Aromatic Massage Waxes

I thought you might like a little bit more information about the massage medium I use.  As a therapist, it was important for me to choose something which delivers great control during the massage while leaving skin soft and supple.  Songbird waxes are a blend of beeswax and natural ingredients which do just that.  As they contain essential oils, you can choose the blend that best suits the way you would like to feel – this comes as standard with any massage you book with me.  You might choose something relaxing, uplifting, or promoting mental clarity.  Read on for more detailed information about the five main blends I keep to hand:

womensblend

Women’s Blend Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Bergamot

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is perfectly balanced by the musky and regal Frankincense (Boswelli Carterii). It’s this balance which makes Women’s Blend really special.  Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia) has a citrusy aroma which is very pleasant and is one of the most uplifting of the essential oils and thus of great benefit in lifting the spirits.  The blend is synergistically created for a balancing effect. All the essential oils used are associated with hormonal balancing and are particularly relevant to women of all ages.

zest

Zest Mandarin, Lime

This is a light, gentle, refreshing and uplifting citrus massage wax containing Lime and Mandarin. We developed it with the Scottish Charity, Iris Cancer Partnership, and a percentage of each tub sold is donated to their valuable ongoing work of training complimentary therapists to work with cancer patients. As it is light on the essential oil, it falls well below the latest regulatory requirements for a ‘leave on’ product, making it suitable for pregnancy massage as well. We are sure you’ll enjoy the subtle and zesty zing.

herballift

Herbal Lift Palmarosa, Origanum, Rosemary, Clary Sage

This blend is uplifting and intended to clear the mind and stimulate mental activity – to combat mental fatigue. Mental clarity, alertness and vigour restoration are associated with these oils.  Origanum adds a spicy element to the lively mix and creates an aroma jacket to hold in the herbal. You can get this herby undercurrent just under the spice and it makes for a wonderful olfactory journey!  Traditionally Rosemary is associated with memory retention and retrieval of stored memories via its scent.  This wax is often associated with therapeutic work involving fatigue and tiredness, such as exam times or when the client feels lacklustre and listless.

mountainforest

Mountain Forest Sandalwood, Cypress, Cedar

Massage Wax was created as a woody rather than a flowery blend for those who don’t like a floral scent in their massage wax. This makes it particularly good for use on men and some have called it the Mens Blend, as opposed to our Woman’s Blend. This is a bit misleading as it is, of course, used by women everywhere!  It is best described as piney, smokey,  woody and foresty.  It’s a blend which best comes into its own when heated through massage on the skin, when the rich notes of Sandalwood pour out and envelop the user.

relaxation

Relaxation Vetiver, Ylang Ylang, Petigrain

This blend has a two step scent – in that to get to the deeply relaxing and earthy combination that the essential oils give, you need to give yourself deeply to the scent and move through the first impressions to the second, very earthy core of the combination. This is the deepest kind of relaxation.  Vetivert (Vetiveria Zizanioides) is a scented grass native to India and Sri Lanka, is botanically related to Lemongrass and Citronella, and is very good oil for oily skin. It’s name means Oil of Tranquility. Part of the earthy quality of the Relaxation Massage Wax comes from the Vetivert.  The grassy notes weave an intricate and delicate tune …

Celebrating the Stretch!

Let’s celebrate the stretch!  A good stretch is a wonderful feeling, and it does us good too.  As humans we tend to spend a lot of our time slightly slumped or getting into bad habits posture-wise – may that be holding our shoulders up rather than relaxing them down, or sitting in an uncomfortable chair which could be damaging our posture.
It’s good to have a plan you feel you can easily do, even if you only have a few minutes each day. These simple exercises are quick, and most can even be done while you are sitting at your desk.  For maximum benefit, do them several times over the course of each day:
  • Chin tucks are great to do for lengthening the spine.  All you need to do is stand against a wall, stand up straight and gently pull your chin in to your chest. If you are tight, this can be a great headache reliever.
  • Another good stretch is turning your head from side to side – sounds simple, but if you have neck pain it can be a great way of releasing it.
  • Rolling your shoulders back is another good way to release pain in shoulders and neck.
  • Holding your arms up and seeing how far back they go will help to increase mobility and movement.
If any of these moves are hard for you or you can’t do them then I’d suggest seeing a therapist and having some work done on the problem area.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage but a deeper pressure is used. The idea of deep tissue massage is to relieve chronic tension.  It is characterized by firm, slow massage strokes.

