Category: Therapies

Choose a Massage

Some people particularly enjoy a massage but what one do you think you would like? Massage is a soothing therapy that can help relieve the aches and pains in the body and also help relieve our tension.

As with many alternative therapies, the origin of massage can be traced back thousands of years to Egypt and in the East.

A massage will not only make you feel better but are some good health benefits to be gained. It increases blood flow to your muscles, tissue and every cell in your body which brings oxygen and nutrients to these critical areas. It also stimulates lymphatic flow, improving tissue drainage and the immune system. By drinking plenty of water after a massage, you can help flush out toxins.

Here are some of the different massages that you might consider.


An ancient Chinese technique involves the therapist using his fingers to acupressure points on the skin and this will release muscle tension and help promote circulation and energy flow. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture involves needles. The pressure restores balance through increasing or decreasing the flow of Chi.

Swedish Massage

This is the most common form of massage. The massage is for relaxation and improved circulation. The therapist applies oil to the skin and uses flowing strokes and kneading movements to relieve tension from the muscles.

Deep Tissue Massage

This type of massage is more vigorous and uses various styles to loosen the muscles. It helps break patterns of tension, relieves chronic pain, including inflammation-related pain such as tendonitis and improves range of motion.


Shiatsu is Japanese for “finger pressure.” This technique is similar to acupressure where the practitioner uses their finger, thumb, palm, elbow, knee (and sometimes even walk on you) to put pressure on acupuncture healing points. This unblocks the flow of energy and encourages blood and lymphatic flow. It also promotes relaxation and strengthens the body against disease and restores balance.

Sports Massage

This treatment incorporates several massage techniques which is great for athletes. It keeps the body flexible, increases performance and assists in rehabilitation from an injury.

Hot Stone Therapy

During this therapy, heated stones are placed strategically on the body which dilates blood vessels and gets blood and oxygen flowing into tense areas. It can feel like a body “rush.” The soothing heat can also prepare the body for deep-tissue work as well as alleviate pain.

Aromatherapy Massage

The therapist incorporates essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers and roots into the massage. They select the proper oils based on a particular physical condition and blend them into a massage oil or lotion. The end result is a relaxing massage tailored to your individual needs.

Pregnancy Massage

This massage focuses on a pregnant woman’s needs including swollen hands and feet, stress on weight-bearing joints, exhaustion and lower back pain. The practitioner positions you to accommodate your baby bump. This massage should only be carried out by a professional massage therapist.

Chinese Cupping

In traditional Chinese medicine the body must be in balance and there has to be harmony in the yin and yang energies. If the yin energy and the yang energy are out of balance, the result means sickness or, even worse, disease. The body has both yin and yang meridians running through it.

When we achieve balance we will have good health. One way of balancing these energies is through cupping.

Cupping has been around for hundreds of years. Some people wonder how it works. I have had the treatment several times and I know that it works.

If your body is full of toxins, your body will be unbalanced. If you have muscles that are sore, cupping can help relieve that soreness by drawing out the toxins. Cupping creates heat and it will help alleviate the toxins that can be caused by stress and tension.

There are two types of cups that can be used. You can use glass cups that are heated using fire and then applied to a particular spot or they can be moved around. The other type of cup is to use a pump by placing the cup on the skin and using a pump attached to the cup that sucks the air from the cup.

Both methods create heat and this is how your body is brought back to optimum health. There is a risk that the skin may be discolored after cupping or the worse case is bleeding or blistering of the skin.

If this happens, you know that the patient is suffering from a serious condition where harmony has to be restored to their body.

Cupping can be used for several conditions but two of the main ones are respiratory and lung disorders. It is believed that cupping does not combat the virus but instead it produces more anti-virus. It is also widely used against arthritis and rheumatism and this is when the muscles are stimulated through heat and friction.

Cupping can definitely heal and there are several records as a testament to this treatment.

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What is a “Phobia”?

What is a “phobia?”

The best way to describe a phobia is that it is an anxiety attack or an anxiety disorder that occurs when we are exposed to situations, places or objects that of which we are fearful.

