Every session is customized to your individual needs and the best healing treatment options for you. A typical massage combines a variety of modalities, blending eastern and western therapies that are both relaxing and therapeutic. Carmen has studied plant medicine extensively and often uses essential oils during treatments.
During a typical session, anyone of the following approaches may be utilized.
Deep Tissue massage focuses on the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It is useful for chronic muscle aches, pain, and contracted areas. The work is usually slow, allowing the body to relax enough to get in to the deeper layers.
Swedish massage is the “classic” relaxation massage, Long, smooth, gliding strokes used to promote relaxation. Swedish massage uses a variety of strokes and techniques.
Fascia is a web matrix that envelopes and surrounds every organ, muscle and tissue in the body in one connected network. Trauma, inflammatory responses and surgical procedures can create high-pressure restrictions in this tissue. Releasing the tension in the fascia through gentle sustained pressure eliminates pain and restores motion throughout the body. This is an area of great interest to Carmen and she plans to study with one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject, John F. Barns for her next training.
Thai yoga massage is an ancient healing system combining Ayurvedic principles, acupressure and assisted yoga postures. Rather than rubbing on the muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked in a variety of yoga-like positions. Thai Stretching as it is practiced today, is a 19th-century synthesis of influences from India, China and Southeast Asia. It can help clients relax, boost the mood, relieve aching muscles, increase circulation and provide pain relief.
Similar to acupunture, the practice of acupressure is based on the concept of the life energy, which flows through the meridians of the body. Instead of needles, physical pressure with the hands is applied to acupunture points to clear blockages in energy flow. It has proven to be a successful treatment for back pain, tension headaches, and stomach aches. Ultimately, the goal is to balance out the yin, yang and chi energy in the body’s system using the hands and knowledge of the meridians.
Reiki / Energy Work
Reiki was developed in Japan in the 1920s by Buddhist, Mikao Usui, and is practiced all over the world today. Practitioners use their hands to channel universal energy to the patient to encourage emotional or physical healing. Like acupressure, it is also based on the concept of chi, or vital life force energy. Energy work uses similar intentions by visualizing the patient in perfect health and using intuition to balance out the body’s electromagnetic fields.
Gua-Sha is a Chinese healing modality that uses a soup spoon or another smooth edged instrument for gentle skin scraping to promote circulation and blood flow, break up adhesions, and boost the immune system. The treatment produces light bruising and releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and it works particularly well around the joints and the big muscles in the back.
Cupping is an ancient practice used by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Saharans in which local suction is created on a targeted area with a vacuumed cup. The retention is made by heating and cooling the air inside the glass cup, which is left on the skin between five and fifteen minutes. Originally used for purification purposes, today cupping helps treat pain, muscle knots, swelling, and deep scars in muscles and connective tissues.
The use of hot stones for massage dates back to when Native Americans warmed stones by the fire and applied them to the skin to ease muscle aches and pains. Today, massage therapists typically use basalt river rocks because they have become smooth over time from the current and retain heat. The stones are heated to a temperature of between 110 and 130 Fahrenheit and are placed on specific points on the back in order to improve circulation, warm tense muscles, and allow the therapist to apply deeper pressure. It is well suited for people who tend to feel chilly or have muscle tension and prefer a lighter massage.
Trigger Point Therapy
Also known as knots, taut bands of muscle fibers, or palpable nodules, trigger points are hyperirritable spots in the fascia surrounding the skeletal muscle. These points of local tenderness will often produce a twitch response when stimulated, and may radiate pain to other areas, sometimes in places quite distant from the point itself. Releasing these points of tension is accomplished through cycles of isolated pressure and release and deep breathing and is an excellent therapy for stress, pain and chronic injuries.
Pregnancy massage is specifically tailored to an expectant mother’s needs through proper positioning and support using pillows and padding. Many women choose to forgo painkillers during pregnancy, and massage is an effective and natural way to relieve back pain, as well as aches and pains in the muscles and joints. Human touch also provides emotional support during a time that may involve high anxiety and even depression as hormones fluctuate and the mother’s life changes to accommodate for a newborn.
Essential oils are volatile liquids that are distilled from the seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots and flowers of plants and have been used for centuries for their healing properties. There are hundreds of physical uses for the oils, but aroma also has a strong influence on the emotional center of the brain, and is an incredibly relaxing compliment to a therapeutic massage. Carmen studied plant medicine at the California School of Herbal Studies and has a broad understanding of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the oils, and uses them in an intuitive way during her treatments.