When performing deep tissue massage, it is common for the therapist to incorporate the use of body parts other than the hands and thumbs, which means it is possible to give a more intensive, effective treatment to the client for a longer period of time.  Elbows and forearms are commonly used, to apply a deep pressure to problem areas. The focus of deep tissue is on the deeper layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia – the connective tissue around the muscles.

So What are the Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage? 

Deep tissue massage can be used to treat any areas of muscle tension and is often used to treat conditions such as chronic back or shoulder back pain.  It also helps to lower high blood pressure and reduce stress and anxiety. It can help to break up scar tissue, loosen adhesions and allow more freedom of movement. If you have had a sports injury it can help your recovery.  Deep tissue massage can also increase joint mobility and help to ease the pain of arthritis. I feel that all of these things are so important in so many ways for people.

Is Deep Tissue Massage Painful?

Deep tissue massage is likely to be a bit more uncomfortable than a relaxation massage, but it doesn’t need to be excruciating to give good results.  It is important that you feel comfortable with your therapist and that you communicate with each other during deep tissue massage therapy. Everyone manages pain differently – if you feel it is too much, don’t hesitate to tell the therapist. It can be good to judge any pain on a scale of one to five and if it is anything above three, I’d advise you to ask the therapist to ease off.

How Will You Feel After a Deep Tissue Massage Treatment? 

First of all, the experience can be different for different people. You may feel rejuvenated, but you could also feel a bit sore. This is because of the deep pressure applied.  Any stiffness or pain is normal after a deep tissue massage and will generally subside in 24 to 74 hours. In a few days your body should feel the benefits.

Is Deep Tissue a Separate Routine or Can It Be Incorporated into Your Normal Massage?

A full deep tissue massage practice can be offered, but deep tissue strokes can also be incorporated into a holistic and Swedish routine.  If you suffer from any chronic tension and tightness in your body, such as in your back or shoulders, then incorporating some deep tissue massage will help to reach those problem areas.

What Might Be an Indication That You Should have a Deep Tissue Massage? 

If you have any pain that affects your day to day life, be that back pain, shoulder pain or neck pain, then having a deep tissue massage might be something to consider.

Deep Tissue Massage Therapy Training at Cotswold Academy

I attended the deep tissue massage course at Cotswold Academy and learnt so much!  As always, the tutors were great, and very helpful and supportive, giving me great information on performing this kind of massage and offering it as part of my treatment.  My fellow students were lovely too – it is always good to have the opportunity to talk to people with similar interests.

The course opened my eyes to the benefits of massaging without the use of thumbs and hands, both for the therapist and the client. We were taught a whole deep tissue routine and tried it out on each other. It’s such a great way to massage as you can really get into people’s tense areas without tiring out your thumbs and hands.

I believe that deep tissue massage will be really beneficial for my clients and I hope that you all enjoy this new addition to the treatments that I offer.

 

Massage – Magic for Mental Health

Do you ever wonder how the physical touch of massage benefits your mind? I feel happy that I can share this with you today. Studies have shown that massage reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Massage is also beneficial for insomnia and sleep quality.  

Clarity and Connection

sime-basioli-181541
Sime Basioli

During a massage you begin to feel aware of all the different aches and pains or tense areas in your body – any imbalances or problems that might be holding you back. Once these have been acknowledged and worked into, you may experience a feeling of wholeness or being more joined up.  For at least part of your treatment, take some quiet time to breath deeply and tune in.  Sometimes there may be a feeling of weightlessness, a burst of energy or a feeling of clarity.  I like to call this a physical reboot.  A soothing atmosphere in the therapy room, created by soft lighting and relaxing music, is particularly helpful when mental health issues are being treated.

