In early December 2016, I completed a training in Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy.
In this method of bodywork, the massage therapist relies on his/her feet to give the massage and uses ceiling bars for balance and support.
The name Ashiatsu has its roots in Asian language, “Ashi” meaning foot and “atsu” meaning pressure.
The pressure with the foot is amazing. It’s a more even pressure, deep, but luxurious.” ~Jessie
Ashiatsu is extremely fun and fulfilling to give and wonderful to receive! It provides a technique for the massage therapist to work deeply, using more gravitational force and less muscle than in other bodywork modalities. The resulting massage is very smooth, featuring long continuous strokes with consistent pressure.
I believe Ashiatsu can be an effective way to help many people deal with chronic pain, tight muscles and general body stiffness. In addition, this work promotes a very deep state of relaxation. I am excited to share it with you!
The ability of massage to promote relaxation is widely accepted. It has been used for stress reduction and pain relief around the world throughout the ages. As long ago as the 5th century, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, wrote, “the physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly also in rubbing.”
Research demonstrates benefits
Modern research, such as studies by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, have demonstrated that massage is extraordinary in its ability to reduce the effects of stress and promote well-being. A recent Colorado study conducted on infants diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease showed that massage significantly reduced stress (measured by salivary cortisol levels) and babies in the study receiving massage showed fewer symptoms of their disease.
Massage Improves Our Bodies’ Functioning
Stress is inevitable in our modern world and while it can have the positive effect of improving performance, problems can arise when we experience an overload of stress for too long. Our bodies can lose their ability to work at their best. Therapeutic massage can provide a break from the buildup of stress and trigger the “relaxation response,” a natural function of the nervous system that can reverse the effects of excess stress. This can help ease stress-related conditions such as muscle tension, chronic headaches, digestive problems, and sleep disturbances.
In addition to promoting relaxation, massage directly supports the body in coping with the effects of stress because one of the key benefits of therapeutic massage is improved circulation. Good circulation is essential to bring oxygen and nutrients to aid in healing tissues and removing waste products, both important functions in helping the body cope with stress.
Mind and Body Awareness Increase with Massage
Massage therapy can help increase awareness of sensations and feeling in your body and foster greater understanding of its signals. As you get to know your body with massage you may be better able to listen to your need to take breaks at work or stretch after exercising. Increased awareness may even inspire you to spend more time doing the things you love, like painting, gardening or hiking.
Consider the value of massage when you need a break from the demands of your everyday life. The resulting deep relaxation and release of tension provide a valuable and enjoyable way to promote health and well being.
I really like this video on tennis ball self-massage because the chiropractor, Dr. Paula Moore, clearly explains and demonstrates how to use tennis balls to help release your own tense, knotted muscles in the low back. This, and other self-help techniques like it, can address soreness and tightness that may develop between massages. Additionally, self-treatment methods such as this one can extend the time your body can feel the benefits of a massage session.
Even though you are busy, remember your body and mind are wired to need breaks from stress. By making an appointment for a massage, you are giving your body that much-needed break. Here are five ideas to maximize the relaxing benefits and help you turn your massage session into a mini-retreat.
1.To extend the feelings of deep relaxation after your massage, try to schedule your massage sessions after significant events such as presentations, parties, meetings, etc., so you can fully unwind and not have to gear yourself up for something that requires significant effort and concentration on your part.
2. If possible, soak in a hot tub or bath before your massage to give your muscles a chance to warm and relax. Adding herbs such as lavender, rosemary or chamomile will enhance relaxation.
3. Don’t go back to work or run errands afterward. Go home and avoid the computer and telephone. Lie down, listen to music, or do simple activities such as reading or folding laundry to keep your mind in a dreamy state
4. Take a leisurely walk or simply sit by a window with a view of trees, water or a garden. Relax your eyes and focus on the colors and textures of the earthly environment.
5. Before bed the evening after your massage, drink a cup of herb tea such as chamomile or lavender to help you sleep.
With its warmer temperatures and long days, summer is an ideal time for exercising. In addition to its physical benefits, exercise can also make significant contributions to a person’s psychological and emotional well being, making it an important part of achieving and maintaining health. Massage, with its relaxing and soothing benefits and its ability to release muscle tension, can supplement any exercise program for greater effectiveness, comfort and enjoyment.
Regular exercise strengthens your body and improves your mood. Exercise also reduces stress in several ways. It helps decrease physical tension and mental stress including anxiety and depression. Taking a brisk walk, riding a bike or working out for even half an hour can balance your mood, change your day around and help you sleep better. Engaging in physical activity outside during the day also gives you exposure to light and fresh air, both of which can do wonders to boost your spirits, especially in the cooler, darker months. The Mayo Clinic supports exercise as a stress reducer, saying that focusing on the task of exercising can result in a calmer, clearer mind.
You may find it easier and less painful to exercise and stretch appropriately if you receive massage. Try scheduling a massage for the hours after you exercise, or schedule massage more regularly, and see if you feel a difference.
For serious athletes, a specialized mode of massage called sports massage, has been developed. While not used much by most of the exercising public, sports massage, which is generally given right before an athletic competition, can enhance physical performance and reduce injuries.
Whatever your exercise program, keep in mind these contributions massage can make and consider adding massage to complement your fitness regimen.
relieve areas of chronic tension
increase your sense of energy
help prevent injury by lengthening muscle fibers and increasing circulation to muscles
reduce soreness from overexertion
reduce swelling and build-up of irritating waste products in your tissues
help heal injuries by improving the flow of oxygen and nutrients to recovering tissues
improve the circulation around joints and promote joint mobility
The guiding principle of Alison Trowbridge Massage Therapy is that massage, when performed with full attention and focus, can have profound benefits for an individual’s overall health and well-being. Alison believes massage can help people achieve levels of physical, emotional and spiritual relaxation that otherwise may be missing from their lives.