Massage for Relaxation
Relieve Stress and Sleeplessness
Relaxation Massage Options
A relaxation massage is a whole-body hands-on treatment that uses kneading, long relaxing strokes, tapping, and percussion of your skin to help you relax. Aruna brings the ancient techniques to Mason, Ohio with a variety of massage for relaxation options, including bamboo fusion massage, heated stone therapy, aromatherapy, and the better known Swedish massage.
Bamboo Fusion Massage
In Asia for thousands of years, bamboo has had an impressively wide variety of uses. It has been used in building, making paper, and in books. Its roots, shoots, and leaves are used for food and brewed into tea. Along with being an attractive houseplant, it has been commonly used in household items such as wall hangings, baskets, eating and serving utensils, chairs, fans, musical instruments, and hats. Throughout Asia, bamboo has literally hundreds of practical and spiritual uses. Bamboo symbolizes suppleness and resilience, straightforwardness, and simplicity.
A recent and innovative use for bamboo is as a massage tool.
The bamboo sticks hold heat and feel comforting as they are applied with pressure and movement to tight, stressed, spasmed muscles.
Bamboo-fusion, developed by Nathalie Cecilia here in the United States, is a new massage modality that has been sought out by private resorts and spas worldwide.
Aruna is one of the very few in Cincinnati, certified to provide this bamboo-fusion massage.
This exotic and effective treatment is delivered with handcrafted, custom designed bamboo tools to give deep tissue massages without discomfort. It’s a wonderful luxurious full body treatment using “warmed” bamboo tools designed for relaxation and deep tissue work.
Warm Stone Therapy
If a therapist is working from an energetic point of view, he/she must take into consideration the vibrational frequency of the stones they choose.
Many different types of stones are used, though the most commonly used stone is basalt stone since it contains very high iron which facilitates its unique ability to retain and evenly transfer heat. Iron has the property of strong grounding and it helps the therapist to focus energy in the body.
The plumper and larger the stones, the longer the heat will last. Marble stones are used to pull heat out of the body. When using both hot and cold stones in a massage session, circulation is rapidly changed due to the acceleration of the exchange of the blood, lymph and digestive fluids. Aruna also uses textured river and ocean rocks that come in different sizes. If a stone is going to be moved along a client’s skin, it should be smooth without sharp edges or pits. If you are placing the stone in a client’s palm, it doesn’t need to be smooth.
The heat released from the stones permeates deep into the tissue making each stroke more effective. With the relaxation processes started the therapist has greater ease in addressing the deeper muscles.
Benefits of Warm Stone Massage
Warm stone massage can be profoundly relaxing allowing the mind to become still. Many of our clients report falling into a deep restorative sleep while some even experience a trance-like state. With the use of the warm stones and the skilled touch of a knowledgeable massage therapist, this treatment can induce a profoundly grounding effect. We use gemstones in stone massage by placing them on chakras (spinning energy centers in the subtle energy body) or meridians (energy pathways) and/or sore muscles depending on the outcome the client prefers, to align the chakras and energy. Stone massage can help alleviate headaches, back pain, depression, anxiety, and insomnia as well as boost the immune system. Individuals with fibromyalgia might benefit greatly when warm stones are incorporated into the massage sessions. This style of massage takes you into deep states of relaxation, releasing stress and anxiety, detoxifying the body, and balancing your nervous system.
Chakra Energy Work in Massage
The therapist might place gemstones on the chakra locations to harmonize the client’s energy while providing warm stone massage. The chakra refers to the seven energy centers in the body, located along the central line of the body between the base of the spine to the top of the head. Each chakra is associated with a color, location, element, endocrine gland, sense, musical note, gem, essential oil and herb.
Who is Not a Good Candidate to Receive Warm Stone Massage?
Warm stone massage is a wonderful treatment, but it is not for everybody. Because of dilation of the blood vessels that occur during warm stone massage individuals with acute illness, inflammation, rashes, thrombosis, uncontrolled high blood pressure or large varicose veins should avoid warm stone massage. Special care should be taken with the geriatric population as well with individuals who have diabetes due to decreased sensation in their extremities.
Expectant mothers should avoid the excess heat and opt for a prenatal massage instead.
