Imagine yourself in a cozy, dimly lit room, no sounds except for a muffled trickle of oil hitting the side of a copper bowl.
Warm sesame oil envelops your forehead and lulls you into a deep meditative state and a feeling of pure relaxation and bliss washes over you.
A recent client describes her shirodhara experience at Gaia Bodywork in Richardson TX by saying "Having the shirodhara treatment was absolutely intoxicating. The warm oil was very soothing and relaxing -after the treatment I felt a balance of calm and energized and had the best night’s sleep ever!"
The Shirodhara, a combination of Sanskrit words meaning head/flow, is an ancient Ayurvedic practice of gently pouring warm oil over the forehead specifically positioned on the third eye marma point in a slow stream by a free standing copper vessel.
This treatment is part of the system of Panchakarma, a detoxing program used to purify, nourish, & strengthen the body.
stimulation to the third eye, known as the root of the nervous system, is thought to have a profound effect on the body.
The ancient Vaidyas, practioners of Ayurveda used this type of "flow" therapy to treat many ailments from everyday stress to serious neurological disorders. Today, I use this treatment in my practice for relaxation and stress relief and find it very effective, a little messy ( in a good way) , and it makes one excellent scalp treatment!
In Ayurveda, (Ayur- Life; Veda- Knowledge), everyone has a Tri-Dosha, or three “constitutions” that make up all of the processes in our bodies and also correspond to earth elements. If one or more of these doshas become excessive or deficient, disease becomes evident.
The three doshas are described as Vata, Pitta, & Kapha
The Vata dosha controls all movement in the body. The Earth elements that correspond with vata are air and ether. The vata body is thin, prone to anxiety, constipation, and dry skin.
The Pitta dosha is the energy of heat and metabolism. Earth elements that correspond with pitta are fire and water. The pitta body is medium build, prone to diseases processes of irritation/ inflammation, peptic ulcers, heartburn, and diarrhea.
The Kapha dosha is responsible for structure and stability. Earth elements that correspond with kapha are earth and water. The kapha body is sturdy as these people are very grounded and very nurturing. They are prone to lethargy and obesity.
Most people have imbalances in one or more of these dosha’s and this type of Dhara therapy can be used to create balance among them.
Once your constitution is decided, specific oil is chosen and used in the copper vessel to help calm your doshas and bring them back into harmony. This is exactly what a modern day human needs.
I've put together an awesome treatment that begins with a relaxing 60 min. Massage followed by a Shirodhara session. You can see it on my service menu.
Book yours today online
What other ancient health remedies intrigue you?
Hippocrates, AKA The father of Western Medicine, was a Greek Physician who developed four "temperaments" that corresponded to body fluids that he felt contributed to different personality types (Blood, Yellow Bile, Black Bile and Phlegm.) While his theories may not have proven 100% true in every case, These Temperaments are used in modern day psychology to help us better understand ourselves. If you've ever taken the Myers-Briggs test or something similar, You'll see that they have developed it with the works of Hippocrates in mind.
The Four Hippocratic Temperaments are:
Phlegmatic, Melancholic, Sanguine, & Choleric.
Phlegmatic Can Have A Round, Oval, Or Moon Shaped Face and the Lower Jaw May Be Large. A Phlegmatic maybe described as Having a Pear-Shaped Body. Personality Traits of a Phlegmatic are very Steady, Gentle, and Feminine. They Save for The Future, are Loyal, and can be Lazy and Inactive at times.
Predispositions for the Phlegmatic: Depression and Obesity, Sluggish Circulation, & Constipation.
Melancholics Have Triangular Faces, With Wide Foreheads and Brilliant Eyes. They Tend To Be Bony and Sometimes Fragile looking. They can to be Nervous, Intuitive, and Internalize pain and upsets. Melancholics are intelligent, Sensitive physically and Emotionally, and like to be challenged.
Predispositions for the Melancholic: Anxiety, Infertility, Swelling, Arthritis
Sanguine Temperaments Have Large Faces with High Cheek Bones. They can be stocky, Short and have well developed Muscles. They are Optimistic, Happy and Joyous. They Love to Talk About Their Feelings and Tell Stories. Nature is important to them and they hate to be confined to a small space. They can be vain and fall in and out of love quickly.
Predispositions for the Sanguine: Over eating or Drinking, Cardiovascular Disease, Digestive Disorders.
Choleric Faces are Square or rectangular. They Tend to be warm and hot in any season. Choleric s are athletic and have commanding personalities. They have a strong will power and can be very inspiring to others.
Predispositions for the Choleric:Inflammation in the Joints, Liver Congestion, Rashes, Fevers
Which Temperament Best Describes you and Why?
Booking a Massage can be Overwhelming! There are so many Options and Styles to Choose From.
In this blog I will explain some of the most popular massages out there, so when your faced with the challenge of choosing the perfect one from a spa menu You won't have to think twice!
The First one, Of course is the famous Swedish Massage. Swedish Massage is the Basic. This is the massage you should choose if you're a newbie and are experiencing massage for the first time or you just want a relaxing, soothing session.
Deep Tissue massage is a big favorite and the second most requested massage after Swedish. Deep tissue may sound painful, but it should never hurt! Therapists work slowly and use their expert palpation skills to address the deeper muscles. Sometimes they use special techniques such as myofacial release and trigger point therapy. This is the one to get if you want your "knots" worked out.
Of course, I MUST talk about Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy!
This is a super deep, but painless massage that is pretty unique- I LOVE this style and decided to specialize in it last summer after years ( I mean YEARS!) of lusting after this training-I made it happen and I am so glad I am able to offer this style to my clients. Here's my description on my site.
