walk the stairs, take a walk at lunch and never work through lunch, if the weather does not cooperate walk the stairs, stretch at your desk, stand while on the phone. These are just a few of the ideas and if you put your mind to work, you are sure to come up with some more ideas.

You also need to get active after work as well. If you take transit to work, get off early and walk the last 30-minutes home. You can also join a club for almost any activity, but do something you enjoy and do it at least 3 or 4 times a week. Again, the ideas are endless, all you have to do is be creative and commit to do your favorite activity or activities on a regular basis.

So now that you have some ideas on how to get active after sitting so much, what are you doing to combat those nasty side effects of sitting in a relaxing way. Since this is a massage therapy blog, were not going to hide. Schedule and commit to at least one massage a month.

Massage can also combat the negative side effects of shutting off leg muscle electricity shut off, stimulate gut enzymes and most importantly for this blog help you recover from your new activity time.

Be sure your therapist does a thorough job of flushing your legs, a minimum 20 minutes of massaging the legs. One of the more known benefits of massage is relaxation. Relaxation also has numerous benefits. In our high stress world, your gut does not function properly and a relaxing massage starts up your gut to digest food better. The telling sign this is happening is your stomach gurgles towards the end of the massage. This is not your stomach telling you your hungry, it's firing up again and doing what it's suppose to do.

In many circles the gut is known as the second brain. Your second brain contains about 100 million neurons, more than either the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system. With the second second brain it is sending signals to your head, such as butterflies. A simple example, but none the less and easy lesson. There are also many studies connecting both brains to mental health along with other diseases.

So at the end of the day, get off your butt because it's killing you and schedule your next massage now. You will only regret what you did not do. Do not be afraid of new adventures, be afraid of not trying new ones.

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Swedish Massage and Sports Massage Techniques

Swedish massage was developed using techniques utilized by the Swedish physiologist and fencing master Per Henrik Ling (1777-1839), who studied massage in China, developed the techniques and took them into the world via the Swedish Central Institute of Gymnastics. Swedish massage has remained the basis for most practices either alone or as a central part of sports massage, physiotherapy, osteotherapy, stress management and relaxation therapy.

Sports massage has developed from Swedish massage and is a type of massage which manipulates soft tissue to enable people engaged in regular physical activity to optimize their performance by reducing recovery rates thus enabling prolonged performance and diminish incidence of injury. Soft tissue is connective tissue that has not hardened into bone and cartilage, such as skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. Sports massage is designed to assist in correcting problems and imbalances in soft tissue that are caused from repetitive and strenuous physical activity and trauma.

Massage can be relaxing head to toe experience where the individual is immersed into a state of tranquility or a focused treatment targeting a specific injury. Swedish massage uses a variety of techniques including:

Effleurage – These are slow, superficial strokes over the skin, using the whole hand or forearm, and are used to relax the client and to help the therapist assessment body condition.

Petrissage – This technique involves deeper kneading and gentle squeezing of muscles without targeting but allowing for more penetrating effects of massage.

Frictions – These can be wonderful or deep strokes to warm up specific areas and can be transported out using part of the hand, fingertips or elbow.

Tapotement – This is a variety of percussion techniques that aim to energize the area of ​​the body being treated, such as hacking or cupping, using the whole or side of the hand. Vibration shakes up the area to loosen particular muscles, mainly at the back of the neck.

Sports massage incorporates all of the above techniques but with more treatment-oriented focus. Examples of sports massage techniques include:

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) – This technique involves applying quasi-static pressure to the skin with the aim of stimulating specific parts of skeletal muscle, which are often myofascial trigger points.

Muscular Energy Technique (MET) – This is where muscles are actively used on request from a precisely controlled position, in a specific direction and against a distinctly executed, therapist led counter-force.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) – This is a combination of isometric contractions and passive stretching.

Such is the flexibility of the techniques, a mixture of Swedish and Sports Massage that can be incorporated into a training schedule, or part of a rehabilitation plan for athletes.

