<![CDATA[Soulful Journey - Healing Massage in Newport News Virginia - Blog]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 21:00:05 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Does reflexology work to heal the body?]]>Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:49:09 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/does-reflexology-work-to-heal-the-bodyPicture

Getting a foot rub feels great – whether it’s part of a total body massage at Soulful Journey or simply a loving touch from our partner. But what about foot reflexology massage – does it really help to relieve pain or health in other parts of the body?

Reflexology is based on the premise that the nerves in your feet, hands and ears correspond to other parts of the body, and that applying pressure to those nerves will relieve symptoms in the corresponding organs, limbs or glands. For example, applying pressure to the big toe could help a headache or to the heel could help digestion.

Reflexology does not hurt, but if you are feeling tension in the area you are trying to relieve, such as the neck, you may feel a slight discomfort in your toe when it is being worked.

There are a number of theories about how reflexology works, including one that says it is simply a placebo, and it works only because the client trusts the therapist. Regardless of which theory you adopt, there is now some research to point to that says it is beneficial.


Research studies indicate that reflexology does have benefits for various conditions, such as reducing pain, enhancing relaxation, reducing psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, however reviewers of the research have noted that the quality of the research is mixed and more high-quality research is needed.

One large review in 2008 (Kunz and Kunz) summarized 168 research studies. They concluded that reflexology may have an impact on specific organs; be associated with amelioration of symptoms (positive changes in kidney function with kidney dialysis patients were noted); create a relaxation effect; and aid in pain reduction (AIDS, chest pain, peripheral neuropathy of diabetes, kidney stones and osteoarthritis).

Other studies (Hudson, 2015) found that patients receiving reflexology prior to varicose vein surgery reported less anxiety and pain. A number of studies showed reduction of pain, nausea, diarrhea or constipation and improved quality of life with reflexology during cancer treatment.

For migraine and tension headaches, research (Testa 2000) showed reflexology was at least as effective as drug therapy. Koc and Gozen (2015) found that infants showed lower heart rates, higher oxygen saturation and shorter crying periods than infants in the control group when they received reflexology treatment for acute pain. Postoperative patients receiving foot and hand reflexology in India (2006) reported a statistically significant decrease in pain and nausea over a control group treated with conventional pain medication.

Reflexology was found to possibly reduce tingling in multiple sclerosis patients, and a small study by Nazari (2015) concluded that it is effective in reducing fatigue in women with MS. In patients with chronic sinusitis, reflexology was found to be equally effective as nasal douching.


The results from reflexology are subtle and cumulative, and you are likely to see greater benefits from regular sessions. If you are dealing with a specific illness or condition, you may need more frequent sessions. A general recommendation is to begin with a session every week for six to eight weeks, then follow those with a tune-up every four weeks.

<![CDATA[Got arthritis? Massage can probably help]]>Wed, 13 Jul 2016 03:42:32 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/got-arthritis-massage-can-probably-helpPicture
With more than 100 types of arthritis, it is one of the most pervasive diseases in the United States and the leading cause of disability. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, one of every three Americans – 70 million people – suffers from arthritis.

With so many people suffering from arthritis, wouldn’t it be great if there were a natural therapy that could help alleviate pain and soreness?

Massage can reduce pain of arthritis

Fortunately, there is! According to studies conducted at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, regular massage of muscles and joints can lead to a significant reduction in pain for people with arthritis. Studies showed regular use of massage led to improvements in pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength and overall function of joints.

A 2006 study at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey examined 68 adults with knee osteoarthritis receiving two Swedish massages per week for eight weeks, compared to a group who received no massage. The massage group reported significant improvements in knee pain, stiffness, function, range of motion and walking.  

In addition, massage also benefits people with hand or wrist arthritis, according to another 2006 study. A 15-minute, moderate pressure massage per day led to reduced pain and anxiety and increased grip strength for 22 participants as measured on comparative pre- and post-therapy tests.

