Reflexology : Reiki : Indian Head Massage : Swedish Massage : Aromatherapy : Bach Flowers : InfraRed Heat Therapy
Reflexology or healing the body via the feet and hands dates as far back as ancient Egypt – where hieroglyphs of ‘physicians’ can be seen performing some kind of treatment feet and hands.
So is Reflexology just a foot massage?
Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet (or the hands or head). Reflexology is generally relaxing and may help alleviate stress, but it is much more than just a foot massage.
The theory behind reflexology is that areas of the foot correspond to organs and systems of the body. Pressure applied to the foot is believed to bring relaxation and healing to the corresponding area of the body.
Studies have shown that reflexology can reduce pain and psychological symptoms, such as stress and anxiety, and enhance relaxation and sleep.
The foot is certainly massaged, and comforted and manipulated, but reflexology is much more than a basic massage. The practitioner will use their hands – most often the thumb, to insert pressure on specific areas of the foot that relate to specific areas of the body. They will make note of any raised, dry, cracked or hardened areas and resistance or ‘bumpy’ areas and take note of any sensitivity reported by the patient.
In Winter, for example, many patients/clients might have tightened areas around the edge of the little toe – which has a reflex point to the shoulders, neck etc.: – this could be caused by hunching and tightening of the shoulders – often something we find ourselves doing in cold weather. Of course, there could be other reasons the shoulders feel tight, including carrying heavy weights, ergonomic issues such as too much driving or sitting awkwardly at an office desk, etc.
So Reflexology can alert the practitioner and the client to issues and strains elsewhere in the body. It can also help soothe those areas, without necessarily having to work directly upon them. Reflex points do include internal organs as well, which would be difficult to access. Reflexology is actually a whole-body treatment and is often used as a complimentary treatment in care centres and hospitals. And from a therapeutic point of view: many clients report it is extremely comforting and relaxing as a treatment.
What can I expect? The client is fully clothed and only needs to remove their shoes/socks for treatment. Clients might sit on a massage table with back support or a chair with reclining/leg raising operability. The therapist will most likely wipe down the client’s feet before treatment, or offer a foot spa/bath or steam as part of the start of the treatment. This can be soothing and cleansing, and help clean the feet and prepare them for treatment. The practitioner may use powder or lotion or cream to help them work on the feet. They may use a cream that includes soothing qualities, such as peppermint and/or lavender for example. After the treatment (or sometimes before), you may be offered infra-red light therapy to help alleviate pain if you have specific joint pain or inflammation. This is offered at Driftwood Holistic. If you have any questions, speak to your therapist – they will be happy to discuss if Reflexology is a good option for you.
Reiki is an ancient healing technique, originating from Dr Mikao Usui in Japan around 1922, however, it is believed people may have practiced this treatment for over two thousand years.
The word “Reiki” means “mysterious atmosphere, miraculous sign.” It comes from the Japanese words “rei,” meaning universal, and “ki,” meaning life energy.
Reiki is a type of energy healing. Reiki theory explains that energy can stagnate in the body where there has been physical injury or even emotional pain. In time, these energy blocks can cause illness. By allowing the reiki energy to flow through them into the client, that energy flows into the client’s body where it relieves pain, speeds healing, enables relaxation and can reduce other symptoms of illness.
For a Reiki treatment, the client will be fully-clothed, and can expect to lay down on a massage table, usually laying on their back to start, and moving to lay on their front halfway through the treatment. The pracitioner may lay their hands on different positions on the client’s body throughout the treatment. Sometimes the practitioner may not actually touch the client, but may hold their hands just above/over the body areas. Towards the end of the session (and sometimes during), the Reiki practioner may move their hands above the client’s body as they work on chakra energies.
By the end of the treatment, the client may feel deeply relaxed and in a very calm state.
Indian Head Massage:
Indian head massage, also known as champissage, is a treatment that focuses on massaging acupressure points along the head, neck, upper back area and shoulders. The therapist will use movements used in swedish massage, such as petrissage, effleurage, vibrations and tapotement on the back and neck, and then tapping, hair pulling, and massage strokes on the head face, and neck. Oils are optional for this treatment, though beneficial for the upper back massage, and can also be beneficial for the scalp, though clients concerned with excess oil/greasy hair may request no oil or minimal oil.