Swedish and Sports Massage offer a many benefits including:

  • Rebalancing the body's structure, by identifying and relieving tensions and adhesions before they become problematic.
  • Decrease headaches (including migraines) which become fewer, shorter and less intense, through dealing with the undering causes through gentle easing of tight areas of muscle and tissue.
  • Faster injury recovery via enhancing the body's natural healing processes.
  • Flushing toxins from the body by stimulating the flow of blood and lymph fluid.
  • Minimization of scar tissue at injury sites by assisting the realignment of fibers.
  • Increase muscle flexibility to improve performance and help prevent injury.
  • Muscle tone maintenance and endurance.
  • Tackle postural problems that may be painful, movement limiting, or affecting the body adversely due to wear and tear.

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Review of the New Inada Yume Massage Chair (Part 1)

Inada's modus operandi is to introduce new chairs that are not just a tweak to an existing model but to present models that boast some new feature (s) or function (s) that we've never seen before in the massage chair industry. Inada has always been known as a pioneer of massage chair features.
The new Inada Yume massage chair is no different in that it features two things that I've never seen before in the massage chair industry: rocking and elliptical calf massage.

I'll talk about those two new features in part II of this article, but here, in Part I, I want to give my first impressions of this new offering from Inada.

The first thing I noticed about the Inada Yume …

At first glance, you can not help but notice that the Inada Yume chair is quite a bit smaller than the Inada predecessor, the Sogno Dreamwave Plus. It is shorter and narrows (but, then again, most massage chairs are compared to the Sogno!). But, this chair is small in comparison to most other manufacturer's models. It is not tiny, by any means, just smaller which means it will fit into smaller spaces a little better, which is the complaint of many a massage chair shopper.

It only comes in black and red colors, the red being a bright red and not a maroon or burgundy color.

It has LED lighting on the outside of each side of the ottoman, which is apparently cool if you shut off all the lights in the room while you are using the chair. The changing colors of the lights will illuminate your room and is provided to create a more relaxing atmosphere. You can not see the lights from the seated position in the chair, so the shutting off of the lights in the room.

The Inada Yume does not have a foot massage feature. It is purely calf massage in the leg area. Once you see how the calf massage works, you will understand why the chair does not have a foot massage feature.

There is not an airbag arm massage function in the Inada Yume. This is a departure from Inada's last two models, the Inada Sogno and the Doctor's Choice 3a chairs. Some would appeal that arm massage is “fluff” anyways so I guess it is a personal preference if you think it is important or not.

The rolling mechanism of the Inada Yume is firm but very, very comfortable. It felt quite different from the other Inada chairs, but I really enjoyed the roll. There is a neck stretching pillow where you will lay your head. When your massage program begins you will notice airbags in that pillow inflate and push down one shoulder and then the other. It is quite an interesting feature, but if you want good old-fashioned roller massage in your neck, you are going to have to manipulate the chair a bit to get that. Here is how we figured it out …

You will have to lift the neck stretching pillow out of the way (up and over the back of the chair) and then recline the chair fully. Then click on the roller feature in the manual settings. Then move the rollers as high as you can. At this point you will get a fantastic roller neck massage. You will not get this in a more inclined chair position, especially if you are taller.

Airbags in the seat of the Inada Yume are very similar to those of the Inada Doctor's Choice 3A massage chair. One side inflates and then the other to mimic a rotation motion of the pelvis. I think this is a great feature since low back rotation is not addressed in many massage chairs. Most chairs only push you forward. I like this feature a lot.

Part II will discuss the rocking motion and elliptical calf massage function of the new Inada Yume massage chair.

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Why You Should Try Massage

The object of a massage is to:
– Relax tension in the muscles and other parts of the body
– Reduce stress and strains of the day
– Relax the mind and encourage total receptivity to relaxation
– Improve blood flow through the body
– Increase overall feeling of well-being and relaxation

This is done by manipulation of the muscles and connective tissues in certain prescribed ways. What a lot of people sometimes forget is that an amateurish bad massage from a friend can be worse than no massage at all and in some cases can in fact cause damage to muscles and the body. Always ensure that any person you allow to massage you is fully trained and has the necessary competency to carry out the technique that you require. This does not even stop you from having fun with your partner using massage oils that are available in drugstores. Numerous people swear by body massages for the reduction of back pain and aches caused by over exertion during sport. It is now commonplace to see during International sports matches various coaches and physiotherapists running on to the pitch at half time or the end of a game and start to massage the legs and backs of their sportsmen before muscle cramps and the pain sets in. In fact when it comes to sportsmen and women they are far ahead of the game when it comes to understanding the benefits of massage therapy. Many massage techniques have been imported from Europe to the US because of their obvious benefits. Massage in its present form has mainly been adopted form the practices precedent in the early 20th Century in Sweden and the Nordic countries. However massage itself has been around for thousands of years. Both the ancient Roman and Greeks were firm believers in the restorative powers of massages and there are numerous references of massages in many old texts from that time. However not just the Europeans understood the healing powers of oil and massage but also the Chinese Emperors and their courts too understand that a great feeling of relaxation and wellbeing emanated from the judicious timing of a full body rub down. Many people are fully aware of the ancient Turkish Bathhouses but how many know that it was not just hot steam available but also a fully body massage too. The art of Massage has a long and noble history and only now are we just beginning to fully appreciate the benefits that were second nature to the ancients.