A 2007 report by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) showed that most people who try complementary therapies, such as massage, do so for back and neck pain. A number of studies confirm that massage is effective for back and neck pain, including one published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The researchers, who looked at 401 people with chronic low back pain, found that massage reduced their pain, and that benefits lasted at least six months.

The study concluded that the type of massage wasn’t important, that different types all worked about the same. The most important thing, the study found, was the amount of pressure. Stimulating pressure receptors, nerves under the skin that convey pain-reducing signals to the brain with moderate pressure, leads to reduced symptoms. 

Massage also helps with RA

What about individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – is massage recommended? Massage therapy is traditionally used for improving flexibility and circulation, stress and anxiety, but some RA patients may still shy away, worrying that massage will be painful. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases says that massage, when done by a trained professional, can help control pain, increase joint motion and improve muscle and tendon flexibility.

Communication between the therapist and the client is important, however, because each person has different pain tolerances. A deep tissue massage is probably not a good idea for a person with RA, because it may be too intense and cause more pain and stiffness for some patients.

For clients with RA, there’s evidence that getting a massage once a week for a month, then scaling back to monthly, is enough to reap the benefits of massage. In the early stages of RA, massage can even help slow down the disease progression.

With some kinds of arthritis, especially RA, you may want to talk to your doctor first before receiving massage. Regardless of the type of arthritis you have, massage is not going to cure you, but it can relieve pain and help you stay active longer.

<![CDATA[Back pain? Massage is often the way to get moving again.]]>Fri, 10 Jun 2016 20:34:08 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/back-pain-massage-is-often-the-way-to-get-moving-againPicture

Back problems are one of the most common – and painful -- complaints that doctors hear. It seems to affect all of us sooner or later. But what can you do about it?

The July 5, 2011 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine said that massage was effective for treating lower back pain, and, in some cases, the treatment lasted for six months of longer.  

The study results were dramatic. Nearly two-thirds of the patients receiving relaxation massage or deep tissue massage said their back pain was significantly improved or completely gone. Only a third of patients receiving traditional care – medication and physical therapy -- experienced similar relief.

Massage has several potential health benefits for sufferers:

·      Increased blood flow and circulation, bringing nutrition to muscles and tissues, aiding in recovery of muscle soreness from physical activity or muscle strain.

·      Decreased tension in the muscles, improving flexibility, reducing pain caused by tight muscles and improving sleep.

·      Increased endorphin levels – the “feel good” chemicals in the brain – which enhances mood, eases depression and anxiety and helps to reduce pain and speed recovery. This is really important for people suffering from chronic back or neck problems.

Gloria Henderson of Soulful Journey, LLC, knows how important massage is for the health of the back and neck, which is why she offers an option for a full hour massage concentrating on that area of the body. “Many of my clients have back problems, and I need the extra time to work on muscle tension, spasms, inflammation, aches, stiffness and pain. It is very effective to relieve chronic back problems when clients come for regular sessions.”

Gloria uses a variety of massage on the back, but the most common ones are:

·      Swedish massage: A combination of light stroking in one direction with deep pressure in another to relax muscles.

·      Deep tissue massage: This type of massage uses slower strokes and more direct pressure and friction to target chronic muscle tension.

·      Myofascial release: Often used after an injury, it releases tension in fascia, fibrous tissue that encase and support muscles.

·      Trigger point: Pressure placed on trigger points to cause their release.

·      Shiatsu: An oriental therapy based on acupressure.

·      Reiki: A Japanese form of massage that adjusts the body’s energy.

Problems that may benefit from massage

There are numerous back problems that may benefit from massage therapy, including muscle strain in the lower or upper back or neck, caused by lifting a heavy object, a sudden movement or a fall. Osteoarthritis of the spine can also cause chronic back problems when the cartilage between the aligning facet joints break down. Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain, stiffness, fatigue and/or non-restorative sleep. Massage can help all of these conditions by reducing stress and muscle tension, improving circulation and improving range of motion.

