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Myofascial. You’ve seen it advertised but have you ever really stopped to learn what it is? Odds are good you haven’t, unless you’ve suddenly found yourself in need of this type of service.

Like most therapies or practices that are available but not well known, myofascial release is a specialized practice that can be learned by massage therapists. It is used to treat somatic dysfunction and the accompanying pain and restriction on movement. The primary goal of this type of therapy is to relax the contracted muscles, increase circulation, increase venous and lymphatic drainage and stimulate the stretch reflex of the muscles.

Back to Basics:

If you are confused, don’t be embarrassed. Understanding the nuances of massage therapy and what it can do for the body is a specialized practice that many people spend years studying and perfecting as a technique.

Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that supports and protects most structures (including muscle) in the human body. This tissue can become restricted over time due to a number of factors including: psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity. This can lead to pain, muscle tension and decreased blood flow to the affected areas. The result inflammation can occur and this is where myofascial release is utilized by therapists.

Myofascial is defined as a chronic muscle pain around sensitive areas called “trigger points”. This type of pain can be felt as headaches, jaw or neck pain, lower back/pelvis pain or in the arms and legs. This is not a temporary pain caused by working out or physical exertion – it is a chronic condition that persists over long periods on time.

There are two main types of myofascial release used: active and passive. In active therapy the client provides resistance, while in passive therapy the client remains relaxed. These can both involve direct and indirect techniques.

Direct myofascial release (also known as “deep tissue work”) works on the restricted fascia. This intensive method works on relaxing the contracted muscles utilizing the therapists knuckles, hands and other specialized tools. The therapist will work slowly through the layers of fascia until the deep tissue is reached.

Indirect myofascial release focuses on gentle stretching and allowing the fascia to “unwind”. This allows for the body to heal itself with the assistance of mild therapeutic techniques to assist in the process.

Consult with your doctor to determine what type of treatment will be best for your myofascial condition. Depending on the location and level of discomfort your doctor may recommend physical therapy, medications or certain injections. Do not receive treatment from a therapist without first consulting with your health care provider. Ask questions if you are uncomfortable or unsure about this technique.

Myofascial pain is a difficult condition to bear but can be helped several ways. Talk to your physician today and learn if a myofascial therapy treatment may be your next step towards pain relief.

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With so many types of massage and alternative therapies available today, it can be difficult to understand just what services a massage therapist is offering to you when you book an appointment at your local day spa. Although you don’t need to understand the intricacies of every type of massage out there, a basic understanding of any service you are about to receive is important for you and the therapist. The key to massage is clear communication between the therapist and client so your needs are met and the therapist can adjust treatment for your specific goals and requirements.

Reiki massage does not actually exist as a type of massage therapy. Reiki actually refers to the usage of spiritual energy to heal a person’s aura or situation. Massage can be incorporated into massage therapy however and many massage therapists receive training to combine the two practices and promote spiritual and physical well-being. But what should you, as a client, expect during your visit?

A typical Reiki massage will begin at the head and the therapist will cover the seven chakras or energy centers of the body. Reiki massage would be very different for someone expecting a traditional massage that involves kneading and muscle work. A therapist performing Reiki will actually keep their hands still during the appointment and the healing energy is sent through channels from the practitioner to the client.

A massage without muscle work may not seem like a massage to you so let’s take a look at what the benefit of Reiki massage offers to clients. Reiki is used to treat many different conditions including TMJ (sometimes called lock-jaw), muscle pain, tension, stress and injury healing and pain management (just to name a few).

Reiki massage does not require skin-to-skin contact and as a client, you should experience no ill side effects from this type of treatment. Reiki therapists are taught meditation and hand placements for the seven areas of the body. Reiki therapists transfer energy to the body and remove negative energy – treatment for different conditions or concerns may be fast or occur over a period of time. This is true of any type of therapy as severe conditions may require extensive treatments to obtain maximum benefits.

Reiki massage is certainly not for everyone and this article is not meant to encourage reiki as an alternative to more traditional therapies for medical conditions. Understanding treatments offered is the first step towards becoming a more knowledgeable client and make your massage therapy beneficial. If you don’t believe in or support Reiki try working with your massage therapist to find a type that is more aligned with your needs and goals.

As Western culture seeks new and more holistic methods for treating certain ailments, there are many that have been brought over from China and Japan and slowly introduced into United States culture. Always consult with your primary health care physician before utilizing any alternative therapies to know if they are safe and recommended. Some medical conditions are not conducive to receiving massage and any known medical problems should be reported to your massage therapist prior to your session.

Aromatherapy is a service growing in popularity across the United States as people seek new ways to decrease stress and increase their energy through natural and holistic means. This technique blends the use of essential oils with therapeutic massage body work to relieve tension, stimulate relaxation of the mind and help increase the energy flow throughout the body. Aromatherapy seeks to utilize the power of your senses to indulge your body and mind throughout your experience.

The use of essential oils is pivotal to any aromatherapy treatment because it is these specific oils that will provide many of the benefits this service offers. “Essential oils” is a general term that includes natural, aromatic, volatile, plant oils and absolutes. These are often coupled with other natural ingredients to increase the effects such as oils, powders, sugars, clays and mud. These combinations will not only provide the stimulation to your senses through scent but your skin will benefit as well from the ingredients of the natural products.

Essential oils are NOT the same as perfumed oils and this distinction should be clearly understood. Perfumed/fragrant oils have synthetic chemicals added to them and will not provide therapeutic benefits for the body. These products are not regulated however, so it is important to really understand the ingredients of any oils and understand if they are true essential oils designed for aromatherapy or not.

Aromatherapy is the unique combination of the healing powers found within all natural ingredients and the benefits offered through intense muscle massage and bodywork. Therapists trained in aromatherapy are skilled in determining the correct balance of oils, natural products and technique that will benefits the client to the fullest extent possible. Some therapists are trained in holistic techniques that utilize the benefits of aromatherapy as a treatment for many chronic health conditions.

As with any type of massage therapy, the benefits will depend entirely on the individual receiving the treatment. Although massage therapy offers many health benefits, this therapy should not be used in place of other therapies. Aromatherapy is a treatment that can be enjoyed by anyone and should be seen as an indulgent experience that will provide a temporary escape from the stresses of everyday life and stimulate the mind and body. This can be a wonderful gift for someone in your life or a chance to give yourself the gift of relaxation.

Learn more today by visiting http://www.bellaninadayspa.com or visit our sister company http://www.bellaninainstitute.com for more information about essential oils and massage therapy continuing education opportunities!