There are many types of massage from the normal generally accepted body rub, commonly known as Swedish massage, to the rather more esoteric Lomi Lomi massage of Oceania.

The Swedish, or classic massage is the most widely used and enjoyed massage and when carried out by a competent well trained masseur is a joy to receive. In Europe it is usually carried out with the recipient naked with a towel laid over their lower parts for modesty. There are different types of oils used depending on the reason for the massage and sufficient often there will be certain aspects of aromatherapy included too. This can be the burning of certain oils of a particular aroma which have their own restoration qualities and also using certain ambient light colors. Indeed these are also used in the saunas in Europe as they are now becoming more and more accepted as part of mainstream healthcare. The Swedish massage consists mainly of five different types of strokes, which are:

1. Sliding, rubbing the hand along the body,
2. Kneading, in a similar manner to kneading bread before baking,
3. Tapping in a rhythm, something similar to what you see doctors doing to patients in old films where the doctor puts two fingers on the patients' body and rhythmically taps them,
4. The friction stroke where instead of flowing with the grain of the muscle the hands of the masseur go across the muscle,
5. And finally the vibration stroke.

In the Swedish massage the client usually lies face down on a table about waist height with a towel around the waist. If necessary cushions or pillow can be used to ensure the client is lying comfortably. There are many different oils that can be used and it is entirely up to the customer to choose whatever is their preference. However it is always a good idea for the masseur to warm the oil before starting so that right from the beginning the client is comfortable and does not receive any shocks from cold oil that can ruin the ambience and feeling of relaxation. Another good idea if you are having the massage at home is to light candles in the room to increase further the feeling of relaxation. Quite often the masseur will bring an oil burner so that the room is suffused with the aroma of essential oils which also helps with the relaxation and mood setting. Then the masseur starts on the shoulders and works all over the back and spine. For a lot of people this is the best part of the massage as it is the back that gives the most trouble and pain. Then the legs and arms are completed. After the client has turned over the front of the body is then massaged. Quite often the feet are massaged separately as this is a specialized area in its own right and there are practitioners in the East that make a good living just from being an expert foot masseur.

When the massage is completed the client should sit and relax for a while and take in some fluids. Drinking fluids will help release toxins from the body. Read a book for half an hour or sit and listen to soothing music and you will feel all your cares recede as your body relaxes and unwinds.

If you have never had a full body massage now is the time to consider it. For the undated benefits it brings it is certainly a cheap way of improving your health and lifestyle.

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Secret Asian Sore Feet Remedies That Really Work!

Sore, aching feet plagues near everyone at one time or another. In this article I will introduce you to three “secret” Asian sore feet remedies that are highly effective in treating discomfort sore feet, and I will map out a strategy using these three remedies that is assured to leave you free of foot pain once and for all!

Acupuncture

Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical procedures in the world. This technique involves the use of small, slender needles that are gently inserted into specific areas along the body's meridians, or energy channels, in order to correct energetic imbalances.

Studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in relieving certain types of foot pain. Many acupuncture practitioners utilize acupuncture techniques to treat pain associated with the ankles, heels, and balls of the feet.

Bear in mind, however, that while successful in many cases, whether acupuncture is extremely effective in treating foot pain depends on the nature of the pain. Acupuncture therapy can also be pricey, sometimes requires multiple treatment sessions, and in many cases is not covered by insurance. For these reasons, I suggest using acupuncture as a last resort while exploring one of the following Asian foot pain relief techniques described below.

Reflexology

Reflexology is the practice of stimulating specific “pressure points” of the feet which, according to the practice of Oriental medicine, are thought to correspond to the various organs of the body.

