In “bodywork,” as practiced at Haven, painful physical manipulations are just one part of a package of techniques explicitly designed to evoke and provoke emotional expression and vitality. While a participant lies on the ground breathing hard, two facilitators may be applying extremely painful pressures to key points in the body, deliberately pushing the participant well outside of his or her comfort zone. This may launch people out of emotional ruts (fairly dramatically), relieving intense emotional denial and suppression, and leading to vivid insights and profound new body awareness. BACK TO TEXT
There is not necessarily a hard line between these two techniques, and many sessions often incorporate both depending on your needs. It is usually the case that not all the muscles in your body need deep tissue techniques applied. Rather than being overly concerned with choosing the “right” session, make sure you communicate to your therapist the goals for your session so that he or she can customize the right blend of techniques for you. One massage style is often the foundation of the session, with other techniques used as needed. Due to the slow pace of deep tissue massage it is necessary to schedule a 90-minute session if you would like your full body addressed. Use these guidelines for communication based on your primary goal for the session:
Massage has a multifaceted effect on the body and evokes complex reactions involving all the tissues, organs, and systems. It improves the movement of lymph and blood in the vessels and tones the vascular system, facilitating the work of the heart. The hemoglobin content of the blood and the erythrocyte and leukocyte counts are raised. Massage increases gas exchange and the excretion of mineral salts, urea, and uric acid. Changing the character, force, and duration of the massage can affect the functional state of the cerebral cortex by lowering or raising general excitability, intensifying attenuated reflexes and reviving lost ones, improving the function of conduction tracts, and reinforcing the reflex links of the cerebral cortex with the muscles, vessels, and internal organs. Massage can accelerate the regeneration of a nerve after injury and relieve or stop pain.
For instance, I tried a new young massage therapist. He introduced a pain scale right away, and asked me to use it to define an intensity I was comfortable with — a 5 out 10, say — and then actually used that scale to check with me quite a few times throughout an hour treatment. He also responded with clear adjustments to his technique when I reported that we were under or over the target I’d set. Great work! BACK TO TEXT
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