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About Massage

There is more to massage than just lying down and getting rubbed. See this article: Receiving Massage about being a client and how to recieve massage most fully.

And please, to anyone who recieves massage: you can also find content relevant to you in the therapists section, believe it or not. You can learn to be a better client. I am a therapist, and I am always a client. I try to get as much massage as I can, usually less than I'd like to be getting. I definitely find that becoming a therapist has allowed me to recieve the massages I get better.

Not to say that everyone should go out and become a therapist. I'd be out of a job! Yet, by really allowing oursevles to recieve as clients, the massage we're getting, by really being present and noticing just what is happening, rather than zoning out and falling asleep, we can potentially recieve much more benefit.

However, if you need to sleep, please do! Sometimes that's what we need most. And zoning out certainly has it's value, too.

And...awareness is also very valuable.

Thinking about becoming a therapist?

There are so many great schools out there. I think it's very important to go to a school which is rigorous in technical training, and also covers psychological and spiritual issues and techniques as well. The program I went to at Pacific Center for Awareness and Bodywork with Lee Joseph and Carole Madsen was incredible. It fit that description and well beyond. I did a lot of healing work on myself, which is one thing that I think makes a difference when trying to help someone else heal.

While searching online I've found a few other schools that seem to meet these standards, although I can't tell from experience, only from reading their websites.

Arizona School of Integrative Studies is minutes from the redrock of Sedona Arizona, they offer awareness based massage and hydrotherapy training and a diverse array of weekend workshops in a fabulous desert retreat. Ancient indigenous ruins, mesas and river complement the vibrant human diversity of the Verde Valley in Arizona. The school is dedicated to the path of world peace, compassion to all living beings and to honesty. Download their catalogue online. It's filled with inspirational quotes and their curriculum is quite diverse. Their prices are reasonable.

Heartwood Institute was my dream for awhile but it was too expensive and residential, which didn't suit my needs at the time. It's in the beautiful redwoods of Northern California and has a totally heart centered approach. They list their core values as being: A Holistic World View, Personal Growth and Healing, Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity, Safety, Ecological Balance, Planetary Healing, Spiritual Paths, A High Quality of Life, Clean Air, Water and Food, Individuality, Intuition and Feelings, Right-Livelihood, Learning, Loving Kindness, Creative Expression, Service, and A Like-Minded Community.

Types of Massage

Swedish Massage: is an oil/lotion massage using five types of manipulation: effleurage (long strokes), petrissage (kneading), friction (deep circular movement), tapotement (percussion), and vibration to promote relaxation, improve circulation, relieve tension, and expand the range of motion.

Trigger Point/Deep Tissue Massage: works through muscle tension layer by layer, reaching the deeper muscles where chronic pain, tension and trigger points may be released. Trigger Point and Deep work is often slower than regular bodywork, allowing the soft tissues to open at deeper levels. Since trigger point/deep work requires more time to release the tension in specialized areas, your massage will not always treat all areas of your body in one session.

Reflexology: while similar in principal to Shiatsu and Acupressure, focuses on points of the hands and feet believed to correspond to each organ, gland and structure of the body. Practitioners manipulate reflex points to reduce tension, improve blood supply and reestablish harmony among body functions. As in Shiatsu, clients can remain clothed except for shoes and socks.

Polarity/Craniosacral Therapy: is one of the more gentle yet powerful therapies. A hands-on technique done with or without clothing, this modality uses gentle, fluid movements of the bones and tissues of the head, thorax, and hips, to enhance the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This corrects imbalances in the central nervous system between the cranium and the sacrum, resetting the body’s natural healing potential. The benefits of treatment include improvement of nerve system function, reduction of stress, deep muscular relaxation, support of the immune system, and overall enhancement of body health. A greater sense of calmness, clarity, and connectedness is experienced after a Polarity or Craniosacral session.

Shiatsu/Acupressure: is a Japanese hand healing method effective for stress, locomotive and internal disorders. In Oriental Medicine, all disorders are seen as the result of an imbalance of the distribution of life force in the body. The practitioner supports and empathizes with the receiver's inner drive to recover, balances the life force in the meridians and creates a warm understanding through touch and pressure, thus promoting self-healing. The client is fully clothed to receive Shiatsu.

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