Tag Archives: massage

Thai Massage and the Prana Nadis

Thai Massage

Thai massage stretch for the triceps muscle.

It is thought that Thai massage has its earliest roots in India and has been a healing therapy for millennia.

Theoretically, Thai massage is based on the concept of meridian system (energy lines) called Prana Nadis. The influence of its Indian origin lies in Yoga philosophy and the movements and stretches of Thai massage clearly have Yoga roots. The philosophy of Yoga states that life energy (Prana, Qi, Chi, Ki) is absorbed from the air we breathe and the food we eat and that we are supplied with this vital energy along this network of energy lines (also known as the meridian system in Traditional Chinese Medicine).

Any disturbances in the flow of energy result in an insufficient supply of Prana, which can in turn leads to illness and disease. By stimulating these energy lines with massage, Thai massage can release any blockages, facilitate the free flow of Prana, and help to restore general health and wellbeing. Thai massage mainly uses ten meridians and the important acupressure points that lie on them. By massaging these meridians and points it is possible to treat a wide range of diseases and to relieve pain.

Contrary to Western style massage, traditional Thai massage concentrates on the flow of Prana and any work with the physical body is secondary. Effleurage, which dominates in Western massage, is absent from Thai massage where the emphasis is on the energy points (acupuncture points) and these are pressed, or general pressure is used. Thai massage utilises a lot of stretching and many of these resemble Yoga stretches and postures and are sometimes described as ‘applied Hatha Yoga’.

In India and Thailand, massage was always considered to be a spiritual practice closely connected with the teachings of the Buddha. Until fairly recently, it was mainly in the Buddhist temple where massage was taught and practiced. Even today one of the most important massage schools in Thailand is at the Wat Po monastery in Bangkok.

A truly good Thai masseur performs his art in a meditative mood (Chen/Zen state) while working with full awareness, mindfulness and focus, “listening” to the feedback from the Prana lines and energy flow.

Thai massage is usually done on a futon mat on the hard floor whilst wearing loose and comfortable clothing.


Some common ailments that Thai Massage can help with are:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Insomnia
  • Low energy
  • The effects of stress
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Tension
  • Stress


Therapist info

Thai massage stretch for the trapezius and levator scaulae muscles.


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Edinburgh Prana Lotus

Thai Massage in West Midlands




Further information on Thai Massage including case studies, etc.

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Please note that Holistic-Pages.com makes no guarantee regarding the validity, efficacy, or safety of any therapy and we advise that medical advice should be sought from a qualified medical practitioner regarding any illness.
Holistic-Pages.com is not responsible for the credentials, qualifications and insurance status of any of the therapists who have links from this site and we advise that these should be checked before any treatment is undertaken.



Reflexology, the Ingham Method


Reflexology in action.

Reflexology is a form of therapy that involves applying pressure to specific reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all of the glands, organs and parts of the body as well as the using massage techniques (effleurage) on the feet. Reflexology is based on the feet being a reflection of the body and, as a whole, corresponding with it. So, it is possible to find out which areas of the body are out of balance by working the feet. Treatment can also be given, via the feet, to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanism. The hands and ears also have similar reflex areas and can be used.

Reflexology traces its origin reaches back to 2330BC. In 1899 the Tomb of Ankhmahor, situated on the northern side of Teti’s pyramid at Saqqara, was excavated and some of the reliefs, on the walls, show that the ancient Egyptian physicians used a form
of reflexology. The tomb is more commonly known as the Physicain’s Tomb.

Modern Reflexology was pioneered, researched and developed in the 1930’s by Eunice Ingham. The Ingham Method is the leading method of Reflexology used throughout the world.

By stimulating the reflex points correctly, Reflexology can help many health problems in a natural way and can be used for preventative maintenance as well as reacting to any existing issues. However, the primary benefit of Reflexology is that the client can achieve a deep state of relaxation (the alpha state, where the brainwave pattern has slowed down).


Benefits of Reflexology:

  • Relieves stress and tension.
  • Improves circulation.
  • Increased relaxation.
  • Improve your energy
  • Reduces pain.
  • Reduces anxiety.
  • Improved sleep patterns.


