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Massage Therapy

Treatments You Can Trust

Massage therapy is used to help manage a health condition or enhance wellness. It involves manipulating the soft tissues of the body. Massage has been practiced in most cultures, both Eastern and Western, throughout human history, and was one of the earliest tools that people used to relieve pain.

With over thirty years of experience and training I can offer you a wide range of modalities.

Holistic / Swedish / Classic

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The three terms above are often used interchangeably, but at Willow and Water, we steer towards a stricter definition of Holistic.

A holistic massage is a therapeutic approach that focuses on treating the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. Holistic means whole (totality) so we see the body as a unity, as a whole of different parts. This is a professional, therapeutic massage for health and well-being. Treatment takes into account all aspects of a client's physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. We may draw from various massage modalities and techniques, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reflexology, or craniosacral therapy and more. The treatment may range from stimulating to gently relaxing depending upon your needs.

What are the main health benefits of a Holistic Massage:

  • Increasing energy by invigorating all the body systems;

  • A general sense of health and well-being;

  • Reduce stiffness and increase joint mobility;

  • Helps you to relax and unwind;

  • Relief from stress, anxiety and tension;

  • Improved skin and muscle tone;

  • Improved sleep;

  • Aids digestion.

The benefits of massage have been proven to improve mental health, by increasing circulation,  increasing endorphins which are positive hormones of happiness, decreases stress hormones, decreasing muscle tension and pain. This leaves a mind free to concentrate on other things and to perform at it's peak leading to an improved ability to focus, improved concentration, and better mental clarity. On emotional levels it takes away frustration and irritability and improve your mood. One feels supported during holistic massage, with gentle touch a feeling of peace and calmness.

Sports Massage

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Sports Massage is a targeted deep tissue massage designed to improve flexibility, endurance and helping to prevent muscle soreness and injury.

Sports massage it is an ideal aid to recovery from injury as well as helping prevent them. It promotes faster recovery after competing or training and helps to maintain a healthy musculoskeletal system.

Sports massage can be useful to an athlete or even a frequent gym user or exerciser: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. Pre-event massage is often delivered at the performance site but can be performed prior. It helps to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. Post-event massage calms the nervous system; begins the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body. It reduces recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than rest alone would allow. Sports massage also helps to prevent injury by ensuring the muscles are fit and healthy and strong prior to exercise.

Sports Massage aligns muscle and soft tissue fibres, drains toxins, debris and increases energy by boosting blood flow. It is highly effective at relieving pain brought on by lactic acid or injury by draining the tissues or any retained fluid. Sports massage is very effective at loosening tight muscles, and treating injury, chronic conditions, musculoskeletal damage and many more complex conditions.

Deep Tissue Massage

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Deep Tissue Massage technique uses slow, firm and pressure strokes of deep layers of muscles to help ease & release tension in the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles.

The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep-tissue massage, otherwise, tight muscles prevent the therapist from reaching the deeper layer of the muscles. Commonly deep tissue massage is used to treat chronic aches and pains in the legs, glutes, quads, back, neck and shoulders. It is an intense but effective treatment ideal for relieving the source of tension, whether it is caused by sports, bad posture, stress or injury. 

Deep Tissue Massage drains excess fluid and encourages the blood and lymph to circulate effectively. It also helps relieve tension deep within the muscles as tense muscles can restrict oxygen and nutrient flow, therefore preventing swelling and a build-up of toxins. Deep Tissue massage releases hard tension caused by tightened and knotted muscle fibres, fascia, ligaments and tendons.

It offers instant relief of pain, poor posture, lack of mobility, tightness in the muscles and stress. Deep Tissue Massage is typically a lot stronger than other types of massage.

Do not proceed with Deep Tissue Massage if you have/are:

  • At risk of blood clots and heart disease

  • Wounds, tumours or fragile bones

  • Surgery

  • Pregnant

Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy uses the power of scent and for their beneficial physical and mental effects on the body. 

Aromatherapy is often used in synergy with massage to increase the effects of both. 

 

Aromatherapy is done using essential oils, which are concentrated oils that have strong fragrances and other abilities, such as the power to help promote skin health and reduce inflammation. Essential oils are derived from roots, bark, stalks, leaves, flowers, and fruit, each of which has its own unique healing properties.

Utilising calming scents and physical touch is typically an effective way to take care of yourself both physically and mentally.

