Professional Massage

Definition of Massage:

Manipulation of soft tissue for therapeutic purposes.

Receiving a massage from a competent therapist is wonderful. Many therapists are unfortunately poorly trained.

In this page, I will talk about what you "the client", should expect from a competent masseuse.

I will tell you what equipment a masseuse needs to perform professional massage.

I will set out the correct procedure your therapist should follow prior to giving you a massage.

I will explain the benefits of massage.

Massage Equipment

The Couch

The best couch will have the following specifications:

  • A thick foam for client's comfort
  • Adjustable leg heights in case somebody else of different height wishes to use the couch
  • A face support when the customer's back is being massaged
  • Arm rest when the customer is face down
  • Arm rest when the customer is face up
  • A folding couch is also a good idea if you need to carry it around
  • A bolster is used to put under the knees when the customer is lying on her back and under the ankles when face down

The Trolley

A trolley on wheels is the ideal companion to a massage couch.

It is used as a platform for the oil, tissues, wet wipes, spare towel, etc..

A small plastic bottle should be used to contain your massage oil.

The oil should always be left on the trolley. Never on the couch or yourself.

Towels

A couple of towels are best for a professional massage.

One towel will cover the you from neck to waist. The second towel is used to cover from waist to feet.

Doing it this way, it is easy to just uncover one leg (see top picture), one arm, the abdomen, etc.. leaving the rest of the body covered. 

See our Professional Massage Movie for a demonstration.

Massage Table Cover

Couch Cover

A cover for the table is a must as it will protect if from stains and potential tears.

Paper Roll

Paper Roll for Couch

The final piece of equipment the therapist needs is a paper roll.

This is laid out on top of the couch cover to protect it against oily patches.

This "should" allow them to use the couch cover for more than one massage.

Consultations & Contra-Indications

Consultation Card for Body Massage

Prior to giving you a professional Massage, your masseuse should fill in a consultation form to ascertain that you do not suffer from any contra-indications. 

Join our Newsletter and request a free copy of our Consultation Card and of our list of Contra-indication. 

It is extremely important for your masseuse to keep accurate records in order to monitor your progresses.

Should she suspect that her treatment is having a negative effect on you, she should discontinue it immediately and refer you to your doctor.

A knowledgeable masseuse should also be able to give you general advice on diet and and exercise.

Something I found extremely annoying when receiving a massage is my masseuse carrying a conversation with somebody else whilst massaging me. You should be allowed to relax and the only permissible sound should be a gentle music.

Carrier Oils

Never accept a professional Massage treatment with talcum powder as this blocks the pores on your skin.

Baby oil is no good for massage either.

Cream is sometimes used by therapists.

There are a large number of carrier oils that your therapist may want to use to give you a massage. Each oil has different properties and choosing the right one for your massage is a sign of a competent masseuse.

Any of the following oils may be used:

  • Almond
  • Avocado
  • Calendula
  • Evening Primrose
  • Grapeseed
  • Wheatgerm
  • Peach Kernel
  • Jojoba
  • Macadamia
  • Carrot
  • Coconut
  • Hazelnut
  • Olive
  • Peanut
  • Rose Hip
  • Safflower
  • Sesame
  • Sunflower

Different Methods For A Professional Massage

Swedish Massage

  • Based on Henrich Ling findings
  • Seven basic strokes, each with different therapeutic benefits
  • A Carrier Oil is commonly used for this massage

Cream Massage

Similar to oil massage except that a special massage cream is used instead of oil.

Holistic Massage

Arguably, the best form of professional Massage.

The philosophy is that the patient can heal himself if the restricting factors are removed.

The therapist job is to remove the factors that stop the patient's body from regaining a state of balance (homeostasis).

The word holistic means, treating the whole person (body, mind and spirit), not just the symptoms. It means looking at everything about the person, their job, home life, diet, exercise, products they use, emotions, sleep pattern as well as general health background.

The aim is to keep people in a balanced state, helping to prevent the onset of disease.

Oil is used.

Gentle Music is often played in the background.

Different techniques can be used on top of the seven basic strokes:

  • Reflexology
  • Shiatsu 
  • Lymph drainage, etc..

