I came to massage originally from a movement background, having studied Mime and Movement in London for 2 years. During this time I became very fascinated by the connection between mind and body and started having massage treatments myself in order to achieve what was known in Mime circles as the Body Neutral (basically a relaxed and natural body state). I found it so personally helpful that I carried on and did the training.
I qualified in ‘Holistic Massage’ (ITEC) in London in 1990. I then took additional courses in Advanced Massage and Sports Massage with the London School of Massage. I also trained in ‘On-site Massage’ with Stressbusters, although I confess I haven’t used that routine very much. In 2006 I did the first level of training in ‘Reconnective Healing’ which is a powerful form of spiritual healing.
I have also completed a Foundation in ‘Core Process Psychotherapy’ and two years of training in Counselling (Gestalt based). Although I don’t work as a psychotherapist as such, these skills are useful in any therapeutic relationship.
Over the years I have been involved in much personal development work and the Focusing skills are probably the one thing which I have learned that I consider most useful and adaptable to bodywork.
I am fully insured and registered with The Complementary Therapist Association and a member of Embody. We are bound by a strict code of practice, details of which can be viewed by clicking on the link www.embodyforyou.com
Types of Massage
If you’re looking for a massage for the first time it can be quite confusing. There are a lot of different terms used and it’s hard to know what exactly they mean, or indeed if people even mean the same thing by them. My initial training was called “Holistic Massage” but in fact most foundation massage courses are based on Swedish massage techniques. This simply means a series of specific movements for physical manipulation of soft tissue and includes strokes such as petrissage, effleurage and percussion.
If a massage is described as an “Aromatherapy Massage” it is likely to be rather superficial as the essential oils are being considered the therapy rather than the massage. The terms ‘therapeutic’, ‘remedial’ and ‘deep tissue’ are used to denote a deeper and firmer massage which aims to address particular physical problems or facilitate a deeper level of release. These may sometimes be synonymous with “Sports Massage” although some Sports Massage therapists will also use other therapeutic treatments and suggest exercises to help strengthen muscles after injury, for example.
How I Work
So where do I fit in to all this I hear you asking? Well, every massage is different because people are so different. Many people like a deep massage and others prefer something more gentle or nurturing, and this can also change depending on how you are feeling at a particular time. I can also work in a remedial way on specific problem areas. If appropriate I also include passive stretches and sometimes ‘isometric’ stretches (where you do some of the work!).
However I have discovered over many years that sometimes less is more, and that making a connection with the body is much more important than applying brute force. I believe that working on the edge of pain can be very beneficial, but going over the edge is counter-productive and simply produces resistance in the client’s body (and mind). I prefer to gently encourage the body to give up its tension. However it is a dialogue with the body and everything is negotiable.
Each body is its own kind of puzzle, and the key is to find the particular input that this body needs in order to release its tension and achieve a profound level of relaxation. Sometimes this also means acknowledging that physical tension may represent unexpressed feelings or reflect an individual’s thought patterns, and although I would never push you, I will encourage you to work with the feeling level if you are interested. (See page on ‘Focusing’).
This is not just a course that teaches you how to do various massage strokes and techniques, but places a lot of emphasis on the massage therapist’s state of being and quality of touch. “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it”, and therefore students need to connect with themselves before working on each other, and to bring their awareness to their own bodies and their breath.
Students do exercises to help ground them and therefore find a more effortless style of massage. So this course, not only gives you the basic skills to do massage, but is also a first step in developing self-awareness and a way to connect with the wisdom of your body.
Please contact me for further details. ( firstname.lastname@example.org)