In massage therapy, the terms holistic may refer to those types of massage that address the problems of the entire person. They plan to create a balanced body, mind, emotions and even spiritual balance. Holistic Massage Therapy Techniques reflect this philosophy.
Some classic forms of massage are not holistic in nature. Swedish Massage focuses on the physical body. A sense of overall well-being is not the intended product. It is a by-product. Other forms of western massage therapy reflect this adherence to a scientific approach to physical problems.
Deep Tissue Massage and Sports Massage Therapy concentrate on freeing the body of any physical discomfort by working on specific parts of the flesh, tissues, muscles and ligaments. These are not inherently holistic forms of Holistic Massage Therapy.
More conducive to a holistic approach to massage therapy are the traditional and non-traditional forms of Asian, Oriental or Eastern Massage Therapies. The focus of this type of therapeutic massage is on a balancing of the diverse components of a human. The believe is by creating a balance of all the parts, you will have a body in harmony. All parts will be well – mind, body, emotions and spirit will be in-synch and as a result, the body will be healthy.
To reach this ideal homeostasis or balance, a practitioner needs to understand certain basic notions of body physiology. Therapists also need to understand the principle of a universal life force. He or she must comprehend a non-western philosophy of healing and anatomy. Only then can a practitioner implement the techniques of healing.
Modern and traditional forms of holistic massage therapy base their techniques on the concept of Chi/Qi (Chinese), Ki (Japanese) or Prada (India). There is a belief that an ill person (body, mind, emotions or spirit) suffers from a blocked energy force. The clogged channels do not permit the flow of energy to all parts of the body. As a result, the person becomes unbalanced. They are anxious, stressed out, physically or mentally ill. The practitioner must use his or her skills to unblock the channel and free the flow.
The Many Holistic Massage Therapy Techniques
Aromatherapy is one. Therapists practicing this form use the essential oils from the various parts of plants to help heal the person. The techniques involve lighting the oils in forms of incense or applying them directly to the skin using massage. The therapist may use a number of heavy or light techniques. Pressure points may come into play. It all depends upon the purpose of the visit.
Inhaled or absorbed by the skin the oils of Aromatherapy benefit both the body and the spirits. It helps remove anxiety, thus calming the mind. The massage techniques also help improve circulation. This is the physical aspect. Yet, aromatherapy also helps raise the spirits. This makes it truly a form of holistic massage therapy.
Various forms of acupressure are also types of holistic massage therapy. Reiki, for example, utilizes the concept of energy and channels to provide techniques focusing on the balance and amplification of energy on all the planes of existence. Reiki tries to promote healing of the individual by balancing the energy of their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects. Preferring a non-touch technique, Reiki works on fully clothed clients. The practitioner channels the energy of the client as well as his or her own energy in the process. By exchanging energy, the client and practitioner create a balance. This is one reason why it is necessary for a Reiki therapist to be completely grounded and focused before they proceed to do energy work.
Holistic Massage Therapy includes Reflexology, Thai Massage, Tui Na and Am-no among its typologies. In these three forms, there is no emphasis on the physical. All techniques illustrate the need to work with the Universal Life Force to create balance and harmony. In reflexology, the various aspects of the body find their center in the foot. The foot is a microcosm of the body. A practitioner uses acupressure techniques to correct the imbalances. Fingers and hands apply the appropriate pressure for the set amount of time to achieve the harmonic effects.
To consider any type of massage therapy to be holistic in character, it must reflect deeper concerns than healing the physical body. Holistic Massage Therapy recognizes the importance of the physical. Yet, to practitioners of Holistic Therapeutic Massage, the physical is but one portion of the whole. To truly heal the body, you need to address its other components. These include the emotions and the mind. A healthy person can only exist if the various parts of being come into balance or rest in easy harmony. A Holistic Massage Therapist uses various techniques to reach this specific goal.
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