Archive for March, 2014

Which Asian Massage?

March 25th, 2014

A common question for people looking to go for some form of relaxation therapy such as massage is which type of Asian Massage to go for ? This is a very good question as there really are so many different types and the answer really is that it depends! It really depends on what you are going for to say what might be more suitable.

A Thai massage for example is very good for improving flexibility and is often compared to Yoga for how vigorous and exercise it can sometimes be. This will involve lots of stretching and manipulating of different parts of the body. It is also said to be very good for back pain and arthritis. It is said that the combination of physical and energetic aspects of the massage is really what makes the massage so effective and this is probably one of the reasons that Asian massage has become so popular right today!

Another popular form of Asian Massage would have to be Japanese Massage or Shiatsu as it is more commonly known. This involves the masseuse applying pressure to the pressure points in order to stimulate ‘Ki’ which is the Japanese word for energy through the body. Shiatsu is also used as a preventative measure and quite often patients will use it to maintain good health. added to this it is said to be very good at helping to relieve stress, calming the nervous system and also stimulating the immune system.

There are also lots of other forms of Asian Massage such as Chinese and Korean for example but Thai and Japanese are perhaps the most popular right now in the UK with considerable amount of practitioners available.


10 Embarrassing Massage Questions

March 25th, 2014

By Cindy Wong

1) Am I supposed to tip?

If you get a massage at a spa or hotel, a 15% to 20% tip is standard if you were pleased with the services.

On the other hand, there are no real ground rules or norms when it comes to massage in a medical setting. Some massage therapists and massage associations I asked said tipping isn’t appropriate in a medical or clinical setting.

If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask if tipping is customary. You can call ahead to ask if you don’t want to do it face to face.

If tipping isn’t the norm, you can always show your appreciation by referring friends, family and co-workers to the massage therapist.

2) Am I supposed to take off my underwear?

Many people prefer to keep their panties or briefs on during a massage, while others prefer to be completely nude. It’s up to you.

If your problem areas are your lower back, hips, buttocks, or groin, tight-fitting underwear can sometimes get in the way of massage work, but a thong for women or briefs for men should do the trick.

In North America, if you do remove your underwear, licensed massage therapists must ensure that you are always properly covered by a sheet or towel. Only the area being massaged will be uncovered.

3) What if I realize I’ve drooled?

Many people fall into a peaceful slumber during the massage but when they wake up, they notice a pool of drool on the pillow or massage table. This is very common. It often happens when people are being massaged while lying face down on the massage table.

Don’t be afraid to ask the massage therapist for a tissue.

4) Will the massage therapist be there when I undress?

In North America, the massage therapist will leave the room so that you can remove your clothing and lie on the massage table (usually face down) under the top sheet.

Don’t rush or worry that the massage therapist will walk in on you — the massage therapist always knocks and asks if you are ready before entering the massage room.

5) Should I talk during the massage?

Although some people prefer to talk throughout the massage, don’t feel like you have to make conversation with the massage therapist. After all, you’re having a treatment, you’re not at a cocktail party!

Feel free to close your eyes and relax, which is what most people do.

Deep tissue massage and sports massage are just some of the types of massage that require more feedback. The massage therapist often works on deeper layers of muscle and will want to ensure that the pressure is not uncomfortable.

Be sure to speak up if:

the room is too hot or too cold
you experience pain
you have any questions related to the massage
there’s anything you forgot to mention during the consultation

6) What if I get an erection?

Some men don’t get massage therapy because they worry that they’ll get an erection. Or they get the massage, but are unable to relax during the massage because of this fear.

But there is no reason to be embarrassed. It’s perfectly normal for men to get an erection during a non-sexual, therapeutic massage.

Gentle touch administered to any area of the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and cause a partial or full erection. Your massage therapist (male or female) understands this and will generally ignore it.

If you are still worried, you may wish to wear a men’s bikini bathing suit during the massage, which provides more support than boxers.

7) How do I know if it’s a legitimate clinic?

Although you might think massage parlors that offer sensual or erotic massage may look obviously seedy, it can be sometimes be difficult to spot these places.

If you’re trying a new clinic or spa, it’s a good idea to call first and ask these questions:

Do you offer therapeutic massage?
Is the massage therapist certified or licensed?
Do you require a health questionnaire of your clients?

A licensed massage therapist will not come into contact with your genitals or nipples during the massage.

8) The pressure isn’t deep enough, but I don’t want to insult the therapist’s technique. What should I do?

Communicate openly with the massage therapist. Keep in mind however that it’s a myth that massage therapy has to hurt to be effective.

Some of the most effective types of massage therapy are gentle and do not involve deep pressure or pain. In fact, too much pressure can cause muscles to seize up.

Here is a good rule of thumb — on a scale of one to 10 where one is no pain and 10 is extremely painful, the pressure should always be less than seven.

9) I’m self-conscious about a certain part of my body and don’t want the therapist to see me. What can I do?

People are self-conscious for various reasons. Some of the more common concerns are:

I’m overweight.
I have excessive hair growth on my body.
I’ve got acne on my face or back.
My feet are ugly.
I have scars.