Patients with severe back pain should check with their doctor before beginning massage therapy to rule out serious conditions. Massage therapy professionals work as a part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team to help you get well. Once you have been approved for massage, make an appointment with Gloria at (757) 806-6808. Your back will thank you!

<![CDATA[Massage Therapy Benefits Persons in Drug, Alcohol Addiction Recovery]]>Fri, 10 Jun 2016 20:13:01 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/massage-therapy-benefits-persons-in-drug-alcohol-addiction-recoveryPicture

America has a drug and alcohol addiction problem. Perhaps surprisingly, massage therapy can help.

·      Ten percent of all American adults consider themselves to be in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, according to a 2012 survey by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. 

·      The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that nearly a quarter of all adults reported in 2013 that they engaged in binge drinking in the previous month, and 6.8 percent reported that they engaged in heavy drinking.

·      Illicit drug use in the U.S. is increasing, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older – 9.4 percent of the population – had used an illicit drug in the past month, up from 8.3 percent in 2002. 

An expensive problem

Drug and alcohol addition takes a huge toll on the individual, the family and society. It costs an estimated $500 billion in lost productivity, criminal prosecution, social welfare programs, health care and other costs.

Comprehensive addiction treatment is the most successful method to turn the crisis around. Rehab is highly demanding of the patient, whether it involves 12-step, counseling and/or another approach. The patient must learn to think, communicate and practice new skills throughout their rehab. Massage can be a valuable adjunct to other therapies.

Massage aides recovery through natural chemistry

Massage, a passive therapy, is different in that it doesn’t require anything from the patient. A 1998 study in Norway showed that massage produces a 16-percent increase in beta-endorphins in the brain. Beta-endorphins produce pleasurable sensations, just as dopamine does, which is significantly involved in addiction, in that dopamine levels are lower than average during the withdrawal process and into early recovery until brain chemistry normalizes. 

Massage helps the patient reduce stress, which is a serious impediment to addiction recovery. When a patient is feeling stressed and anxious, they are strongly tempted to start using their substance of choice to feel better. With the tactile stimulation of massage, patients feel less agitated and more positive, contributing to the success of the other therapies.

There are other benefits, as well. Massage helps the patient by increasing positive feelings and helps them feel more self-aware. They become more awake to the signals their body is sending them so they can learn to relax when they feel stress coming on. This helps them learn to deal with emotions in a positive way rather than resorting to alcohol or drugs.

In addition, massage helps to detoxify the body. As muscles are loosened, the blood flow is increased, tissues are nourished and lymph is drained. It aids in flushing out the bad chemicals and releasing the good ones. 

Massage can help with emotional issues.

Other physiological and emotional issues in recovery can include pain, agitation, anxiety and sleep problems. Massage helps with all of these issues because the body releases fewer stress hormones when being massaged. Patients begin to learn that the “medicine” is inside them – that they have the ability to sooth themselves by connecting to their bodies. 

Massage can even help to rewire the brain. Many addicts have been physically abused at some time in their lives. Through the compassionate touch of massage, they are able to get in touch with themselves and begin to connect the act of touching with pleasure and healing. 

Addiction is a mental, physical and spiritual disease. Often recovery programs concentrate on the mental and the spiritual components but don’t spend as much time on the physical aspect. Massage provides one more tool to help the patient find success on their road to recovery.

<![CDATA[Reduce Your Holiday Stress -- Or Stress Any Time -- With Massage]]>Tue, 22 Dec 2015 06:46:37 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/reduce-your-holiday-stress-or-stress-any-time-with-massagePicture
Whether you’re stressed with all the holiday shopping, parties and baking, or you’re carrying extra tension in your shoulders, neck and back from too much work and not enough play, a massage could provide just the relief you need.

Not only does a massage release tight muscles, it is very effective in helping you manage the health impacts of stress on the body. Stress isn’t always bad -- it gives you the energy you need to react to danger or to be energetic at work when you need to be. But too much of it for too long can be deadly.

