Massages for health benefits

Many years ago I used to only have a massage as a huge treat but now I see them as ‘prevention’ – preventing stress from building up, treating tight or stiff muscles, and as a form of relaxation. Despite practising physical yoga asana and being a fairly calm person, I do seem to build up a lot of tension in my shoulders. Left for too long it then takes several back massages to smooth it all out. In Dr Mosaraf Ali’s ‘Integrated Health Bible‘ book he advocates massage as part of an integrated approach to health which also includes yoga, meditation, exercise, diet and relaxation. In fact, after some yoga classes there may even be a short bit of time for partner massage.

Thai-style massage compresses (pic taken from Priadara website)

For a couple of years I had holistic aromatherapy back massages with Karen Standing (who now operates solely from her home) and they were wonderful. Her holistic approach included a quick resume of how I was feeling on sleep, emotions etc and tailoring the treatment to suit that day’s needs. Since January I’ve been going to Christa at Hayley’s (H2O2) hair salon. Although Christa is still training, she sorted my shoulders out and, yesterday, I experienced her Thai-style massage which was wonderful. This is not to be confused with Thai Yoga massage (which I haven’t experienced) which is where the therapist physically moves the (clothed) client into various stretches and is based around mobilisation, accupressure and applied yoga postures to remove blockages in the person’s system.

In the Thai-style massage heated cotton compresses (see picture) are applied to the body and then various strokes are made with them eg patting, rubbing, stroking etc. There are numerous herbs, plant materials and essential oils in the compresses, and the therapist also massages each area of the body with a essential massage oil after using the hot compresses on it. One beauty salon describes the benefits of Thai-style massage and I certainly was deeply relaxed afterwards, and found it had a detoxifying and eliminating effect on me. This may have been from the heat on the muscles or the ingredients of the compresses.

Although part of me thinks this style of massage may be another modern made-up version of something ‘traditional’, pandering to our susceptible nature, it was enjoyable and gave me benefits, so I’m happy! It is more expensive than the normal simple massage so this one will remain a special treat.

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