Becoming a Massage Therapist ...
I was still working full-time as a Personal Assistant in the Private Mobile Industry when I decided to attend evening classes at a local college in Massage Therapy. This was way back in 2008. I am still not quite sure what led me down that path, when I had never even experienced going for a massage myself. In hindsight, though, it helped me begin my journey into Holistic Therapy .. learning how our mental, emotional and physical selves are so closely (and spontaneously) intertwined.
It never entered my head, at that time, that my Massage Therapy training would evolve into anything more than an extra hobby. (I already had plenty of those on the go at the time!). But still .. the Anatomy & Physiology studies required as a pre-requisite to the Massage training took me right back to Biology lessons at school; I had an amazingly enthusiastic Biology teacher (thank you Mr. McKenna!) who made everything sound so amazing and miraculous.
Massage on a Water Bed ???
Still, the training in Swedish Massage (also called Classical Massage, as it actually wasn't originally from Sweden!) led to learning Indian Head Massage and then, around 10 years and a whole stack of big life changes later, I came across Hydrotherm Massage. I remember meeting a guy who had been diagnosed as diabetic, for which some extra care or adaption may be recommended before massage (according to many sources of advice for Massage Therapists). He said he went for regular massages on "a water bed". I had no idea what he was talking about .. massage on a water bed? "Yehh, it's really nice and warm and comfy .. and I can just lay on my back all the way through and it doesn't hurt and I don't get any bruising."
How bizarre. I investigated further .. and hey ho, yes, indeed, there it was; Hydrotherm Massage!
Described as a "world first in 3-dimensional massage," I decided to book myself in for one! First, it wasn't easy to find a Hydrotherm Massage Therapist; there were plenty of Massage Therapists around for a whole host of other types of massage, but it seemed that the Hydrotherm Therapists were fewer and farther between. I attribute this now to the fact that it is quite a financial investment to train in, and subsequently offer, as it required specialist training courses and very specialised extra equipment: water filled cushions, bolsters for lumbar support, occipital support, heat pads .. phewee! Quite a big initial financial outlay .. then the cost of specialist training, additional insurance .. but worth the investment? Oh yes, absolutely!!!
And then, as luck would have it, I discovered that my nearest Complementary Therapy Centre was owned by a Hydrotherm-Certified Massage Therapist !! Oh time, to get booked in!! I was not disappointed. It was a wonderful massage experience. Even just getting aboard the therapy couch, and reclining back on those warm, water-filled, cushions .. well, from the onset, the neck back and shoulder tension just started to melt away. Enter .. a highly skilled, experienced Hydrotherm Massage Therapist, a beautifully scented relaxing aromatherapy massage oil .. and .. can only describe as completely Divine!
I absolutely knew, there and then, that THIS was a Massage Therapy that I absolutely had to be able to offer. I love a good massage anyway, whether it's Indian Head, Hot Stones, Swedish, Sports, Shiatsu Acupressure .. I really do recommend Massage Therapy as a wonderful holistic therapy treatment.
Additional Specialist Training
Hydrotherm Massage Therapists also have the opportunity to train specifically in Ante-Natal Massage, and the Tranquil Sea adapted-for-cancer massage.
The extra training on both these is thorough and extensive. It's so important that a therapist feels confident, capable and expertly trained in any therapy they offer .. but particularly, I feel, in relation to working with people on their cancer journey .. for whom cancer can still be a taboo, awkward subject to address. I think this is largely due to lack of deep understanding .. and specialist training. Thankfully, the massage and spa industries are now catching up a bit and beginning to address this issue ..
So Many Options and So Many Benefits!
I could feel a whole page with reasons why I'd recommend Massage Therapy, yet there are so many different sorts of massage, each having their own philosophies and benefits, here are just a few of the most common types you might come across .. and they do vary from therapist to therapist! So no two massage therapy sessions are ever the same!
Indian Head Massage makes a great introduction to Massage Therapy. Traditionally a seated Massage Therapy, it can be carried out over the top of clothing, or alternatively uses oils on bare shoulders. It varies from 30 to 50 mins but will always include face, scalp, neck and shoulders. Helps release muscle knots, and is a fabulous stress-buster!
Deep tissue massage: Manipulates deeper layers of soft tissue and really help release deep tension; often used to help treat chronic pain, injuries, and soreness
Hot stone massage is not unlike a Classic/Swedish massage, and the therapist uses heated stones in their hands . Hot stone massage may help ease muscle tension, improve blood flow, alleviate pain, promote relaxation, and relieve stress.
Aromatherapy massages combine soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils. This type of massage can help boost your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, reduce symptoms of depression, relieve muscle tension, and relieve pain too.
Sports massage is designed for athletes and people who engage in physical activity. It can help prevent injuries, prepare the body for athletic activity, and aid in recovery after a workout or competition. It's not necessarily just for sportspeople!
Thai massage combines acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures. It can help increase flexibility and range of motion while also reducing stress and improving overall well-being.
Reflexology is a type of foot massage that involves applying pressure to specific points on the feet that correspond to different organs and systems in the body. It can help improve circulation, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote relaxation.
Prenatal/Pregnancy massage: as the name suggests, this is designed specifically for pregnant women and can help alleviate pregnancy-related discomforts such as back pain and swelling. They can also help improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels during pregnancy. Great for after baby is born too, helping the body get back into shape again.
Couples massage: Couples massages are designed for two people who want to receive massages at the same time in the same room. They can be a great way to spend quality time with a partner or friend while also enjoying the benefits of a relaxing massage.
Chair massages are usually shorter massages that typically last between 10-30 minutes and are performed while the client is seated in a special chair designed for massages. They can be a great way to relieve stress and tension during a busy workday or event.
As a broad-brush summary, Massage Therapy is understood to help with:
Relieving muscle tension
Promoting better circulation
Reducing stress and anxiety
Reducing muscle pain and tension
Improving joint flexibility and mobility
Aiding in the recovery of soft tissue injuries
My Massage Therapy Services
Although I am very focused on my Health Coaching Services, which are usually on-line based and can reach clients all over the world, I still really, really love to work hands-on in my Therapy Treatment Rooms.
I currently work from 2 separate locations in Derbyshire UK and also have a number of clients whom I'm able to visit in their homes if they are unable to travel far. I offer Hydrotherm Massage Therapy for Pregnancy and also the Tranquil Sea Massage which is tailored and adapted specifically for persons on their cancer journey (perhaps where lymph nodes have had to be removed for example, or some areas of the body as still sensitive from the effects of radiotherapy, or equipment is still fitted for catheters etc)
I also offer Indian Head Massage and Swedish/Classic Body Massage. Then there is a whole range of Facials too! If you aren't sure what would be best for you, most therapists - including myself - offer a consultation prior to the first treatment. This is to gather together essential medical information prior to massage to ensure the treatment will be safe for you, and is adapted if appropriate .. and also gives you the opportunity to ask questions, and get to know your therapist a little better too! (we want you to feel as at ease and comfortable for your treatment!)
So if you want to move your health and wellbeing up to a higher level or priority in your life, a regular massage is not only restorative, but can be considered an essential bit of "preventative maintenance" too! It makes a valuable addition to any existing health and regime program for most people, and there are so many options to choose from.