Aromatherapy massages often utilize smells and oils that have calming properties. When you smell a scent such as lavender or chamomile, it actually has a direct impact on certain emotional responses and brain functions. Massages are also naturally stress-relieving for similar reasons: They can decrease your body’s “fight or flight” response and lower the release of stress hormones.

Massage therapy has been shown in many studies to be helpful for fighting pain, stiffness, immobility, and swelling, including among athletes and those with conditions such as arthritis. Some scents have the power to help reduce feelings of stress that tend to worsen discomfort. Additionally, essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream and metabolized in a way that promotes better health. Certain essential oils, such as peppermint and frankincense, can help fight free radical damage and inflammation, which contribute to many forms of pain. If you deal with fatigue in addition to pain, certain oils and scents may be effective for lifting your energy, such as lemon, orange, and peppermint, which all have uplifting qualities. In fact, some people use aromatherapy with these oils to improve their focus, get rid of tension headaches, and perk up their mindset.

Pain and stress are two big reasons why many people struggle to get good sleep. You can see then why a relaxing, soothing aromatherapy massage may make it easier for you to sleep well.

Hot Stone Massage

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A hot stone massage is used to help you relax and ease tense muscles and damaged soft tissues throughout your body.

During a hot stone massage, smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body. Massage therapists may hold heated stones as they massage your body using massage techniques such as:

  • long strokes

  • circular movements

  • vibration

  • tapping

  • kneading

The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat.

In addition to deep relaxation, there are many benefits to having a hot stone massage. They include:

1. Pain Relief

Hot stone massage has specifically been associated with symptom relief in people with a variety of conditions, such as fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders.

Several studies, including on fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritisTrusted Source, have linked moderate massage techniques with lessening pain and improving range of motion.

2. Stress Relief

Massage is an effective method for stress relief. Several studies have shown that massage reduces stress and anxiety and improves cardiovascular health.

3. Increased joint flexibility

Muscle tension can make it difficult and more painful to move the joints. Massage helps to relax muscles, which makes it easier and more comfortable for someone to move.

People with certain joint disorders may benefit particularly from hot stone massage.

4. Decreased muscle spasms and tension

Muscles that are tense and in spasm can cause a lot of pain and interfere with daily life. Reducing the inflammation and tension in the skeletal muscles eases both muscle spasms and pain.

As previously said, massage and the use of hot stones can promote relaxation of the muscles and joints in the body to ease both pain and spasms.

5. Better sleep

Many people do not sleep well. Factors such as stress, insomnia, and busy schedules mean they get much less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

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Lymphatic Drainage also known as manual lymphatic drainage is a type of gentle massage therapy that encourages the movement of lymph fluids around the body. 

The lymphatic system works by removing toxins, getting rid of excess fluid & helping your body to absorb vitamins from the digestive system. Lymphatic drainage massage helps to relieve swelling due to poor health or medical treatment that causes blockages to the lymphatic system. Certain conditions – inflammation, cancer or obesity may cause lymph fluids to build up, a condition known as lymphedema. The lymphatic system can often get blocked or overrun because of things like stress, illness and an unhealthy lifestyle.

Lymphatic drainage massage helps to keep the body running smoothly by using gentle pressure to move lymph (excess fluid) from your tissues to your lymph nodes. The delicate lymph vessels and nodes that sit just below the skin require very light pressure in order to move fluid through. In comparison, treatments like deep tissue, Swedish, sports massage use a firmer touch to work into a different area of the body and the muscles.

Manual lymphatic drainage can help the body to maintain proper blood circulation, body fluid balance and immune function in better condition. While a good diet and regular exercise are important, lymphatic drainage massage may give your lymphatic system a boost, speed up recovery after exercise and improve body aesthetic. Lymphatic massage can be relaxing and soothing, so there is some evidence that manual lymph drainage helps reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

Clinical Massage

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Clinical Massage is focused on treating a specific illness or condition.

Clinical Massage is a very different discipline from other therapy professions treating physical conditions (such as osteopaths, physiotherapists, etc). It involves working with specific tissues of the body. Clinical massage looks at nerves and muscles and specialises in treating pain felt in the body. It can help with injuries and long-term conditions. Clinical massage can help with a variety of complaints, even those defined as ‘untreatable’. On many occasions, frozen shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome, and lower back pain can all be helped by clinical massage.