Benefits of the Massage Strokes on the Various Systems

Benefits to Muscles

When you receive a professional Massage, the blood supply to the muscles is increased.  This improvement in circulation feeds the muscle tissue and brings with it oxygen at the same time absorbing the waste (lactic acid) that formed in the muscles during strenuous exercise.

Increased muscle tone improves elasticity and extensibility.  Tense and short muscles can be relaxed and stretched. 

Friction applied around joints will help to prevent adhesions and loosen and stretch them. It will indirectly help movements enabling weak muscles to move more easily.

Benefits to Bones & Joints

Pressure against the periosteum (the membrane of connective tissue that closely invests all bones except at the articular surfaces) stimulates blood circulation to the bones.  This feeds and nourishes the bone itself and also the joints in the surrounding area.

Mild postural deformities can be helped and possibly prevented, especially in young people.

Maintaining and increasing the mobility of joints is another effect of a professional Massage when regularly applied.

Certain manipulations (Petrissage and friction) can help to prevent adhesions and stiffness to joints, improving and maintaining their full range of movements.

Benefits to Circulation

Slight superficial effleurage towards the heart can affect the flow of blood very easily and help the work of this organ. 

It encourages the blood flow in the veins to carry away waste produces e.g. toxins and carbon dioxide in return for the increased arterial blood flow bringing with it oxygen and all the necessary nutrients. 

Effleurage and kneading also accelerate lymphatic circulation, draining lymph to the nearest glands.

Benefits to the Lungs

The condition of the lungs can be improved with a professional Massage.  Such manipulations as cupping will have a direct effect on the lung tissues as the increased blood flow will supply these  with nutrients, and help dislodge mucus. 

Furthermore, it will help to maintain elasticity, and any foreign particles present in the lungs may be dislodged.

With the increased circulation in the lungs, gaseous interchange is also increased ridding the body of carbon dioxide and replenishing it with oxygen.

The Skin

Any professional Massage manipulation will affect the skin, which has many functions.

Circulation to the skin is improved bringing nutrients and removing waste products. The sebaceous glands are stimulated to produce more sebum, which helps to keep the skin soft and supple.

The sweat glands are activated - increased sweating helps rid the body of excess water, salts, urea, toxins, etc...

Massage aids desquamation (removal of dead skin cells) so the skin can breathe more easily.  As old cells are shed, they are replaced by new cells so the skin has a fresher, healthier appearance.

Adipose Tissues

When fatty masses are treated by massage, heat is produced in the adipose tissue which helps to soften the fat. 

Improved circulation aids the absorption of fat. Increased body metabolism of the surrounding tissues helps to burn adipose tissues.

Therefore, areas of firm solid fat can be softened and broken down and when massage is combined with a scheme of weight reduction exercises plus a slimming diet, the effects will be greatly increased.

However, if a massage breaks down fatty tissues in local areas but, lack of dietary control or exercise is observed, it will only mean that the fat will be displaced and eventually deposited elsewhere in the body.

Benefits to the Nerves

Sensory nerve endings can either be soothed or stimulated according to the type of massage movements.

Vibration, percussion or friction usually have a stimulating and invigorating effects on the nerves.  Pressure on the nerves sufficient to block out impulses can have a deadening effect and will temporarily relieve pain.

Effleurage has a soothing effect and will calm the nerve endings, gaining relaxation either locally or for the whole body.

Psychological Effects of Massage

Giving and receiving a professional Massage Therapy treatment is a very personal 'one to one' treatment. You should be made to feel special as if you were the only person who matters.  You should have the individual attention of your masseuse. 

This in itself can have an incredible effect on you. The sense of 'well-being' as if someone really cares and is spending an hour or more dedicated to you. 

The physiological benefits can also produce a knock on effect that results in an uplifting feeling. 

Maybe an aching shoulder is relieved or a headache soothed. This can produce a 'boost' to your morale and general feelings.

The actual physical touch of another person can have amazing results if you feel neglected, lonely or unloved. The close contact and personal attention can prove to be the missing link in your life.  You can be made to feel 'whole' again.

Occasionally following a massage you may feel tearful. This is not a negative sign, simply a release of emotions.

The physical contact may have triggered off a reaction that had been building up inside you. Your masseuse should understand this and professionally deal with it. 

Your therapist should be a good listener as you may need to talk to a stranger, share things with an outsider, someone not in the immediate circle of your associates and your masseuse could provide that  'ear'.

follow me on facebook