A Reflexology session usually lasts about an hour. There is no need to get undressed as it is only the shoes and socks that are required to be removed. After a session, the client may become aware of the changes taking place as toxins are released, processed and eliminated from congested systems.

Therapist info

Reflexology chart.

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Gill Wah, Ross & Cromarty

Leeds Reflexology

Sonia Campos, Brighton




Further information on Reflexology including case studies, etc.

If you wish to add further resource information about Reflexology please contact us with the details.


Please note that Holistic-Pages.com makes no guarantee regarding the validity, efficacy, or safety of any therapy and we advise that medical advice should be sought from a qualified medical practitioner regarding any illness.
Holistic-Pages.com is not responsible for the credentials, qualifications and insurance status of any of the therapists who have links from this site and we advise that these should be checked before any treatment is undertaken.




When giving Shiatsu head massage, the giver sits/kneels at the head of the receiver.

  1. With the receiver lying in the supine position (face upwards), place both hands at the base of the skull and draw gently towards you (chin should tuck in slightly).
  2. Using the flat of your fingers, gently press in to GB20, noting the rate and depth of breathing and any other subtle movement in the musculature of the neck.
  3. Using your fingertips, start at the base of the neck and work up to the occiput making small circles at the level of each vertebra. Repeat three times noting any areas of tension and any difference between the left and right sides.
  4. With your fingers work on the Bladder meridian (one pair of acupoints at a time), 1 cun out from the spine, up as far as BL10 (just to the outside of the insertion point of trapezius muscle, under the occiput).
  5. Lift the head in both hands and rotate gently within their range of movement, taking note of any resistance or tension. Repeat in both directions.
  6. Cradling the head in one hand, turn it to one side and use finger/thumb pressure from GB20 (between trapezius & sternocleidomastoid under occiput) down the side of the neck to GB21 (top of trapezius). Repeat three times, staying longer on any tender or stiff points.
  7. Keeping the head anchored gently push the shoulder away to create a stretch on the neck.
  8. Squeeze down either side of the SCM muscle, again feeling the points and getting feedback about any referred pain. If such a point is found squeeze for five seconds then release.  Repeat until the pain lessens and then stretch the muscle.
  9. Turn the head to the other side and repeat steps 6-8.
  10. Centre the head and, using the thumb, stimulate the Governing Vessel points from between the eyebrows to the crown.
  11. With fingertips work Bladder meridian from BL2 (in the notch at the inside upper edge of the eye socket) 1 cun out from the mid-line.
  12. With flat of thumbs work along the forehead from centre to the temples, repeat three times, then stimulate TH23 at the outer edge of the eyebrow, and GB1 level with the outer corner of the eye just on the temple area. Both points good for headaches and tension.
  13. Work around the eye socket using finger pressure on the upper orbit and finger/thumb pressure on the lower orbit, making sure not to drag the skin.
  14. Massage in small circular movements at the temples.  The direction of the circles can be alternated.
  15. Using thumbs work down the sides of the nose, three times, and then stimulate LI 20 at the outside corner of the nostril.
  16. Using fingertips work along the underside of the cheekbone. Stimulate ST3 which is under the cheekbone and in line with the pupil of the eye (you need to hook your fingers slightly and pull back towards you).
  17. Work around the upper gum area, again being careful not to drag the skin, then squeezing top and bottom of the jaw from centre to outside edge.
  18. Make circular massage movements on the masseter muscle and press in on any tight parts.  This area holds a lot of tension and is involved in head pain and migraine.
  19. Gently take hold of the ears and pull up and down, backwards and forwards. Finish by pulling down on the ear lobes.
  20. The giver moves to kneel at the side of the receiver.  Then places one thumb or finger at the point between the eyebrows (the “Third Eye”) and the other at the Tandien (3 fingers width below the navel).  These points are held lightly for 10 seconds and then gently lifted off.


