What's That Touch?

Does the winter gray and cold have you down? Why not set some time aside and treat yourself to a home spa treatment? Look in the back posts and you will find detailed instructions for the ultimate home therapy day, including which essential oils to use for what! There are many treatments and forms of therapies, and some overlap into more than one category. I am going to try and break these into managable segments, but you will need to bear with me as I create my own categories and try to decide which is most appropriate for each therapy. As I mentioned, some will probably fit into more than one, but for now, I am going to begin with ones that require body manipulation/touch of some kind, meaning mainly massage types. No matter how they are divided, you need to understand the basics before you can decide what you want to try, and what may work for your needs. I strongly encourage you to be bold and adventuresome, to try something new. You never know when that new thing may become your next favorite thing!
Massage/Body Manipulation
  • Acupressure is an ancient Chinese technique that is based upon the theory that there are pressure points (called meridians) on the body and these points correspond to organs in the body. When pressure is applied to these points the energy pathways are stimulated and the corresponding organ and the connecting muscles are encouraged to relax.
  • Acupuncture is an ancient Asian technique that also targets the energy meridians, but this one utilizes ultra fine needles. It is used to relieve arthritic, urological and muscular tensions.
  • Electro-Acupuncture utilizes low voltage electrical current instead of the fine needles, but operates under the same principles.
  • The Alexander Technique is a bodywork system that is meant to improve posture and correct bad (physical) habits that cause stress on the body. It was named after its creator, F.M. Alexander, an Australian, in the 1890's.
  • Cranial Massage is the soothing manipulation of the pressure points of the spine, head, neck, and shoulders. It is meant to improve the floe of the cerebral spinal fluid through the nervous system, thereby relieving teeth grinding, headaches and back problems.
  • Effleurage is a massage term that is used to describe a long stroking motion that is intended to calm the nervous system.
  • Electrotherapy Treatments utilize short waves, ultrasound, infrared rays and various other forms of electricity for its results.
  • In Energy Balancing, a powerful current of healing energy comes through the therapist's hands to heal areas of illness and injury. This technique is said to clear and charg the seven major chakras and auric the body.
  • Esalen Massage is a more modern variation of the Swedish massage. Its focus is on creating deep states of relaxation, beneficial states of consciousness and a general well-being. Developed by the Esalen Institute of Big Sur, California, unlike the Swedish massge, this massage is not focused on the relieving of muscle tension or increased circulation, it is more rhythmic and hypnotic and focuses on the mind/body as a whole. The Swedish massage, by contrast, is more brisk and focuses on the body.
  • Fango Therapy combines hot parafin wax and natural volcanic ash which is then used to cover the whole body or just some parts. Fango is the Italian word for mud and it is used to increase muscle and joint mobility, promote relaxation, and allieviate aches and pains due to illness or injury.
  • The Feldenkrais Method, a movement therapy, utilizes gental muscle manipulation to help program them to work more effeciantly. Subtle changes are introduced to the client through touch in an effort to break up old patterning. This system was developed by a Russian born Israeli educator, Mosche Feldenkrais.
  • Foot/Hand Reflexology is a technique which divides the body into ten zones which correspond with a specific reflex area on the foot or hand. When you apply pressure to a particular massage point on the foot or hand it helps circulation, promotes relaxation, and releives pain in one of these ten body zones.
  • Gommage is a cleansing and rehydrating treatment that utilizes creams which are applied to the body in long, massage type movements.
  • Developed by Joseph Heller, Hellerwork is a system of deep-tissue body work to reduce stress and offer movement re-education.
  • Hydrotherapy is one of the oldest methods known to man. It refers to all water treatments such as underwater massages, hot and cold showers, mineral baths and jet sprays, for example. These help in the healing process of almost any ailment as they provide both stimulation and relaxation at the same time.
  • Jin Shin Jyutsu is a gentle Japanese massage. This technique is based upon synchronizing the pulses in two body parts (called meridians), which then releases the body's natural pain relievers and rejuvinates the immune system.
  • Lomi-Lomi is a Hawaiian massage that utilizes a rythmical rocking method.
  • Lymph Drainage utilizes a gentle and pulsating massage or pressure to specific areas of the body which are located around the lynph nodes and toward the heart. It is used extensively for the head, neck, and shoulders during facials, and is meant to increase the lymphatic flow, which in turn increases the body's internal cleasing, aka toxin drainage.
  • Massage is muscle manipulation and includes many types, such as acupressure, reflexology, polarity, effleurage, stroking, kneading, friction, rocking and others. Massage is used to stimulate circulation, reduce stress, increase suppleness and relaxation.
  • Myofacial Release restores proper function and bio-mechanics to the body's facial system through soft tissue manipulation.
  • Pfrimmer Therapy, developed by Therese Pfrimmer, is a technique that is designed to stimulate circulation and regenerate lymphatic flow in order to detoxify and oxyginate stagnant tissues by manipulating deep tissues.
  • Founded by osteopath Dr. Randolf Stone, Polarity therapy is a massage technique that combines deep pressure massage with gentle stretching and rocking which is used to achieve correct body alignment
  • Reflexology is a system of massage specifically for the feet and hands . It promotes healing, improves circulation, and relieves stress in other parts of the body.
  • Reiki, while not a massage, involves touch so I will include it here. In Reiki, the therapist places their hands on (or just above) 12 areas of the body. The hands gently rest on (or over) each area for 3-5 minutes without any manipulation at all. It is an erergetic approach to healing and is meant to induce a deep relaxation by creating a nurturing and calming effect.
  • Rocking is a massage technique where where the hands gently rock or shake the body back and forth.
  • Created by Ida Rolf, the Rolling technique is an intensive, oft times painful, massage that is used to realign the skeletal structure, improve the energy flow and relieve stress caused by emotional trauma.
  • The Russian massage technique requires percise angels for the muscles and joints deep-tissue massage. It stretches the muscles out.
  • Shiatsu is a Japanese massage technique where gentle pressure is applied to the meridian points of the nervous system's energy paths. It balances and revitalizes the immune and the endocrine systems of the body and stabilizes its energy flow.
  • Sports massage is a deep tissue massage used for treating specific muscle groups. It is often utilized around the joints.
  • Structural Integration utilizes the manipulation of deep and superficial connection tissue in addition to movement education. It is a system that relieves the patterns of stress and impaired body functioning due to poor posture, acute or chronic conditions (such as low back pain, neck or shoulder injury).
  • Swedish massage is a European technique that has been around since the late 18th century. It combines many massage techniques, including, stroking, kneading, manipulation, and tapping of the muscle tissue. This massage is meant to increase the flow of the venous blood from the extremeties, thereby shortening the recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissues of lactic and uric acid, and other metobolic waste. It increases circulation without increasing the workload of the heart, relaxes muscles, and improves overall circulation.
  • Tapotment is a massage that involves a light, steady tapping that causes a slight vibration of the muscles.
  • Vodder Massage was developed in 1950 by Emile Vodder, a Danish born man. It involves manual drainage of lymph.
  • Watsu is an underwater Shiatsu massage.
  • Zen Shiatsu is a Japanese art that utilizes acupressure (finger pressure) to unblock and release energy channels, producing a generilzed well-being.

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