Tantra massage Prague Ltd. - Magical massages II: Massages from Europe

European massage has a much shorter tradition than oriental massage, but there are also pleasant and effective methods to release pain, tension, stress or reduced mobility. It is not only the massaging technique that is important, but primarily the approach and experience of the masseur. What are the most popular and most widespread massage types from Europe?

Classic massage

Magical massages II: Massages from Europe

Classic massage is originally from Sweden where it was first described in 1830 by Per Henrik Ling. It is the most commonly used category of massage in Europe and it is taught as the basic massage technique in all accredited massage courses. It is used primarily to treat strained muscles, back and joint pain, as well as stress-related problems.

How it works:

Classic massage uses a massage table or massage chair. In winter a heated electric blanket can be added onto the table. The client is covered by a towel or a sheet and blanket during the massage to retain optimum body heat. Classic massage can be aimed at individual parts of the body, e.g. massage of the back and neck, massage of legs or hands and décolletage, or it can be provided as a whole-body massage. The strokes used include kneading, friction and rhythmic tapping. Classic massage is carried out exclusively by palms and fingers of the masseur using natural massage oils or lotions.

Massage length:

Partial massage aimed at an individual body part lasts usually 20 to 30 minutes, total massage takes 90 to 120 minutes depending on the thoroughness and the masseur’s experience. It is recommended that the massage is repeated once a week or at least once in two weeks.

Massage effects:

Classic massage like many other massages helps reduce tension and stress and regenerate the body. Using deeper touch it releases muscle tension and spasms, increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissues and thus significantly contributes to regeneration after sports or other physical strain. It removes dead skin cells, enhances skin elasticity and helps wash away toxic substances. It is also effective on shortened and slack muscles or as a way to remove swelling and pain in joints.

Contraindications:

Massage in general is not recommended if the massaged person suffers from fever and infectious diseases, it is not advisable in areas of a recent skin injury, in cases of fungal or other acute skin diseases, in areas of varicose veins and ulcers, in cases of tumour disease, during pregnancy and in puerperium (belly massage), in cases of diarrhoea and bleeding conditions, if the person suffers from a common cold or a gall bladder or urinary tract diseases. Massage is not recommended shortly after meals.

Curiosities:

Classic massage is suitable for supportive treatment of the muscular system, recovering after an injury and for complete recovery. For this reason it is the most common form of massage used in medical institutions. You can find it in most state-owned as well as private spa institutions and specialised hospitals.

Evaluation:

Classic massage is one of the less interesting types of massage. It is limited to the use of the masseur’s palms and fingers, and unless it is a professional body builder, the massage is usually rather superficial and does not reach deep into muscle tissue. Thanks to its popularity the classic massage is popular with less experienced masseurs and it is often carried out mechanically. More experienced masseurs choose types of massage that enable using other parts of their body, e.g. forearms and elbows (Hawaiian massage, lava stone massage or Thai massage), which allows them to reach deeper into the strained muscle tissue and achieve greater releasing and stretching.

Sports massage

Sports massage serves primarily as a preparation for a sports performance or as regeneration after the performance. During the massage muscles are warmed up and blood is pumped into them, the body is energised before the performance; after the performance the massage helps wash away lactic acid and regenerate. Sports massage helps prevent injuries such as muscle rupture or straining and enhances the individual’s sports performance. Sports massage facilitates regeneration, eases pain and reduces the athlete’s fatigue.

How it works:

Sports massage is done on a massage table using the masseur’s palms and fingers. It is done with dynamic speed thanks to which muscles are quickly warmed up and filled with blood necessary for the specific sports performance. It uses special creams and lotions depending on the effect we want to achieve with the massage. Popular are primarily warming up and cooling agents from plant extracts such as aloe vera, mint, eucalyptus, camphor etc, but alcohol agents, soaps, powders and massage oils are used as well.

Massage length: 30 – 90 minutes

Massage effects:

Sports massage stimulates blood flow in muscles and tissues, enhances the supply of oxygen and nutrients, washes away toxins and lactic acid. With regular massage an experienced masseur can enhance joint mobility, help with shortened muscles, swelling as well as contusion. The massage has a positive effect on the nervous system and the athlete’s psychological state, it alleviates pain, increases sports performance, gets rid of feeling of stiffness and helps prevent injuries from insufficient preparation for sports performance.