It can be described as an irrational fear but that does not help the sufferer to be told this. To them the fear is real and during an attack, they can experience some of these symptoms. They may experience a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, trembling and an urge to run or flee from the situation. Usually people who suffer from a phobia will try and avoid the situation, place or object that causes them anxiety.

A common fear or phobia amongst children is the fear of the dark. This will require affirmative action by the parent or guardian to help them overcome this. Usually leaving on a light will reassure them and help. Phobias are common and while other than childhood fears, phobias and fears usually develop during our teenage years and early adulthood. You may, as a child, been told never touch a spider and now ever time you see a spider you want to avoid it at all costs. This is a learned behavior that was drilled into you when you were young.

Phobias, to the sufferer, definitely cause a lot of anxiety and stress. If the situation can not be avoided, it is always a cause of concern to face the situation for the sufferer.

The best advice for any sufferer would be to seek medical help and advice. Phobias can be overcome and your doctor will be able to advise you.

Phobias may take time to cure but there have been several breaks through in recent years. One has been Thought Field Therapy (TFT). This system is based on tapping the various meridians of the body and the use of affirmations and was devised by American psychologist, Doctor Roger Callahan. Another similar treatment is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). If you suffer from a phobia, you may like to investigate both of these treatments.

What is Seiki Soho Therapy?

Seiki Soho therapy was taken from the Japanese Shiatsu. It was devised by a Japanese shiatsu practitioner, Akinobu Kishi.

Kishi felt that when performing shiatsu, the shiatsu was a form of controlling the body whether his client wanted it or not. Through observation, he was able to know exactly where on his client’s body he had to treat. To most people this is a little mysterious, because the practitioner has to be able to see the points of the body he has to touch. In shiatsu, the practitioner traces the meridians and feels the parts of the body where there is an excess or deficiency of ki. This is what he then treats.

Seiki Soho is like a massage but it is supposedly good at helping the client get in touch with their own body and mind and helps relieves stress. The belief here is that it can clear up problems that trouble us. If we do not rid ourselves of negative feelings that trouble us, they can often turn into a physical illness.

As a relative new therapy, there is not a lot written about it at this stage. It is the same as shiatsu where the client lives on the floor, fully clothed, on a mat or futon. The touch is firm as in shiatsu and many of the moves are similar but unlike shiatsu there is no rigid system to work to. It relies on what the practitioner can see. After treatment clients say they are relaxed and de-stressed and feel that their body and mind has been cleansed.

Clients state that after a session they are calm yet energized. They also state that it improves their sleeping patterns and allows them to better cope with the stresses in their every day life.

I think in our western society, it may be very hard to find a practitioner.

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What is Rolfing?

This week I am going to explore some more therapies.

Having a session with a Rolfer will change the way you stand and your posture. Rolfing is a series of 10 treatments to obtain maximum results. After the course of treatment, people are much more relaxed and will stand more upright.

The secret to rolfing is treating the fascia and connective tissue which encases our muscles and then forms tendons and ligaments. It appears to be a deep tissue massage.

This system was devised by Dr Ida Rolf. What Dr Rolf discovered is that the fascia would adapt to support posture and patterns of movement. So this means if you stand with all of your weight on one foot then the fascia will bunch and become shorter to accommodate for this. If you hunch your shoulders the fascia will knot up to enable the body to hold that position. So if we put our bodies into the wrong positions, the fascia will change so that we maintain that position.

If we change the fascia this way, we can basically change it back to the way it should be. This is done by stretching and manipulating the fascia back to its original position. Dr. Rolf discovered that by realigning the fascia she was reprogramming the neurological pathways and returning the person to better health and better posture.

What can be achieved using Rolfing?

These are some of the problems that can be fixed through your rolfing sessions.

Postural problems can be rectified. The body can be aligned correctly.

Long term chronic aches and pains can be alleviated and even disappear.

People with very bad headaches find that they can also disappear.

Neck and back pains respond well to rolfing and when pain is released from the body you will find that you have more energy.