Shiatsu for health and wellbeing

Shiatsu for health and wellbeing

Shiatsu (pronounced shee-at-soo) is a Japanese word meaning finger pressure and is the name created early in the 20th century for this gentle, efficient, healing technique. The Japanese Government recognised Shiatsu as a valuable part of their health system over 60 years ago.  Here, in the West, we have only recently started to appreciate Shiatsu and it has now been recognised by the European Parliament and included in the European Register of Non-Conventional Medical Disciplines.

Shiatsu has some of its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine and it is a blend of Chinese acupuncture and the Japanese system of Anma (massage).  It is sometimes referred to as “Acupressure” but this is an inaccurate description as Shiatsu has so much more to offer. The practitioner may use fingers, thumbs, elbows and even knees to apply pressure on the tsubos (acupuncture points) as well as incorporating gentle stretches and manipulations.

These stretches, combined with the use of the tsubos, has the effect of stimulating the circulatory system and the lymphatic system, it works on both divisions of the autonomic nervous system, helps to release tension in the muscles, and can also stimulate the hormonal system. Shiatsu usually leaves a feeling of well-being and calmness, of being more in touch with one’s body and self.
Findings from the European Shiatsu Federation research study carried out by Professor Andrew Long at the University of Leeds.


The Experience and Effects of Shiatsu: A Cross-European Study.

  • 89% of Shiatsu receivers felt calmer and more relaxed.
  • Up to 60% of regular shiatsu receivers slept better.
  • Receivers rated their symptoms as significantly reduced throughout the 6 month study.
  • 86% said that shiatsu was effective in treating stress and tension, structural and postural problems, low energy and fatigue.
  • Overall, Shiatsu receivers adopted a more relaxed, healthier and balanced approach to life.
  • Reduced use of conventional medicine.

Aromatherapy for Sports People

Aromatherapy for Sports

I work alongside the physiotherapist of a successful, Junior League, football club, it was agreed that it would be of  interest to see if the introduction of essential oils into my sports massage work would make any perceptible difference to the players.

The normal routine for the players is to play their game on Saturdays and have two practice sessions per week, Mondays and Wednesdays from approximately 6pm until 9pm. I decided to recruit from the players that were most often in for treatment.

Peter was a prime candidate. He never appeared to have any actual injuries, but tended to request massage because of tight hamstrings and calf muscles or painful lower back, neck or shoulders. He exercises every day and, generally, keeps in good health although he has a record of contracting colds.  We agreed that for the next five practice evenings we would both make time and I would give him an aromatherapy massage, to legs, back, neck and shoulders.

Treatment Plan: 

The first priority, for Peter, was the reduction of stiffness in his calf muscles and hamstrings, with a lessening of the pain in the lumber region, neck and shoulders. It was also important to boost his immune system.

I decided to carry out aromatherapy massage to his calf muscles, hamstring, back, neck and shoulders, blending 5 drops each of black pepper (piper nigrum), sweet marjoram (origanum marjorana) and rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) in 25mls of grapeseed oil (3% dilution). All three essential oils have analgesic properties and should help with tired, tight and painful muscles.

I also provided a mix of rosemary, sweet marjoram and grapefruit (citrus paradisi) in a shower base cream to be used after training and other exercise sessions. Use a 3% dilution, 10 drops of each in 50mls of base cream. Grapefruit is particularly good for breaking down lactic acid after exercise.

The first three sessions: I did lots of effleurage and worked deeply into the areas where Peter had muscle spasm. I did a good deal of stripping out of the muscles, followed by more effleurage then tapotement. Peter found that even after one treatment there was much less tightness in his muscles, he thought he moved more easily during practice. He felt the shower preparation gave him a real lift and the grapefruit certainly did not keep him from sleeping at night.  By the end of first three sessions, Peter thought his back pain was almost gone and he had a lot more movement in his neck and shoulders muscles. His legs lost the tightness.

Fourth & fifth sessions:  On the fourth treatment session, I replaced the black pepper with tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia). The treatment for the muscular pain and spasm was going well and I was keen to use the tea tree to help boost Peter’s immune. We stayed with the tea tree on the fifth treatment, and Peter was delighted with his increased flexibility, he had no pain at all in his back, neck or shoulders and the tightness was almost gone in his legs. He said he was feeling great.

