What is Holistic Massage Therapy?

stacked stones on beach

With many different methods of treatment available, you are sure to find something that will best suit your needs. For some, holistic massage therapy provides a non-intrusive way of healing that is derived from the direct needs of their body. Holistic massage therapy is “an individual treatment that is specifically tailored to each client” and considers their mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, according to the Massage Training Institute in the UK. The National Holistic Institute claims that holistic modalities of massage can include shiatsu, traditional Chinese medicine, hand and foot reflexology, acupressure, energy work, rocking and shaking, and Thai massage. As you can see, these forms of massage take a more Eastern approach as compared to Western approaches, which include hot stone massage, aromatherapy, prenatal massage, deep tissue massage, and more.

Massage therapy has been known to alleviate pain, such as lower back pain, neck and joint pain, headaches, and more. Sore muscles, increased circulation, increased nerve flow, lower blood pressure, improved immune system, ease of depression and anxiety, increased flexibility and mobility, and reduced inflammation are a few other benefits that holistic massage therapy can provide. The following go into more detail about each type of holistic massage therapy:

  • Shiatsu – meaning “finger pressure” and an ancient technique from Japan, this method combines gentle stretches of the finger to find various pressure points on the client.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine – herbal medicine and acupuncture are a few techniques that fall under this category, and they have been known to help with headaches, nausea, and premenstrual syndrome.
  • Hand & Foot Reflexology – based on practices that have been used in various cultures for thousands of years, this method focuses on specific “reflex” points on the hands and feet that correspond to every part of the body for healing.
  • Acupressure – refers to the gentle pressure of the fingers on points that are located on major “meridians”, with the main goal of balancing the body’s energy
  • Energy work – the Chinese concept of “chi” refers to one’s life force energy, and energy work uses body electricity to balance out the person’s energy field
  • Rocking & Shaking – simple as it sounds, rocking and shaking, just as what may have comforted you as a child, has been shown to relax muscles, calm the nervous system, and bring the body to balance.
  • Thai Massage – often described as having someone “perform yoga on you”, this practice involves rhythmic pressure on your body, thumb pressure along certain lines, and stretches.

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