The most divine of ancient Ayurvedic rituals, Shirodhara calms the mind and awakens the body’s intuitive knowledge. It is profoundly relaxing and nourishing while improving mental clarity and comprehension. A continuous flow of warm, herbal oil is poured in a slow, steady stream onto the forehead awakening the third eye and crown chakras. Vata Dosha* is balanced. Shirodhara works on the cerebral system thereby relaxing the nervous system while balancing Praan Vaayu (life force energy) around the head. The entire face is rejuvenated as worry lines are softened. Shirodhara can reduce and relieve migraine headaches, wash away negative emotions and thought patterns, anxiety, restlessness, irritability and nervousness.
Though Thai massage may be considered a modern modality, it was actually developed by Buddhist monks in Thailand 2,500 years ago. The technique involves passive stretching and gentle pressure along the body’s energy lines to increase flexibility, relieve muscle and joint tension and balance the body’s energy systems. Thai massage is deeply relaxing and energizing at the same time. Though it might not seem so during your session, the effects of Thai massage are dramatically healing physically, spiritually and emotionally.
What to Expect
Rooted in spiritual tradition, Thai massage is done wearing comfortable clothing such as sweats or shorts and t-shirt. Though it might be preferable if you are uncomfortable with nudity, it is not necessarily the best choice if this is your first time receiving a massage. This is because a Thai massage therapist uses his entire body including feet to move your body into various positions during the massage. For some, this approach may feel more intimate than compared to a Swedish massage wherein you lie on a table and are covered with sheets. However, Thai massage is not to be confused with sensual massage.
Using many of the same movements as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage uses more intense pressure geared toward releasing chronic muscle tension and knots (known as ‘adhesions’). Deep tissue massage reaches into deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia also called connective tissue. Though it doesn’t hurt, it may be a bit more uncomfortable than a Swedish massage which may be an indication of the severity of your muscle tension. In this case, it is advised to speak up if the pressure it too much.
What to Expect
It is important to drink a lot of water after receiving a deep tissue massage to rid your body of lactic acid that can cause soreness the next day. But even so, you may still feel some soreness meaning that a lot of waste products were flushed out of your body’s tissue. Asking your therapist to ‘use more pressure’ during the time of your massage will not necessarily rid your body of the knots that have taken a lifetime to acquire. While the effects of deep tissue massage can be pleasantly felt in the days following, optimal results are achieved and maintained with an integrative program that includes exercise, better posture, relaxation techniques and regular massage.
Among other health benefits, Swedish massage promotes relaxation. More common in the Western world, Swedish massage combines concepts of anatomy and physiology compared to energy work traditional in Asian massage systems. The most popular time frame is 50 to 60 minutes but 75 or 90 minute sessions provide more time to work muscle tissue and achieve better results. If this is your first time, receiving a Swedish massage may be your best bet. For deeper work or more pressure deep tissue massage might be preferable.
What to Expect
Recipients of Swedish massage are traditionally nude beneath towels or sheets (though some feel more comfortable wearing underwear). Only the part of the body that is being worked on is uncovered during a technique called ‘draping’. Various massage strokes are used such as effleurage (short or long, gliding strokes), kneading, friction, stretching and tapping.