This “fight or flight syndrome,” the pre-historic response built into our brains that caused the caveman to either fight the tiger or run from it, now causes problems in our modern day world. The adrenaline that the syndrome produces causes your heart rate to shoot up, and cortisol increases your blood sugar. Meanwhile, energy is diverted away from your digestive system and immune responses. This was great for the cavemen and cavewomen under attack, but not good for 21st Century humans. 

This kind of physical distress leads to a variety of behavior changes, physical symptoms and diseases. Stress can cause angry outbursts, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, social withdrawal, tobacco use and a variety of mood changes such as anxiety, irritability, lack of motivation and depression. In the body, it can result in chest pain, high blood pressure, fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, loss of sex drive, sleep problems, immune system problems and stomach upset. 

When you’re stressed, it’s tempting to grab a chocolate bar, to drink alcohol or go shopping – or to engage in some other unhealthy activity that you think will help you relax. These things may temporarily take your mind off of your stress, but they can cause more problems than they relieve. A much healthier way to deal with your stress is to use exercise, meditation, yoga and massage to relieve your stress.

When a massage is administered by a well-trained, licensed practitioner such as at Soulful Journey, a massage can help with many conditions that affect your mind and body, including stress, depression and anxiety. It will help you feel more in control of your life and health, and help you to relax and manage chronic illness. If you schedule regular massage, you will soon begin to look forward to your massage as your favorite hour of the week as you relax by candlelight with soft music in the background and smell the scent of essential oils.

But massage doesn’t just feel great – it really works to lower the levels of the stress hormone in your body. Research reported in the New York Times and published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that Swedish, or deep, massage is linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol and produces “amped-up levels of a vital player in the body’s immune system, white blood cells.” 

In addition, the 2010 study showed that the effects of Swedish massage included an increase in oxytocin levels (also called the “trust hormone”) and decreased levels of the hormone arginine vasopressin, linked with cortisol.

The Mayo Clinic pointed out that other benefits of massage include a stable blood pressure, relief of stiffness and pain, and help with anxiety and depression.

The bottom line is this -- regular, deep massage is not just a way to pamper yourself, it is a commitment to your health. Just as you budget time and money for nutrition and exercise, you should do the same to take care of your body through massage. When you take care of your body, your body will then take care of you. And we all can use that, regardless of the time of year.

Graphic: "StressSymptoms" by Gdudycha - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:StressSymptoms.gif#/media/File:StressSymptoms.gif

<![CDATA[Geriatric Massage Therapy Addresses Needs of the Elderly]]>Fri, 18 Dec 2015 04:10:02 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/geriatric-massage-therapy-addresses-needs-of-the-elderlyPicture
Are you an older person who is considering massage, or are you thinking that massage might be a helpful treatment for your aging parent? Massage can be a very beneficial health modality for the elderly population.

If you have a health condition, it is important to check with your physician first before getting a massage. Conditions that may preclude massage include thrombosis (blood clots); thrombophlebitis (inflammation of a vein); severe edema (swelling), skin lesions, bruises or sensitivity; inflammation; abdominal aneurysm; stroke; or heart incident.

Massage is good for a variety of needs

The needs of the older adult are very diverse. While one 75-year-old may still be running marathons, another may be at the end stage of life in hospice. This means that one person may need massage to help ease muscles and joint pain or to prepare for the next race, while another may need massage to comfort. Massage is very versatile and can be used to care for people in whatever stage of life or state of wellness they are in. 

As with younger patients, massage on geriatric patients helps to improve the circulation and the nervous system. Often, a weekly massage will enable patients who are in treatment for chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, depression and other conditions to reduce their medications.  Massage also strengthens muscles, reduces stiffness and pain and speeds healing.

The benefits go on and on. Massage treats many of the conditions that aging brings about, such as arthritis, skin discoloration, muscle and bone deterioration, tendonitis, bursitis, and respiratory problems such as asthma and emphysema. It reduces stress, deepens relaxation and breathing, lowers blood pressure, stimulates the bowels and the flow of lymph, improves sleep, releases endorphins and decreases fear and anxiety. 

