While it has been a public secret at the clinic for some time, we here at Zhou Wellness are more than a little excited to finally announce our therapeutic massage services! As our wellness family knows, we are nothing but committed to the health and wellbeing of those who walk through our plant-bordered front door. This includes offering services such as acupuncture, acupressure, herbs, and dietary recommendations, and warm greetings from our beloved goldendoodle, Bagel.
But what exactly is a “therapeutic” massage? How does it differ from relaxation styles of massage frequently found in spas, and what about it lends itself so well to our practice? To answer, let us take a quick tour to the past. May we suggest settling in with a cup of tea for the duration of this article?
We start no less than 5,000 years ago, on the ancient shores of India. Boasting the world’s oldest medical system, Ayurveda: India’s premier holistic medical science, utilizes herbs, lifestyle medicine, diet and massage therapy to treat a variety of ailments: from injuries to pathological sickness, and everything in-between. Abhyanga, as their modality of massage is called, uses liberal amounts of warmed, herbally-medicated oil to soak in through the skin, along with repetitive strokes to the major limbs of the body and abdomen, administered by a certified practitioner. Its indications are broad, prescribed for not only sore muscles, but impaired organ function and digestive upsets as well.
Moving east and skipping ahead to roughly 489 BC, Thailand’s Thai Yoga Massage modality was born. Said to be the product of Jivaka Komarabhacca, friend and physician to the Buddha himself, Thai yoga massage functions as its name suggests, using practitioner-assisted yoga postures to stretch, twist, and rejuvenate the body. It is frequently used today to address sports and work injuries, chronic pain, and dampened immune systems.
Heading north and a tad more recent, China’s holistic medical system, dating back 2,200 years and known today as TCM, similarly utilizes massage in its therapeutic practices. Alongside cupping, gua sha, and the elegance of needles, most acupuncturists worth their salt will be trained in “Tuina”, otherwise known as Chinese medical acupressure. No oil here, folks; this vigorous method keeps the clothes on and favors passive range of motion and acupoint stimulation via manual pressure. Tuina is used today to treat ailments such as frozen shoulder, sciatica, whiplash, and more. (note: given its age, China’s holistic medical field exists in numerous branches today.
Chief among these modalities are Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM; Classical Chinese Medicine, CCM, and Five Element Theory. This small list is only an example and not a complete index of the many other lineages currently in existence).
Modern therapeutic massage takes the foundations of these bodywork modalities and many others around the world to address issues both acute and chronic. Below is a list of uses and benefits. This list is by no means all-inclusive.
Uses and benefits of Therapeutic Massage
– Auto injuries
– Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
– Fertility, prenatal care, and labor induction
– Muscle cramps
– Frozen shoulder and other inhibited range of motion
– High blood pressure
– Work/sports-related injuries
– Plantar fasciitis
– Digestive upsets
– Anxiety, depression, and insomnia
– Postoperative care
– Temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders, and much more!
One can see what has us so thrilled to include this incredible modality in our practice.
“Therapeutic massage works similarly to the Swedish-style of massage in that it utilizes oil and repetitive strokes. Where they start to differ is in their goals and methods. Swedish aims to relax the body and provide a comforting environment for the client to unwind. It’s a beautiful modality. Therapeutic massage can also comfort the patient, but its goals are to resolve an issue. It uses passive and active range of motion, deep tissue, acupressure, myofascial release and… just, so much more to release major knots in the body and thaw out frozen joints. I recently utilized hot stones, passive range of motion and tuina to work out a patient’s frozen shoulder. In one session his range went from about sixty percent to ninety. The issue was his teres minor, that little muscle that joints the armpit to the latissimus dorsi. I warmed the tense muscle with a few of my hot stones, then went in with my thumb to break up the crystallized tissue. I won’t lie, he was hardly my biggest fan during the session, but the results speak for themselves. Does that answer the question? It’s hard to explain. Just try it!”
We certainly have! All of us here at the clinic have tested our massage therapists with our own aches and pains to ensure that who we entrust you to truly has the magic touch. Selfless of us, we know.
Those who commit themselves to receiving care from our staff deserve nothing less than the best we can offer, and it is for this reason that we include therapeutic massage in our list of services. We are here for you, for your wellbeing and enduring wellness. We are proud to include massage therapy as a holistic healing art alongside our wonderful acupuncture and herbal treatments, and hope it serves you well.
In love and health,
LMT Nathalie Aguirre