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Introduction

We live in a world of energy that nourishes and maintains all living things. When this energy flows freely there is balance and harmony within and around us, and we experience a sense of well being. But sometimes, in our busy and complex lifestyles and for many different reasons, it is easy for this flow of energy to become blocked, causing dis-ease within us and a disconnection with the world around us. At these times, we can lose our sense of self, feel fatigued and stressed, experience physical injury such as illness, sprains and breaks, or become overwhelmed and generally lack our usual vigor and vitality.

When this happens, it is my aim to restore the flow of energy back to its optimum level, bringing the body back into balance and harmony. Once the natural flow of energy is restored, the body’s own abilities to self-heal on all levels can begin.

The three massage techniques I use to do this are LaStone Therapy hot stone massage, shiatsu and seated or Indian head massage. All of these types of massage reduce muscle tension, improve lymph drainage and encourage the removal of toxins, whilst work on pressure points particularly helps relieve nervous tension and stress. The increased blood flow to the areas being worked accelerate the healing process and create a state of deep mental relaxation. Any of these massage techniques is a deeply relaxing experience and regular treatments can alleviate stress and illness, and maintain health and well-being over the long term.

LaStone Therapy Hot Stone Massage

For hundreds of years, hot stone massage has been used by many different cultures and modern-day therapists apply the same techniques for a wonderfully relaxing massage designed to work on muscle tension at the deepest level.

The modern revival of hot stones during a massage is generally credited to Mary Nelson-Hannigan, a native of Tucson, Arizona. She trademarked her style of hot stone massage, called LaStone Therapy, which has a Native American spiritual component and requires training and certification.

During the hot stone massage treatment, smooth basalt (volcanic) rocks that have been heated to the correct temperature in water are used in several ways; the client lies on covered stones which are set out either side of the spine; stones are wrapped in towels and placed on top of the body on specific energy centers, known as chakras; whilst other stones are used in my hands to perform the body massage. The heat of the stones penetrates deep into the muscle tissue allowing the muscles to relax 4-5 times quicker than in a standard body massage, easing muscle tension and revitalising the muscle tissue by increasing blood circulation.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a Japanese form of bodywork. The word shiatsu means "finger pressure", and shiatsu is sometimes described as a finger pressure massage - think of it as acupuncture without the needles§ The philosophy underlying Shiatsu is that energy, or Ki, flows throughout the body in a series of channels called meridians. In practice, this means that I use touch, comfortable pressure and manipulative techniques to adjust the body’s physical structure and balance its energy flow along these energy pathways. These may include gentle holding, pressing with palms, thumbs, fingers, elbows, knees and feet on the meridians and, when appropriate, more dynamic rotations and stretches.

Shiatsu always takes place fully clothed and on a futon mat on the floor.

Reiki

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that may also promote healing. The word reiki is composed on two Japanese words - Rei and Ki. The "Rei" part of the name being translated as "Universal" (possibly spiritual or Sacred) and "Ki" translated simply as life-force energy (or vitality). Developed by Buddhist Mikao Usui, practitioners work on the principle that they can transfer or channel this universal energy into the patient by means of gentle touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restire physical, emotional and even spirital well-being. It is profoundly experiential where clients often feel heat or tingling sensations or see vivid colours.

Seated or Indian Head Massage

This massage is a very versatile and effective massage. Seated Indian Head massage combines techniques taken from a variety of ancient massage techniques. The result is a unique massage experience that can be both invigorating and energising, and thoroughly relaxing both mentally and physically.

The client, fully dressed, sits facing forward in an ergonomically designed massage chair. As the client relaxes and rests their chin and forehead on a thickly padded platform designed for the purpose, I will use my hands, palms and fingers to apply pressure to the acupressure points on the client’s head, neck, shoulders, upper arms and spine. The sequence of movements takes about thirty minutes from start to finish, and leaves the client feeling relaxed, refreshed and energised. No oils are required.

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