Beyond that, massage provides the simple pleasure of human touch that so many lonely seniors no longer experience, providing some much-needed vitality and self esteem. It brings a sense of well-being and decreases isolation. 

Massage is adaptable for wheelchair patients

Geriatric massage is adapted for the elderly by shortening sessions to 30 minutes if 60 minutes is too long for the individual, and taking great care in positioning the elderly body on the massage table, rarely moving the senior once positioned. If the patient is in a wheelchair, the massage can be performed in the chair. Geriatric massage often means more time is spent on the hands and feet, particularly if the client does not walk or have full use of their hands. A gentler massage hand motion is used with an older person. This touch is comforting and soothing to the body and mind. 

Massage is a natural therapy that can be used throughout life to enhance the quality of life for many people. Most older adults can obtain many benefits from it, too, and should consider it as part of their health care regiment. It’s important to know that your massage therapist does not diagnose medical conditions and therefore she must work as part of a multidisciplinary team to ensure that you are receiving medical care to diagnose and treat any health problems that may occur.

<![CDATA[What Are Trigger Points and How Do They Apply to Massage]]>Thu, 03 Dec 2015 04:03:56 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/what-are-trigger-points-and-how-do-they-apply-to-massagePicture
If you’ve ever had a massage and noticed that your massage therapist applied prolonged pressure to various spots, you have experienced trigger point massage. Those spots may have been extra tender to the touch, but once the massage therapist worked them, you noticed a distinct releasing of tightness or pain.

So, just what was going on?

The inside of our bodies are covered with soft tissue called fascia, which covers our organs, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. The type of fascia that covers our muscles is called myofascia. When we overuse or improperly use (such as sitting at desks for long hours) muscles, the myofascia can tear and adhere together. These adhesions are called trigger points. 

Trigger points cause referred pain

Trigger points can cause stiffness, tenderness and pain, not just in the spot of the adhesion, but also radiating from the spot. This is called referred pain. A trigger point in one part of the body can cause pain in another part of the body. Sometimes the pain is minor, but other times the pain is quite severe. For example, a trigger point on the trapezius (shoulder) can refer pain up the neck and head causing a headache and even trigger a classic migraine. 

There are a number of factors that can cause trigger point formation, including lack of exercise, poor posture, repetitive motion, physical imbalance (such as leg length inequality), joint disorders, poor sleep hygiene and vitamin deficiencies. Many times trigger points form as a secondary symptom to other conditions such as arthritis and bulging discs.

Other times, people are diagnosed with conditions that are, in fact, chronic myofascial pain. Some of these conditions are fibromyalgia, headaches, tennis elbow, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and others. 

Treating trigger points

There are a number of ways to treat trigger points, including acupuncture, mechanical vibration, pulsed ultrasound, injection, dry-needling, low-level laser therapy, stretching routines, and others. Massage is one of the most natural and effective. Just one massage treatment can greatly relieve the pain and stiffness experienced from very tight trigger points.

An experienced massage therapist is trained to quickly locate trigger points on an individual’s body. The therapist will use several fingers to apply pressure on and around the points to break up the knot or adhesion that has formed. Depending on how tight the knot is, you may experience some mild to moderate pain with the pressure, but you should communicate with the therapist during the treatment – you should not feel extreme pain. When you feel extreme pain, you will tense your muscles in reaction, making the situation even worse. Depending on the severity of the trigger point, you may need to return several times to make certain that the trigger point has been deactivated.

After your massage, it is very important that you drink extra fluids to help release the toxins into the blood stream. Your therapist may also suggest that you soak in an Epsom salt bath to help reduce soreness.  

<![CDATA[Hot Stone Massage Will Rock Your Typical Massage Experience]]>Tue, 17 Nov 2015 05:01:41 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/hot-stone-massage-will-rock-your-typical-massage-experiencePicture
At Soulful Journey we incorporate the use hot stones into massage for various reasons. These heated, smooth, flat stones can be in a number of ways, from placing them on key points on the body to holding them to use to massage certain areas of the body, the method I usually use. The heat can be both deeply relaxing and help warm tight muscles so the therapist can work them deeper and more quickly.

