Body Scrub

What is a scrub?

A scrub or body polish is a spa treatment which exfoliates the skin on your body leaving it feeling fresh, smooth, moisturised and soft. An abrasive product is rubbed vigorously, and massaged across and into your skin, and is then rinsed away to reveal a moisturised layer of fresh, clean and smooth skin.

BODY-SCRUB-PHUKETWhat is a scrub good for?

There are many benefits to a body scrub or polish. A body scrub will exfoliate your skin, sloughing off dead skin cells and rubbing away hard and flaky skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. Scrub or polishing products usually include an oily base which moisturises and soothes your skin as it is scrubbed.

A scrub can be really invigorating as well, and improve the circulation of blood and lymph to the surface of the skin, helping to fight cellulite and improve your skin tone.

A good body scrub or polish forms the basis of other body treatments

  • it prepares your skin for an even tan
  • it opens the pores and wakens the skin before a wrap or mud treatment
  • the oils used can relax or stimulate your senses ready for any similarly-focused treatment that you might be having afterwards.

maxresdefaultBefore you go

There’s nothing to do before you go except have a shower. This is really just courtesy for your therapist! You will be able to keep your knickers on, and they may give you disposable pants.

Precautions

Scrubs and body polishes are suitable and safe for just about everyone. It’s not an invasive treatment, and doesn’t involve you assuming any odd positions.

You should not have a scrub if you have cancer or if you have a fever. You should also seek expert advice if you are allergic to anything or have a skin condition of any kind. Anyone with fragile, broken or sunburnt skin is well advised to skip this treatment as well, as a very vigorous scrub may hurt more than heal, however this is really something that a good therapist will take into account. Some conditions make some products, and some kinds of scrub a bad idea for you.

As with all spa treatments, make sure you are clear about any medical condition you have, or treatment you are receiving, so that you can be sure of a treatment that is safe and appropriate for you.

What to expect when you have a scrub or body polish

Different spas have different facilities, and so give scrubs in a slightly different way. It is usual to have it lying down, and if you’re lucky on a heated plinth or table to keep you warm while you have your treatment. The table or plinth will get wet during the treatment as the product is washed off your body. The therapist should screen you discreetly, or leave you for a few minutes while you take off your robe and lie down between towels already laid out for you on the table.

Somehow, despite the fact that they scrub and wash your whole body, you’ll be almost entirely covered for the whole treatment, as towels are expertly rolled and folded to maintain your dignity.

Before the treatment begins, the therapist may ask you what kind of product you prefer, giving you a choice of smells or asking whether you want to feel relaxed or revitalised by the body scrub. They should also tell you something about the product and procedure so that you know what’s going to happen.

The scrub will usually start with one side of your back, and the product will be swept up and down your body simultaneously – this is really invigorating. The therapist will then work across your body, rubbing, scrubbing and massaging one area at a time, and then rinsing you off with warm soft water and covering you with a towel before moving on to the next part. At the end of the treatment you should be left to have a good shower to get rid of any remains of the product.

The treatment usually takes about 30 minutes.

Afterwards

A body scrub is a great treatment as it makes you look and feel good. After a good body scrub, your skin should feel really soft, smooth and silky; you should feel pampered and energised. It’s a great one-stop treatment as well as fitting in well with others, as part of a spa ritual or spa package.

Traditional Thai Massage

Definition of Thai Massage

by Beth Kapes

Thai massage, also known as Nuad bo-Rarn in its traditional medical form, is a type of Asian bodywork therapy that is based on the treatment of the human body, mind, and spirit. The therapy includes treating the electromagnetic or energetic field that surrounds, infuses and brings the body to life through pressure and/or manipulative massage.
Origins
deep_tissue_massage_picThe origins of traditional Thai massage began over 2,500 years ago along with the introduction of Buddhism. It is one of four branches of traditional medicine in Thailand, the others being herbs, nutrition, and spiritual practice. The legendary historical creator of Thai medicine is Dr. Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, known as Shivaga Komarpai in Thailand. Bhaccha was from the north of India and said to be a close associate of the Buddha and chief to the original community gathered around the Buddha. The movement of medicine into Thailand accompanied a migration of monks from India to Thailand, possibly around the second century B.C.E. Thai medicine developed within the context of Buddhist monasteries and temples, where Thai people have traditionally sought relief from all kinds of suffering.
cdbc7eac-1022-4e97-bcff-aa0ad94803a2While the recorded history of Thai massage was lost during the Burmese attack on the royal capital of Ayutthia in 1767, the surviving records are now inscribed in stone and can be found at the Sala Moh Nuat (massage pavilion) within the temple of Pra Chetuphon in Bangkok, known as Wat Po, the temple of the reclining Buddha. Its spiritual aspect also remains as teachers of the therapy begin classes with the practice of Wai-Kru, a series of prayers and recitations dedicated to Shivago Komarpaj, the father of Thai massage and the Goddess of Healing, and teaches of the tradition through the centuries.
Benefits
The benefits of Thai massage are numerous with the most predominant being the maintenance of good health and its ability to treat a wide spectrum of physical concerns. Traditional Thai massage is also well known for its ability to clear the energy pathways.
The following are some of the benefits of traditional Thai massage.