Contraindications:

During sports massage higher levels of toxins are released from the body, so it is necessary to have healthy kidneys, liver, heart, spleen and urinary bladder. The massage is not suitable for pregnant and breast-feeding women, other contraindications include those for classic massage.

Curiosities:

Sports massage can differ depending on the goal we want to reach by using it. Among others, there is fatigue removing massage for sportsmen exposed to extreme sports strain, fitness massage, contributing to healthy functioning of the muscular system, massage during breaks at sports events, preparation massage that works similarly to a work-out before a performance and curative massage as part of recovery after a sports injury.

Evaluation:

A well-performed sports massage is one of the invaluable aids of all professional and amateur athletes. Suitably chosen herbal creams support the intended effect of the massage. Sports massage significantly speeds up the process of healing of injuries, increases flexibility and mobility of the whole muscular system. Choosing the right masseur is important, ideally from among former athletes who understand anatomy and kinesiology of movement and who also have the necessary physical strength and experience necessary to help you.

Rehabilitation massage

Rehabilitation massage is aimed at removing specific problems in the musculoskeletal system, so it requires a more thorough knowledge of anatomy than classic massage and should be carried out by a physiotherapist or lower medical staff with massage specialisation. It is used to treat back pain, stiffness and limitations to mobility of certain body parts, as part of rehabilitation, in the case of long-term muscle overstrain, shortened muscles and stiffness or painful joints.

How it works:

Rehabilitation massage is carried out on a specialised electric massage table which is wider than the classic massage table, it provides greater comfort and increases the therapist’s operation space. The height of the table can be adjusted during the massage so that the therapist can carry out mobilisation touches and techniques. The actual massage uses elements of deep muscle massage, reflexology and acupressure. It provides overall stretching and mobilisation of the body. The therapist can also use ball massage, apply warm peat compress, hot towels, warm the body up using an electric heating mat etc. The massage should be carried out without causing intense pain, however the stretching and mobilisation can be felt as less pleasant by the client. During the massage, the therapist usually combines oil massage, warm compresses and mobilisation techniques without using oil.

Massage length:

45 – 90 minutes, depending on the particular problem, 120 – 150 minutes if a total body massage is applied. The massage should be repeated twice to three times per week for the period of one to two months to obtain significant improvement. The massage can be accompanied by medicinal exercises and swimming which supplement and support the rehabilitation effects of massage.

Massage effects:

Rehabilitation massage significantly contributes to increasing joint mobility, removing muscle tension, restoring mobility, it alleviates pain, stretches muscles and helps in recovery after an injury.

Contraindications:

Rehabilitation carried out by a specialist is a safe form of therapy because its form is always adapted to the health condition of the particular client.

Curiosities:

Joint manipulation and tissue massage were practiced as far back as 3000 years before Christ in ancient China. Modern chiropractic was described in 1897 by doctor Palmer in the USA. Rehabilitation massage draws on various traditions and knowledge of the human body with the aim to restore maximum functional abilities of an individual and to minimise motor disability.

Evaluation:

Rehabilitation massage is a great aid in recovery after injury and in limited body mobility. Similarly to yoga it stretches muscles, moves joints and restores body flexibility. After a few visits a significant difference is observed, especially if rehabilitation massage is accompanied by stretching and medical exercises between massage sessions.

Breuss massage

Breuss massage, originally from Austria, is also called massage of intervertebral discs. It consists of intensive rubbing in of warm St. John’s wort oil along the spine paying greater attention to affected areas with the aim to affect the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. It is often combined with the Dorn method and used to treat pain in the spine, discs or lumbago.

How it works:

During the massage the spine is gently and energetically warmed up and intervertebral discs are then arranged in their correct position. St. John’s wort oil, known for its healing, anti-inflammatory effects and help against muscle and joint pain, is used. Massage is applied to a person lying in a prone position on a massage table.

Massage length: 50 – 60 minutes

Massage effects:

Breuss massage, especially when applied together with the Dorn method, relaxes intervertebral discs, reduces muscle imbalance, alleviates spinal pain, relaxes tensed back muscles, dissolves energy blocks and helps achieve correct body posture.

Contraindications:

Breuss massage is a very gentle, energising massage, so it is not suitable for people who favour pressure and deep massage techniques that work with muscles and tissues. The massage is not suitable in later stages of pregnancy, because it is applied on a person in prone position.

Curiosities:

St. John’s wort oil causes photosensitivity so you should avoid sunlight for 24 hours after massage.