Hot Stones for Healing

Using hot stones for healing goes back to ancient times. Hot stones warmed by fire were used by Native Americans to treat aching muscles. Ancient healers in India reportedly used them more than 5,000 years ago, incorporating hot stone massage technique into Ayurvedic medicine, which is still practiced today. Asian cultures used them in Anma massage 4,000 years ago to strengthen energy flow. Hawaiian islanders developed Lomi Lomi massage with lava rocks. The Bible mentions stones used in massage with olive oil. 

Hot stones weren’t used for massage in contemporary times until Arizona massage therapist Mary Nelson began using them for the technique she called “LaStone Therapy,” that their use for massage began.  Her technique remains popular, but many other therapists and spas have developed their own versions.

Stones are Warmed in a Regular Slow-Cooker

The stones, usually basalt, are warmed to 122-127 degrees in an electric slow-cooker or similar device filled with water. Once they are hot enough, they are placed on certain points of the body, such as the back, palm of your hands or belly, and others are held by the therapist while she works the muscles. Some stones can even be chilled in ice water before use. 

Hot stone massage is very relaxing and deeply detoxifying. When combined with regular massage, the circulatory system is both stimulated and relaxed. This activity promotes the release of toxins in the muscles, which assists the body with self-healing. Tense muscles become soft with the heat of the stones. Muscle spasms are relieved, and a feeling of peace and well-being overcomes you. This allows a state of enhanced relaxation that replaces any stress, and re-energizes and rejuvenates the mind, body and spirit. 

Many Benefits to Using Hot Stone Massage

People who have received hot stone massages have reported many benefits. These include improvements in symptoms of neck and back pain, TMJ, PMS, depression insomnia, stress, arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. 

Pregnant women, those with high blood pressure and diabetes and should consult their physician before receiving a hot stone massage, as it could complicate those conditions. Areas affected by skin conditions or varicose veins shouldn’t be massaged, as heat may aggravate the problem.

Photo: Hot stone massage. Creative Common License by Daniela.

<![CDATA[How to Choose a Massage Therapist That's Right For You]]>Wed, 04 Nov 2015 17:45:36 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/how-to-choose-a-massage-therapist-thats-right-for-youPicture
Finding a massage therapist that fits your needs is as personal as choosing the right hair dresser or family physician, but there are some important guidelines to follow to make sure that you are selecting a well-trained professional.

Most importantly, you want to make sure that your massage therapist is licensed or certified in your state. In Virginia, massage therapists are no longer certified, but must be licensed. Massage therapy is regulated by the Virginia Board of Nursing.

Education and licensing requirements

In order to practice massage therapy in Virginia, a person must have successfully completed at least 500 hours of education from an approved massage training program and a Federation of State Massage Therapy Board examination. The exam tests a wide body of knowledge including massage application, assessment, pathology, body systems, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and business standards.

Clearly, a massage therapist must do much more to enter this field than to acquire a massage table, some CDs of quiet music and a supply of candles! Massage therapy is a profession in every sense of the word, and a massage therapist is a valuable member of your healthcare team.

What to ask

Once you have covered these basic requirements, there are a variety of questions you might ask a therapist that you are considering working with. Here are a few to think about asking:

How long have they been practicing? The longer a massage therapist works with clients, the better understanding they are likely to have of people’s bodies and how they react to massage. They become more intuitive. 

Does the therapist appear to have good business practices? Do they have an attractive website? A clean office? Do you know how much the session is going to cost up front? Do they live up to their advertising promises? Have you checked out their references on Yelp, Angie’s List and -- most importantly -- with friends?

Talk with the therapist about any particular health issues you have and ask if they are comfortable working with individuals like you. For example, do they have any rules about not working on pregnant women? Cancer patients? Post-surgery patients?