This treatment has been performed for centuries and used to be performed within families: you are likely to see pictures of a child providing the treatment to their parent, who provides treatment to the grandparent, for example.
This treatment can be performed in a massage chair, or sitting and resting head down (for part of the treatment) on to a pillow. Clothes can be kept on, however some clients may wish to remove their top clothing or pull materials down to bare their shoulders if using oils on the back. A towel can be provided if required.
Treatment typically begins with an upper back massage, leading to the neck. Then the therapist will work on the head and neck, moving to the face. The client will then go back to resting on the pillow or face-rest cushion as the practitioner finishes once again on the back massage.
This treatment is wonderful for a quick back and shoulders massage and also for the scalp and hair and can act as a natural face-lift also! The treatment is a little shorter in length than a traditional full body massage, and clients can expect to feel in a very calm and relaxed state at completion.
Swedish massage is a therapeutic massage, performed by a variety of massage techniques, such as: Effleurage (the typical long stroking technique often assumed a massage consists of, Petrissage – can be wringing, or squeezing and kneading of skin/muscles, etc., and vibrations/tapotement – which can range from tapping to cupping and chopping onto the body with the hands. This is the more percussive sounding action associated with massage. These movements/actions can help soothe, encourage/stimulate blood flow, open channels, and loosen muscles, which are all an essential part of the therapeutic massage process.
A typical treatment could be a full body of one side (front or back) or both the front and back of the body, and would consist of work on the following areas: back/chest, neck, shoulders, arms, legs and feet. A massage base oil is used for this treatment.
A personalized aromatherapy blend can be added to the treatment, as can hot stones or infra-red on problematic areas. One side full body treatment can take between 40-60 mins, both sides approx. 1-1.5hrs and possibly longer with any additional oil consultation, hot stones or red light therapy.
Aromatherapy and Essential Oils:
Aromatherapy is an holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant oil extracts, called Essential Oils, to promote health and well-being. Aromatherapy uses these aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. Through sense of smell, aromatherapy enhances both physical and emotional health.
Aromatherapy can promote relaxation and help relieve stress, and can also be used to help treat a wide range of physical and mental conditions, including burns, infections, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure, to name but a few.
Aromatherapy can be used as part of a massage treatment, and used with a base oil (such as almond oil, or jojoba or grapeseed, for example) – where the therapist would use add this oil to help them perform the specific massage techniques for the massage treatment. A consultation would most likely be carried out prior to the treatment, to disclose any current discomfort the client may be experiencing – whether that be emotionally, physically or mentally. A blend would then be mixed to address the issues uncovered.
An aromatherapy blend can also be used in a bath (a few drops of essential oil or a specific blend added to the running bath, for example), or applied directly to skin (only specific oils – please consult your therapist), added to an atomizer or other diffuser for scenting a room, or even on fabric for keeping garments/clothing fresh. Certain oils can be used as perfumes or atomizers also.
Bach Flower Remedies:
Bach Flower Remedies are made from wild flowers and are safe for the whole family including pets.
The original Bach Flower Remedies are a safe and natural method of healing discovered by Dr. Bach from 1920 – 1930’s in England. They gently restore the balance between mind and body by removing negative emotions such as fear, worry, hatred and indecision, which interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. The Bach Flower Remedies allow peace and happiness to return to the sufferer so that the body is free to heal itself.
Alongside the now very famous Bach Rescue Remedy (which is a combination of a prepared blend of specific flowers aimed at helping those feeling in a crisis), there are 32 flower remedies, which each relate to a specific emotion or feeling or fear/concern. Following a questionnaire and consultation with a practitioner, a combination of up to 7 flowers can be mixed together, depending on the client’s concerns, worries and/or issues – and can be provided for the client to then take drops of throughout the day (in a glass or water/juice or direct on the tongue). Remedies can be stored for months (over a year usually) in a cool place, or fridge, and used as and when the client feels they can help their emotional state. New remedies can be prescribed/mixed, should feelings and/or emotional states change or progress.
Bach flower remedies can be taken alongside other prescribed medication, without any issues. The remedies are preserved in grape based brandy and are gluten free. Although the brandy is miniscule, alcohol-free options are also available.
InfraRed Light Therapy:
Infrared therapy is a new and innovative light-based method to treat pain and inflammation in various parts of the body. The infrared light can penetrate the body and get into the joints and muscles to soothe aches, pains and inflammation.