Holistic Aromatherapy Service
In 1928, a French chemist coined the term aromatherapy, referring to the therapeutic use of aroma. Today aromatherapy service is used in both spas and medical environments as a holistic method. The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) describes aromatherapy as “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit”. Holistic Aromatherapy Service is utilizing essential oils to bring harmony and balance to a human body, mind and spirit.
Essential oils are concentrated oils extracted from the life source of the plant by the steam distillation process.
How Does the Oil Differ From the Dried Herbs?
Essential oils are the most potent form. So adding a dried herb like chamomile or mint to tea is not the same as adding a drop of chamomile oil or spearmint essential oil to your tea. Just like how adding a sprig of rosemary leaves to your favorite dish is not the same as adding a drop or two of rosemary essential oil to your dish while cooking. When it comes to essential oils, a little goes a long way. How are essential oils used by us in everyday life? The molecular structure of essential oil is small compared to the molecular structure of perfume.
When you apply perfume on your skin, it stays on top of the skin surface and does not penetrate into your skin at all. Whereas, the essential oil due to its molecular structure, does penetrate your skin (a major organ in your body) and get into your bloodstream. So the oil can affect any organ it passes through positively by revitalizing the body. But on the other hand, some individuals might experience allergic reactions if it interacts with any medicine they are taking. (*consult with your doctor if you develop any allergic reaction to, or prior to, using any essential oils*) The essential oils (EO) are either inhaled through nose and lungs or applied onto the skin (*be cautious since some cause skin irritations*) after diluting it with a carrier lotion or oil or added to bath combined with bath salts.
- When EO is inhaled, it immediately sends info to the limbic area of the brain which in turn triggers memories and/ or emotions which makes you to respond to that scent with happiness, sadness, excitement or relaxation.
- Aromatherapy is a wonderful adjunct to massage therapy. Conditions for which we commonly use aromatherapy are headaches, stress, and insomnia.
Have you heard people say, “I took a lavender bubble bath after a long day of standing” or “I soaked my feet in spearmint infused Epsom salt to rest and re-energize my tired feet”?
In a massage session, per client’s request, selected EO are combined with massage cream to provide the desired outcome for the individual client. Sometimes certain oils are dispersed in the room with a diffuser when a particular client is feeling anxious or stressed. Sometimes we even give our clients a cotton ball infused with a few drops of EO in an airtight bag to take home.
Precautions with Essential Oils (EO)
When it comes to EO, one size does not fit all. Every individual’s needs from and responses to EO are unique to them. Make sure the EO you are purchasing is not therapeutic grade and is clinical grade essential oil.
If you are planning to conceive or if you are pregnant or nursing the baby, essential oils should be avoided at all cost. Young children and elderly should consult with their doctor before being given any EO. Precaution should be taken by those who have asthma, high or low blood pressure, skin conditions, and allergies. When it comes to EO, a little goes a long way.
We once had a client inform us, “I added 2 drops of lavender to my pillow to get a good night sleep. Since it didn’t do much, I added 5 more drops (with the hope that more will be better). Next thing I noticed, I stayed up till 5 am in the morning.” Why is that? More is not necessarily better when it comes to essential oils. There are some EO that can be used on the skin without diluting it with carrier lotion/oil without causing skin irritation. If you are in doubt, err on the cautionary side. If we are using essential oils in our massage session for a client, we make a note of it on the client’s chart (Ex. Client is allergic/not allergic to…).
Ayurveda means “science of life”. It is a complete system of healing that utilizes diet, herbs, aromatherapy, color and sound therapy, lifestyle adjustment and massage. This thousands of years old massage originated in India and has since been a part of the country’s healing tradition.
What is Ayurvedic Massage?
The fundamental aim of Ayurveda is to balance the energies inside the body for your optimum health. To bring this balance, the practice of Ayurveda requires the massage therapist /practitioner to understand your unique “prakriti” meaning constitution-a unique balance of the three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. For this the client is asked to fill out a questionnaire about their lifestyle, diet they consume, sleep patterns, personality strengths and weaknesses to understand the client better. By understanding our clients’ nature and his/her imbalances, Ayurvedic massage is customized to their needs.