Does the therapist prefer a particular modality, such as deep tissue massage, and how does that fit with what you want? Do you prefer a gentler approach? It’s important to explore this before you choose a massage therapist, or at least work it out before you get on the table. 

If you decide to “try out” a massage therapist, does the therapist follow your lead in regards to whether you want your massage time to be quiet or “chatty”? It’s your time, so you should not feel obligated to talk if you’d rather just relax into the massage.

No "happy endings"

Are you more comfortable with a therapist of one gender over another? You should never have to worry that a professional therapist would touch you inappropriately, but some people are just more comfortable being massaged by one gender over another. Warning: do not ask for or accept a massage with a “happy ending,” as this is not legitimate massage therapy, but rather a form of prostitution. You are insulting professional massage therapists and putting their careers at risk to ask for this.

Everyone’s needs are different, so it is not possible to predict with certainty whether you will choose a therapist that you can work well with the first time. However, if you consider these points and try a few therapists, you are likely to find one that you can form an ongoing relationship with who will learn to massage your body so that you get the most benefit out of each massage session. You deserve it!

<![CDATA[The History of Massage Therapy: An Ancient Form of Healing]]>Wed, 28 Oct 2015 19:47:09 GMThttp://soulfuljourneyllc.com/blog/the-history-of-massage-therapy-an-ancient-form-of-healingPicture
It’s not hard to imagine how massage therapy began as a healing modality – after all, the first thing we do when we stub our toe or hit our thumb with a hammer is rub it to stop the throbbing pain. Moms instinctively stroke their crying babies to sooth them. Even in the animal kingdom, animals lick their wounds to provide relief.

The Evolution of Massage

Massage therapy evolved from this natural tendency to rub and stroke the skin for relief of pain and stress into a science. The word “massage” is derived from the Arabic root “mass’h” that means “to touch, knead or squeeze.”

There are various dates assigned to the beginnings of massage as a practice. One form of massage, called Ayurveda, emerged in India in approximately 3,000 BCE. Ayurveda was developed by ancient seers and natural scientists based on centuries of studies, experiments and meditations. Some time between 1500 and 500 BCE, texts about this practice were written down and were widely adopted throughout India and Asia.

Ayurveda theorizes that the body must be in harmony with its environment. When it gets out of harmony, it can get diseases and various problems with pain. When balance is restored, then the body will heal naturally. Ayurveda uses the five senses to interact with the environment to create balance. In addition to touch therapy, Ayurveda uses herbalism, aromatherapy, color therapy and sound therapy to restore balance. 

The actual oldest written record of massage is Chinese, and is about 4,000 years old, dating back to 1,800 BCE. It was found in a Chinese medical text, Con-Fu of the Toa-Tse. This text mentions the use of massage for therapeutic purposes.

We know that the Egyptians used forms of massage around 2500 BCE, such as Reflexology, because there are hieroglyphs showing hand and foot massage. One particular hieroglyph in the tomb of Ankmahor, probably Pharoah’s physician, shows two slaves massaging the hands and feet of their masters.

Hippocrates of Cos (460-380 BCE), author of the Hippocratic Oath, wrote: “The physician must be experienced in many things but assuredly also in rubbing (anatripsis); for things that have the same name have not always the same effects. For rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose and loosen a joint that is too rigid . . .”

Modern Times

In the 1800s the Swedish doctor, gymnast and educator Per Henril Ling developed the form of massage best known today in the West as the Swedish Movement System. The Dutchman Johan Georg Mezger then defined the hand strokes of Swedish massage. In addition to Swedish massage, the Japanese massage practice of Shiatsu is also the most commonly practiced type of massage practiced in the West today.

The practice of massage and its incorporation into Western medicine is just now coming into its own. The demand for it has never been higher, and the medical community is just beginning to understand its capacity to relieve pain and heal the body.

Accupressure points on Sen lines at Wat Pho temple in Thailand. Creative Commons Licence by Ryan Harvey