According to reflexology, when certain areas of the body are out of balance, this causes flare up, or pain, in the bottom of the feet. Additionally, because the bottoms of the feet are the collection area for the pressure points of the body's organs, the bottoms of the feet are, themselves, highly sensitive, so even if you are not convinced about the validity of reflexology, anyone who has experienced a reflexology massage can attest to the fact that afterwards, your feet, if not your entire body, will feel refreshed and refreshed and released of pain!

Particularly for those who are active on their feet and experience chronic foot pain, an occasional professional reflexology massage, if available nearby, is highly recommended!

The only real drawback to a reflexology massage is the ongoing cost. At a cost of about $ 25 per massage or more, most sore feet sufferers can not easily afford to get a reflexology massage more than once a month or so.

Japanese Foot Massage Tools

The Japanese, who enjoy the world's highest life expectancy, are not coincidentally highly aware of and attentive to the importance of daily foot care.

Although acupuncture and reflexology originated in China, the Japanese were early adopters of these practices, and probably more than any other culture, diligently apply these principles specifically to foot care.

One reasonably reason for the Japanese attention to foot care is absolutely practical: the Japanese are notorious walkers! Required to walk during the medieval period due to a prohibition on horseback travel, today, the Japanese continue to walk much more than most cultures due to the impractical nature of cars in Japan's large cities, where most of its population is concentrated.

As a result, the Japanese have invented a plethora of creative foot massage tools to combat sore foot pain. While Japan is well known for its highly advanced technical innovation, I believe that the most effective Japanese foot massage tool is also the country's oldest and most primitive.

Japanese Bamboo Foot Massager

The Japanese bamboo foot massager is just that, a piece of bamboo, naturally shaped to stimulate the arches of the feet, that is simply placed on the floor and stepped on for a soothing, gentle yet effective massage that provides instant foot pain relief.

This bamboo foot massager is said to have been invented when a wandering samurai chopped a piece of bamboo in half with his sword and stepped on the arched surface to soothe his aching feet.

From this lone samurai, the popularity of this foot massage tool exploded. Although little known outside of Japan, today in Japan you can find one of these in just about every Japanese household.

This Japanese foot massager is my favorite Asian remedy for sore feet because it is inexpensive, lightweight, easily portable, highly durable, easy to use, and most importantly, because it provides a great foot massage that provides daily relief from sore, aching feet just by using for a couple minutes per day.

Putting it All Together

Therefore, in utilizing my “secret” Asian sore feet remedies, I would suggest the strategy that I myself employ to keep your feet pain free: use a Japanese foot massage tool for daily maintenance; get a professional reflexology massage every month or two or as needed for a more intensive and concentrated foot therapy session; and finally, consider acupuncture treatment as a last resort if you continue to experience chronic foot pain.

Follow the above strategy and I'm confident that you'll soon be free at last of unpleasant sore foot pain!

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Consider Massage Courses and Earn

More and more people are beginning to see the benefits associated with massage therapy. People look to massage as a way of alleviating stress-related pains. Spas, which offer massage services, are increasing in number. The need for therapists in nursing homes is on the rise. Needless to say, there is a growing demand for this skill.

But the discipline of massage therapy is not inborn or informally transferred from one generation of therapists to another. Although self-study may be done, formal and hands-on training is required so that the appropriate technique can be mastered. For this reason, taking massage courses is in order.

The fact that there are more than 80 different types of massages, point to its complexity. Swedish massage, acupressure, and sports massage are some of the more popular ones. There are also the lesser-known ones like the hilot, champissage, and trager massage types.

A successful therapist need not know all these massage types or modalities. But being familiar with the more common ones will definitely make you more marketable.

The Importance of Taking Formal Massage Training

Whether it is a mere introduction to massage that you're after or a post graduate course, there are institutions that will cater to your particular learning requirement. Some of these centers offer weekend packages. These are short massage courses, which boast of hands-on training for faster learning of common massage techniques. All it takes is three days, after which you can already practice your newly-learned skills.

More often than not, the basic training would delve on the following:

1. Basic massage techniques to deal with stress and relieve tension,

2. More specialized approach to address common pains like headaches and back pains,

3. Correct posture while doing a massage, and

4. Patient stretching techniques.

There are Massage Association of Australia (MAA) accredited courses which will allow you to practice massage therapy professionally even without a Certificate IV diploma. So you can immediately make money as a therapist.