In this massage, the therapist uses their feet to deliver a deep, comfortable, wave of pressure. It feels like heaven! Sometimes it's called back walking, or barefoot massage- some of us love to call it body surfing :) It's great for decompression of the spine and Athletes love it for the AMAZING leg and glute work! check out deepfeet.com
A great massage for muscle and joint pain is Hot Stone Massage. In this massage, Therapists use heated Basalt stones as tools during the massage. I recently came across something called Thermal palms which is an alternative to stones and I'm seriously thinking about ordering them!
Thai massage is another style that you may see offered at a spa or massage center. Thai massage is a totally different experience! It's done on a mat on the floor- you as the client are fully clothed and there's no oil or lotion used. The massage consists of stretching and compression. I offer a style called ASHI-THAI where we combine ashiatsu and thai techniques and it's done on the massage table instead of a mat. It's pretty awesome!
The last massage I'll explain is Aromatherapy massage. This is usually a Swedish or deep tissue massage with an specific oil that either you choose or an aromatherapist formulates for you. If you're getting a massage at a spa, the therapist will let you smell a few options and let you choose your favorite based on the smell. I recently took some classes with the owner and registered aromatherapist of Flower road where I learned so much about the art of clinical aromatherapy! read my blog post about it here. I hope to get a massage from her soon! It's on my to-do list because I know I'm in for a completely different experience with her oils and training!
There are so many massage styles out there- this is just a short list to help you know more about what is out there. I never turn down a chance to try a different massage:) I think I'm what they call a "massage junkie."
What's your favorite massage style??
Let me know under the comment section.
I've noticed that first time massage clients can come in with lots of anxiety and It's totally natural to be nervous about something new . A Massage can be a pretty intimidating thing for many people and I'd like to share a few tips and pointers with you to help ease the uncertainty of receiving a professional massage for the first time.
1. Your only Job as a client is to RELAX!
Yep, that's it. Breath in, Breath out, relax, take a nap & zone out. I love how helpful clients try to be, but this is your hour to just veg. No need to worry about conversation or anticipate anyone else s needs but your own. It's your quiet time. Isn't that a load off? :)
2. Speak up if the pressure is not right.
If it's hurting, it's too much! If it's irritatingly soft, it's to light. Massage therapists want to know and love this kind of feed back. We want you to LOVE your experience and will make adjustments to fit your comfort.
3. There's no need to worry about your appearance. Massage therapists are professionals and they do not judge you by your physical appearance. When we work, we are focused on adhesion's in the tissues, tension knots , and making sure your massage is addressing your specific goals. You will be covered or "draped" during the session and your modesty is always considered and protected.
4. You will be asked for your health history. Many clients are surprised by an intake form on their first visit. These questions are asked to determine if you have any conditions that contraindicate massage or that we need to be aware of to ensure a safe session.
5. Not all massages or massage therapists are the same. Make sure to establish your specific goals or what you want to get out of your massage session before you schedule with a new therapist. Be sure to discuss this with them before you come in to make sure you get the right massage for you.
Some therapists specialize in relaxation based massage only where others may be more clinical in their application.
Licensed Massage therapists are professionals and will never offer you illegal services. Make sure to ask for their license number if it's not posted in the office or on their business cards.
I hope these pointers have helped to demystify massage therapy and have taken away any apprehensions.
Were you nervous the first time you got a massage treatment?
This week, I spent time with Michelle Bardwell , The Owner and Registered Aromatherapist of Flower Road. She's local, extremely knowledgeable, and she's got some AMAZING product!
These potent, medicinal aromatherapy oils are shipped here by her mentor all the way from France.
European Doctors use aromatherapy as a way of healing the body and I can totally see why! Just a few hours smelling these oils made us all giggly and woozy- some pretty powerful stuff!
The mad scientist in me jumped at the chance to take a class that involved mixing or, what I now know as "formulating" (Never call it blending! as Michelle says). Yes, My childhood days were filled with concocting a mixtures such as hot water, toothpaste, and soda- which became the perfect way to trick and pester my older brother and who could forget about that a vat of "poop soup" in the back yard (the family dog supplied the main ingredient) HAHA! I know my mom remembers that one. Fond memories....Anyways-
What most of us know here as Aromatherapy is better described as Aromacology. We think of smelling the oil when we say aromatherapy. Inhaling the oil can have an effect on our brains and thus our bodies but inhaling essential oils can be super useful in affecting our emotions, because it hits the limbic system of the brain very easily.
Aromacology is the science and theory of how essential oils, or smells affect the mind and emotions, like when the smell chocolate chip cookies baking remind you of your childhood and give you a cozy "home" feeling.
Aromatherapy is the use of PURE essential oils to make a PHYSIOLOGICAL effect on the body by methods of ingestion, inhalation, and topical application. Aromatherapy is not ONLY about the Aroma- it's about choosing the right EO's for a desired outcome. Lucky, most formulas smell pretty great.
It seems that Aromatherapy has turned in to a buzz word for companies trying to market their products. (Example: Paint with aromatherapy??? )
So along with smell testing the oils, (I've also taste tested one...that was pretty cool) I learned about the individual oils themselves, formulating oils for my clients specific Hippocratic Temperaments ( I'm a "phlegmatic" but more about that later) and lots about the different extracting processes.
It's so inspiring to learn new ways of getting to the goal- which for me is to relieve the everyday stresses and add quality of life to my clients, friends, family and self.
These tools can surely make the world a better, calmer, happier place- and I know it's gonna take my massage treatments to a whole new level!