Holistic massage for relaxation, health and vitality
I have recently, well in July actually, completed an ITEC based Diploma course in Holistic Massage which was being run at Newbury College. It was a wonderful experience and apart from making some good friends I acquired a new skill and found that I really enjoyed giving massage.
There were many times during the course when I wished I had paid at least cursory attention in biology lessons at school as I needed to learn a good deal about the various systems of the body and how they interact. I was continually amazed by just how wonderfully complex our bodies are and especially how clever they are trying to keep us healthy and in balance, even in the face of opposition in the form of our habits and behaviours.
As a hypnotist I know of a number of conditions for which hypnotherapy is not advised or permitted, however I was surprised at just how many more there are for which massage is contra-indicated.
As well as the formal lectures and practicing on each other, I was required to give massages to clients and provide written evidence of treatments together with more in-depth written case studies detailing sessions with learning points. After initially struggling to find people on whom I could practice, I ended up with a number of willing volunteers who reported feeling better and more relaxed after their sessions.
The course followed the academic year so we started in September 2012 and took our final practical and theory exams in June and July. In fact my sojourn at Glastonbury split those last exams and I would have had more time to revise if I hadn’t ended up being so busy hypnotising people at the Festival. As it turned out however I achieved a ‘Merit’ pass which was very rewarding.
For those of you who have never had a massage and even for those who have, you may be surprised about the benefits you can expect from a treatment. Yes, for most people the mere fact of being massaged and looked after is a wonderful and relaxing experience. The effects of massage can go deeper than that though.
For Holistic massage, which is also known as Swedish massage, the main benefits are indeed to reduce stress and tension, promote a feeling of well being and calm the mind. However there are a number of reasons for this and the other benefits of massage which result from the physical effects of stroking and manipulating muscles and joints in the body.
Massage helps to promote a feeling of relaxation because it has been shown to directly affect the hormones and neurotransmitters that have been linked to all forms of depression.
It helps recipients to enjoy a greater feeling of well-being because it increases secretion of serotonin and dopamine which are the natural feel good chemicals that our bodies produce.
A massage treatment also decreases the amount of cortisol and adrenaline which are the stress hormones of our bodies and so aids relaxation.
It stimulates blood flow especially to the organs and muscles. This can reduce the effects of muscle strains and help muscles recover after exertion. It also encourages organs to function more efficiently.
Another important outcome is that it stimulates the operation of the lymphatic system which helps to remove toxins from the body more effectively.
Massage also activates the functions of the skin by promoting blood flow to the various outer layers of the body.
So the next time you have a massage or decide to try one for the first time just remember what is happening inside of you to help you enjoy those feelings of relaxation and contentment and take a moment to marvel at the ability of your body to heal and repair itself.