  • increases flexibility and range of movement
  • eliminates muscle pain and muscle spasms
  • improves postural alignment
  • calms the nervous system and promotes a deep sense of relaxation
  • increased energy level
  • allows for a significant release of deep, emotional distress
  • stimulates blood circulation and lymph drainage
  • stimulates internal organs
  • relieves fatigue, swollen limbs, painful joints, and headaches

Description
Thai massage looks like a cross between acupressure, yoga, and Zen shiatsu and is inspired by Buddhist teachings. The actual massage consists of a technique that uses slow, rhythmic compressions and stretches along the body’s energy lines, also called Sen in Thai. Over 70,000 Sen are said to exist within the body, and Thai massage concentrates on applying pressure along 10 of the most important Sen using the palms of the hands, thumbs, elbows, and feet. The effort from the practitioner works to free tension within the body. Practitioners also position the body into yoga-like poses and gently rock the body to more deeply open joints and facilitate limbering.
A thorough Thai massage includes the following four basic positions:
-from the front with the client lying supine
-from the side with the client alternately lying on either side
-from the back with the client lying prone
-in a sitting position

One of the most important principles of Thai massage is the continuous flow of sequential movements that prepares the client for the next step in the massage. The practitioner is always aware of his position so that an uninterrupted, slow rhythm is maintained. Deep, sustained pressure ensures that the myofascia, or the muscle’s connective tissue, soften and relax in order to release the flow of energy along the Sen, and to prepare the client for the large-scale stretches that follow.
Preparations
The preparation needed before receiving a Thai massage is minimal. A Thai massage is typically performed on a floor mat enabling practitioners the ability to use their body weight and to incorporate the many movements that would not be possible on a massage table. Normally, the client remains fully clothed, and lubricant for the skin is rarely used. A Thai massage usually lasts one to two hours, but may be three hours or more if needed.
Precautions
While some of the pressure techniques used in Thai massage may seem too penetrating to many, most can adjust to it quickly. For those who are frail or stiff, a skilled practitioner will be able to adjust all of the soft tissue and manipulation work to their level of comfort.

Couple’s Massage

couples-massageWhether you’re on a romantic getaway or simply treating yourself to an indulgent spa session, a couples massage is a great way to relax and rejuvenate both you and your loved one. Despite the suggestive name, couples massages aren’t just for couples — friends and family members can also enjoy this invigorating experience together.

Features

Couples massages are often provided at hotels, spas or massage practices. A larger room equipped with two massage beds provides the setting for the massage session. In establishments where couples massages are geared towards romantic partners, dim lighting, candles or a fireplace may accentuate the atmosphere. During a couples massage, one massage therapist is assigned to each individual so that massages can be provided simultaneously.

78468705_XSEffects

You and your partner may engage in a massage therapy session together in order to help each other feel more comfortable experiencing a massage; this is especially true if your partner is attending his first massage therapy session and will feel more at ease with you there. Couples massage can also be used as a way for you and a romantic partner, loved one or friend, to spend quality time together and become closer in your relationship.

Warm Oil Massage

A warm oil massage can soothe, relax and relieve muscle tension

What can be better than after a busy day at work and the long trek home, than a long hot bath, followed by a hot soothing and relaxing warm oil massage to relieve the stress, strains and tensions of the day?

