I knew nothing about Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy (barefoot massage) until 18 years ago when my husband, a Florida Licensed Massage Therapist and my massage therapy business partner, became a Certified Ashiatsu Practitioner. Thanks to his first generation training with the creator and instructor of Oriental Bar Therapy, Ruthie Hardee, he has helped relieve or eliminate chronic low back pain for me and many clients through the years. Continue reading “Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy For Your Back Pain”
Here at Amelia Massage Associates we enjoy a wonderfully diverse clientele from expectant mothers and babies to seniors, who all agree that therapeutic massages are for everyone. The palate includes young newly weds-post wedding ceremonies-desiring to relax into their first year of wedded bliss; overloaded middle age career executives who have forgotten how to relax, but are earning big bucks; serious recreational weekend warriors frequently finding themselves on the injured list; seniors who have been there, done that and now seek to improve the quality of their lives through therapeutic massage and bodywork.
The latter group is increasing, partly due to the sheer numbers of baby boomers and retirees, and partly because of an awareness of what massage can do for seniors.
We all recognize that aging is not for sissies and otherwise, is unavoidable-if we are lucky enough to age. The good news about aging is that we can take steps to improve and maintain our strength, flexibility, coordination, energy, and mental well-being no matter how many birthdays we’ve celebrated.
Ask our 65-80 plus age group. Golf scores improve, bike rides net more than a wobbly trip around the cul-de-sac, breathing during swimming becomes easier and deeper, and that Arthur Ritis guy no longer wears out his welcome. Grinning from ear-to-ear and feeling great from head-to-toe, seniors can’t wait to schedule the next appointment.
What’s not to love about therapeutic massage? It is an honored tradition. Ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Japanese, and Arab medical literatures frequently refer to massage as a health treatment.
History tells us that Hippocrates prescribed massage for patients and athletes. Today, therapeutic massage and bodywork is routinely prescribed for relaxation and health in Europe, Asia, Canada, and increasingly (yes!) in America.
Many licensed massage therapists have extensive training that includes techniques, anatomy and physiology, and most important, the knowledge of when and when not to massage. Advanced training and certification in Lymphatic Drainage, for example, is one growing area of need, especially for seniors, and this expertise was recently added to our practice.
Help for Specific Problems
Research shows that massage loosens muscle tension, increases circulation, and calms the nervous system.
Specific Benefits of Massage for You:
* Relieves pain from tight, overworked muscles.
* Improves mobility of joints.
* Improves posture and coordination
* Relieves dry, itchy skin
* Deepens sleep
* Reduces swelling
* Heals injuries faster
* Calms the body and mind
* Increases vitality, energy, and mental alertness
Important to Know:
Frequency is usually more important than the length of each massage.
Because the effects of excess stress and/or wear and tear on the body and mind can be cumulative, managing stress becomes increasingly important with age.
When was your last massage?
Nancy Shores, LMT, Esthetician
Known as the mother of Chinese medicine, Qigong (pronounced chee-gong or chee-kung) is an ancient mind-body discipline that integrates postures, breathing, and focused intention. Qi Gong is the ancient Chinese art of relaxing, rejuvenating, and healing the body and mind. It consists of exercises that boost the flow of qi (pronounced chee), the universal life force (energy) within the body.
After spending two days a week for ten years with a well respected colleague, Dr. Huimin Wang, my acupuncturist and my friend for life, I began to truly understand what I once thought to be weird, “out there” medicine. The proof for me was in the results I experienced after his treatments. I’ve learned so much from the good doctor and often call him for patient/client consults when either massage or western medicine do not provide a total remedy for those who seek our help.
Dr. Wang has taught me that qi flows through the body along channels called meridians. As long as this flow is smooth, the body remains healthy. But any blockage or imbalance of qi can quickly result in illness.
It is unknown how qi gong actually works, but many suspect that the mechanism is hormonal in nature. I’ve talked with three clients who practice qi gong and they have related to me that after several years of practice, they seldom, if ever, get a cold.
Dr. Simon Wang, MD, PhD and co-author of QiGong for Health & Longevity states that qigong has also been shown to be effective in many clinical studies.
In a controlled study at the Shanghai Hypertension Research Institute, subjects showed improved cerebral blood flow after 12 months of qi gong training. Headaches, high blood pressure and several other ailments are associated with reduced blood flow in the brain. The same study showed reduced levels of blood lactate, suggesting a beneficial reduction in metabolic rate.
Studies show that QiGong experiences a marked rise in alpha brain waves, and the waves study conducted at the Traditional Medical College in Bejing showed the clear association with a calm, alert state of mind.
How to Practice QiGong
There are many types of qigong and all involve the flow of qi via meditation, breathing exercises and self-massage. You can practice while standing, sitting or lying down and, of course, anywhere you can find peace and quiet.
Outdoors is the optimal place to practice because the flow of qi is stimulated by fresh air and close proximity to plants.
All relaxation techniques are more beneficial when performed everyday on a life-long basis. Strive to devote 20 minutes each morning to learning qigong, and within two months you should feel calmer and more refreshed.
Relaxing Your Mind
Lie in bed or sit cross-legged on the bed or floor. Relax. Concentrate on breathing naturally for one to two minutes. Next, concentrate on “guiding” qi to an area that you visualize deep within your brain, just behind your forehead. Think of this area as a glowing red or yellow light or think of it as a green meadow or ocean waves, for example. After concentrating on your image for about five minutes, a sense of calm should wash over you.
Rubbing Your Hands
Shift your focus from your head to your palms. Gently rub your palms together for a minute or two. Then use one palm to rub the back of the other hand for a minute or two. Reverse hands and repeat, breathing naturally throughout the exercise.
Bathing Your Face
Close your eyes. Gently press the tip of your tongue against the back of your upper front teeth. Cover your face with your palms, fingers pointing upward. Using both hands, rub your face from forehead to chin. Then rub your face again from chin to forehead. Repeat 20 times until your hands and face feel warm.
Rubbing Dan Tian
The Dan Tian point, located in your lower abdomen, is one of the most important of all qi cavities.
Close your eyes. Using your right palm, rub your abdomen just below the navel, in a tight, circular pattern. Repeat 20 times.
Rubbing Yong Quan
Yong Quan is a key cavity in the center of the sole of each foot.
Place the fingers of your left hand against the bottom of your right foot, at the point where the arch meets the ball of the foot. Rub rapidly in a circular motion 20 times, concentrating on the Yong Quan point. Switch to your right hand and left foot and repeat.
Hopefully, with practice, you will find these simple techniques to be a helpful stepping stone to living a happy, peaceful, healthy life.
LMT, Facial Specialist
Words of Wisdom:
“Worry is helpful only when it spurs us to take action and solve a problem.”
Ashiatsu is unlike any deep tissue massage you have ever experienced! The root word ‘ashi’ means ‘foot’ and ‘atsu’ means ‘pressure’ so together they symbolize ‘foot pressure’ in a technique that delivers a consistent, deep, luxurious massage. Correct application provides deep relaxation and stimulates the lymphatic system of the body. Bars are used overhead for support and balance. Continue reading “Ashiatsu”