These are a few simple exercises that may help you align your body. We often develop tension, mainly in the shoulders and upper back, by staying in the same position for long periods of time. Try to change your pattern. If, for example, you are sitting at your computer hour after hour, give yourself a 5 minute break every hour and stretch your arms. Stretch them out to at shoulder level – to the side and then in front of you. Anyone who carries a bag over the shoulder, try carrying it on the opposite shoulder. Whatever hand you use to do everything, try using the other hand – so if you always use you right hand, use you left hand sometimes.

Squatting is another great exercise. Hold on to something solid – like a bench and just squat down. This is great for the lower back. If you are having difficulties standing again, make sure you push into the ground with your weight distributed evenly over both feet. This will avoid straining your back.

Yoga is a great way to stretch and if you can get to a yoga class, I would suggest you do. You can strengthen so much of your body while gaining flexibility.

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

Manual lymphatic drainage is not a medical treatment but it is a treatment that can certainly help a lot of people. It is a gentle massage that helps eliminate toxins and stimulates the lymphatic system.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is an essential way of treating oedema (swollen state of tissue) and it is highly effective to reduce oedema after surgery. A lot of patients who have had cancer find it helps reduce the swelling especially after radiotherapy and chemotherapy. It is used to treat lymph oedema which often occurs after a mastectomy or if some lymph nodes have been removed during surgery.

There are other benefits that you can experience from this therapy. It can reduce the symptoms of a cold and may even stop it altogether. It helps relieve sinus problems. Manual Lymphatic Drainage can improve the immune system in general and this will make you less susceptible to infections.  Some people say they have noticed a reduction in cellulite but there is no proof.

This therapy is carried out on a massage table with the client stripped down to their underclothes and discretely draped with towels.

On your first visit the therapist will ask a series of questions about your health and the lifestyle you lead. The therapist especially wants to know if you have ever had tuberculosis or have any heart problems.

The treatment itself involves a gentle massage of the lymph glands. The stroke used is a very light, repetitive movement.

After a treatment you may notice some swelling in the glands. This is the toxins being moved to the lymph nodes. Clients often comment that their skin looks and feels much lighter and brighter.

As with any other type of massage therapy, you must always drink lots of water to flush toxins from the body. If your therapist feels that you are not eating a healthy diet, they may even give you guidelines on what you should be having. It is always advisable to included lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet and avoid high fat diets as these encourage a build up of toxins.

To YOUR success


Sue McDonald

P.S. Leave me a comment and as long as it is in good taste – I will approve it.



What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is more than just a hand or foot massage. Reflexology is an ancient therapeutic treatment that dates back thousands of years. Pictographs were found in a physician’s tomb in Saqqara , Egypt dating back to around 2300BC.

The modern version of reflexology was popularized by Doctor William Fitzgerald. He called it “zone therapy” because the feet and hands are divided into various zone for treatment.

Reflexology is a massage therapy. Similar to shiatsu, it is a physical act of applying pressure to the feet and hands using specific thumb, finger and hand techniques without the use of lotion, often a power is applied instead. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect the human anatomy on both the feet and hands which in theory have significant effects on the entire body.

There is evidence to suggest that this therapy has been around for thousand years. It is believed to have originated in China over 5,000 years ago and  it was practiced by the ancient Egyptians as early as 2500BC.  The treatment can be dated back in Japan to 690BC. Western society found out about reflexology in the 19th century.

Although reflexology is usually applied to the feet and hands, there are those who also apply the same thing to the ear. This is a rarer form. This technique is considered to be a modified from auricular therapy which is an acupuncture technique.

If you are suffering from certain health issue, some points in the foot or hands can be very sore. If the therapist finds these areas, they will focus on them to reduce the pressure.

Most sessions being conducted by practitioners may last from 30 minutes to an hour. It is also a clothed session so the only thing you have to remove is your footwear. It will be up to your therapist whether you lie down or sit up.

At the end of each session, you should feel relaxed. Remember that you have to drink a fair amount of water to flush the poisons and toxins from your body.
Reflexology is another form of massage therapy you can try if you want to relieve tension and stress from the body. If you are interested in trying it, all you have to do is check if there is a therapist within your neighbourhood.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a massage where specific oils or a combination of oils are used. Originally all these oils were extracted from plants. This can also include the use of herbs, sea salts hydrosols and clays and mud. The therapist may also choose to use candles.