The answer is no further away than your finger tips. Warm oil massages can produce a number of benefits from head to toe. Starting with the scalp, it helps to improve circulation in both the head and neck. It relaxes the scalp and brings oxygenated blood to the roots of the hair thereby strengthening it. Massage encourages new hair growth, retards and slows the arrival of grey hair, reduces, dry flaky scalp and improves alertness and concentration. Moreover, these results can be accomplished at home without the intervention of a specialist.

A full body warm oil massage can bring lasting relief to tense, tired and painful muscles, relieve backaches, rheumatic and arthritic pains, with all types of headaches benefiting from a Black seed oil massage.

Aromatherapy oils are commonly used in body massage therapies. These oils are the concentrated extracts from leaves, flowers, seeds and the roots of plants, whose properties have been used for therapeutic purposes for centuries. It is on record that Hippocrates; otherwise known as the ‘great physician’ said that aromatherapy has the ability to restore the balance of both mind and body. Aromatherapy is once again enjoying a resurgence. Today it is widely used in many ‘high-end’ massage parlours, spas and beauty salons for therapeutic and medicinal purposes.

Masseuses customarily use their thumbs, fingers, palms, elbows and sometime even their knee to manipulate the soft tissues, muscles and tendons of the body to achieve the desired results, which is to reduce pain, relieve tension and soreness, ultimately bringing about a state of relaxation.

Regular warm oil body massages might be a luxury to many, however for others, who have no choice but to live with painful conditions, it can be the difference between living a painful existence or deriving some comfort and benefits as a result of regular warm oil massage therapy.

Shiatsu Massage

What-Is-Shiatsu-Massage-Therapy-ImgShiatsu is a form of massage that originated in Japan and traditional Chinese medicine, and has been widely practiced around the world since the 1970s. Shiatsu means “finger pressure,” which describes the technique. In shiatsu massage pressure with thumbs, hands, elbows, knees or feet is applied to pressure points on the body. This form of massage also focuses on rotating and stretching limbs, joints, and pressure points, or meridians, as they’re called in traditional Chinese medicine.

Eastern medicine has a completely different perspective on health, the body and what is needed for healing. The West approaches illnesses and disease as problems that need to be fixed, with the remedy usually in the form of a pill. Eastern medicine believes the body and mind need to be in balance with its surroundings.

shiatsu2The theory behind shiatsu is that our bodies are made up of energy, called qi, and that energy gets blocked and causes suffering. Shiatsu massage helps remove the blockages by realigning meridian points, which balances the qi and eases the body and mind. When one balances qi, or vital energy, healing occurs in the body. The nervous and immune systems are both stimulated by applying pressure to the meridians, providing relief for both body and mind. Shiatsu also restores the circulatory system, improving blood flow throughout the body.

The body has twelve meridians, named according to its corresponding organ: lung, large intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidney, heart governor, triple heater, gall bladder and liver. The functions of these organs have a broader definition in Eastern medicine.

Shiatsu massage has many benefits to the body and mind. Here is a list of some of those benefits:

  • Restore and maintain the body’s energy, especially helpful to those suffering from fatigue and overall weakness
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces stress and tension as well as anxiety and depression
  • Relief from headaches
  • Promotes healing from sprains and similar injuries
  • Helps bring relief to arthritis sufferers
  • Reduces problems with stiff neck and shoulders as well as backaches (including sciatica)
  • Coughs, colds, and other sinus and respiratory problems
  • Helps those dealing with insomnia
  • Aids in treatment of such various things as digestive disorders, bowel trouble, morning sickness, and menstrual problems

Hot Stone Therapy

What is Hot Stone Massage Therapy?

hot stoneHot stone massage therapy melts away tension, eases muscle stiffness and increases circulation and metabolism. Each 1 ½ -hour hot stone massage therapy session promotes deeper muscle relaxation through the placement of smooth, water-heated stones at key points on the body. Our professional massage therapists also incorporate a massage, with the use of hot stones which offers enhanced benefits.

The premise behind hot stone massage therapy is that the direct heat of the stones relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist access to their deeper muscle layers. Combining hot stone protocols with a full body massage provides a very healing and effective experience. The hot stones also expand blood vessels, which encourages blood flow throughout the body. The hot stones have a sedative effect that can relieve chronic pain, reduce stress and promote deep relaxation.

