At The Endless Spa...
Here at the Endless Spa our licensed massage therapists speak with you privately prior to your session, addressing points of pain as well as any preferences concerning your personal comfort. With the information you provide, as well as our therapist’s expertise, you will likely experience a combination of these styles: shiatsu, Swedish massage, reflexology, deep fascia manipulation, athletic massage and cranial sacral therapy.
By Reinhard Bergel, Ph.D.
Once viewed as a luxury, massage has come to be recognized not only as a pampering procedure, but also as an alternative, medical treatment. According to a consumer survey sponsored by the American Massage Therapy Association, 77 percent of respondents said that their primary reason for receiving a massage in the past year was medical or stress-related. Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that medical centers and medical spas nationwide now offer massage as a form of patient treatment. The American Hospital Association recently surveyed 1,007 hospitals about their use of a complementary and alternative medicine therapies; more than 80 percent said they offered massage therapy. Upwards of 70 percent said they used massage for pain management and relief. The medical community is more accepting of massage therapy than ever before.
Massage The physiological effects of classic massage are primarily due to its regulatory influence on muscle tone. Muscular and connective tissues are capable of withstanding loosening and stretching exercises only after a massage. Research has shown that constriction of the capillaries in a muscle causes a high degree of conduction loss and cell degeneration as a result of a decrease in metabolism. Massage regulates muscle tone by enhancing circulation and localized metabolic rates. It also increases the flexibility of the muscle.
An effect on the subcutaneous fat layer and connective tissues, together with increased circulation in the muscle and skin, can be observed. Scientific findings concerning the effects of massage include the promotion of more rapid removal of metabolic wastes, the removal of old adhesions, the effect of reflex massage techniques at distant sites, and the reactive effects on the vascular system and the entire body. A massage can prepare the body for strengthening exercises by promoting the removal of waste materials in muscular and connective tissue. Moreover, massage has a positive effect on the human psyche. When performed correctly, it promotes relaxation, calm, and a general sense of well-being.
Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese massage technique developed from ancient Chinese acupressure and based on energy flow through pathways in the body. These energy pathways, or meridians, are usually divided into six passive and six active groups, which are related to particular organs and an interactive energy flow. Shiatsu uses hand manipulation to exert pressure, ranging from gentle to strong, on “trigger” points along the meridians. This pressure stimulates, calms and/or harmonizes the functions of both the body and mind, thus promoting and resulting in relaxation and reduction of stress. Shiatsu, by manipulation of pressure points along the meridians, balances the body’s energy flow and eliminates the possible existence of energy blockages.
Swedish Massage, based on a technique developed in 1812 by Per Henrik Ling, manipulates each part of the body through individual muscles by using percussive, tapping movements designed to stimulate the nervous system (a rolling movement of the fingers and vibration of the body.) A special formula of naturally-enriched massage oil or cream, beneficial for the skin, is used to reduce friction for smooth and gliding strokes. Applying a heat pack or using a sauna, whirlpool bath, or a hot shower to warm up the body before this massage is suggested.
Reflexology Early Chinese healers subscribed to the theory that the feet are, so to speak, the body’s computer; all energy pathways throughout the body converge in the feet and a corresponding reflex point in the feet represents each organ of the body. Reflexology uses pressure, rubbing, pulling, and massage of the proper points of the feet and ankles to release blockages in the corresponding organ. Where indicated, kinesiology, the science dealing with the interrelationship between physiological processes and anatomy with respect to movement, is also used to complement proper energy flow to achieve a feeling of well-being and aliveness.
Athletic Massage has been traced back to the Roman Empire. Athletes who participated in sports and gladiators who engaged in physical combat had a soothing massage after a long day of strenuous activity. To this day, professional athletes keep their bodies fine-tuned through massage. The theory of massage is that by working the whole body with deep, penetrating strokes and by the concentration of strokes on a particular muscle group, the muscles are stimulated and loosened. In addition, there is a therapeutic effect on problem areas. This massage can be used for clients that participate in all types of activities, including jogging, tennis, swimming, cycling, and skiing.
Cranial-Sacral Therapy Pioneered by William G. Sutherland in the 1920’s, cranial-sacral therapy is a branch of osteopathy that focuses on the study of the bones of the cranium and their relationship to ill health. It involves gently guiding and releasing tensions through very mild pressure on the different cranial bones near the sutures of the skull, where one bone lies next to another. Cranial-sacral therapy is reported to be effective in treating headaches, chronic ear infections, deafness, sinusitis, facial pain, and lower back pain.