Slavic Massage

Slavic Massage

Slavic massage is one of the oldest, truest forms of classical aromatherapy left in existence.  Developed over hundreds of years from the times of Genghis Khan, this art spread from the plains at the base of the Altai Mountains and around the shores of lake Baikal, through the great horse nations of the Slavic people from Central Asia and Eastern Europe and carried by them to the West. Slavic massage was gradually developed by people living close to nature in a true wilderness, and used in the nurturing care of both humans and horses (horses being of paramount importance to them). This truly deeply relaxing and hypnotic massage is created by gentle stretches, smooth flowing rhythmical, circular, diagonal and figure-of-eight movements, combined with warm exotic oils. Slavic massage seems deceptively simple, but is highly effective.

It induces deep mental and physical relaxation, gently allowing the muscular system to de-stress and allowing the body to fully relax, allowing for an interchange of energies. The techniques used are safe and extremely pleasurable for both the giver and the receiver and may be the most relaxing massage you ever get.

The system was introduced into the UK by Jan Kusmirek who is one of the world’s leading Aromatherapists. Jan believes that the Slavic Massage is perfect for today’s desk-bound generation, a group in dire need of relief from the discomfort of sitting all day. This sedentary lifestyle puts pressure on the upper body ultimately causing stiffness in the joints, poor circulation and in some cases the onset of arthritis.

The benefits of this type of massage are multi-faceted, the physical effects on the circulation and lymphatic system of massage are well known. With Slavic Massage there is also a marked improvement in the micro circulation to all areas improving skin tone and nourishing tissue cells. Also the specific oils used in this particular massage increase the nutrition and lubrication to the skin leaving it with a healthy glow. The deep relaxation and gentle stretching involved in the treatment is ideal for easing out the joints and reducing discomfort, in particular elderly clients and those with arthritis.

Naturopathy, the Holistic Way


Naturopathy is a holistic system, concerned with the whole person, rather than just focusing on the problems/symptoms afflicting the various organs and systems.  Though diagnostically naturopathy is a lot like conventional medicine, it differs in the types of treatment used.  Naturopathic physicians do not use drugs, medical technology, or major surgery to treat a patient. Instead, they use natural therapeutics  such as nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, homeopathy, and acupuncture.

Naturopathy is a medical system that focuses on the body’s intrinsic ability to heal and maintain itself, using the natural healing power of the body to fight disease.  The Naturopathic practitioner recognizes and uses the fact that the body is a self-healing organism with the understanding that if the right environment and opportunity for self-healing can be created, recovery and well-being will result, while at the same time preventing ill-health

According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, “Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal.”

The Naturopathic physician uses standard/conventional diagnostic methods such as; x-rays, laboratory tests, and medical exams, etc.

Naturopathic therapies may include:

  • use of botanical medicine
  • hydrotherapy
  • nutritional changes
  • homoeopathy
  • manipulative therapy
  • massage
  • acupuncture
  • oriental medicine (herbal, massage, etc)


The ideology of Naturopathic Medicine focuses on the use of naturally-occurring substances, minimally-invasive methods, and encouragement of natural healing. Prevention of ill-health through stress reduction, a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle is emphasized, with the use of pharmaceutical drugs, ionizing radiation, and invasive surgery are generally reduced. The philosophy is made up of six core values.  Many versions of these but exist but, generally, follow these principles:

  1. First, do no harm; provide the most effective health care available with the least risk to patients at all times.
  2. Recognize, respect and promote the self-healing power of nature inherent in each individual human being.
  3. Identify and remove the causes of illness, rather than eliminate or suppress symptoms.
  4. Educate, inspire rational hope and encourage self-responsibility for health.
  5. Treat each person by considering all individual health factors and influences.

Emphasize the condition of health to promote well-being and to prevent diseases for the individual, each community and our world

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) uses gentle massage with the aim of promoting and regulating the circulation of the lymph. Lymph flows within the lymphatic system, the third circulatory system of the body.