Sometimes just the act of having someone invest their time and energy into making you feel better can make you realise your self worth.

Relaxation – A Pillar of Good Health

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Jacob Townsend

It is now recognised that regular relaxation time is central to wellbeing – for instance, Dr Rangan Chatterjee cites it as one of the four pillars of good health, along with good diet, sleep and exercise.

How Massage Triggers the Physiology for Mental Wellbeing

During a massage, nerve cell receptors are activated to release good mood chemicals such as serotonin.  At the same time, the parasympathetic nervous system is triggered to slow breathing and lower your heart rate and blood pressure.  Once you are in a state of calm, you are in a good place to use other coping strategies.

Other Great Ways To Feel Good

Yoga Has Your Back

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Trevor Paterson

Yoga is a great complement to massage, relaxing and toning your body and helping to make you feel strong and poised.  Yoga With Adriene is a huge library of great free online video practices which are perfect for this; Adriene consciously makes her sessions accessible to all and has a focus on self care.  She has a lovely range of healing practices such as Yoga for Anxiety and Stress and Yoga for a Broken Heart.  You won’t be expected to crank your body into uncomfortable positions; the approach is “Find What Feels Good”. 

Forest Bathe!

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Bryan Minear

If you have access to a quiet, green outdoor space, step outside and listen to the sounds of nature in real life, accompanied by the feeling of the breeze on your skin, to counter the effects of the virtual world.  It’s called forest bathing apparently!  You might not always have access to the real thing, so relaxation tapes are another way to improve your mental state and help you get a good night’s sleep.  

Supportive Massage

Not enough people really understand the benefits of massage for mental health.  Either on its own or to complement another form of therapy or healthy ritual, when life is hard, massage could be just the support you need.  

love

Amanda x

My Journey into Massage Therapy

I walk down the lane from my house with fresh towels over my arm to the thatched cottage with the heart on the door, heading for the garden clinic space where I will meet a new client.  It has been a busy week, but the walk gives me a moment’s calm to reflect on how I came to be here.

Childhood Memories – Instinctive Massage

I remember as a small child walking up and down my Mum’s back as she lay on the floor, or reviving her by pressing my cool hands on her face when she was ill.  Later I made friends with a Chinese girl called Ryii at summer camp; while the other kids ran around playing tag, we gave each other shoulder massages.  

The Mind-Body Connection

I also remember wondering as a child why people got sad and why some people seemed to feel feelings more strongly than others.  I always knew that my career would be about helping people and was interested in complementary therapy.  I studied Health and Social Care at college, and later took a certificate in Counselling Skills, which was fascinating and got me thinking – there must be potential to work with people physically to benefit how they feel on the inside.

Confusion, Conviction and the Cotswolds

As the idea of becoming a massage therapist began to take root, I was confused and felt a lot of emotions.  I wondered, How could I achieve that?, but at the same time a strong conviction was telling me to go for it.  That feeling overpowered my doubts and moved me to begin my journey as a massage therapist.

Cotswold Academy - my massage school
Cotswold Academy, Thomas St, Cirencester

I found a lovely college in Cirencester called Cotswold Academy.  It was a long way from home but I knew it was the best place for me to learn. The tutors had a great understanding of massage; the community and even the walls of the old building seemed to support me in my journey.  I learnt so much.

I didn’t want to rush anything so I took my time with client case studies, massaging people, learning and improving.  I love hearing about people’s lives and how my work with them has made them feel better emotionally or physically.   After nine months I took my final exam and passed my diploma.  Because the power of the mind-body connection is so central to my work, I called my business Body to Mind Therapy.

A Country Practice

My dream of becoming a massage therapist became a reality when I found a clinic space to share in the garden of this beautiful thatched cottage in my home village of Ladbroke.  My new landlady, Helen, a fellow therapist, was lovely and welcomed me in kindly. I felt so thankful and fell in love with the room!  I am really happy to be able to welcome my clients into such a relaxing space. Treating my first client in the clinic base last week was a great experience; she really enjoyed the massage and loved the room.  I look forward to welcoming many more clients there as I support them on their wellbeing journey.

Love

Amanda x