Opportunities for Massage Therapists

The majority of therapists are self-employed, and a significant number work on a part-time basis. The demand for their skills is expected to increase by as much as 19% in some countries. For this reason, those who are inclined towards physical therapy should seriously consider taking massage courses Sydney.

If you are serious in making massage therapy your career, your options are as follows:

1. You can be a private practitioner and remain self-employed. In doing so, you have full control of your time and you get 100% of the earnings. It may take some time to develop a client base. But once you are established, you will be bought after.

2. You can offer your services in spas. These establishments are becoming more popular. You can work on a retainer basis. If you do not have an existing client base, this is a fine way of establishing one.

3. You can work with doctors or chiropractors. Again, this can be on retainer basis.

4. You can work in rehabilitation centers and nursing homes where your skills are in demand. Arrangement may be full-time or part-time.

These are just some of the career paths you can take as a massage therapist.

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Eastern Approaches to Massage

Massage is a part of medicine in traditional Eastern cultures. There are forms of massage in traditional Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Thai medicine, all of which have affected each other through history. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which forms the basis of acupuncture, using needles, and acupressure, using finger pressure, has influenced Japanese medicine and its take on acupressure known as Shiatsu. TCM is based on yin-yang theory, which describes that all things create each other and all things transform into each other. It presupposes that there is a five-element theory, which places value on the five elements found in nature: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood looks at patterns within these elements to describe the human form. Disturbances in the balance between these elements in the body are identified as symptoms. Disturbances can be treated using herbs, acupuncture, or acupressure / Shiatsu. Both Shiatsu and acupressure use finger pressure to palpate acupoints in the body, found along meridians, or energy lines. Meridians are pathways along which chi, the vital energy of the body, flows. Acupressure along those points is known to reduce symptoms of a disturbance.

Traditional Indian Medicine is called Ayurveda, which means the science of life. It is based on a five element theory of Fire, Earth, Air, Ether, and Water, which also looks at the nature of these elements and finds attributes of these qualities in the human form. It separates the human form into three types, called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Vata contains qualities of the air and ether elements; pitta contains qualities of the fire and water elements; kapha contains qualities of the water and earth elements. The ideal human form is in balance with all three elements. When we are out of balance, we will notice symptoms as a sign that we need to get back in balance. To treat these disturbances, herbs, aromatherapy, color therapy, mantras, yoga, meditation, and body therapies are used. There are a multitude of body therapies including massage, or abhyanga, to help the body by either reducing symptoms or strengthening the weaker elements of the body. Abhyanga, for example, is a toning treatment that strengthens the deficient energies in the body while increasing flexibility and muscle tone. It includes palpation of marma points, which are the energy points along meridians similar to the acupoints in TCM. It also includes the application of herbal oils that are specifically medicated to provide nourishment to the body.

Thai massage has its roots in Ayurvedic massage and acupressure. Thai yoga massage incorporates passive yoga stretching, which is part of Ayurvedic medicine, with palpation of marma points that are seen in Ayurveda but also influenced by the acupoints of TCM. In a Thai yoga massage, the recipient rests on a futon or mat on the floor, fully clothed, while the practitioner kneels alongside and stretches the recipient into yoga poses and does compressions with the palm of the hand, known as palming, along the energy pathways. To balance the recipient's dosha, or predominant constitution, certain yoga poses will be done while others will be forgone. A Thai herbal massage is done on a massage table with the recipient unclothed and draped with sheets. The practitioner applies herbal balls that are heated and moistened along the marma points of the body. It feels similar to a hot stone massage, yet the herbal balls are medicated to provide relief to the muscles and joints of the body. All of the above treatments are available at Ambika Healing Massage; it is simply a matter of choosing which one sounds best to you.

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Choosing A Chicago Massage Therapy School: Location, Cost and Program Type

Like many other major cities in the US (Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami), Chicago has numerous massage therapy schools that potential students can choose from, all located within the city. Unlike many other major cities, Chicago does not have many nationwide or statewide voluntary schools, like Everest College, offering a massage therapy program. Instead, nine large local schools offer Chicagoans a massage therapy education, and a good way to break down which school is right for you with three factors: Location, cost and program type.

