How Does Massage Help Me?
Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress-related. Arguably, nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. Stress relief is integral to achieving a healthier lifestyle. Massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being. Studies have found that even a single massage session may have many benefits, including:
- Enhanced sleep quality
- Decreased anxiety
- Improved digestion
- Greater energy
- Improved concentration
- Increased circulation
- Reduced fatigue
The medical community continues to increase its support of massage therapy for an increasing number of conditions. Massage therapy can also help specifically address a number of health issues. Bodywork may:
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion
- Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays
- Ease medication dependence
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body's natural defense system
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles
- Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts
- Improve the condition of the body's largest organ—the skin
- Increase joint flexibility
- Lessen depression and anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation
- Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling
- Reduce spasms and cramping
- Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles
- Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller
- Relieve migraine pain
"Who, What, When, Where and How"
Where will my bodywork session take place?
Your massage or bodywork session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. Calm music will be played to help you relax. You will lie on a massage table and remain modestly and appropriately covered by a sheet at all times.
Do I need to be naked?
While most massage techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed and covered by a sheet, it is entirely up to you what you want to wear. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and relaxed. You should undress to where you feel comfortable. Some clients are most comfortable wearing their undergarments during a session. You will always be properly draped during the entire session.
Will the practitioner be present when I disrobe?
No, the practitioner will leave the room for a few minutes while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet. She will knock before re-entering to make sure that you are ready.
Will I be covered during the session?
You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be exposed. You should let your therapist know if the room is too hot or too cold for you.
What parts of my body will be massaged?
A typical full-body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, glutes and shoulders. If you are uncomfortable with any of these areas being worked, tell the practitioner beforehand and she can skip those areas.
What type of oil or cream will be used during the massage?
Alison is a firm believer in natural, organic products with the only a few ingredients. She has experimented with many different organic oils, creams and lotions and has settled on a selection of natural creams and oils. She often uses an olive and coconut oil blend or Biotone "Pure Touch" Organic Massage Cream. She has other oils and lotions available that can be used for specific problems. It is important that you let the practitioner know about any allergies you might have to ensure the right oil is used for you.
What will the massage or bodywork feel like?
A relaxing Swedish massage is often a baseline for clients. In a general Swedish massage, your session will start with broad, flowing strokes that will help calm your nervous system and relax muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. A light oil or cream is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil also helps to hydrate your skin. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so adjustments can be made. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting.
Are there different kinds of massage and bodywork?
There are many different types of massage and bodywork, many developed at different times in history by different cultures. Various techniques utilize different strokes, including basic rubbing strokes, rocking movement, posture and movement re-education, application of pressure to specific points, and more. Your practitioner and you can discuss which methods may be most appropriate for you.
What style of massage does Alison specialize in?
Alison's personal style of massage is very intuitive. She uses a combination of myofascial massage to release the tissue covering the muscles, relaxing Swedish strokes to warm the muscles while using anatomy-based deep tissue work and trigger point therapy to relieve muscular tension. Each session is customized to the needs of the specific client and techniques can easily be added or removed to suit your personal needs.
What should I do during the massage or bodywork session?
Prior to the massage, feel free to ask the practitioner any questions about the technique or the upcoming session. During the massage, make yourself comfortable. The practitioner will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm, rolling over, etc). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, communicating if/when they need more or less pressure, another blanket, or anything else relevant to the session. If you have any questions regarding the session or about the particular technique you are receiving, you should always feel free to ask.
How will I feel after the massage or bodywork session?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. For other clients, relief from muscle tension comes a few hours following the massage as their muscles continue to relax. In other cases, clients may feel minor soreness from deep tissue work. This is perfectly normal; just like your muscles are sore after a good workout, they may also be sore after a good massage. The soreness will dissipate within 24 to 48 hours. After an initial period of feeling a little groggy post-massage, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days.
What are the benefits of massage and bodywork?
Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, improve digestion, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Massage and bodywork is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being.
Are there any medical conditions that would make massage or bodywork inadvisable?
Yes. That's why it's imperative that, before you begin your session, you communicate your health conditions to the practitioner when she asks. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking. Even if your condition seems unrelated to the massage it is important to tell your practitioner. The body is very complex and massage can affect many different systems. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may be required.