Massage Therapy

Image: massage picture

Conditions Massage Therapy Can Alleviate

Massage Therapy is a comprehensive range of techniques consisting of hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. It targets muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints for the purpose of optimizing health and reducing strain. Assessment and treatment can include orthopedic and neurological tests, soft tissue manipulation, hydrotherapy, remedial exercise and client education.

The purpose of Massage Therapy is to prevent, develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function or relieve pain. Massage therapy helps alleviate the soft tissue discomfort associated with everyday and occupational stresses, muscular over-use and many chronic pain conditions. If employed after trauma or injury, it can reduce the development of harmful gait or movement compensations which could otherwise interfere with bio-mechanical health and function. Through a diverse series of techniques and approaches, It can help relieve an array of pain syndromes originating from stress or muscular overuse..

Benefits of Massage Therapy

There are tremendous benefits possible with regular Massage Therapy treatments. It can help with relaxation and stress reduction, minimize muscle tension, and alleviate chronic pain. Therapeutic Massage can enhance your quality of life by increasing your overall sense of emotional and physical well-being.

Massage is useful for people of all ages. While it can help with injuries, illness and stress, the true strength of Massage Therapy is found in prevention and treatment of chronic pain conditions, before they develop into more serious and long term versions of themselves. Massage can benefit both acute and chronic injuries and stress..

Therapeutic massage can play an important part in health maintenance by:

  • Reducing or eliminating pain
  • Improving joint mobility
  • Improving circulation
  • Improving immune system function
  • Increasing lymphatic drainage
  • Reducing depression and anxiety
  • Reducing muscle tension
  • Increasing body awareness

Massage Therapy helps with:

  • Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and tendonitis.
  • Stress relief and associated conditions.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • Muscle and related conditions such as spasms, strains and sprains.
  • Back pain.
  • Repetitive strain injury.
  • Circulatory and Respiratory problems.
  • Pregnancy and labour discomfort.
  • Post-injury and post surgical rehabilitation.
1) Can anyone receive massage therapy?

Yes, massage is appropriate for individuals of all ages, including infants, children, and the elderly; however, there are some conditions for which massage therapy is not appropriate. A qualified Massage Therapist (RMT or MT) is trained to recognize these cases.

2) Do I have to remove my clothing for Massage Therapy?

No. Your comfort as a client is of the utmost importance, whether that is in the context of the clothing you wear or the treatment you receive. The practitioner can provide treatment whether you elect to remove any, some, or all of your clothing. All practitioners are trained in proper draping procedures to ensure that your privacy is respected at all times during treatment. Additionally, Traditional Thai Massage is offered fully clothed, on mats.

Your comfort and ability to relax is paramount to receiving effective treatment. Your consent is sought before treatment is provided. If you are uncomfortable, your practitioner wants you to let them know immediately, whether that discomfort involves the treatment approach, or any pain you may experience during the session. Be sure to discuss any chronic or acute injuries you may have with your practitioner prior to the session..

3) Does Massage Therapy hurt?

As with many types of treatment, there are times when Massage Therapy can cause slight to moderate discomfort, but, if tolerable, this is not harmful. A comfort scale can be established and the therapist will always work within your level of preference to achieve your treatment goals.

4) How often should I receive Massage Therapy?

Sometimes one treatment is enough for symptom relief. However, massage is most beneficial when used over time. In reviewing your health information and discussing your health goals, yourself and your practitioner can establish a plan for your massage visit or visits which fits your unique situation. Your practitioner is most interested in helping meet your health goals, whether that be in recovery or health maintenance..

5) What happens on the first visit?

Before receiving treatment, you will complete a confidential health history form as part of your assessment. It is important that the practitioner knows if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications. They will listen to your concerns and assess any symptoms you may have before administering treatment.

6) Who pays for Massage Therapy?

Massage is not publicly funded by the provincial government in Ontario.

Most extended health plans provided by an employer require that the covered individual pay for the treatment upon the provision of service, and submit the expense for reimbursement or file it in their taxes. You may wish to consult with your workplace or financial planner to determine if claims for Massage Therapy can be deducted.

7) Will my Massage Therapist keep my information confidential?

Yes, your records will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Traditional Thai Massage

Image: Traditional Thai

Traditional Thai Massage is an extraordinary method of aligning the energies of the body, originating from the time of the Buddha. Nuad Phan Boran as is it called in Thailand, correctly translates only as Ancient Massage or Traditional Massage. More widely known today as Thai Massage, is seen as a practical application of the Buddhist principle of ‘Metta’ or loving kindness, forming the cornerstone of a quietly effective healing of body, mind and soul.