Unlike Swedish massage, which is a relatively new form of massage, aromatherapy or the use of fragment oils has been used for centuries. The oldest records date back to the early Greeks and the Chinese. In ancient Egypt, essential oils were used for therapeutic purposes as well as for embalming.

The oils used during this massage provide psychological and physical benefits to the body.

This is a very specialized form of massage because the therapist must have an in depth knowledge of essential oils and the healing properties of each.

Aromatherapy is used to treat various health problems that can include the simple cold or flu to nervousness and stress.

Over the past few years, you can now buy an assortment of oils from your health food store. If you want to treat yourself at home, you may buy the oils and try it. Some people enjoy just adding a few drops of oil to their bath to achieve a state of relaxation. Speak to the professional who works there to advise what oils would be best for you.

One of the most known aromatic oils would be eucalyptus. If you have ever used it when you have had a cold, you will know how good it can be to ease congestion.

The base oil is known as a carrier oil and then other oils are added to it. A trained therapist will know the exact oils and quantity to help with any problem health conditions. During a massage the oils are applied onto the skin and from here they are absorbed by the bloodstream where they help with the health problem.

For medical reasons, it is not advisable for pregnant women to have this massage. If you have a medical condition, it is always advisable to speak to your medical practitioner first.


When we mention the term Acupuncture most people envisage all these needles stuck into various parts of the body. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical procedure dating back thousand of years. It has since been introduced into western society and this ancient Chinese technique has helped thousands in managing various medical conditions including chronic pain and fatigue.

This is how it works. The system of Chinese medicine believes that energy (known as Qi) flows through a series of meridians in your body. These meridians, at certain points, run very closely to the skin. This allows the meridians to be accessed using the acupuncture needles. The needles are inserted to normalize the flow of the energy and remove any blockages. There is either excess energy or not enough energy and this is what the practitioner must ascertain and treat.

There have been various scientific study carried out to see if they can see how it works and they all support that acupuncture is effective. It is not known in the west exactly how – but suffice to say, they agree it works.

Like any form of medical procedure, there can be side effects. The medications you take can have side effects and can cause allergic reactions and we all know the risks associated with surgery. For Acupuncture, the risks are relatively minor, these can include minor bleeding, bruising and in some cases dizziness.

Always make sure your practitioner is licensed by the appropriate government body and they are also a member of a relevant professional association.

At your first session, your Acupuncturist will check your medical history and how you health is currently. Usually depending on what condition you have troubling you, the therapist will normal suggest a series of treatments. These sessions often last for 30-60 minutes when the needles are strategically placed along the meridians. The needles stay in for the most of the treatment. They are not painful but most people experience a mild sensation where the needle is. There are different combinations of points for different health problems.

In our western society, Acupuncture is usually used in combination with western medicine. It has a history of being very beneficial and can help with many medical conditions.


Acupressure is the ancient healing method that was used up to 5000 years ago in China. It is based on the same meridians as acupuncture. Where as acupuncture uses needles at the points along the meridian, acupressure uses the hands, fingers, thumbs and some times the forearm and elbow.

Through the application of the pressure at specific points along the meridians, you are able to stimulate the body back to health. The system is based on the Ki or Chi that runs through the body.

Illness is caused when there is an imbalance in the flow of this energy force. You can either have this energy in excess or this energy can be depleted. If the energy is in excess, it has to be sedated but if it is deficient it has to be increased(tonified) .

When pressure is place on these points, you will release muscular tension and increase the flow of blood at this point; this in turn will aid the bodies healing. There are several reasons to use acupressure – it can be used to relieve tension in the body but can also be used to cure insomnia, the common cold, increase the reproductive system and the list goes on. There are even points on the face that are used for beauty treatments.

The therapy can be self administrated or you can find a therapist who has been trained and knows the points on the meridians. If you want to learn the points for yourself there are books and charts available to help you.

It is a non invasive treatment that can help you with illness or stress. You can use just specific points or you can have a Shiatsu Massage (Japanese) or a traditional Chinese Medicine Massage (Tui Na). Both of these massages trace out the meridian points while the patient is fully clothed.

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