Jeff M. Ramos, LMT
Massage is a hands-on approach to pain relief, stress reduction, and enhanced well-being. Upon receiving Massage, you may feel more energetic, that you can breath deeper and move more freely. We offer the following techniques:
Swedish Massage • Sports Massage • Lymphatic Drainage • Reflexology • Myofascial Release • Integrative Massage • Trigger Point Therapy • Muscle Energy Techniques • Rolfing
We also offer 30 high quality essential oils to be diffused in the clinic air, or used in the oils applied to the skin. Undressing for your session is optional, and you will be draped with a sheet at all times.
How Can Massage Help Me?
People worldwide have been enjoying massage for centuries. Ancient Chinese, Sanskrit and Greek texts make reference to this simple yet effective method of healing. Nearly every culture today has its own form of massage. With modern technology and research, we are rediscovering the many and varied benefits of this healing tradition.
Massage can help you with . .
Massage is one of the best known antidotes for stress. Reducing stress gives you more energy, improves your attitude towards life and reduces your likelihood of injury and illness. It can relieve symptoms in conditions that are aggravated by anxiety, such as asthma or insomnia. Because it relieves stress, massage is an excellent supportive therapy for people in psychological counseling or treatment for addiction.
Painful and Tight Muscles
Massage relieves most muscle tightness, whether it's a chronic aching back, habitually clenched jaws or tight neck muscles. Massage acts directly on your muscles with stretching and kneading motions. It stimulates the nervous system to instruct muscles to let go and relax. Massage also flushes muscles of built-up waste products that can make you sore after vigorous exercise.
Tingling or Numbness in Arms or Legs
Muscles can become so contracted that they press on nerves which go to the arms, hands and legs. A massage to release these tight muscles in the shoulder or hip can often bring relief.
Massage can treat injuries you develop over time, such as tendinitis, as well as ligament sprains or muscle strains caused by accidents. Massage reduces inflammation by increasing circulation. This brings nutrition to your injured area and removes waste products. Certain massage techniques can limit scar tissue in new injuries, and can reduce, or make more pliable, scar tissue in old injuries.
Massage can treat secondary pain that can outlast the original cause. Some examples are headaches from eyestrain, a lower back ache during pregnancy, or tensing of healthy muscles to protect an injury.
Prevention of New Injuries
Massage can help prevent injuries that might be caused by stressing unbalanced muscle groups, or by favoring (or forcing) a painful, restricted area. Massage also brings more awareness to your body, which allows you to move with more safety and efficiency.
Pain and Restriction in Joints
Besides releasing tight muscles that restrict joint movement, massage works directly on your joints to improve circulation, stimulate production of natural lubrication, and relieve pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Posture and Chronic Pain
Massage releases restrictions in muscles, joints, and the muscles' tough connective tissue coverings, freeing your body to return to a more natural posture. Chronic pain often comes from poor postural and movement patterns. Your massage therapist can help you to correct those patterns and relieve your pain.
When You Have to Stay Still
You may be forced to remain still due to an injury, surgery or paralysis. When this happens, massage can relieve your aches and pains and improve circulation to your skin and muscles. Even when an immobilized area cannot be massaged directly, relaxation and increased circulation from a general massage can give relief.
Massage increases your circulation which, in turn, drains tissues of excess fluid caused by recent injury, surgery, or pregnancy.
How will a treatment feel?
Massage on normal tissue feels good. Treatment on a painful injury may at first cause some discomfort, which usually lessens noticeably in the first few minutes. With massage, there is a "good" pain which feels like the tension is being worked out. There can also be a "bad" pain which means your therapist is working too deeply. With good communication, you and your therapist can work with the right pressure to minimize pain and get your needs met. Always tell your massage therapist if you feel any discomfort so he or she can adjust your treatment to the right level.
Your Treatment Plan
On your first visit, you will be asked to fill out a brief health history form and pass along to your massage therapist any referring practitioner's diagnoses and recommendations. To determine the best treatment, your massage therapist will assess your problem area, perhaps by gently feeling for tenderness, looking at your posture, and checking for restricted or painful movement. You may also be asked additional questions about your condition.
Visits range from 30 to 90 minutes in length. They will focus on your problem, but can include work to relieve secondary symptom in other areas. The number of treatments depends on your problem, its severity, how long you have had it, and your general health. Your massage therapist may recommend self-care techniques for you to do at home to augment the massage therapy. How well you adhere to these recommendations will also affect the length of your treatment plan.