The lymphatic system is formed by vessels and lymph nodes.  Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump (in the case of the cardiovascular system, the heart is the pump) and it is totally dependent on the action of gravity and the expansion and contraction of the muscles to pump the lymph around the system.  Lymph is an interstitial liquid, surrounding both, the cells and each organ of the body.

The lymphatic system has multiple interrelated functions:

  • It is responsible for the removal of interstitial fluid from tissues.
  • It absorbs and transports fatty acids and fats as chyle to the circulatory system.
  • It transports immune cells to and from the lymph nodes in to the bones.
  • The lymph transports antigen-presenting cells (APCs) to the lymph nodes where an immune response is stimulated.

Lymphatic tissue is a specialized connective tissue that contains large quantities of lymphocytes.

The lymph, a physiological part of our body, brings to the cells the nutrition they require and removes any toxic elements and particles that are too large to be removed in the blood.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage stimulates and regulates this nutritional exchange between the lymph and the cells of the body by: –

  • Promoting the elimination of the toxins and the accumulated residues of the interstitial liquid.
  • Promoting the distribution of nutritive elements (particularly fats) within the cells.
  • Enhancing the body’s immune defenses by cleaning the lymph nodes of the accumulated residues, which lessen their natural defense activity.

Manual lymphatic drainage assists in the detoxification of the body, helping to re-establish It also produces a state of profound relaxation, therefore serving as an efficient aid in daily life and the stress inherent to it.

Indian Head Massage (Champissage)

Indian Head Massage

Indian head massageIndian head massage, also known as Champissage, is a technique of manipulating soft tissues in the Scalp, neck & shoulders with the purpose of manipulating energy channels. The therapist uses a range of different massage pressures and rhythms to stimulate the head and neck area. The aim is to clear any blocks in these energy channels that could cause ailments/illness. The belief is when the energy does not flow properly, negative energy builds up, causing common ailments, including stress and pain.  Champissage, which is practiced all over Europe, was brought to the west by Narendra Mehta in the 1970s.

Benefits of Indian Head Massage: –

  • stimulates arterial circulation, and increases venous and lymphatic flow
  • aids the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems
  • stimulates the skin and underlying nerve endings
  • frees knots of muscular tension and relaxes connective tissue
  • reduces stress and can induce a feeling of euphoria
  • aids in the elimination of accumulated toxins and waste products

It is particularly effective in addressing the effects of tension & stress.

A typical massage lasts about 20 minutes.



Deriving from Greek, the word chiropractic is means ‘to perform with the hands’. This reflects the primary component in a chiropractor’s treatment, the manual treatment of the joints and muscles of the body.

Chiropractic is now a well-established and well respected therapy. It is a system of healing, based on the idea that the human body has an intrinsic ability for self-healing and continually seeks homeostasis (balance). It is well known that the nervous system plays a significant role in maintaining homeostasis and, hence, health, a basic principal of chiropractic theory. Small internal misalignments hinder the orrect functioning of the nervous system and, in turn, interfere with the body’s ability to maintain good health.

It is claimed that in 1895 Daniel David Parker, a self-taught “magnetic healer”, treated a man who had become deaf after feeling a “click” in his back. After discovering a misalignment in the man’s spine, Parker realigned the vertebrae, leading to the restoration of the man’s hearing.
Chiropractic methods seek to bring the body back into balance through manipulation of the spine, joints and muscles in the belief that this allows the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems to function smoothly. The practitioner should carry out a thorough physical examination, ask questions about the client’s general health, and, possibly, take X-rays. This gives the practitioner all the information that is needed to find out exactly what is happening to the skeletal system.

The chiropractor’s most important technique is manipulation and, often, moves a joint a little further than the patient would be able to do on their own.

There is a vacuum that exists in most joints in the body that is overcome, through the manipulation, creating small bubbles of gas in the synovial fluid between the joints. It is the creation of these bubbles that causes the audible ‘snap’ that often accompanies any manipulation. The purpose of this manipulation is to normalise the functions of the joints and muscles and to ease, or remove, pain.

The chiropractor may also treat the soft tissue (the muscles and tendons) by utilising different forms of massage and stretching.