© Mark Stevens 2010
© Mark Stevens 2010

Benefits of Hot Stone Therapy:

  • Provides relief from pain associated with fibromyalgia, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other chronic conditions
  • Decreases pain and muscle spasms
  • Reduces chronic stress and tension
  • Increases flexibility in joints, aiding in easier mobility and movement
  • Relieves pain and tension created by strained and contracted muscles

Hawaiin Lomi Lomi Massage

lomi-lomi-masaz-katowiceLomi lomi massage is a traditional Polynesian technique that bears repeating. Literally. That’s because the term lomi lomi (or “lomilomi”) means “massage,” but in this case it refers to a spiritual technique based on the Hawaiian philosophy of “huna,” and how it relates to our bodies.

In strict terms, huna means “secret,” but it has come to define a broad and complex set of beliefs that encompass philosophy, teachings, bodywork practices such as massage, and energy flow. The goal is to find harmony in every aspect of our lives.

It may take some clients a little time to get comfortable with the level of intimacy experienced during a lomi lomi massage.
It may take some clients a little time to get comfortable with the level of intimacy experienced during a lomi lomi massage.

Similarly, Hawaiian lomi lomi massage — or “Loving Hands” massage — defies easy definition, because the ritualistic therapy is, according to most practitioners, such an instinctive, free-form technique. Consider this explanation:

“A Lomi Lomi usually commences with a stillness between the practitioner and client, often with the practitioners hands gently resting on the clients back,” says Tracey Lakainapali. “In this stillness the practitioner will quietly say a blessing or prayer asking for whatever healing is needed to take place during the massage. Alternatively or as well, the client may be asked to set their intention for any healing they would like to receive. The masseuse then works very intuitively with the client. In this respect there is no set format or sequence for the massage and no two massages will ever be identical” [source: Lakainapali].

In short, this means that this organic relationship between masseuse and client can involve any number of specific techniques, or a combination of techniques, and will vary from practitioner to practitioner. But the goal is the same: To rejuvenate mind, body and spirit by removing energy blockages and opening energy pathways within the body.

If that sounds a little mystical … well, it is. Lomi lomi practitioners make no apologies for this. Instead, they accentuate that this holistic approach has evolved to bring each client into greater harmony not only internally, but also with the world around them. As such, it can incorporate methods beyond traditional massage, including meditation, breathing exercises and even medicinal plants.

The free-flowing strokes that typify lomi lomi have many of the same benefits of traditional Swedish massage: improved circulation and immune response, increased range of motion and flexibility, improved posture, faster healing, slower heart rate and lower blood pressure [source: Browne]. The strokes can be long, smooth and relaxing, or quick and invigorating. The key is that the masseuse and the client are working in tandem.

“The client on the table is not viewed as someone to be fixed, but a being to be returned to harmony and balance,” says Lakainapali. “It is important to remember that the practitioner does not heal but is the facilitator for the healing.”

However, by emphasizing the mind-body connection, lomi lomi practitioners add an element that takes these techniques to another level. Or, in the words of Hawaiian author and lomi lomi practitioner Nancy S. Kahalewai, lomi lomi is infused with “mana — the power and vitality permeating these islands.” For others, mana means “all power comes from within” [source: Unwrap Your Mind]. Again, the goal is to rid the body of “negative” energy — including tension, toxins, and even injury — and allow it to find a better, more harmonic state.

Still, lomi lomi isn’t for the shy or reticent. Unlike many massage techniques, lomi lomi takes a minimalist approach with regards to towels both on the table and on your body. The idea is to remove any barriers to the full body strokes of the massage, says Lakainapali. However, it may take some clients more time to get comfortable with that level of intimacy.

Deep Tissue Massage

What is Deep Tissue Massage Therapy?

massage-deep-tissueDeep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints).

A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people’s blood pressure fell after a single 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage. Additionally, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage modalities like deep tissue reduce stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.

Please talk with your professional massage therapist to see if a deep tissue massage therapy would be beneficial for you.

Sweedish Massage

Swedish massage therapy is the modality that comes to mind when most people think about massage. As the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. But Swedish massage therapy goes beyond relaxation. Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension.

A study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and published in The New York Times, found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as arginine vasopressin-a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Volunteers also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system, and a boost in the immune cells that may help fight colds and the flu.

Swedish Massage Techniques

Additional Swedish massage techniques include circular pressure applied by the hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending and stretching. Before and during your Swedish massage session, communication is encouraged with your professional massage therapist so that your massage is customized to your specific needs.