More About Massage Therapy at RPT
What is Holistic Massage?
Holistic Massage Therapy combines the therapeutic, nurturing process of ‘touch and response’ with treatment modified to each client’s unique requirements, physical characteristics and personality. In other words, it is a bespoke massage therapy, tailored just for you, as you are feeling on that particular day. Following a full health & well-being consultation, the massage you receive will address the factors currently affecting you. For example, you may arrive with an aching lowerback and also be having difficulty sleeping. Rather than perform a standard massage routine, I can deliver some deeper-tissue work to your lumbar region within an overall sequence aimed at calming and relaxing you. Holistic Massage Therapy is based on classic Swedish massage, which uses a fairly light pressure, but I am also fully qualified in deep-tissue, myofascial release, scar-work and remedial sport massage, and will discuss their appropriate application with you beforehand if I feel it might help to incorporate different modalities in to your session. Dependent on the length of your appointment, your preferences and needs, your massage may include all or a number of these focus areas: back, neck, shoulders, arms and hands, legs (front & back) and feet, stomach, face & scalp
Is Massage Suitable for Me?
Massage can be given in some form to almost anyone at any age; however there are rare times when it is not advised, as it could negatively impact existing health conditions or medical treatment.
We will conduct a full health consultation ahead of your first treatment to identify any possible reasons you should consider not having massage at the moment or might need your massage adapting (these situations are known as full or partial 'contraindications'). I will also ask at that time if you are taking medication (other than over-the-counter medication such as cold & allergy relief) or if you could be pregnant.
Please feel free to additionally let me know in the 'booking notes' section of your online booking form if you have any major or chronic health conditions which you think I need to know about.
It is also important that you mention any changes in your health between individual visits to me before each treatment begins.
What Should I Wear for my Treatment?
Avoid wearing your best or expensive clothing to your appointment as your skin will have oil/wax residue on it after your treatment, which will easily stain delicate materials.
You will typically need to be at least partially undressed for massage, although you will be carefully draped fully in towels during your treatment, with the exception of the body-part being massaged at the time, which will be carefully undraped, ensuring the rest of you remains securely covered. Everybody is requested to keep their lower body underwear on (ie boxers/pants/knickers). You'll have full privacy to undress/dress as your comfort and the protection of your modesty are key to you relaxing fully.
How Often Should I Have Massage?
For those using massage for general wellness once/twice a month allows people in normal good health to receive maximum benefits, as each session builds upon the positives of the last. Bodies used to massage respond to it better and faster than those who have not experienced it before or in some time.
Research demonstrates very strongly that massage helps to combat depression, stress, anxiety and insomnia-related-to-stress, so for people going through a particularly difficult life situation or for those in high-stress professions, every 1-2 weeks.
For the treatment of a chronic conditions eg arthritis, or for an acute problem eg muscular injury or postural aches, people generally need to receive massage more frequently in order to see any real improvement. I advise clients individually on the type of schedule I believe most suits their needs, but very broadly speaking: approx once/twice weekly for the first four weeks, then gradually increasing time between sessions as symptoms improve, before moving down to a maintenance schedule.
These 'decreasing intensity' schedules are most likely to have the best results on improving mobility or painful symptoms. You wouldn't expect to reach peak fitness after one exercise session, the same is true in harnessing the benefits of massage.
With pregnancy massage, it very much depends on the individual progress of the pregnancy and the mother's health in response to it, but many women find that in the last trimester particularly, weekly massage helps to improve stress levels relating to the impending birth and can certainly alleviate common pregnancy symptoms such as swollen ankles, back ache, headaches and sciatica.
For those aiming to enhance athletic performance, massage is a superb support mechanism for reaching peak physical fitness whilst providing some level of injury protection. People heavily involved in sports recreationally, or those competing at a serious level professionally are advised to have a massage twice (or more) a week during periods of intense training and perhaps once or twice a month during their offseason to maintain muscle health and flexibility.
The bottom line is that people who wish to treat specific conditions or symptoms will need to have massage more frequently than people who use it purely for enjoyment and relaxation.
Not everyone is able to commit to 'ideal massage schedules' however, so to them I say "Some is always better than none!" Ask yourself how you felt after your last massage... When you need that feeling again, book yourself in.
NB: Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage is a different kettle of fish altogether and the above guidelines are not directly applicable to it.
How Do I Know Which Massage Appointment To Book?
My massage treatments are holistic, meaning they take in to consideration everything affecting a person on the day they visit me: their body type, any health conditions or injuries, their lifestyle and their emotional state. One week you might need an hour's gentle relaxation after a stressful period at work, the next a sport massage ahead of a weekend charity run, maybe the next week help to alleviate a recent bout of leg cramp or a relatively shorter foot massage. In carefully understanding what your aims for treatment are each time you visit, I will be able to use the most appropriate massage techniques I am trained in, to deliver the most effective treatment for you.
The best approach to booking anything at Richmond Park Therapies is to book your choice of therapy for how long you want to spend on the couch. Please take in to account advice about what is broadly possible within each time frame by looking at the 'Services' section of the booking System eg it's not possible to properly massage your back, neck, legs, feet, arms, hands, abdomen, face & scalp in an hour!
People initially tend to book massage for a very specific reason eg shoulder tension, injury recovery or because they are seeking general relaxation. On experiencing the wider benefits of the holistic approach, they appreciate that ongoing therapy adapted to their individual lifestyle can have a profound effect on how they (and not just their body) experience and respond to life's constant demands and challenges.