Being self-conscious should never keep you from seeking health care, whether it’s visiting your doctor or seeing a massage therapist.

If you’re self-conscious about a certain part of your body, you can ask the massage therapist to avoid that area.

Or, you can opt for a therapy that is done through clothing, such as shiatsu or Thai massage. Because no massage oil or lotion is used, you remain fully clothed during the session.

You can even bring your own comfortable clothes to wear.

Just remember to provide complete and accurate information on your health history form, so that the massage therapist is aware of any precautions or contraindications.

10) I’d rather see a female therapist. Should I request this?

Some men don’t feel comfortable having a massage by a male massage therapist. It may be due to outdated social and media stereotypes of the profession or the fear of getting an erection during the massage.

Erection is a common physiological response that happens when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated by touch anywhere on the body.)

Some women also prefer a female massage therapist because they say they feel more comfortable.

This doesn’t just apply to massage therapy. A University of Michigan study found that 43 percent of women preferred a female doctor for a colonoscopy. Of these women, 87 percent said they would be willing to wait more than 30 days to get an appointment with a female colonoscopist, and 14 percent would be willing to pay more for one.

Unfortunately, men who choose to become massage therapists are often unprepared for the discrimination they face. When clients request female over male therapists, spas stop hiring them, however skilled they are.

That’s why I believe it’s important to challenge your preconceptions. Here are some tips to help you:

If you see other practitioners in the clinic or spa, ask if you could meet the massage therapist before you book the appointment.

Try booking a massage at a health club or a clinic, where there’s usually a higher percentage of male clientele and staff.

You may wish to start with an active form of massage, such as deep tissue or sports massage or a type of massage that is done fully clothed, such as shiatsu or Thai massage.


Acupuncture, is it right for me?

March 25th, 2014



Simply mentioning Acupuncture evokes a myriad of reactions. Everything from curiosity to downright fear. I have been receiving Acupuncture for about a year and a half to help me with my daily struggles with Sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis (pronounced SAR-COY-DOE-SIS) is a potentially fatal inflammatory disease that can appear in almost any organ in the body. Although the lungs are affected in more than 90% of patients, the disease often attacks the heart, eyes, central nervous system, liver and kidneys. The cause remains unknown and there is no cure.

The decision to try acupuncture to control the vast symptoms of my disease was an attempt to avoid the treatments offered by the medical profession. The 2 most common treatments are large doses of steroids to attempt to force the disease into a remission or methotrexate, which is a chemotherapy treatment. Both of these options have devastating, long lasting side effects and are not a cure, but rather a temporary patch. I was not willing to simply accept that these were my only options for treating the disease.

I spent many hours researching alternative treatments and began taking large doses of bio-available curcumin, which is an turmeric (herbal) extract. This did help with the inflammation, and resulting pain. Then a friend told me about Acupuncture and I decided to do some more research. I made the decision to give it a shot and the results have been very promising. I have reduced my cur-cumin intake to almost nothing, and only take it when I know I will be on my feet for very long periods of time or if I am experiencing a surge in pain from inflammation.

So what is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles at specific points in the body to redirect the flow of Qi(energy) in order to help the body heal and strengthen itself. The location of the needles is specific to the conditions being treated and will vary from treatment to treatment.

The question I am most often asked is, Does it hurt? No. The entire process can actually be very relaxing and I often doze off . The treatment time is about 1 hour but the insertion of the needles takes only minutes. At times, you may feel a tingle or sting when the needle is inserted. My Acupuncturist explains that this indicates a possible blockage in the energy flow and the insertion of the needle is opening the flow to restore normal function. Once the insertion is complete, you are then left to relax for about 45 minutes. Often times there is heat applied to areas and relaxing music is playing. At the completion of a treatment you typically feel a true sense of calm and relaxation.

Acupuncture is used to treat many health issues including stress, back pain, arthritis, depression, weight loss, smoking cessation, fibromyalgia, PMS and many more. For me the treatments have allowed me to avoid using very damaging prescription medications. I will continue to use alternative methods to keep my disease at bay. When and if the time comes that the alternative methods are not controlling the disease, I will reassess my situation and make the right decision for myself along with the guidance of my Physician.

Bottom line, before you run to the pharmacy to band-aid your condition, do some research and see if there is a safe more natural, alternative solution like Acupuncture. Always consult with your physician for any medical condition. If your current Physician is unfamiliar or resistant to alternative treatments, perhaps it’s time to find a practitioner who better understands your desire to possibly avoid treatments that come with a 2 page explanation of negative side effects. Take control of your health and know all your options for treatment and their long term consequences.


Benefits of Massage

March 25th, 2014

Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress-related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. Massage is an effective tool for managing this stress, which translates into:

  • Decreased anxiety.
  • Enhanced sleep quality.
  • Greater energy.
  • Improved concentration.
  • Increased circulation.
  • Reduced fatigue.

Massage can also help specifically address a number of health issues. Bodywork can:

  • Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
  • Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
  • Ease medication dependence.
  • Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
  • Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
  • Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
  • Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
  • Increase joint flexibility.
  • Lessen depression and anxiety.
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
  • Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
  • Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
  • Reduce spasms and cramping.
  • Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
  • Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
  • Relieve migraine pain.