Starting with location, many Chicago massage therapy schools are located downtown, within a few blocks of Grant Park. These schools (Cortiva, The Soma Institute) are good choices for students either living in the downtown area or reeling on public transportation, as there are many options nearby. Also within a mile or so of Grant Park and located near public transportation is The New School of Massage. Other options farther from downtown Chicago, but located along the I-94 corridor, include Northwestern College and the Marco Polo Schools.

If transportation is not the ultimate deciding factor, cost may be. And Chicago massage schools vary broadly in tuition rates. On the high end, for example, is Northwestern College, with tuption topping out at $ 20,000-plus. On the lower end of the scale are schools like the Marco Polo Schools or the Rosel School of Massage Therapy, which tuition totals around $ 6,000. In the middle are schools like The Cortiva Institute and The Soma Institute, with tuition that totals around $ 14,000.

Why the variation? Clearly one factor is the curriculum, and this leads to a final determining factor when deciding which Chicago massage therapy school is right for you: Program type. All massage schools in Illinois state are required to offer a massage therapy program at at least 500 hours of supervised classes / instruction, with classes focusing on anatomy, massage therapy technique, and professional standards, among other subjects.

Some programs are longer (like Northwestern College's more than 1,200-program-hour certificate or The Cortiva Institute's 750-program-hour program) and will set you up to perform several types of massage (office massage, private-practice massage, therapeutic massage) . Other programs are shorter (like Marco Polo Schools' 550-program-hour program) that will set you up to get your Illinois massage license or national massage certification, but may not give you as an extra skill set as a longer program would.

Obviously this final factor is a difficult one, as it is difficult to make a final decision based on numbers alone. Touring a school and visiting with current faculty and students will give you a better perspective on whether the program length and cost are worthwhile. Also, speak with current graduations to find out if they use all the skills they were taught at school, or if they wish their program had been shorter.

Finally, make a decision based upon location, cost and program type. If you are planning on becoming a Chicago chair massage therapist only, then maybe consider a shorter program that will be less expensive and get you licensed more quickly. However, if you plan on making massage therapy a full-time career, doing office massage as well as table massage with different modalities, then most likely a longer program, which will emphasize massage therapy techniques, history and industry, will be the right one for you.

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Understanding Tantra Massage

Many students of tantra are confused about what authentic tantra massage really is. This is understandable, since there are a lot of false operators out there hoping to pander to people's baser instincts. They hope to sell a 'erotic massage' under this banner. It is no secret that tantra is a very marketable concept; couple it with the word 'massage' and you have a seemingly unbeatable sales proposition.

To begin with, one needs to clarify the difference between an erotic massage and a tantra massage. An erotic massage is designed to arouse the client sexually, and it often involves the manipulation of sexual organs. There is nothing more to it. The attraction of such a 'service' can be imagined. However, this is NOT tantra massage.

A tantric massage, on the other hand, primarily targets your overall health and wellbeing. The fact that sexual wellbeing is part of the overall health paradigm is factored in and catered to – but sexual gratification is not the main focus of a tantra massage. Rather, it is a method of using sensitive touch in an ancient ritual that connects two human beings at all levels. It also allows the recipient's mind to be free of the usual mundane processes that occupy it during a normal day, and to enter a spiritual plane.

When performed by an expert who has been trained by an experienced tantra teacher, tantric massage has definite physical benefits. The body is able to absorb and process oxygen more efficiently, and blood circulation improves dramatically. Importantly, the body is able to rid itself of the muscular tensions that are both the symptoms and causes of stress. As the tantra massage progresses, many portals that were previously shut begin to open. The portal of sexual intimate is just one of them.

When a proper, ritual-based tantric massage is administrated by one loving partner to another, it can bring them closer in many ways. In the first place, the recipient is not in 'performance' mode – he or she must relax and 'receive' pleasure. This is extremely therapeutic. If done consistently, being able to receive in such a manner can heal many rifts of spirit and psyche that impede love and intimacy.

By the same coin, the partner performing the tantra massage has the opportunity to transmit pleasurable feelings without expecting the same in return. In other words, he or she learns to give without reservations or expectations – and this ability is so integral to healthy intimate relationship.

If you want to know more about the healing powers of tantra massage, contact a proficient tantra master. There is no reason why you should deny yourself – and your partner – this wonderful, spiritual experience.

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