Evaluation:

Personally I am one of those people who prefer deep massage emphasising physical work with muscles and stretching the body, so Breuss massage is not one of my favourites. But if you like gentle, energising types of massage, you will surely enjoy it.

Dorn-method

The Dorn method is a gentle manual therapy originally from Germany during which all joints and intervertebral discs are moved to their correct anatomical position with the cooperation of the client and with the help of breathing and manual techniques. The incorrect position of discs can be caused by muscle imbalance, incorrect body posture, injuries, different leg length, shortened muscles and tendons, as well as client’s emotional problems. Restoring discs to their original position brings not only alleviation of problems, but also release of blocked energy canals along the spine and thus overall harmonisation of the body.

How it works:

The Dorn method can be applied separately or together with Breuss massage which serves here as a physical and psychological preparation for the actual straightening of the spine using the Dorn method. Breuss massage first relaxes strained muscles as well as the mind of the client, then the therapist examines the musculoskeletal system and determines the most pressing problems and the means necessary to correct them. For the Dorn method to be effective the client needs to come for several sessions and actively cooperate by doing a few basic exercises at home which serve to prevent serious body blocks. The client must avoid unsuitable movement habits, such as crossing their legs when seated etc. The actual treatment is applied in various positions as deflected discs are straightened with the help of gentle pressure of the therapist’s thumbs, a pendular movement and the client’s participation. Everything is carried out gently in a non-invasive way without pain. The Dorn method is thus considered completely safe.

Massage length:

The treatment usually lasts 60 minutes and should be applied one to two times a week, depending on the seriousness of the problem. Complete cure can take several months in some cases, however, relief is achieved after two sessions already.

Massage effects:

The Dorn method relaxes physical and psychological blocks, re-stabilises body posture, but corrects also more serious problems, for example a difference in leg length (if it is not a congenital defect, but for example a defect caused by pelvic imbalance followed by muscle imbalance). In a non-invasive and gentle way it helps treat various kinds of pain of the musculoskeletal system, especially pain in the back, hips and knees. In a wider context, the Dorn method alleviates headaches (of spinal cause), stomach problems or insensitive or tingling hands.

Contraindications:

The treatment is not suitable for patients with acute inflammatory illness or fever, immediately after surgery, in advanced osteoporosis, in cancer patients and with limitations during pregnancy.

Curiosities:

The Dorn method is a holistic method because apart from physical treatment of the body it also includes working with mental and energy blocks. This way not only the symptoms, but also the causes of problems are addressed. The author of the method wanted it to be spread freely and become accessible to as many people as possible, so it is a simple method accessible to wider public. So even beginners who want to help their family members can apply for the course.

Evaluation:

The Dorn method is a painless and effective way to help with problems with deflected intervertebral discs and many other issues. I recommend undergoing this treatment with a physiotherapist or an experienced masseur with a good reputation.

Underwater massage

Underwater massage is a special form of curative massage that is applied especially in medical institutions. It is often part of rehabilitation after musculoskeletal injuries, but it can also be used to treat common back pain and spine pain or as supportive regeneration after sports performances. The massage is always carried out by a trained specialist (lower medical staff with a massage specialisation, a nurse or a physiotherapist).

How it works:

Underwater massage is performed in a special multi-purpose bath, the water temperature ranging from 35 to 37°C, with a high-pressure pipe with the pressure of 0.2-0.4 MPa. The therapist holds the pipe 10 to 15 centimetres from the client’s body and using the flow of water they massage the affected areas. The massage is usually performed as partial (massage of back and buttocks, massage of hips and legs or massage of arms), but it can be performed as a complete massage as well. The therapist avoids the area of breasts, heart and genitalia. Massage should not hurt and should be pleasant to the client. After the end of the massage, the client usually stays in the bath and relaxes in a pearl bath.

Massage length: 20 - 30 minutes

Massage effects:

Underwater massage helps patients to recover after muscle and joint injuries, it has a positive effect on arthritis, it supports muscle regeneration, it helps against joint pain, but it is also used for example in cases of muscular dystrophy.

Contraindications:

The massage is not applied in cases of acute inflammatory illnesses and fever, during pregnancy, to patients with kidney diseases, cancer, after a heart attack and with high blood pressure. In the case of varicose veins, the massage is not applied on legs.

Curiosities:

The first hydrotherapy spa was established in 1837 in Jeseník. Vincenz Priessnitz, dubbed the father of hydrotherapy, suffered an injury in his youth and thanks to experimenting he discovered and later described the curative effects of hydrotherapy.

