We’ve all heard it, said it or thought it before, “I need a massage.” Once considered to be just hedonistic pampering for the rich and famous, massage therapy is now finding enormous popularity amongst South Africans.

Massage therapy provides relief to people from all walks of life. The weekend athlete, the home gardener, the over stressed executive, secretaries, waitresses, laborers; virtually anyone can feel a need for massage therapy sooner or later.

Numerous research studies conducted in the United States, Europe, and Asia have documented that far beyond simply “feeling good,” massage therapy has an impressive range of physical, mental, and emotional benefits:

Benefits of Massage

  • Relaxation
  • Stress Relief
  • Improves Circulation
  • Keeps Skin Looking Young
  • Reduces Body Fluids
  • Therapeutic for all Injuries
  • Relieves Headaches
  • Helps Tone muscles

Swedish Massage
This classic European massage uses long strokes and kneeding to the superficial layers of muscles. This very soothing massage helps to improve circulation, ease muscle aches and tension, improves flexibility and promotes health and relaxation.

Indian Head Massage
The art of Indian Head Massage is an Ayurvedic form of healing and relaxation used widely in Asia, mainly by masseurs and hairdressers, to combat daily tension and stress. This form of massage is now one of the most popular therapies available at the moment. The Malish technique addresses the back, neck, scalp and face using a variety of massage pressures and techniques and is one of the most relaxing types of massages you will ever experience.

Ideal for any neck or shoulder tension, the massage starts on the back and neck working deeply over the muscles and pressure points that help the muscles to relax. Moving on to the scalp, massage techniques are used which relax, stimulate and revive this area. The whole scalp is covered to encourage circulation, oxygen and nutrients to the area. The effect of this is to help stimulate hair growth and revitalize the brain.
Finally, the treatment finishes with a wonderful soothing face massage, which includes pressure points and draining techniques that may help headaches and sinus problems. The massage does not require removal of clothing – wear comfortable clothing and a thin top (such as a t-shirt or shirt, etc).

Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage is a variation on classic massage therapy. Heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body. The massage therapist may also hold the stones and use them to massage certain areas of the body. The use of hot stones for healing dates back to ancient times.
The stones are immersed in water and heated in an electric heating device until they are within a certain temperature range. The stones may be placed at specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand, or between the toes. The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired. The warmth of the hot stones improves circulation and calms the nervous system. Many people find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and get it for relaxation. Hot stone massage is suited to people who tend to feel chilly or who have cold feet. It’s also suited for people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter massage. The heat relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work the muscles without using deep pressure.

Precautions
Massage is not recommended for certain people:

  • People with infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds;
  • Immediately after surgery;
  • Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor;
  • People prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage;
  • Pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage.

Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.

Before your Session
Before you receive your session, it is a good idea not to eat any large or heavy meals, sugar, caffeine, or other stimulants. You may also want to shower or bathe directly before your session, not only out of courtesy to your therapist, but also to help start loosening any tight muscles that you might have. Your therapist will be sure to respect your privacy during your session. The only area of your body that will be uncovered will be the area your therapist is working on at that time. The areas of the body specifically not included in a session are the genital areas, the breast tissue on women and in most cases, the throat. If there are any other areas you would prefer not to include in your session, be sure to let your therapist know prior to the start of your session.

If at anytime during your session you experience any pain, discomfort or uneasiness of any sort, immediately inform your therapist. Massage therapy, when administered on healthy tissue, is a very pleasurable sensation. In the area of an injury or muscular tension, massage therapy may, at first, cause some discomfort. When your therapist locates these areas on your body, it will be your natural reaction to tense and to hold your breath. It is very important that you consciously try to relax these areas and remember to breathe deeply. This will help to lessen any discomfort you might experience from these areas.

Conversely, if at anytime during your session your therapist works on an area or uses a technique you find particularly enjoyable, be sure to let your therapist know. Don’t wait until the end of your session. If time permits, extra time can be spent on that area or technique. Your therapist will appreciate your feedback and will know next time to be sure to include extra time for these areas or techniques. As your session begins, close your eyes and allow yourself to relax as completely as possible. Focus your attention on your breathing, which should be slow, deep and even. Conversation, as enjoyable as it may be, can also be distracting to your relaxation and to the concentration of your therapist’s efforts. Please try to limit your conversation to feedback about your session.

Allow your therapist to move your limbs into various positions. Try to go limp, like a rag doll. You do not need to help. Your therapist is paid to take care of your body so all you need to do is relax. Again, this is your time. Many people fall asleep during their session, an indication that their bodies are letting go of stress and tension. Should you fall asleep, your therapist will gently wake you when it is time to reposition or end the session. Feel free to nap. Sometimes, as the body releases tension during a session, the mind can also release emotion that is associated with that tension. If you should suddenly feel joyful, sad or angry, do not be alarmed. Allow yourself to express these feelings by laughing or crying. At the very least, feel free to sigh or hum. Contrary to some notions in our society, massage therapy is a healing art, not a sexual service. Any illicit or sexually suggestive remarks or advances will result in the immediate termination of your session.

After your massage, unless you have a condition that would prohibit it, you may want to drink extra water for the next 24 hours to help flush out the toxins released by your session. You may also want to take an Epsom or Rock Salt bath as well. If at all possible you may want to take the time to reap the full benefits of your session by taking a nap.
Be sure to ask your therapist any questions you may have about massage therapy in general or your session in particular.