Clinical massage works directly with the body. It is the combination of detailed client consultation and a tailored program of treatment that helps to address the pain. It is often used to help people with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, hypermobility, and connective tissue disorders.

Sports injuries, both recent and long-term, can be treated by clinical massage.  Sometimes after an injury, the pain of the injury remains, even when the tissues have healed. Helping you to understand and overcome this pain, is a major factor in the work. Your treatment session will incorporate hands-on bodywork, massage, mobility, and movement.

A program of home strengthening and movement helps to reduce pain and increase mobility. Keeping your body active and mobile but within your pain threshold, will help to improve your general flexibility and reduce pain.

Everyday issues (such as those created by the workplace or lifting something incorrectly in the garden) can also be addressed by Clinical Massage. Tennis elbow can also be brought on by carrying heavy bags or painting walls (not just tennis). RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury), is a painful complaint often associated with repetitive workplace habits such as typing. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) can be caused by nerve compression often during pregnancy or through poor workstation conditions in the office.  Both RSI and CTS respond extremely well to clinical massage.  Similarly, a painful and stiff neck, a sore lower back, or aching shoulders, are all muscular issues that can be improved with clinical massage.

Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurvedic Massage is based on the principle of balance between the body, mind, spirit, and the environment, and combines the 5,000-year-old Indian principles of Ayurveda, pressure points, and the chakras.

In Ayurveda, the five elements that are found in all living things—space, air, fire, water, and earth—are considered the building blocks of life. These combine to create three mind-body principles, known as doshas, within the body: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth). Everyone inherits a unique mix of the three doshas, although one is usually more dominant. Ayurvedic practices balance the doshas to govern one’s physical and emotional health.

During an Ayurvedic massage, organic oil blends are infused with Ayurvedic herbs and heated to promote relaxation and detoxification. The oils are chosen to balance a person’s dominant dosha. At the right temperature, these oils enter the body through the skin and pores, bind to the ama (toxins), and are released to detoxify the body. 

An Ayurvedic therapist focuses on clearing the energy channels in the body, moving and dislodging toxins, and balancing the chakras (energy centers).

The style and flow of an Ayurvedic massage are determined by what an individual needs. The massage therapist will typically use massage techniques including tapping, kneading, and squeezing, as well as traditional massage strokes. Movement flow can be quick or drawn out, depending on a person’s needs. The overall approach increases circulation and lymphatic drainage. 

One of the most traditional Ayurvedic treatments, abhyanga uses friction-based strokes and warm dosha-specific oils. As the oil is massaged into the skin, it penetrates the tissues to loosen toxins at a cellular level. This style of massage promotes circulation, boosts immune system function, and creates deep relaxation in the mind and body.

We can also incorporate other Ayurvedic massage techniques into your massage such as:

Gandharva combines touch with sound therapy to improve energy flow. During this kind of massage, the therapist uses warm, herbal oils and crystal singing bowls to vibrate and transform the body’s cells. This treatment promotes vitality and blissfulness.

Marma points are vital life or energy points among the body, mind, and emotions. During a marma massage, dosha-specific essential oils are combined with a light, circular touch to stimulate these energy points. Marma massage awakens the body’s inner healing system, manipulates subtle energy or prana, relieves stiff muscles, and boosts circulation.

Vishesh is another rhythmic massage technique. It uses firm, slow strokes to elongate contracted muscles, break up adhesions, and help release deep-seated impurities. Little oil is used. If it follows Abhyanga massage, much of the surface oil is removed. This allows for a higher level of friction on the skin and deeper access to the tissues. Following a Vishesh massage, some say they feel light, loose, and relaxed.

We can combine these into a Massage Journey including five Ayurvedic techniques and is intended to work on the entire system—mental, physical, and energetic. It begins with Garshana, a dry-glove exfoliation that starts the detoxification process, stimulates the lymphatic system, and prepares the skin to absorb the oils.

Then comes Abhyanga, in which the body is covered in warm herbalised oil from scalp to toes with friction strokes that move the oil into the tissues to loosen and dislodge ama (toxins). Next, the slow, deep, penetrating strokes of Vishesh promote relaxation. The treatment concludes with Marma (see description above) and chakra balancing, using dosha-specific essential oils.

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