Evaluation:

Underwater massage is a very pleasant and effective form of treating problems with musculoskeletal system. Its disadvantage is the cost of the massage bath, so it is usually only available in hospitals and rehabilitations clinics. Underwater massage can be prescribed by a doctor and thus covered by insurance, or you can pay for it yourself.

Lymphatic massage

Lymphatic massage is a widely respected curative method which is applied primarily in medicine and cosmetic care. The massage uses gentle circular touches and acupressure to work with the lymphatic system, which is responsible for transporting toxins away from the body.

How it works:

Lymphatic massage is applied by hand (manual lymphatic drainage) or using various devices. The massage works with lymphatic nodes and the lymphatic system by mechanically propelling the lymph together with toxins to lymph nodes and away from the body.

Massage length:

A comprehensive lymphatic drainage takes 2 hours and the basic therapy includes 8 to 10 treatments twice to three times a week. This should be followed by a maintenance treatment once a month.

Massage effects:

Lymphatic massage removes swelling in legs and arms, helps fight cellulite, removes the feeling of “heavy legs”, drains toxins from body, stimulates the lymphatic and systemic venous systems, enhances complexion and quality of skin, boosts the immune system, has relaxing and anti-stress effects and contributes to overall body regeneration.

Contraindications:

Lymphatic massage has the same contraindications as classic massage. It can be dangerous especially for cancer patients.

Curiosities:

Lymphatic massage can also serve as first aid after a hard day standing on your feet, especially in people with strained legs such as shop assistants, air stewardesses, guides, real estate agents or nurses.

Evaluation:

Quality lymphatic massage is a great complement to a spring detox treatment, it supports regeneration after a strenuous sports performances and helps fight acne.

Anti-cellulite massage

Cellulite, also known as orange peel skin, is caused by accumulated toxins and irregular distribution of fat in hypodermis, usually on thighs and buttocks. Anti-cellulite massage tries to disrupt these fat structures by using touch and essential oils and drain the deposited toxins away from the body, which leads to the cleansing and smoothing of hypodermis and reducing or complete removal of cellulite.

How it works:

The massage uses massage bamboo sticks and natural aromatherapy oils with warming effect, which promotes blood circulation in the hypodermis. Using fast movements the affected areas, that is buttocks and thighs, are massaged. The massage is fast and dynamic and if it is to be effective it is on the threshold of pain. Apart from bamboo sticks the masseur can use suction cups and their own palms. Massage can be combined with anti-cellulite wrap. Masseurs acquainted with lymphatic massage can also use touches from this method.

Massage length:

The actual massage takes 40 to 60 minutes, the wrap 15 to 30 minutes and for the therapy to be effective there should be 8 to 10 treatments, at first 3 to 4 times a week, later once a month to preserve the effect. The results can be observed after approximately 5 treatments.

Massage effects:

Anti-cellulite massage significantly stimulates the hypodermis and promotes blood circulation, it disrupts irregular fat structures and removes toxic substances from the body thus contributing to the fight against cellulite. If it is accompanied with increased water intake (3 to 4 litres a day), a detox diet and aerobic activity (running, fast walking, cycling, aerobics etc), its effects are fast, significant and primarily long-term. Anti-cellulite massage removes or reduces the orange peel effect, it smoothes and stretches the skin, boosts the blood flow and purifies the hypodermis. The result is beautiful thighs!

Contraindications:

Anti-cellulite massage is not suitable if you suffer from varicose veins, in heart, vascular or circulation disorder, during pregnancy and in all the cases that stand as contraindications for classic massage.

Curiosities:

Cellulite has been considered a problem since its description in the 1920s. With the arrival of a beauty ideal, slenderness and youthful skin in the 1980s it became the leading cosmetic problem women deal with.

Evaluation:

Anti-cellulite massage together with a healthy diet, sufficient drinking regime and regular sports activity is a fast and effective way to get rid of orange peel skin for ever. Its disadvantage is that if it is to work it is slightly painful, however, it’s nothing that could not be endured and the effect is definitely worth it.

Aromatherapy massage

Aromatherapy massage is a combination of classic massage and acupressure techniques with the use of curative effects of natural plant oils. It is relaxing and stress-dissolving, because it is generally slower and gentler than for example classic massage; it works with the ambience and mood and provides the client with an overall relaxing and harmonising experience. Apart from essential oils, aromatherapists use candles, relaxing music, warming mats and incense sticks.