Always tell your massage therapist if you have a medical problem, even a minor one. Close communication with your medical practitioner is essential to determine when massage can help, and when it is not appropriate. Your referring practitioner can ask your massage therapist for a treatment plan and regular progress reports.
Another great benefit from massage is learning how to release your own tension or help heal your injuries on your own. You may learn breathing techniques for relaxation, or gentle exercises to increase flexibility and teach your muscles more efficient movements. Other common techniques you can learn may involve using ice and heat, self massage, and bath therapy.
Choosing a Massage Therapist
You can find a massage therapist through referral from another health practitioner, a friend, or even from the phone book. The state of Hawaii licenses massage therapists to ensure a basic competency in massage techniques, anatomy and physiology, and knowledge of when massage is and is not appropriate. There is also a National Certification Board which requires even more competency from the massage therapist. If you need help for a special condition, always ask about applicable training and experience.
In Hawaii, auto insurance and worker's compensation both cover massage therapy if you have a prescription. An increasing number of private health insurance policies also cover massage with a prescription. If you feel massage therapy can help with your condition, request a prescription from your primary care physician.
What is Zen Shiatsu?
by Pauline Sasaki
Shiatsu is a system for healing and health maintenance that evolved in the early 1900s in Japan and is closely related to the ancient healing art of acupuncture. Indeed, the main distinction between shiatsu and acupuncture is shiatsu’s use of finger pressure in place of needles.
Because giving and receiving shiatsu are pleasurable experiences, many people mistakenly believe that shiatsu is merely another form of massage. To appreciate the much broader role shiatsu can play in helping you achieve and maintain physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, you need to have at least a fundamental understanding of the way Eastern philosophy conceptualizes health and its relationship to the human body.
Since ancient religions forbade any type of surgical intrusion that would reveal the anatomical structure and physiological functions of the human body, the early healers relied exclusively on external observation and touch. On the basis of these observations, especially those made by people endowed with exceptional sensitivity and insight, the concept evolved that health is directly related to the condition of a life-force called Ki. Although Ki roughly translates into English as “energy,” the term refers not to energy in the Western sense, but to a force that affects and even controls a person’s life structure, including his or her physical health.
In the Eastern concept, Ki travels within the body along energy channels called meridians, fourteen of which transverse the body vertically and eight horizontally. The unobstructed, balanced flow of Ki along the meridians is both the cause and the effect of good health.
Unfortunately, Ki is not always able to flow freely. Blockages can and do occur along meridians at points called tsubos, throwing Ki out of balance. These blockages can stem from physical, mental, or spiritual stress. When blockages are present, one or more meridians may become under-active. In the early stages of imbalance a person senses these blockages as discomfort, and in the most advanced stages as illness and disease.
Skill in both acupuncture and shiatsu is reflected in a practitioner’s ability to identify the affected tsubos and then insert needles or apply pressure to remove the
blockage. With practice, some people develop great sensitivity to the flow of Ki within the body and are able to effect substantial changes in Ki balance relatively quickly.
If acupuncture or shiatsu are so nearly alike, why rely on shiatsu at all, considering that acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years and has even achieved respectability in Western medicine? The answer lies in the fundamental nature of the human hand.
Since man’s beginnings, hands have been used instinctively to express inner feelings and emotions. (Obvious examples are the use of the hand to make such gestures as handshaking and praying.) Moreover, the hands are exquisitely sensitive, containing as they do vast quantities of nerve endings. To practitioners of shiatsu, the unique role hands play in expression and communication make them the ideal instrument for evaluating the state of the meridians with a person’s body and then manipulating them.
Consequently, hands, imbued as they are with important qualities and abilities that needles lack, are the focus of the modern refinement of acupuncture known as shiatsu.
Although shiatsu on one level is a skill, in a larger sense it constitutes a comprehensive approach to health and well-being. Eastern medicine believes that the body contains natural powers of self-healing that Ki imbalances hinder. By identifying and rectifying imbalances when they first occur, before they become chronic or severe, a regular program of shiatsu permits the body to exploit to the fullest possible extent its own resources for self-healing and for maintaining a state of optimal health.
Trained shiatsu practitioners spend years developing the ability to diagnose and deal with the energy imbalances associated with severe illness, disease, and pain. However, if you are fundamentally healthy, you can learn with relative ease many shiatsu techniques useful for routine health maintenance. Incorporated into a general strategy for health, these skills enable you and your family to take advantage of a modern, highly acclaimed system for maintaining a state of physical and mental well-being that is based upon techniques that have been successfully used in Eastern cultures for thousands of years.