Imbalances in the Three Doshas
Ayurveda explains three imbalances due to three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The individual with Vata imbalance exhibit the qualities of light, dry, cold, mobile, sharp and rough in their skin and body. They have a lower body weight with minimal musculature, dry and rough skin, prone to coughs and cold easily, have poor sleep habits and are easily irritated and anxious. The individual with Pitta imbalance may have dry or oily skin. The heat in their skin can appear as red rashes. These individuals have moderate musculature and are very intellectual and critical of others, may experience frequent diarrhea. The individual with Kapha imbalance has a body structure with a greater quantity of muscle and fatty tissue. Their skin tends to reflect qualities of soft, moist, thick skin. Imbalance often manifests as mucous in the body and weight gain and lethargy.
Massage therapists determine the nature of the client’s imbalance with the constitution questionnaire they fill out and then determines the oil that will be chosen to balance the Dosha. The goal of Ayurvedic massage is to rejuvenate and heal the tissues of the body. In order to bring balance to the body only the cold pressed oils from the organic source is used.
How do I Choose Oil for Each Dosha?
For an individual with Vata imbalance, since they feel light, cool and anxious, a heavy warming oil like castor oil (best choice) or sesame oil or ghee (clarified butter) would be a good choice for managing the that Dosha since that oil will provide warmth, nourishment and strengthen the individual’s body. For an individual with Pitta imbalance, oils with cooling properties are chosen. If this individual with Pitta imbalance shows weakness, then heavier, cool oil like ghee (clarified butter – best choice) or coconut oil is chosen to massage with. If the individual showcases excessive Pitta imbalance with weight gain, then a lighter oil like sunflower oil is chosen. For individuals with Kapha imbalance, since their skin is moist to begin with, lighter application of oil is beneficial. Light, warming oil like mustard oil (best choice) or olive oil or jojoba oil will be ideal for them.
What Kind of Pressure/Touch Will be Beneficial to Each Dosha?
For individuals with Vata Dosha, since they are very sensitive to their environment, slow movements with gentle, soothing massage will benefit these clients the most. For individuals with Pitta Dosha, since they often burn themselves out by doing too many activities, light to moderate pressure with slower movements will benefit them significantly. For an individual with Kapha Dosha benefit from deeper massage done at a faster pace. Deeper massage eliminates the stagnation and purifies their body since this individual is prone to lethargy.
Other Ayurvedic Massage Therapies
Ayurvedic Marma therapy is another one of the Ayurvedic massages. If the massage therapist has a good knowledge of Marmas, the therapist utilizes that knowledge within the massage session. Marma points are energetic points on the body that are access points into the client’s body, mind and consciousness. Marma means “vulnerable” or” sensitive zones”. The Marma points are not acupuncture points. Through manipulation of Marmas, Prana (breath) or the life-force can be directed to remove blockages and improve energy flow.
At Marma sites, toxins, stress and negative emotions get lodged and are held, sometimes for years. Disease is reflected in pain, blockage or swelling in these areas before it manifests outwardly in full range of disease symptoms.
The Marma points vary in size from 1 centimeter to 3 inches in diameter. Marma points are often treated with light pressure massage. Shirodara is done by letting a slow stream of warm oil flow on client’s forehead. It is beneficial to individuals with any of the three Doshas.
References: Ayurveda and Marma therapy by Dr.David Frawley, Dr. Subbash Ranade and Dr. Avinash Lele
Swedish massage is a very relaxing and therapeutic style of bodywork. This style of massage combines cream or lotion with an array of strokes such as gliding, kneading, tapping, joint movements and cross fiber friction.
The benefits of this type of bodywork are wide-ranging and include:
- Relief from aches and pains
- Decreased stress levels in the body
- Enhanced mental clarity
- Improves the texture of scar tissue
- Improved flexibility
- Lowering blood pressure
- Boosting immune system function
- Reduces headaches and helps to mitigate the symptoms of fibromyalgia
- Incorporates short and long strokes to increase circulation
- Improves an individual’s ability to digest
- Relaxes the lower back muscle spasms
- Decreases cortisol, a “stress” hormone, and improves serotonin level
In 2014, the University of Miami Medical School conducted a study of 24 individuals with MS who participated in a five-week massage experiment. Half of the participants received 45-minute massages twice a week while the other half were assigned to standard medical treatment. Compared with the controls, patients in the massage group experienced less depression, lowered anxiety, enhanced social function, better self-esteem and improved body image.