Elements of Yoga and Ayurveda from India are combined with universal energy healing principles to balance the flow of energy throughout the body. It is performed with the client comfortably clothed on a special Thai mat. Sessions usually last for at least one hour.

Thai Massage consists of a series of interactive, flowing movements, stretches and rhythmic massage, along the body’s energy lines and pressure points. This experience is often deeply meditative, and can result in a profound release of mental and physical stress.

Benefits of Thai Massage

  • Helps detoxify the body and boosts immune system function.
  • Increases circulation, lowers blood pressure.
  • Relaxes sore muscles and joints.
  • Increases flexibility and re-aligns posture.
  • Improves breathing.
  • Improves balance.
  • Helps increase concentration and creativity.
  • Reduces and relieves stress and anxiety.
  • Increases energy levels and endurance in physical activities.
  • Strengthen the body’s internal chi energy (the life force that flows through our meridians).

History of Thai Massage

Traditional Thai Massage is a therapeutic technique that dates back thousands of years. Its precise origin is unknown, but practitioners traditionally trace their lineage to Chivaka Komarapatr. A private doctor and friend of the Buddha, he is said to have successfully used massage and stretching techniques along with herbal and other remedies to treat ailments and conditions amongst the nuns and monks that were traveling with the Buddha.

At that time, medical institutions and practices of the monastery were integral parts of the religious system. When Buddhism reached Thailand in the 3rd or 2nd century BC, temples were built with adjacent dispensaries and medical schools.

A long time has passed and thus, many historical evidence have disappeared. Most text have been lost during various invasions. Only fragments of the existing precious medical texts survived. These were used as a basis for the famous epigraphs at Wat Po in Bangkok, in order to pass on the techniques to future generations.

Thai Massage

1) Is Thai Massage done on a table, bed or floor?

Traditionally Thai Massage is done on the floor, but elements of the practice are being effectively adapted by practitioners more accustomed to working on tables or beds. However, due to leverage advantages, many of the advanced movements and stretches are done most effectively on the floor.

2) What should I wear?

Comfortable, loose-fitting Yoga or athletic clothes are best to accommodate the twisting and stretching movements in the session. A pair of loose Thai pants are provided if you do not have flexible clothing.

3) How long are the sessions?

Traditionally, Thai Massage treatments are at least one and a half hours long, sometimes lasting for several hours. In the western world we often have less time, so sessions as short as an hour are also a viable option.

4) Why are sessions so long?

Since the main objective is energy balancing, the physical moves become part of a deeper, more meditative spiral of healing, resulting in a profoundly deep and integrative sense of physical, mental and spiritual well-being for both giver and receiver.

5) What are the benefits for the receiver?

Stress relief, revitalization and a euphoric feeling of overall wellbeing are most often descriptors for the benefits of the treatment. Physiologically, the body is led towards bio-mechanical re-alignment, boosting flexibility and circulation. This techniques helps re-connect to how good it feels to be fully in our bodies.

6) Is it safe for the elderly, children, the injured or sick?

Since the sequence and approach is unique for each individual and treatment, it can be done safely, with certain modifications to accommodate contra-indications as needed, with effective results.

7) How often should I receive Thai Massage?

How often you use Thai Massage is always a personal choice. Since you are the only one inhabiting your body, you know best! Initially, clients may come more frequently to begin the bio-mechanical balancing work, and move to less frequent visits as the body responds. Regular clients use the therapy weekly, monthly or quarterly, depending on health and budget.

8) Is it ok to eat before/after the session?

Since the treatment may involve pressing points around the abdomen, it is better not to eat a heavy meal for at least 1 hour before the session. Snacks are ok. To allow the process to continue after the session, it is better not to eat heavily or do strenuous exercise for at least an hour afterwards. Drinking warm lemon water or hot tea in the winter, or cold in the summer, is highly beneficial, since liquids help flush out toxins that may have been stirred up for elimination during the treatment.

9) Where did Thai Massage originate?

It is said to have originated in India. Some say it grew out of the ancient healing systems practiced in South India in the region now known as Kerala. Later, after becoming a part of ancient Ayurveda, it existed in Northern India (now Nepal). The physician Chivaka Komarapatr, a private doctor of the Buddha used Thai Massage along with herbal and other remedies, to treat ailments and conditions amongst the monks that were traveling with the Buddha. This spread Buddhism and these medicinal techniques all over Southeast Asia.