How it works:

Aromatherapy massage is done on a table accompanied with relaxing music and gentle candle light. It is a massage and harmonisation of the whole body so it is ideally applied in the afternoon or evening hours when there is no stress or work ahead of the client. The actual treatment is preceded by an interview with the aromatherapist who determines what the client needs and then selects suitable essential oils from which they make a mixture tailored to the client’s needs. During the massage the oils are absorbed by the skin and thus access the blood system where they affect the nervous system. Some clients need to calm down and release stress and tension, others need an energy and power boost and to invigorate their tired body. Oils can cool or warm, so their selection depends not only on the state of the client, but on the current season. The oil selection is also influenced by the client’s gender and mood. Women love scents such as the rose, camomile, jasmine, lavender or neroli. Men prefer cedar wood, pine, red orange or ginger.

Massage length: 90 – 150 minutes

Massage effects:

Thanks to a large range of and easy access to high-quality natural essential oils the effects of aromatherapy massage are wide and depend on the mixture of used oils as well as the choice of specific touches of the aromatherapist. Aromatherapy oils relax and calm the body and mind, alleviate cramps, attenuate pain, strengthen the immune system, have an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect and boost energy and enthusiasm. Aromatherapy massage thus releases stress, helps relaxation and quality sleep, boosts blood circulation in muscles, drains toxins, strengthens the nervous system, gives energy, increases skin elasticity and many other things.

Contraindications:

Before aromatherapy massage it is necessary that you tell the therapist of your allergies and scents that you don’t like. If you’re not sure, you can test the mixture on your forearm and if there is no allergic reaction, you can safely continue in the massage of the whole body. Other contradictions include all those mentioned above in classic massage.

Curiosities:

Aroma-therapy means curing with the use of scents. The curative effects of herbal creams and aromatic oils were known to ancient Greeks, Indians, Chinese and Arabs. Herbal oils and creams were used primarily for curative and ritual purposes.

Evaluation:

Aromatherapy massage is a wonderful experience that will caress your body and your soul. If the right scents are selected, the location is beautiful and there is enough time, this massage is an invaluable therapy against fatigue and stress.

Chocolate massage

Due to its positive effects on the mind, chocolate massage is considered to be one of anti-stress massage types. The massage combines relaxing touches of classic massage with the use of beneficial effects of chocolate on the body and mind. Most people associate chocolate with the feelings of good mood and happiness. There are only few who don’t love its aroma and wonderful sweet taste which helps fight depression, sadness and overall gloom. Chocolate massage and wrap has a beneficial effect on the skin so it is favoured especially by women.

How it works:

Chocolate massage is applied in several stages. First the whole body is massaged with warm almond oil which helps relax tensed muscles, followed by peeling with fine- and coarse-ground coffee beans that remove dead skin cells from the body and boost blood circulation in the skin. After that follows the actual chocolate massage during which the body is stroked and massaged with warm chocolate. The final stage is a relaxing wrap in a warming film during which the chocolate is freely absorbed by the skin making it softer and smoother.

Massage length: 60 – 120 minutes

Massage effects:

Chocolate massage releases the mind, brings relief from tension and stress, smoothes, rejuvenates and softens the skin, removes dead skin cells, brings a feeling of joy and happiness, helps fight depression and sadness.

Contraindications:

Chocolate massage is not suitable if you’re allergic to chocolate, suffer from acne, rash or other skin problems. The same contraindications as for classic massage apply here.

Curiosities:

Chocolate was discovered between 1100 and 1400 BC during the heyday of Mayan and Aztec culture. It was used in the form of hot drinks, for ritual purposes as well as a medium of exchange. It was brought to Europe in the 16th century and it immediately gained huge popularity. Chocolate massage has been discovered recently.

Evaluation:

If you long for sensual pampering and if you love chocolate, this is the perfect massage for you. If you treat yourself to it at least once a month in combination with sauna and Jacuzzi you will soon feel at least ten years younger.

Written by Bc. Michaela Lynnette Torstenová, MBA

Tantra Massage Prague Ltd. founder, psychotherapist, manager, tantra lecturer and personal development group lecturer, coach, yoga instructor and instructor in holistic work with the body, massage therapist (10 years of experience), therapeutic tantra “Inner Wave Technique” author, massage lecturer. Read more

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