The chances are that most of you reading this will be familiar with massages – what they are, why you may need them and how they can help. Some of you will likely have had a massage before, perhaps to help with stiff muscles or as a way to alleviate pain and/or tension. Yet how many of you have heard of a holistic massage and considered the potential benefits this kind of therapy could have?
We’re going to explain what holistic means when applied to health and well-being and how a holistic massage differs from anything you’ve had before. Grab yourself a cup of tea and get ready as you start on your holistic journey with us.
A holistic approach to health
The term ‘holistic’ is medically defined as the treatment of the whole person. This means that every aspect of an individual is taken into account – the physical body, the mind and the spirit. Every part of the body is looked at and treated, leaving the client feeling calm, balanced and relaxed. Holistic treatments are often classed as complementary, or alternative treatments. This means that they are either used alongside, or in place of, more traditional types of medical treatment to achieve the desired effect and often present with fewer side effects than traditional medicines. Sometimes holistic therapies can also be considered as a more natural approach to health too. You would expect this kind of therapy to look at any physical ailment alongside emotional issues, the way a person lives their lives and any historical events that have occurred as well.
A holistic analogy
In order to better understand what holistic means for us, we’ve come up with an analogy that we hope helps. Cars are made up of lots of different parts, each one performing a distinct, yet important function. In order for the car to work properly, everything needs to work together effectively – if the headlights kept repeatedly flickering you’d want to fix them, but you’d also want to find out why this fault kept happening. Is there something underlying causing this to happen? This would ensure that you not only stopped the flickering at that particular point in time, but you also could hopefully prevent it from happening in the future.
This is how a holistic practitioner works – targeting the problem areas in our bodies whilst also checking that everything else is running smoothly. Helping to reduce back pain via complementary therapies is one thing, understanding the underlying cause of the pain and treating that at the same time is another. If you think about it, this approach makes perfect sense. When you consider that all the different parts of our bodies have to work together to help us function in society…why should the way we treat our health and wellbeing not do the same?
When we have a massage, the masseuse will use touch as a way to treat our bodies. This touch can impact on our skin, our muscles and our circulatory systems too. Many of us will book a massage as we are experiencing a specific symptom, such as back pain or muscular tension. Others may be living with certain health conditions where massage can help to alleviate any associated pain or discomfort. You can’t underestimate the impact any kind of physical complaint can have on the day-to-day life of an individual. We may feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious, and that the prospect of a ‘normal’ life is a distant dream we can’t quite grasp.
Yet what about our emotions, and how they impact on our health? We know that there’s a very real relationship between the two, especially in situations where stress and anxiety are paramount. Unfortunately for many of us, stress is just a part of our everyday lives. Having the means to reduce our stress can then have knock-on effects on our physical health, and this is where holistic massage comes in. We talk about stress later in the article, so keep reading to find out more.
Holistic massage, therefore, is a therapy targeting both physical problems alongside the emotional state of an individual - part of the body is left untouched (either physically or metaphorically), offering a more complete approach to treatment.
It’s also worth taking a little bit of time to mention the holistic masseuse carrying out this type of therapy. It’s advisable to choose a masseuse that has been properly trained in the field and continues to learn about the latest techniques. This will help to ensure they are carrying out massages to the best of their ability (and to your benefit).
Techniques used during a holistic massage
A holistic massage can utilise a range of techniques to treat a person as a whole. This means that each therapy session is bespoke, taking into account the specific needs of the client. The techniques used can also differ depending on what problem is trying to be addressed. This flexibility means that a holistic massage will work when you need it to and on areas of your body that need it most, rather than employing a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
So what kind of techniques could you expect during your massage? There are lots of different methods to choose from, and what you end up having will directly depend on your specific circumstances and situations. We’ve listed a few here to get you started in any case. Techniques typically used during Swedish massage may be applied during holistic massage - think along the lines of kneading (petrissage) and stroking (effleurage) here. Cupping and plucking movements may be employed, whilst more intense movements may also be carried out if required. More delicate techniques may be used in cases where energy fields are being ‘worked on’ to help them become balanced and work in sync. Your holistic masseuse might suggest the use of essential oils throughout your therapy too.
Don’t worry if you’re still not sure what technique is going to be right for you. Your masseuse will be able to tell you what they think is the best option for you at the time of your therapy. We recommend you talk to your masseuse before your massage takes place and see what they advise. This is going to be the best way to ensure you get the most from your holistic massage, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Advantages of having a holistic massage
Now you know what a holistic massage is, how do you decide if this is the kind of treatment you’re looking for? Whilst that’s a decision that only you can make, we’ve got one word for you that may make things clearer – stress. We told you we would be talking about stress again as for those of us living in Western society, this can be a real affliction in our lives. Our fast-paced way of living leaves little time for rest and relaxation and leaves the door wide open for stress, anxiety and tension. We’ve all adopted a ‘want it, buy it, get it’ attitude where when we want something, we want it as soon as possible (who hasn’t taken advantage of same-day delivery?), and for lots of us, the traditional 9-5 lifestyle is all but a distant memory. We are often expected to be available to others around the clock, putting our own needs and desires on hold. This way of living will eventually take a toll on our minds and bodies, and inevitably leave us feeling stressed, on edge and feeling overwhelmed.
As a treatment for tense and/or stiff muscles, circulatory issues and chronic pain, holistic massages (as with more ‘traditional’ massages) are able to offer relief. This means that any physical pains we experience should be reduced making it easier for us to cope. However, this kind of complementary therapy will also work with our emotions, simultaneously promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels too. Furthermore, on a spiritual level, our energy levels can be improved, and our sense of awareness strengthened. Often we can lose our sense of purpose and belonging in the world, and a holistic massage may be able to help reinforce our place in the world. Don’t forget that our bodies possess innate healing properties, and this kind of therapy can help to employ these and aid us with healing organically.
You may also find that particular health conditions and disease could benefit from having a holistic massage. Talking to your masseuse about your symptoms is vital to help them better understand how they can treat you effectively…and how they can treat ALL of you altogether.
Want to know more?
We know how beneficial massage therapy can be, and how regular sessions can help to reduce stress and enhance relaxation. A holistic massage offers an additional layer to the client, pulling together the physical, emotional and spiritual elements of the body. If you’re thinking about ways you can reduce the impact stress has on your life, or want to know more about how using our Pinpoint Pro™️ Massage Gun can benefit you, check it out here